Oral Presentation NCGRT/IAH Australasian Groundwater Conference 2019

Managing an extensive regional groundwater monitoring network in the Surat Basin – key challenges, opportunities and innovation (368)

Steve C. Flook 1 , Ben Cairns 1 , Lynne Ford 1 , Peter J. Khor 1 , Sanjeev K. Pandey 1
  1. Office of Groundwater Impact Assessment, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

The Surat and southern Bowen basins are complex multilayered aquifer systems extensively developed for private water use and more recently for petroleum and gas (P&G) development. The Office of Groundwater Impact Assessment (OGIA) is responsible for the design of a regional monitoring network to support hydrogeological research, system conceptualisation, impact assessment and regional groundwater modelling in the Surat Cumulative Management Area (CMA).

In this area, OGIA produce an Underground Water Impact Report (UWIR) every three years which sets out monitoring obligations for petroleum tenure holders across the Surat CMA. These include construction and installation of groundwater monitoring equipment, the measurement of groundwater pressure and chemistry, aquifer injection and associated water extraction volumes. As of late 2018, there are around 500 monitoring bores – with up to 1,000 individual monitoring points – and more than 7,000 CSG extraction bores.

There are a range of unique challenges in managing a network extending over across an area of 100,000 km2 encompassing more than 20 hydrostratigraphic units, varying hydrochemical conditions, multiple fluid phases and with monitoring depths up to 1,500 m. Across the area, construction and instrumentation differ significantly and necessitate careful data treatment and density correction requirements.

Responsible tenure holders capture and compile four groundwater datasets – pressure, chemistry, extraction, and injection – to OGIA every 6 months. OGIA complete an extensive series of checks on the received data. Given the scale of data received, OGIA have developed a number of in-house data assessment tools to verify data format and quality.

There are unique challenges in the management of OGIA’s dataset: multiple data providers, data types, large volumes of transient data, quality control of data format and content, and preparing data for internal and external release. This presentation will provide a summary of the challenges and unique data management tools developed by OGIA.