Water Journal : Water Journal November 2015
WATER NOVEMBER 2015 46 Feature Article can be a school of thought that at the early stages of monitoring, an exhaustive suite of parameters should be monitored. In practice, even where a monitoring suite starts with a broad base, re nement should be possible from fairly early stages of the project. Options to re ne and reduce may be to vary the analytical suites to focus on key parameters. Triggers that lead to expansion of the suite again can be set to ensure appropriate monitoring and management actions can be applied as necessary. It is clear that at this stage, a rm understanding of the impact, the actions and the receiving environment are vital to understanding what and where monitoring should take place. An awareness of what analytical methods might be required to interrogate and investigate the data should be a major in uence on the planning process for monitoring. This includes an understanding of the format of the data to be collected, so that it can be used in speci c analytical tools. For example, a speci c modelling tool may require data that are collected in a speci c way, or analysed using a speci c method. This needs to be understood to ensure we have the right data. Document the plan The monitoring plan tells us what we need to monitor and what data are to be collected. It should not tell us how we are to monitor. This information is typically presented in a sampling and analysis plan that may be prepared utilising national or international standards, standard operating procedures and best practice guidance documents. The monitoring plan justi es the selection of monitoring locations, targeted media and analytical suites. It also identi es how data are to be analysed, sampling frequency, and the plan for interpretation. It is important that exibility should be built into the plan to ensure that, within reasonable boundaries, changes to the proposed action will not render data useless. Furthermore, on-site changes to the plan can be required. With this in mind, the monitoring plan should be reviewed on a regular basis with a view to optimise and re ne. STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT Successful monitoring programs include stakeholder engagement, both during their planning and their ongoing implementation. This engagement should occur with the government departments that will regulate the associated project, and with landholders who own or lease property on which monitoring may occur. This facilitates mutual understanding and a proactive relationship that will become vital through project approvals and environmental performance reporting post-approval. Engagement at an early stage may include data sharing, which can be vital in collating long-time series data (such as groundwater level or surface water ow), which in turn can be critical for understanding longer-term trends. As a project progresses, already established stakeholder relationships often provide the opportunity for the sharing of monitoring infrastructure, or at least data. Although monitoring bore costs can vary signi cantly depending on depth, purpose and infrastructure, this is a cost that neither state nor shareholder should see duplicated. IN SUMMARY We have explored how and why the technical and nancial success of an environmental water monitoring program is inextricably linked to its planning. Throughout an environmental monitoring program, it is vital to maintain focus on data quality objectives. Although these may be re ned over time, as the project progresses, these are founded in the understanding of the potential impacts that an action or project may have on the actual receptors in the receiving environment. Flexibility in monitoring is also critical. Those undertaking the planning of environmental monitoring programs should try to look beyond the short-term needs of data collection to account for how a project may evolve, and what data will be required for the next stages. Investing in planning at the earliest stages of a project provides a better understanding of the nature of monitoring required, allowing the program to appropriately balance the complexity of the monitoring program against the data required. As such, the monitoring program achieves its ultimate aim of delivering data that allows the project to progress in an environmentally acceptable manner while also ensuring long-term cost savings in its implementation. WJ THE AUTHORS Chris Hambling (email: chris.hambling@ch2m. com) is a Senior Environmental Scientist and Project Manager at CH2M in Brisbane. Chris has over 10 years' experience in environmental water monitoring, including managing and delivering monitoring programs in some of the more remote regions of Australia. Carly Waterhouse (email: carly.waterhouse@ ch2m.com) is a Senior Hydrogeologist based in the CH2M Asia Paci c Hydrogeology Centre of Excellence in Brisbane. Carly has considerable experience in a wide range of hydrogeological investigations, including designing, specifying and analysing bore networks, managed aquifer recharge, spring risk assessment and numerical modelling. Field ltration as preparation for analytical testing of surface water samples.
Water Journal September 2015
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