Action item 7.5



75% Complete.
Consultation undertaken on draft policy, guideline, framework, Bill development.

That before any further production approvals are granted, a regional water assessment be conducted as part of a SREBA for any prospective shale gas basin, commencing with the Beetaloo Sub-basin. The regional assessment should focus on surface and groundwater quality and quantity (recharge and flow), characterisation of surface and groundwater-dependent ecosystems, and the development of a regional groundwater model to assess the effects of proposed water extraction of the onshore shale gas industry on the dynamics and yield of the regional aquifer system.

Target completion date

Stage 3.
To be completed by end December 2022.

Reform area
Safeguarding water and the environment
Project action
Assessing, protecting and monitoring water resources
Lead agency
Department of Environment, Parks and Water Security

Action item update

Implementation progress

The Strategic Regional and Environmental Baseline Assessment (SREBA) Framework PDF (39.7 MB) was released in July 2020.

The Water Quality and Quantity studies within the SREBA program are well under way. A detailed gap analysis of water-related information for the Beetaloo Basin has been completed. New water monitoring bores in poorly studied western parts of the basin were established during 2021 and drilling for additional new water monitoring bores to fill information gaps in other parts of the basin is currently underway and will continue through to 2022. An extensive array of existing bores were tested for water quality during 2021 and testing will continue through 2022.

Charles Darwin University has been contracted to undertake additional isotope analyses to further resolve groundwater connectivity questions and the NCGRT (National Centre for Ground Water Research and Training) engaged to review water quality data information.