Groundwater threat to rivers worse than suspected

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Groundwater threat to rivers worse than suspected

Postby HVPA_research » Tue Nov 02, 2010 1:45 pm

HVPA Links: (this page),,

Excessive groundwater development represents a greater threat to nearby rivers and streams during dry periods (low flows) than previously thought, according to research released today by CSIRO.
In an address to the Groundwater 2010 Conference in Canberra, CSIRO Water for a Healthy Country Flagship scientist, Dr David Rassam, said land-use practices that reduce groundwater recharge into rivers and streams could significantly reduce low flows in nearby rivers and streams.

While Dr. Rassam talks mainly about extraction of water for traditional irrigation purposes the connection to the new coal seam gas industry is obvious. The technological base of CSG extraction is to de-water coal seams which will eventually lead to lowering of the surface fresh water aquifers (see To make matters worse, this CSG produce water is generally saline and difficult to dispose off. This is an additional way how to kill our rivers.

“This demonstrates that preventing water entering aquifers, or pumping too much groundwater out, may lead to complete drying of nearby streams during the dry period.
“This can happen much more easily than we previously thought. The impacts on local water ecosystems could be dire.”

The Groundwater 2010 conference runs from 31 October to 4 November at the National Convention Centre, Canberra.
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Re: Groundwater threat to rivers worse than suspected

Postby HVPA_research » Wed Nov 03, 2010 5:52 am

Archiving part of a post from Denis Wilson from Rivers SOS mailing list. It is very relevant to this discussion.
Experiences from Victoria surely apply to NSW where extraction and management of groundwater by coal seam gas companies does not figure in normal ground water management plans.

In Victoria, the Auditor General has come out and stated this damning critique:
Audit summary of Management of Victoria’s Groundwater Resources


"The Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) and water corporations do
not know whether groundwater use is sustainable. While a robust planning framework
and planning tools have been developed, their effectiveness is undermined by
inadequate groundwater data and monitoring, and delayed development and
implementation of management tools.

"Licensing, metering and compliance monitoring activities are not rigorous enough to
assure DSE or water corporations about who extracts groundwater and how much they
extract. There is also insufficient data about groundwater reserves and sustainable
extraction rates."


The full report was too large to send as an email attachment (according to Telstra (but Maria sent to to me - so that's odd).
Anyway, you can download it from:

Denis Wilson
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