Collie Basin's first regional groundwater model
Released 29 Jan 2007
In another example of the Department of Water's innovation in water resource research, a unique computerised groundwater model is proving a beneficial tool in the management of the Collie Basin water resources.
Department of Water Acting Director General, Paul Frewer, said the model was initiated by the Collie Basin Research Steering Committee to help address declining groundwater levels and the associated drying up of pools in the south branch of the Collie River.
"We're talking about on-the-ground collaboration between government, industry and local interest groups to produce results for a common goal, and it's having a real and beneficial effect across the board," said Mr Frewer.
"This model is being used to help us better understand the nature of the Collie Basin's water resources, how to allocate water in a sustainable way and how to best manage the local environment."
Mr Frewer added that the regional scale groundwater model in its current form builds on earlier hydrogeological investigations carried out in the Basin between 1997 and 2001. The current data collection and computer modelling work was a collaborative effort by scientists and engineers from the Department of Water and the GHD company.
"In the Collie River's south branch and surrounding open cut mine voids, the model provides greater understanding of the groundwater characteristics," said Mr Frewer.
"Since its development, the model has been used to assess a range of management scenarios for groundwater in the Collie Basin, as well as to predict aquifer storage recovery in the Cardiff Subbasin and water levels in Lake Kepwari."
John Ruprecht, Director Water Resource Management with the Department of Water, said the groundwater model represented another tool in the battle against salinity in Western Australia.
"Salinity in the Collie Catchment has been a key issue in water resource management for a number of years. This computer modelling offers a way of assessing the short-term and long-term viability of the Chicken Creek and Muja mine voids for storage of winter high-salt flows, diverted from Collie River, which would have otherwise flowed into Wellington Dam," said Mr Ruprecht.
The Collie Basin Research Steering Committee consists of representatives from Federal and State Government agencies, the Shire of Collie and representatives from the local mining industry.
A report on the development and application of the Collie Basin groundwater model is available on the Department of Water website at www.water.wa.gov.au; follow the links under 'Water management'.
Contact: Peter Collins
Phone: (08) 6364 6848 / 0434 603 441