Water Journal : Water Journal November 2015
WATER NOVEMBER 2015 44 Feature Article HOW CAN POOR PLANNING LEAD TO PROBLEMS? In all projects, planning is typically fundamental to success. Where environmental water monitoring is poorly planned, or not planned at all, a range of problems can be experienced, from the inconvenient to a potential show-stopper. First, during the environmental approvals and EIS process, organisations are typically expected to have suf cient data to elaborate on an environmental baseline. In Australia, where many creeks are ephemeral and only ow following substantial or prolonged periods of rainfall, it can be dif cult to collect suf cient data to perform scienti cally robust statistical analysis. Typically, only several years of data would be deemed representative; however, few companies collect data over this length of time. This can be due to budgetary constraints or a need to expedite a project. For large projects, where complex and regional-scale numerical modelling is often required, data are required to create a robust conceptual model. This is used to further our understanding of potential impact, enhanced through the collection of long-term water level or pressure data used to calibrate such a model. In contrast, numerical modelling is signi cantly limited where data are lacking to calibrate the model. Often monitoring commences too late, perhaps after the exploration phases of a project, meaning that an understanding of the true baseline environment will be de cient. This in turn becomes a major issue during State or Federal approvals, drawing criticism from regulatory bodies such as the Independent Executive Scienti c Committee (IESC) on Coal Seam Gas and Coal Mining. Collecting the wrong type of data for a project can also be a concern. The focus of an organisation's data collection can be misinformed and poorly targeted. This can be simply from applying a generic approach. Alternatively, monitoring can be planned by those without the technical understanding of what they are monitoring. A CSG project is typically required to measure the absence of vertical propagation of depressurisation through the stratigraphic column. If unexpected impacts were occurring, we could observe a change in water quality; however, it would be reasonable to expect and observe a measured change in water level as a precursor. The collection of water level data, from both automated and manual measurements, should therefore form the priority for a baseline. Often, however, we are too focused on collecting water quality data with little regard for what the data will be used for. Collecting insuf cient data, or the wrong type, typi es poor or lack of planning at an early stage of the project. Not having suf cient Monitoring bore head works and level monitoring equipment. Continuous monitoring data are highly valuable in numerical groundwater models and baseline dataset development.
Water Journal September 2015
Current Feb 2016