Oral Presentation NCGRT/IAH Australasian Groundwater Conference 2019

From investigation to legislation - lakeland groundwater management, Cape York Peninsula, Australia case study (117)

Glynis Orr 1 , Amy Becke 1
  1. Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, Cairns North, QLD, Australia

Localised aquifers in areas where irrigation requirements exceed or nearly exceed surface water availability are often at threat of overuse unless strategic management rules are in place. Lakeland, a small basalt plateau in southern Cape York Peninsula, has expanding high water demand agriculture. The majority of the watercourses are ephemeral with 80 per cent of annual rainfall occurring during the wet season. New applications to source the groundwater resource triggered an investigation of the condition of the aquifer in 2012. The underlying geological structure was differentiated through use of existing bore log stratigraphy and data. Transmissivity testing data was examined and storage capacity and sustainable yield analysed. This study indicated a significant drawdown of the major basalt aquifer from existing groundwater entitlements (DNRM 2013a). A groundwater management strategy (DNRM 2013b) was developed to account for existing groundwater entitlements and allow for minimal expansion of usage in certain areas. Rules were developed based on sustainable yield capacity of the resource with the division of the area into two zones. The Water Plan (Cape York) 2019 (Queensland Government 2019) subordinate legislation enhanced the sustainable management of the water, providing a mechanism for the monitoring and reporting of the condition of the aquifers and the ability to further refine the management rules over time.

  1. DNRM, 2013a, Lakeland Groundwater Review, State of Queensland, Department of Natural Resources and Mines, 2013.
  2. DNRM, 2013b, Lakeland Groundwater Management Policy, State of Queensland, Department of Natural Resources and Mines.
  3. Queensland Government 2019, Water Plan (Cape York) 2019. Available from https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/view/whole/html/asmade/sl-2019-0090