Making groundwater visible

Making groundwater visible


I think we’re about ready to make a start.
I’m Caroline and good afternoon everyone and thank you for joining us today. We are delighted
to be bringing you this webinar on making groundwater visible. For those of you who
have been attending our weekly sessions it’s great to see you again and, for those who
are joining us for the first time, welcome. If you missed our previous webinars and want
to catch up they are now available on demand from the Bureau’s YouTube channel. My name
is Caroline Andrzejewski and I’m pleased to be your moderator today. Angela is our producer
and will help moderate your questions. Hi Ange, how are you? Hey, Caroline, doing well,
thanks. You? Pretty good thanks. That’s the way. We have a high volume of attendees
today so we will address as many questions as we can. But before we start, may I have
your attention please while we cover off on some housekeeping items. Our session today
will run for 60 minutes with plenty of time allocated for questions but please don’t
be shy. Send us your questions and share your insights with us via the chat functions throughout
the webinar. If we have any unanswered questions at the end we may stay on the line to answer
them or please follow up with us after the webinar. This webinar is being recorded and
the video will be shared with you via email. For first time webinar attendees, please see
some helpful tips on your screen. Please note the chat box where you can send through any
questions or feedback for the presenter. Please send us your questions during the session
and we will answer as many as possible during the allocated break. The conversation isn’t
just confined to the webinar, we welcome interaction on social media too. Don’t forget to include
hashtag on webinars in your posts. Finally, today’s presenters. Joining us today in
the webinar studio is John Sharples and Eloise Nation. Welcome to you both and thanks for
being here. Hi John, hi Eloise, how are you? Yeah, very well, thank you. Hi, Caroline,
thanks for having us. Thanks for being here. Part of the session will be delivered by John.
John is primarily responsible for groundwater data management, helping fulfil the Bureau’s
obligations under the Water Act 2007 to collate water data and make it publicly available.
By engaging with lead water agencies, this work has led to the creation of a national
groundwater database holding water level information from more than 227,000 bores and salinity
information from more than 240,000 bores. A lot of bores, John. And other parts of the
presentation will be presented by Eloise. Eloise was involved in developing the National
Groundwater Information System or NGIS, we like acronyms at the BOM. A spatial database
of nationally consistent groundwater data including 870,000 bores and associated bore
logs. Working closely with State and Territory agencies, the Bureau brings together groundwater
data from each agency into a central accessible NGIS database. John and Eloise, before we
make a start, can you tell us some of the greatest challenges with measuring groundwater
and what inspired you to get into this line of work? Okay. Well, I guess what’s inspired
me, well it goes way back now, it was when I was at university I was studying geology
and I did a subject in hydrogeology and I absolutely loved it. So from there I went
on to do more subjects and on to do my honours in hydrogeology and now I’ve been working
in the field for maybe 15 years, so quite a while. That’s a while. And in terms of
challenges – What’s to say, what are the challenges? In terms of challenges, back when
I was at uni, it was really hard to get access to groundwater data especially to get a picture
of the groundwater all across Australia. And so we’re very fortunate at the BOM that
we’ve been able to do the work to bring all of that groundwater data together and
make it accessible to the public and that’s what John and I will be talking about today.
Great. So you basically answered your challenge in your work. Yeah. Solved the problem. John?
Well, very much like Eloise, it started for me when I was at university, I was going back
to uni to study environmental science and, sort of by accident, I ended up doing groundwater
because my supervisor at the time was a big groundwater guy and hello John Webb if you’re
out there. And he got me started doing some groundwater projects and from there it just
blossomed into a career. And a great career it sounds like it’s been. So just before
we kick off, we think we have a poll just to find out a bit more about our audience.
So Ange, tell us about the poll. Most definitely. So our good friend over in the U.S., Mike,
has launched that poll and many of you will be seeing a popup box on your screen which
will give you a few answer choices there as well as the question. So for anyone who can’t
see that I will just read that out quickly. We just want to know a little bit more about
you and the sector in which you work. So our answer choices there, we’ve got A for government,
B for consulting or private industry, water management, agriculture or perhaps something
entirely different. And look, if that is the case, please type into the chat where or what
industry you’re representing today. It would be great to hear from you. I can see that
about half of you have responded so it would be great to get a few more responses in but
we’ll see how we go with that one. John, Eloise, what are we expecting to see here
guys? What are you … I won’t say what are we hoping for, we’re hoping everyone’s here but what do you think will be the most popular? Well, we actually have a groundwater
mailbox, [email protected] and we get a lot of emails from our users and we record
information about them, what sector they work for. And the majority, I’d say, actually comes
from private consulting and after that it’s research, so people at universities and at
CSIRO and then followed by people working for government at all levels. So I’m expecting
the consulting as the top. Okay. Well, that’s so exciting to know. Well, our friend, Mike,
will shut down the poll and share those results with us in just a moment. So we’ll see what
comes back and we have had a couple of people message us in the chat as well. Private industry,
utilities, what else have we got here? I think I saw a Crown Research Institute in New Zealand.
We did, we love our kiwi friends, thanks for joining us guys. A landowner, not producing,
interested in water management, thank you very much, Mark. A few more from research
actually, Krista and Frederica are both from research and a consultancy.
Yeah, I should have mentioned we actually do get quite a few emails from farmers and
landholders as well. Well, that’s fantastic. There you go Mike. Sorry, Angela, your results
are showing. Yeah. We’ve got them here, we can see, yep. You can see them all right?
What are our results? All right. Let’s go through them quickly. So number 1, the biggest
group, at 46%, was government, then number 2 is consulting at 21% and then we’ve got
10% water management, 8% agriculture and 7% other as we’ve already read through in the
chat. Awesome. All right. Is that kind of what you guys were expecting? You said you
had a lot of government but maybe not as many as private industry today. No, it’s good to see.
So welcome to everyone joining us from government. This is a good opportunity for us to let you
know about our programme. Yeah, it is good to see, it’s good to see maybe a slightly
different audience than we often get through our mailbox and through other channels. Awesome.
So we’re probably ready to make a start then. Thanks everyone for your engaging with
us. John, do you want to kick it off? No worries. Well, welcome everyone across Australia and
internationally as well, it’s great to see you all here in webinar land. So I will quickly
just go over what we’re going to cover today. First we’re going to talk a bit about the
importance of groundwater in Australia and then I will touch on the Bureau’s role in
groundwater, so why is the Bureau involved and then we’re going to spend the bulk of
the webinar talking about the Groundwater Information Suite and, as I said, our four
products which we’ll go through in detail which are really the core of our groundwater
offering. I’ll start with just a few little facts about groundwater. So across Australia
one-fifth to one-third of all the water used comes from groundwater. But straightaway we
can see that these are very important results for the country and it’s vital in certain
areas that are … where three is no surface water. So the range of the number is partly
to do with estimating this number but also partly with how that changes year and year.
And one of the things we do see about changes in groundwater usage is when we have wet years
and there’s surface water available we tend to use less groundwater because people use
surface water preferentially, when we have dry years people to tend to rely on the groundwater.
It’s a bit of variability but still a very important resource. Economically, our report
from 2013 by Deloitte stated that that groundwater used contributes around $6.8 billion to GDP.
So it’s not just we use a lot of water, it’s that it supports some very vital industries
and that includes agriculture, mining, quite a big contribution to urban supply as well
as other important industries. Now, just looking a little bit closer, why I quoted that value
as a fifth to a third, in some areas it’s actually a lot more than that but here, just
looking at data from the Bureau’s National Water Account, on the left-hand side we have
a graph of water source for daily region in North Territory and there, 81% of the water
source in 2016/2017 financial year was from groundwater. So absolutely vital results for
them. Similarly, in Perth, in Western Australia, some 68% of the water source was from groundwater
and they have a large reliance there on groundwater for their urban water supply. But it’s not
just people that use groundwater, groundwater is also vital for supporting many ecosystems
across the country including wetlands, springs, providing baseloads to rivers as well as for
fractal vegetation that can access groundwater via the shallow water table. And
these sites are often very significant culturally, so groundwater supporting not just the environment
but the cultural significance of those environmental features as well. Now, you might be thinking,
why the Bureau of Meteorology, why do they have a role under the ground so to speak?
And this story starts back in the late 1990s, around 1997 where the south east of Australia
enters one of the longest most protracted droughts in Australia’s history. There was
over 10 years of what was continuous year on year below average rainfall. This put a
huge amount of stress onto water systems in the area, in particular, the Murray–Darling
Basin which is a very important water resource for Australia, it put a lot of stress onto
urban systems and water supply for cities with dams sinking to all-time low levels. And,
in general, there was a lot of concern around water and water management, especially in
the Basin and the south east of Australia. And in response to that, the Australian government
enacted the Water Act. So the Water Act created a new role for the federal government including
the Bureau and the roles given to the Bureau were to collect, hold and publish the nation’s
water data including groundwater. In terms of groundwater, the data that we have to collect
under these regulations are bore and borehole data, levels of pressure, salinity and pH
as well as data on where licence entitlements are held and how much groundwater is used.
Now, to add context to that data we’re required to collect we also collect data on groundwater
and eco systems, groundwater management, aqua boundaries including in 3D
which Eloise and myself will talk about a bit later on and hydro geochemistry. So this
is really the core work of the Bureau and I have to acknowledge here that a lot of the
successes we’ve had have been through collaboration, so working with the State and Territory agencies
and our commonwealth partners as well. So a lot of thanks goes out to a lot of people
for the work that you see today. And all that data is published via our website in the Groundwater
Information Suite, so there’s four products, which you can see here and you can find them
on our groundwater landing page on the Bureau’s website and the URL is there at the bottom
of the screen. I think it’s back to you guys for the next poll. Another poll because
we love a bit of trivia. And I think actually, Caroline might have given away the answer
to this one to anyone who was listening intently as she delivered those housekeeping slides.
So what we’d like to know now and, once again, you should get a popup box on your
screen with a question and some answer choices, is how many groundwater bores have been drilled
in Australia. So, A either around 800, B around 8,000, C around 80,000 or perhaps D, more
than 800,000. And I wonder if anyone listened to your housekeeping slide. This is actually
a test. It’s reading comprehension for listening. Yeah. So we’ve got – we can see that quite
a number of you have already submitted your responses so thank you for doing so. And in
just a moment our friend, Mike, will close off that poll and share those results with
you. I mean – you can see them? Yep, okay. I haven’t got the results yet but they’re
coming up soon. They’re coming up soon. Okay, great. Well, we can probably tell people it’s
definitely not A, so I hope no one answered A. I’ve got the results through now. You’ve
got them? Yeah. All right, tell us. I’m dying to know. You were right, Ange. Nobody answered
A, that was zero per cent. And we had 2% saying around 8,000, 23% saying around 80,000 but
the vast majority, 66%, said more than 800,000. And the results. Here we go. Tell us, tell
us. More than 800,000. And you can actually see a map there on the screen showing distribution
of those bores all across Australia. And we’ll actually show you where you can get data for these bores a bit later in the webinar. Absolutely. If anyone who got that correct
guys, bragging rights are all yours. All right. So what’s next then? Okay. Now, I think
it’s over to me and I’m going to talk about some of the products in the Groundwater Information
Suite. So John just introduced us to the suite. Four national groundwater products are available
from the Bureau’s website. Now I’m going to go through three of these. So I’ll start
with the NGIS database that is a spatial groundwater database then I’ll talk about the Australian
Groundwater Explorer. That makes the NGIS data available online without the need for
specialist software. It also gives you access to other data sets like water levels and salinity
as well as to 3D PDF. And we’ve actually got something quite special for you here today,
we’re going to give you a sneak peek at our new and improved 3D hydrostratigraphy
PDF. And John will – Can’t wait. Review a live demo of that later on. So if we go
back to the Groundwater Information Suite homepage, I’m going to start by talking about
the NGIS database and about the Australian Groundwater Explorer. And so both of these
products give you access to those, more than 800,000 bores that we were talking about just
before. So the NGIS database will give you offline access, whereas the Explorer gives
you access to this data online. So I’m going to start by talking about the NGIS database.
I’ll talk about how it’s made, what it contains and what it’s used for because this really
explains the utility and the importance of this product. So in Australia, groundwater
data is traditionally held and managed by a State and Territory agency. This means that
the data is held in various databases all around the country in different formats, using
different types of software, using different types of terminology. So that it means that
if you wanted to do a study in, say, an interjurisdictional area area or a national study, it means we’d
have to collate data from many different sources. So under the Water Regulations, we have required
State and Territory agencies to standardise their data and deliver it to the Bureau. Once
it’s at the Bureau we also standardise the terminology used to describe aquifers using
the National Aquifer Framework. We then integrate all of this data into a national database
and this is where you have those 870,000 bores. So the type of data we have in the NGIS is
those bores as well as bore logs, so we have lithology logs, construction logs and hydrostratigraphy
logs. We also have 2½D and 3D aquifer surfaces and this is what John’s going to demo for
you later on. Now, all of this data is absolutely essential to provide the metadata needed to
locate and interpret time series data like water levels and salinity. So we use this
data ourselves and publish it through the Groundwater Explorer, we also use it in the
Groundwater Insight, we sort of value add and do analyses and publish it in the Insight.
We also use it as an import to the Bureau’s water resource assessment like water in Australia.
So there’s some of the products but the NGIS is also a product in its own right and
so you can access this national database by sending an email to our groundwater mailbox
that’s [email protected] You can also download cut down versions of this database
through the Groundwater Explorer, so you can get the data for State and Territories and
for river regions. And I’ll demo that later on. So our next product is the Australian
Groundwater Explorer and this is actually our most popular product. So it gives you
online access to groundwater data and that includes the bore data from NGIS, bore log
data as well as water levels and salinity, rainfall trends and some contextual data sets,
things like land use, groundwater management areas and geology. So the Groundwater Explorer
allows you to view and search for this data online as well as to download it for further
analysis. So at this stage you might be thinking, what’s so special about this product because
there are many groundwater data portals across Australia, one for each State and Territory,
but I guess the advantage of the Explorer is that it has data for the whole country
which makes it ideal if you’re studying an interjurisdictional area or if you’ve got projects
all over the country or if you’re even doing a national study. So with that in mind, I’m
going to take you through a demo focusing on the Murray Basin, that’s an interjurisdictional
basin that’s at the intersection of Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales. And for
this case study I think I’ll focus on, I guess, a typical case study for a hydrogeologist
which is starting a project in a new area. And the things you have to think about are
one, getting an understanding of the hydrogeology and the groundwater processes in the area
and then two, getting access to the groundwater data you need to do your study, whether it’s
modelling or some sort of assessment. So I’ll launch straight into the demo. So if we zoom
into that part of the country, the Murray Basin, and now we’re looking at bores showing
in grey and you can see the distribution of bores with them concentrated on the rivers
then bores to the west. But there are patches without many bores at all. And so I guess
you’d be wondering what’s controlling the distribution of bores in this area. So what
we can do is to turn on the ‘Bores by purpose’ layer and the colour of the bores denotes
their purpose. So along the river you can see there are lots of blue bores, they’re
the monitoring bores, whereas to the west, you can see green and orange bores. So the
green are irrigation bores, whereas the orange are stock and domestic bores. So again, you
may still be wondering what’s controlling the distribution of those bores. And if we
add the ‘Land use’ layer you can see the areas in purple, then the conservation areas and
so national parks. And you can see that in those areas you’re not getting many bores
at all, whereas in the agricultural areas, the green land use areas and the brown land
use areas, that’s the irrigated agriculture and the dryland agriculture you get for stock
and domestic and irrigation bores. And you get all of those monitoring bores along the
Murray River monitoring salinity. So another thing you might like to do, as
a hydrogeologist, is start to look at the availability of water level data. So that’s
an important input to any sort of groundwater study. So we’ve got a layer that shows the
location of bores that have water level data and the colour of the points shows you how
many recordings they have. So the light blue has less than five measurements, whereas the
dark blue has more than 200 measurements. So if we use the bore viewer tool we can choose
a bore in Victoria and start to look at its hydrograph. So you can see the seasonal trends
in the groundwater level, presumably the results of pumping. But on the graph as well there’s
a light grey line which is actually the rainfall trend. So you can start to see the relationships
between the rainfall and the groundwater levels. And you also have some historical percentiles
on there showing you the average, above average and below average statistics of that site.
So you can place a measurement at any point in time in its historical context. Because
this is a national product, we can actually look at a bore that’s in the same aquifer
but across the border in South Australia. It has some similar trends but this graph
actually goes further back in time so you can start to see what the levels were like
in the early nineties. That was the water level data. We also have salinity data and
we’ve got a similar layer which shows you the availability of salinity data. So again,
the light pink shows you bores that only have one salinity measurement, whereas the dark
pink shows bores with more than 10 measurements. So if we select some bores and we can see
down the bottom, we get a summary of information about those bores that we’ve just selected
and we can choose the bore that has quite a few measurements. So we’ll lessen it
up and have a look at the graph and you can see this bore has a salinity of around 2,000
to 3,000 microSiemens per centimetre so it’s quite a brackish bore, not suitable
for the potable water use. Another data set that you’d be interested
in as a hydrogeologist is looking at the bore logs. And so we’ve got another layer that
shows the location of bore logs. So if we select one of those sites we can bring up
the bore log charts for that bore and you can see we’ve got lithology logs, construction
logs and hydrostratigraphy logs. So the lithology logs provide information about the sediment
and the rock types, construction shows you the location at the screen so that’s very
important because that will tell you where this bore is accessing water. And the next
one is the hydrostratigraphy log and so that’s going to tell you about the various
formations that are intersected by that bore. So if we look at the construction log and
look at the screen, we can see that this bore is intersecting the Murray group limestone.
Okay. So once you’ve had a good look at the data online you probably want to download
it for further analysis and to really explore it we have pre-packaged data downloads that
are available for river regions and for States. So you can select one of these regions and
then download the data and the NGIS data plus the water levels and salinity and you can
use that for offline analysis. Great, Eloise, thanks. It’s so interesting. So we’ve got
our first Q&A session, we’ve actually had a few questions coming through but I was just
waiting until now. A couple were sort of back during, I guess it’s the NGIS, it’s a
data question, so it’s to do with whether the State level data and the national level
data is … whether it’s synched yet, I think is sort of … I’m just paraphrasing a bit.
So specifically, when a new bore is logged at the State level, how soon is that updated
in the Bureau’s resources? So we only get the data from the State once each year. So
they’re not completely in synch. I mean in the future it would be lovely if that was
the case but the other data, like the water levels and salinity, we get updates much more
frequently so we get them on a monthly basis. Awesome. And thank you to Paul for asking
that question as well and for engaging with us. I was just going to add, because, currently,
we publish those salinity levels six monthly but we’re hoping to move that to a monthly
publishing cycle, hopefully this year. I don’t want to promise anything we can’t deliver,
but that’s the plan. Watch this space. So there’s another question from Xiang about … it’s another sort of between data but the Aquifer Framework. And they’re
asking how consistent are they between dates and national, so I guess it’s that’s same
– Yeah. So a couple of years ago now we developed the National Aquifer Framework and
it’s designed to standardise the terminology the States use and so we develop that in conjunction
with the States. So they are a little bit different but they’re designed so that there’s
a mapping between the two. And the National Aquifer Framework is available
on the Bureau website so you can have a look at – So you can see how the two compare. Yeah, the terminology for any State and compare that to the National
Aquifer Framework. Cool. We might just give people another minute to ask questions. Absolutely
guys. Make the most of the fact that we’ve got two experts in their fields here giving
up their time today. So if there is anything, please don’t hesitate to ask them. And Paul
was just following on so to the previous question. The question from Paul is what’s the timing
of water level updates on bore sites? So – Sure. So just we’ll explain how we work with that.
So we don’t own any bores and the Bureau doesn’t measure that data themselves. Our
role is to really collect data that is being measured and held by usually State water agencies,
State Departments. So once they have measured and collected that data and it goes into their
system, periodically they send an update to the Bureau. So there is always a bit of a
delay and often you’ll find that if you want really the best cutting, you know, data from
yesterday, sometimes you’ll have to go to the State agencies but if you’re happy with
something that might be maybe a month old, a couple of months old, the Bureau should
have it all. Okay. Cool. I just have a quick question, can I ask a question? You may, Caroline.
Thanks. Just on the salinity – you had a salinity graph up and it looked like the salinity was
increasing in that bore particularly. Is that common? Is that happening in lots of bores
or is that – Well, that’s a difficult one for me. Sorry. But I think the story is
– We can make it offline if you want. The story is quite different in different parts
of the country. I don’t know, John, if you’ve got more insight into that one. Typically,
salinity doesn’t change that much across the country and later on we look at the Groundwater
Insights, we can show you a bit of information about that. That sort of said, it never does,
because there are certainly areas and situations where you do have big changes in salinity.
But it’s not something that varies as much as levels, which can actually go up and down quite a
lot. Having said that, there are some very – back in the eighties and nineties, we were
very concerned about groundwater becoming more saline and shallow groundwater was coming
close to the surface at about 480 and concentrating itself. So it is, certainly, a big issue across
the country but not something that happens widespread, aquifers don’t suddenly go salty and fresh, and salty and fresh. All right. Fair enough. And another one there from Bruce.
What percentage of bores has full data sets? Yeah. So certainly for – if you want a bore
that’s got all of the bore information and the logs and water levels and salinity, it
would be around – Caroline had the numbers at the start – it would be around 200,000
probably. But then it’s sort of a cascading step, I don’t know how many bores have logs,
Eloise, do you know? I am not entirely sure. And the other thing is it does vary quite
a bit across the country. Some States have a lot of bore logs interpret information.
South Australia, for example, has a lot and then other States and regions have – they
don’t have quite as much so – Yeah, I don’t have the numbers at my fingertips but it would be
maybe half, would have some kind of logs.They would have – a lot of them have lithology
logs and construction logs, it’s just really that high value interpreted hydrostratigraphy
log that’s missing from many of them. Yep. So there’s certainly a sort of – in the
NGIS it runs the whole gamut from some that are location and maybe a depth
and not much more through to maybe, I would say, a third to a quarter that would be a
really full rich data set. Awesome. Thank you. And thank you Bruce, that was a good
question and if you do want to discuss that with us further, feel free to shoot us an
email. We will show that email address once again towards the end of the presentation
so you’re most welcome to drop us a line any time. Now, we have one more quick question
before we move onto the next bit of our presentation, is there scope in Groundwater Explorer for
a key site drop down selector with long term records as is selected for weather records?
Great question. It is a great question. And that’s funny that you ask this because we’re
actually working on a project to do with just this. So we’re looking at a project that
we sort of scope out some reference stations that’s like to have really good data quality
but also that we have a good understanding of what controls the water levels at those
sites, so whether they’re controlled by groundwater recharge or surface water interaction
or irrigation, that sort of thing. So that project at the moment is just in the initial
scoping phase. But hopefully, you’ll hear more about it in the next year or two. And
we always want to hear from people about how they would use that sort of product and it
really helps us to build up a use case for future products. So I would really
encourage Sam to send an email to [email protected] telling us a bit more about his needs for
that product. Thanks. Well, we might move on and there’s a couple of more questions
but we might try and get some in our next Q&A time and if not we’ll follow up. We
are just mindful of time, we don’t want to run out of time for everything. So John,
sneak peek. Sneak peek, that’s right. So the next thing we’re going to talk about
is something that is actually available through the Groundwater Explorer and this is the 3D
PDFs. So this is something that we currently have, a 3D PDF offering and we’re just in
the process of updating them, adding new functionality and improving their visualisation. So I’m
going to do a bit of a live demo here, I’ll just flick over. Yeah. So maybe while you’re
doing that I could mention that, so these PDFs, all you need is Adobe Reader to use
them, you don’t need any specialist software. And most people have Adobe Reader already
installed on their computer and if they don’t, they can easily download it. Yeah. So we think
we really like these because they’re a great way to expose 3D information that typically
you would classically need specialised software to look at that to allow anyone to have access
to that data. So what we’re looking at here is the new updated PDF for the St Vincent
Basin in South Australia. And if you look at the map on the bottom right-hand corner
here you can see the outline around Adelaide. And right at the top I’ll just mention that
this was developed in collaboration with the South Australian Government, the Department of
Environment and Water and Natural Resources or I think they’re just Environment and Water
now. So we have to have a huge thanks to them for providing their data but also providing
a lot of their technical knowhow. So just straight up I’ll show you that these are all
interactive things that you can grab and turn them around and spin them around to look at
different areas. We have here presented information that we think is relevant to groundwater,
so in the top right-hand corner there’s some contextual information. You can turn
these on and off, that’s groundwater management areas, land use, roads, surface geology. And
here you can see I’ve clicked on the towns and the green dots there are showing you where
there’s bores in the area. So if we spin this around again to get a side on view we
can then see the hydrostratigraphic units there. So these have been coloured by when
they’re a … for an aquitard so the aquifers are in blue and the aquitard’s in brown.
And if you want to get a bit more of a look at how they interact I can just go over here
to the right-hand side and click them on and off and now we can see the bore lines poking
down through the aquifers. So we think this is a really great way to give people a sort
of a conceptual look at the area, you can see where bores are drilled, what aquifers
they’re intersecting with. And if you want to convey sort of hydrogeological information
that might be a bit hard to explain, you can get one of those PDFs out and say, hey look
over here on the right-hand side, there’s a big fault so we can actually
see that the aquifer area is completely sectioned off so you’re going to have different hydrogeological
responses there. There’s a bunch of tools so we can look at pre-canned views.
I’ll just spin this around, look at the east and we can turn all our layers back on. And
one feature with that which is really nice is cutting across sections. I’ll just zoom
in a bit and I’ll turn on our cross section tool and we can actually go cross section,
cut through that PDF and you can step that backwards and forwards just to have a look
at different cross sections through those layers there and you can spin that around
again, you can put contextual layers on top. So we really like this tool because it’s
a great way to sort of – when you’re talking about an area and you’re trying to describe
the hydrogeology, you can pull these out and give everyone a really quick look at how
bores work, how they interact into different units and how those units overlay
each other. There’s also a few other features like vertical exaggeration and you can find
out a lot more about these on our website. So Eloise, what’s the timeline for these
being released? Yeah. So we’re currently working on them and we’re looking at releasing
them to the Explorer in late July, early August. And as it is something we’re currently working
on, we welcome your feedback on what you’ve seen today. So just an email to [email protected]
And John did mention that we’re adding some PDFs for new regions and so those regions
will be St Vincent Basin and the Great Artesian Basin. But we’ve already got some 3D PDFs
on the website for nine regions already and we’ll be updating those as soon as we can. Cool, thanks very much. What is the cost of this PDF? Well, it’s
free. One hundred per cent free. I think that’s music to all our ears. Very exciting stuff.
Yep. Okay. So back to me and I’m going to talk about the third
product in the Groundwater Information Suite. This is the GDE Atlas. So again, you can see
it here on the Bureau’s groundwater information page. So the groundwater’s Groundwater Dependent
Ecosystems Atlas or GDE Atlas, provides mapping of ecosystems supported by groundwater. And
it provides instant information for all of Australia, it’s really the only place in
Australia that you can get this sort of information for which is very important for when it comes
to doing things like water planning and also Environmental Impact Assessments because you
really want to consider these environmental aspects in that type of work. So the atlas
has three types of GDEs, aquatic GDEs like rivers, wetlands and springs, terrestrial
GDEs like vegetation and also subterranean GDEs like caves and aquifers.
Although I should note that for the subterranean GDEs, we only have caves at the moment and
just for Queensland and Tasmania. So if we just go back to the area I was looking at
before, the Murray Basin, we can see some of the GDEs here. So these are the aquatic
GDEs and you’ll notice they’re coloured in blues and purples and that colour scheme reflects
the method used to identify them and also our confidence in being able to know that
they’re a GDE, so whether they’ve got a high, medium or low potential to be a GDE.
So that’s the aquatic ones. And I’ll quickly show you the terrestrial ones so that’s
the vegetation. And again, it’s gone similar colour schemes showing you information about
the methods and about the potential to be a GDE. So I won’t show you too much more about
the GDE Atlas here today. So what I will mention is that we’ve got an excellent video on
the GDE Atlas, it’s available from our groundwater information page and also from the Bureau
YouTube page. It’s shot onsite, that’s the Werribee Gorge, which is a beautiful GDE
near Melbourne and it features one of the hydrogeologists from the Bureau. So please
take a look. And we might put that URL into the presentation when we – Don’t tell
me. Don’t tell me, no, no, no. We will give you the direct URL guide so no need to worry
about taking down any … well, URLs and the like. We’ll send all that to you. So poll time
again because we love a bit of trivia. So our friend, Michael, launched that poll and
once again you’ll see that on your screens in a separate popup box. So that’s been
launched now but I will read that out quickly. So stretching from the Gulf of Carpentaria
through to Queensland, New South Wales, the Northern Territory and South Australia, what
is Australia’s largest source of groundwater? We have A, the Murray-Darling Basin, B, Papua Underground River Delta, C, the Great Artesian Basin or perhaps, D, the High
Plains Aquifer. Caroline, any thoughts? I don’t know. I have a thought but I think
it’s because I saw the slide. Sorry. No, I didn’t display that. But
while we’re waiting, I might just ask a quick question that came in while you were
talking, Eloise, which was, does the BOM have aquifer property data for key aquifer system?
We don’t at the moment. What’s available through the Insight, John? Is there anything
– Unfortunately, nothing on – I’ve got to presume you’re talking about conductivities
and porosity and things like that? Yeah. We don’t really have that kind of data set
available. Although, I think through their Geofabric products, didn’t they have some
aqua property information? There might be a little bit in there, I’m not sure off the
top of my head what that coverage is but we certainly haven’t explored that
yet through the Insight. Yeah. Maybe that’s something we could look into and get back
to –Maybe we can follow up. Good. But now that we’ve answered that, let’s
see how knowledgeable our audience is. Well, our audience is very knowledgeable, 81 per cent of
people have gone with C which is the Great Artesian Basin and that is the correct answer
and we’ll just show you here, a little map of the basin. So it’s very large, covers
20 per cent of Australia’s land surface. And I’ve been instructed that I have to tell you it
contains 130,000 times enough water to fill Sydney Harbour, 130,000 Sydney Harbours. I
don’t know how many Olympic swimming pools it is. If anyone wants to do that equation
for us quickly feel free to send it through in the chat. And as I mentioned before, we
will have one of those 3D hydrostratigraphic PDS for the Great Artesian Basin and that’s
– That’s cool. Yeah. Something we’ve been doing with geoscience Australia, a collaboration.
Correct, thanks Eloise. John. So just getting now to the last product in the Groundwater
Information Suite –Last but not least. Last but not least, that’s right. The Australian
Groundwater Insight. And I’m going to attempt that again by doing another live demo. People
think you’re doing very brave. We’ve had some comments in the chat so – I’ll
just quickly click back to the – so here we are at bom.gov.au/water/groundwater and
this is the Groundwater Information Suite. See how easy it is. And I’m just going to
click up here on the top left-hand side to launch the Australian Groundwater Insight.
Now, in the Insight, information is grouped on the menu bar on the left-hand side here.
So you can see the high level groups of information we’ve got. There are two types of data here,
you’ll either have a text page, like the summary here where we’ve got text information or we’ll
have a map with one of the natural data sets presented here in a map. All of these maps
have zoom and they can zoom and tools that you expect to see on a click-map interface
and down here on the left-hand side we’ve got protection information as well. Now, I’m
not going to have time to go through all the features here unfortunately but what were
the results for our first poll there at the top of the talk? Who was our number
one? Government! Government came in as our number one user today. So let’s pretend
that we are a – Government agency. Government employee, let’s pretend. And we’ve been
tasked with finding out a bit about groundwater for the north of Australia project which is
happening at the moment. So I’m just going to zoom into that on the top end. And the
first thing I might want to look at is aqua boundaries. So I’m going to go over here to
the aqua boundary menu on the left-hand side and click that and you can see here that we’ve
got aqua boundary grouped as upper, middle and lower for across Australia. Just being
a little bit slow today, the live demo, doing what it does best. So if you are looking into
these menu items just a little hint, here is the ‘i’ button on the left-hand side.
If you click there, if will give you some information about the layer that you’re looking
at. And importantly, in here, there’s information about finding out more detailed reports and
explanation of what you see here. So we’ve got the – a little bit of a technical issue
here. No. Have we frozen? We might have frozen it, I’m not sure. We broke it. We’ve broken
it. That’s all right. If need be, we do have some screenshots that we – Here we
go. Great, here we go. I’ll start with – Excellent. So we’ll skip the aquifer boundaries for now and we’ll
look at principal hydrogeology. I’ll just zoom that up to the whole of Australia
by clicking on the Australia button at the top here. And we can see this information
across all of Australia. So this is a data set produced by Geoscience Australia and it
gives us a national look at the principal aquifers across the country. So you can see
here there’s the Great Artesian Basin that we just looked at in blue and then the greens
and blues representing productive aquifers and the browns representing low for activity
areas. It’s a very good way we can get an indication of where groundwater is important
across the country. I’ll just zoom back in up to the top there. So once we’ve got an
indication of where groundwater exists, so where are the productive aquifers, we might
also want to have a look at where groundwater is used. So just to orientate it, I’m going
to put on the place names and I’m going to click down here onto the groundwater entitlements.
And this map here is showing us the location and relative size of where people
hold a licence to extract groundwater and we can see there’s a bit of a clump here
to the east of Darwin and quite a large group here around Katherine. So I’m just going to
zoom in there. We can see quite a spread to the east and west across Katherine there.
And just by way of more interest again I’ve got to turn on the river set so I can just have
a look at where we’ve got water features. And I’ll see if those aquifer boundaries will
work now. There we go. So here I’ve just turned on the lower aquifer boundary for
this area so we can see a lot of those – I’ll turn the middle one too and the upper there.
You can see how those licences interact with the aquifer boundaries in the region. Now, I’ll
just click back to that hydrogeology one again, it seems to be working now. We’ve got these
upper, middle and lower aquifers and one feature about all of these maps is if you click on
them somewhere it will give you a little popup of information about the location that you’ve
clicked on. And these are linked to the high level menu item over in the left-hand side
so I’ve got hydrogeology selected and then when I scroll down I get information about
the hydrogeology here. Now, the question before I think about aquifer names across the country.
So I’ll just point out here that the aquifer named here, we’ve done our best to use local
names, so we’ve got the Oolloo dolostone, Jinduckin, and Tindall limestone. And the
reason for this is that when people have read our reports or they get a management plan
in their area they’ll understand what aquifers are being talked about. Then I’m going to
have a look at where groundwater is, we can go back and look at the where is it being
used. This is the indicative map showing the sort of location where groundwater was extracted.
And we also have some information around where stock and domestic use occurs. So this map
is just showing you the density of bores that have been drilled for the purpose of stock
and domestic, it’s not exactly a polymetric extraction but it just gives you an idea.
Because they’re around Darwin and also quite a lot around Katherine, quite a lot of stock
and domestic there. So now I understand where groundwater is and a little bit about how
it’s being used. I might be interested in then turning on the management layer to see
a bit about how groundwater is being managed in the area. I’ll just turn off some of these
contextual layers so we can see what’s going on. And once again I can click on this map
here and it will give me a popup showing me what management areas exist in this location.
So in that location where I’ve clicked there are two, there’s the Daly Roper water control
district and the Tindal Katherine water allocation plan. And for each of these we’ve got some
high-level summary information about the current level of entitlement, if there’s
any target limit if there is one, the current level of entitlement and then down here at
the bottom, where available, we’ve got plots of recent groundwater use, so annual use for
that management area. This is excellent information because it’s not just where groundwater
is where it is but also where it’s being used and gives you an indication about how
much is being extracted from these areas. There’s a lot more to go through here but I think,
in the interest of time, I’m given the wrap up. No, I’ve just got a few questions coming
through so I might pass them on and then as more questions come in you can keep talking.
But we’ve had a couple, one is, how are groundwater level trends determined and the
groundwater salinity trends that are available? So maybe the first one – Well, thanks Jane.
But eagle eyes, you reverted to the left-hand side. Talk about something else, John. We’ve
got the groundwater level trend. So I’ll just click this one on for the – I’ll select
the lower aquifer 2017, the most recent five year trend here. And I’ll click that lower aquifer on
again, sorry. And here we can see that there’s sort of a range of different trends that we’ve
got some declining bores, bores at a declining level and then some with stable and rising
as well. So if you want to find out how this is calculated, how it’s determined,
the best thing is to go across here to the I button and then on the metadata page that
will give you a detailed summary about how the things are selected. The short answer
is we look for bores that have got a good spread of data so they’re not just clustered
or they’ve just got only a few readings, a good spread of data across
that five-year period. We then do some sort of data cleaning to aggregate things to a
monthly reading and then it’s essentially a linear least-squares regression line going
through that data. And if that is falling by more than 10 centimetres a year or rising
by more than 10 centimetres a year, we assign this to be a rising or declining trend. That’s cool.
Awesome. Well, thank you for that question Jane. And the follow up question from Jane
is, is groundwater salinity trend data available. Right, okay. Is it available from Insight
or is it – Not specifically a trend, we don’t have the same trend data available.
Part of that is because they’re all flat, as I said before, they don’t really change
very much. But we do have something down here that we’ve called salinity change. And this
is really looking at where we’ve got – sorry, I’ll just zoom out to the national view here,
so that you can see across the country. And I might just turn off place names as well. So
this is looking at salinity values in the recent years very much higher than the long
term average. And you can see straightaway that if you look at the country, the whole,
most of those little grey dots indicated there’s no real change. In some areas, I’ll zoom in
a bit, you do find that there is a bit of a mixture, so sometimes you’ve got things
slightly higher, sometimes you’ve got things slightly lower. But certainly, nationally,
it’s no change is the story. Great. So we’ve got a couple more minutes if anyone wants
to send in some more questions. There was one a bit further back, I’ll just jump back
to … which was apart from, I think it was from a previous presentation, but apart from
salinity, is other groundwater chemistry data available? And I think that’s … Yes. That’s
a question for me, that’s relating to the Explorer. So I think that was from Jane as
well. And – Very active person, thanks Jane. So it is right that we do have salinity data available
for the whole country and that comes under the Water Regulations. We’ve actually been
collaborating with Geoscience Australia and they send their groundwater chemistry data
to us. They collect chemistry data on a project basis so as they do projects they have that
data available so there’s quite a bit of data for the GAB and for some paleo channels.
And I believe, at the moment, they’re doing a lot of work in northern Australia so hopefully,
in the future, we’ll be getting a lot of new data for there. And so that’s available
through the Explorer. And then the third thing to note is that the Bureau is currently doing
a scoping study on water chemistry data more generally. So it’s recently gone out to
potential users and asked what they’re interested in in terms of chemistry data. So hopefully
we’ll hear more about that project in the next six months or so. So I’ll just do one
more question then we might wrap up but, as I said earlier, we can stay on the line for
a bit longer and answer some questions. Yeah, we can do that. For a minute or two, maybe
we’ll just finish up with the formalities for today. We’ll do the formalities for
today. All right. So I think, Eloise, did you want to just give us a quick summary then
we wrap up? Yep. Just to summarise … Can you click through, John? So first of all, I’d like to say
thank you to everyone for joining us today. I know John and I have really enjoyed telling
you about our groundwater products. So just to summarise, we spoke about the importance
of groundwater in Australia, the Bureau’s role in groundwater and then we took you through
the products and the Groundwater Information Suite. If you want more information about
our groundwater products, please do take a look at the Groundwater Information Suite
webpage and the URLs there on the screen. We also have a newsletter and you can subscribe
by clicking the links that’s on the screen there as well or send us an email to [email protected]
And the last thing is that we do have two really good videos that are available from
the Groundwater Information Suite webpage, one on the GDE Atlas and one on the Groundwater
Information Suite more generally. So I would encourage you to have a look at those videos.
Eloise. Sorry, that brings us to the end of our webinar today. Thank you John and Eloise
for joining us in the studio. We’re grateful you could share your knowledge with us. To
our audience, thank you again for tuning in today. We hope you enjoyed the session and
we do hope you’ll join us again next time. If you are enjoying the BOM webinars, don’t
forget to subscribe to receive information on upcoming webinars, watch webinars on demand
via the Bureau’s YouTube channel and engage with us on social media using hashtag’s
BOM webinars. Finally, but most importantly, we want your feedback. It is our aim to bring
you the highest possible quality webinars but we can’t do that unless you share your
experiences with us. Once we close this webinar a short survey will pop up on your screen
and we’d be very grateful if you could complete it for us. Once again, thank you for your
time and we look forward to seeing you again. Goodbye to those who are leaving and we will
run through just a couple more questions for a few minutes if you want to stay on the line
but, otherwise, hopefully, [email protected], you can have all your questions answered most
definitely. And to those of you asking yes, we’re recording today’s session so if
you need to run off now that it’s 3 o’clock on the dot, please feel free to review the
recording and you can catch up on those Q&As that you missed out on that way also. Question
from someone who calls himself Superman, we love a good sense of humour, if I want to
make a new groundwater model, can I download the aquifer stratigraphy layer elevation
data for a custom region in a format I can import to modelling software? Great question.
Great question. I could barely read it. Eloise? Yeah. So it’s not really for a custom region
but each – if you send an email to [email protected] you can receive your national NGIS database
and it has each of the model layers we have available in there. The format is an ESRI
format so I mean most people who use JS have access to that software. But we could
potentially look at exporting it to something that’s more – that doesn’t use proprietary
software. Also another question from Mark. Mark, in New South Wales, the DPI is starting
to do soil moisture monitoring, will this info get added to the BOM models? I think
Mark should have been at your last webinar. Yeah … I think it’s
added. It is in some of our BOM products but it’s … is it going to be added to
the groundwater anytime soon? It’s the soil moisture stuff will definitely fall into
the AWRA model which we had here last week. But I can’t answer that
off the top of my head, but we can certainly be in touch with a lot of the guys and ask
them. Yeah, definitely. And feel free to review that last webinar recording as well, you might
find that to be quite helpful. Senil is asking, do you have benchmark salinity data
for a certain groundwater system in a region and do you compare rising or falling trend
compared to the benchmark data? Yeah, thanks, Senil. I’ll just flick back to the Insight
again. So when I was talking about the change, this is the change we were looking at before,
that compared against this other one we’ve got here called ‘average salinity’. So what
we’re looking at here is are recent levels significantly different from the long term
average? So the long term average might be fairly salty in this area, so the orange dots there,
this is looking at the upper aquifer, the orange and red dots are quite saline. So if
you’ve got a change from quite saline to a bit more saline, you probably don’t care
that much, it’s where you go fresh to salty that’s a bit of an issue. So yeah, this
map we looked at before is actually benchmarked against the average salinity information presented
here. Great question from Tenile. And we might just take one last question to finish up today’s
webinar and that’s come through from Jane again. Are national water bore maps available?
So I guess – Water table, sorry – allocation of water table maps? I guess there are two
things, there’s the data that’s available through the Geofabrics. It’s not national
but it does cover some parts of Australia. So that’s available from the Bureau website
under the Geofabric. And the other thing is we’re working on some projects with Tim
Peterson from Melbourne University. I don’t know what the best timeline is for that. I
think they’re still a little way off. I know they’ve produced depth-to-water
table maps for Victoria but certainly a national map would be a bit further off because we’re
a bit data scarce in a lot of spots around the nation. Great. Wonderful questions and
we might leave it at that. So thank you everyone for being involved and we hope to see you
again at future BOM webinars. Thanks again. Bye. Bye. Thank you, bye.

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