Australia is a dry country with its population concentrated in coastal zones. Both these factors mean that much of Australia’s highly variable water supply is at risk of becoming overexploited or degraded. Many of the water resources are already stressed due to the impacts of excessive use, drought, climate change and the demands of a rapidly growing population.
To contribute to meeting future water needs QUT is investigating how these impacts are affecting aspects of the hydrological cycle, surface and groundwater resources, environmental flows and freshwater biodiversity. This understanding of system function then enables improved management of water resources and a movement towards resource sustainability. For this to happen, the interaction of water resources, natural environmental systems and the geological framework must be well understood.
Groundwater Systems Researchfacilitates linking of expertise from across QUT to conduct complex and multi-disciplinary projects in groundwater applications. This approach enables collaboration of expert researchers and students from the geosciences, hydrogeology and hydrogeochemistry with teams working in High Performance Computing
and in the mathematical sciences. A highly successful outcome of such collaboration is the development of a range of visualisation, numerical and other modelling techniques and software. These 3D visualisation models also incorporate animation of groundwater data over time, and have been effective to better inform water resource managers, groundwater users, policy makers and a range of stakeholders. More on GSR.
QUT’s Sedimentary Systems Research Group researches in the application of geoscience research in energy industries, geosequestration, coastal development and groundwater. Projects of critical significance to Queensland include coal seam gas and sequestration, sea-level history in south east Queensland and effects of climate change on coral reefs.
isr co-ordinated projects
Visualisation planning tool for the Bribie Island groundwater system (isr/FAST, 2010–11)
Aspro Malcolm Cox, Andrew Todd, Jim Reeves
ISR have been engaged to develop a 3-D visualisation of the groundwater resource beneath Bribie Island for use as a management support tool and as a means to enhance community understanding of the groundwater systems on Bribie Island. The visualisation tool will be based on the integration of relevant data (rainfall, hydrogeology, groundwater levels, water chemistry) to inform sustainable management.
It is not a simulation model but will provide a visual platform and planning tool for client consideration of natural groundwater system dynamics and potential threats to the system from current and proposed levels of extraction.
Tamborine Mt. community-based groundwater/surface water investigation (isr/FAST, 2008–10)
Aspro Malcolm Cox
A project investigating land-use impacts on groundwater and surface water resources in the Tamborine Mt. Area. The project will build community ownership and capacity to understand local water systems, condition trends and best-practice groundwater and land-use management. It will also establish a collaborative partnership between local and regional stakeholders as a basis for ongoing sustainable management.