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Government approval of policy/process 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 2021

Reform area
Safeguarding water and the environment
Project action
Assessing, protecting and monitoring water resources
Lead agency

Action item update

Implementation progress

A framework for undertaking a Strategic Regional Environmental and Baseline Assessment (SREBA) has been developed and a consultation draft will be released in late 2019 for public comment.  This framework will be finalised in early 2020 after public feedback has been considered.

When a SREBA is required for a specific region a Scope of Work will be approved by the Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources.  
The Scope of Works for the SREBA for the Beetaloo Sub-basin will be finalised in early 2020 and will include the requirement to undertake studies of groundwater-dependent ecosystems in the Roper River region and produce a groundwater model.

This work in  the Beetaloo Sub-basin will be undertaken in cooperation with the Commonwealth Government's Geological and Bioregional Assessment of the Beetaloo Sub-basin.