Project activity Upper Darling River floodplain groundwater study
Communities, industries and the environment in the upper Darling River region have been impacted by recent droughts and floods.
During periods of low flow in the Darling River, groundwater has the potential to be an alternative water source for towns, agriculture and mining.
The aim of the upper Darling River floodplain groundwater study is to identify and better understand groundwater supplies beneath the floodplain and its surrounds. When combined with innovative water storage options, these groundwater resources could provide enhanced drought security and promote regional development.
The study area covers about 31,000 km2 and includes a 450 km stretch of the Darling River floodplain from Wilcannia upstream to Bourke and Brewarrina.
During the study we are compiling existing data as well as collecting new data to better understand groundwater in the region. Working with our state partners in the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, the study will form the basis of an integrated understanding of surface water - groundwater interactions, groundwater quality and aquifer systems beneath the upper Darling River floodplain.
The upper Darling River floodplain is important for grazing and agriculture, both for regional NSW and for Australia. By the end of this study we hope to have information to better manage drought conditions:
- identify new fresh groundwater resources beneath the upper Darling River floodplain
- deliver integrated groundwater data to help manage water resources
- find potential places to store freshwater underground using Managed Aquifer Recharge to provide ongoing and emergency supplies for towns and industries
- reduce risks to surface water and high-quality groundwater from salty groundwater
- improve the effectiveness of salt interception schemes and understand how weirs affect groundwater resources.
What are we doing?
During this study you may see us gathering new data. We collect this information in order to help us better understand groundwater resources. Prior to the collection of new data we will seek consent from landholders/owners and engage with communities in accordance with state and federal legislation.
While collecting data, we will not enter private property without permission and notification, and we will share any information that we collect with landholders and communities. Examples of new data collection may include:
- flying an
- drilling new groundwater bores for monitoring purposes
- acquiring on-ground and downhole geophysics data such as and electrical conductivity
- sampling groundwater bores for hydrochemistry
- installing groundwater data loggers
- undertaking satellite analysis of water in the landscape (with )
- mapping the geology and aquifer systems.
Important to know
All Geoscience Australia staff and contractors will be complying with Geoscience Australia’s COVID-19 protocols, available upon request.
AEM survey: Upper Darling River region, March – June 2022
Geoscience Australia will be carrying out an airborne electromagnetic (AEM) survey in the upper Darling River region from March to June 2022, in collaboration with the NSW State Government. For more details about the study, see the AEM survey activity notice.
Field activity engagement animations (playlist)
A series of 1-2 minute 2D animations provide easy to understand explanations of airborne and ground survey techniques, designed for non-technical audiences, such as landholders, land managers and general community that are impacted by our data acquisition activities. They show what the equipment looks like, how it works and what it is measuring, what the data looks like, and how it is used. There is no sound or voice over, allowing users to discuss them with audiences. (Playlist)
How geoscience can improve water resilience for regional communities
Geoscience Australia undertook geoscientific investigations in the Southern Stuart Corridor, spanning 89,000 km2 in central Australia to better understand groundwater aquifers (rock layers that can store groundwater).
National Groundwater Systems
This project is improving understanding of Australia’s groundwater resources to better support responsible groundwater management and secure groundwater resources into the future.