Monitoring variability in young water sources at Mataranka Springs using stable isotope tracers

  • Lambrinidis, Dionisia (Co Investigator/Chief Investigator B)
  • Duvert, Clement (Co Investigator/Chief Investigator B)
  • Niels, Munksgaard (Co Investigator/Chief Investigator B)
  • Gibb, Karen (Principal Investigator/Chief Investigator A)

Project: Research

Project Details

Description

Funding source
Geological and Bioregional Assessment Program, Australian Government

Background
The Australian Government has recently targeted the Beetaloo Basin (NT) for unconventional gas development. While most gas reserves lie at several kilometres below ground, the potential impacts of gas extraction on shallower groundwater resources needs to be examined prior to any development. Little is known about the dominant groundwater flow pathways and residence times in the region, particularly those discharging into the Mataranka springs, an environmentally and culturally significant area. The presence of karst conduits and annual variations in spring discharge indicate that young waters with very short residence times could be present – but longer, deeper flow pathways that may be affected by gas extraction activities may also contribute water to the springs. In this project we will collect and analyse isotopic time-series data to characterise the complete age distribution of groundwater at three representative springs around Mataranka.

Expected outcomes
This project will provide improved understanding of the origin and age of groundwater sources feeding the Mataranka springs. Together with our CSIRO partners, we will develop a conceptual model of the dominant hydrogeological processes in the region and use this model to assess the potential risks posed by the development of unconventional gas industry in the Beetaloo Basin. We will also engage with the local Ranger groups and provide basic water sampling training to local communities.

Team
Ms Dionisia Lambrinidis, CDU
Dr Clément Duvert, CDU
Dr Niels Munksgaard, JCU
Dr Sébastien Lamontagne, CSIRO Land & Water
Dr Axel Suckow, CSIRO Land & Water
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date14/10/1930/06/21