Water Journal : Water Journal June 2015
June 2015 water 29 Feature article The Bureau’s groundwater information products include: • National Groundwater Information System; • National Aquifer Framework; • Australian Groundwater Explorer; • Atlas of Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems; and • Australian Groundwater Insight. These groundwater products are available to the public from the Bureau’s website, except for the Australian Groundwater Insight which will be released by end of 2015. NatioNal GrouNdwater iNformatioN SyStem The National Groundwater Information System is a spatial database containing standardised State and Territory groundwater data. This database is the foundation for the Bureau’s groundwater information suite and was created thanks to input from State, Territory and Commonwealth groundwater experts. Contributing partners included the lead water agencies of each State and Territory, the Australian National University, Geoscience Australia, the Murray– Darling Basin Authority and the National Water Commission, which co-funded the product together with the Bureau. The Groundwater Information System contains the location of more than 820,000 bores around the country. Detailed information is provided about each bore, including (where available) purpose, lithology, construction and hydrostratigraphy logs. Aquifer geometry is available for some areas in 2D or 3D, including a 3D hydrostratigraphy model for the Murray Basin. This data can be viewed and analysed through the Australian Groundwater Explorer web-mapping portal (www.bom.gov.au/water/ groundwater). Data can also be downloaded in a range of formats at the State level and the entire database is available as an ESRI File Geodatabase on request. NatioNal aquifer framework One of the challenges for the Bureau in building a national dataset was that States and Territories use local terminology to describe aquifers and aquitards. These differences can be problematic, particularly when examining groundwater basins that span multiple States and Territories. The Bureau has developed the National Aquifer Framework in collaboration with Geoscience Australia and lead water agencies across Australia. The Framework, which built on the Victorian Aquifer Framework, is a nationally agreed terminology for naming and grouping hydrogeologic units in Australia. This ensures that nationally consistent information is available to support informed decision- making about groundwater resources. The Framework aggregates state- level information to nationally consistent terminology on three tiers: • Geologic units (the smallest tier); • Hydrogeologic units; and • Hydrogeologic complexes (the most aggregated tier). Groundwater data collected by States and Territories is standardised using the National Aquifer Framework before being uploaded to the National Groundwater Information System. Table 1 shows an example of the framework, which is available for download from the Bureau’s website. auStraliaN GrouNdwater explorer The Australian Groundwater Explorer is a web-based mapping portal (www.bom.gov.au/water/groundwater) with visualisation, analysis and download functions. An interactive map allows the user to explore the national dataset of groundwater information, tailor search information for a specific area, view bore logs and aquifers in 3D, or download tables and graphs. Water level data is available as a table or graph and can be downloaded for further analysis. The Explorer provides a truly national picture of groundwater levels. In 2014, in its first release, the Explorer contained groundwater level data for a pilot area covering south-eastern Australia. Since then data from all the States and Territories has been added and the Explorer now contains more than 55,000 bores with water level data. The groundwater level information is provided by lead water agencies across the country under the Water Regulations 2008, and is updated annually. The Explorer is also updated annually with the latest bore and bore log data from the National Groundwater Information System. The Australian Groundwater Explorer was developed in collaboration with State and Territory water agencies, whose Table 1. An example of the three-tier national Aquifer Framework. State Hydrogeologic Unit NAF Hydrogeologic Unit NAF Hydrogeologic Complex SA Pliocene Sands Aquifer (Tp) Loxton Sand, Parilla Sand, Norwest Bend Formation Upper Tertiary marine sediment aquifer VIC Loxton Parilla Sand NSW Parilla Sand SA Murray Group Limestone Aquifer (Ty) Murray Group and correlates Upper Mid-Tertiary marine sediment aquifer VIC Murray Group/Glenelg Group/Nelson Formation NSW Murray Group Limestone SA Renmark Group (Tr) Renmark Group Lower Tertiary sediment aquifer VIC Lower Renmark Group NSW Lower Renmark Group Figure 1. Work flow of data in the national Groundwater Information System.
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