The Queensland Gas Fields Commission is currently undertaking a research program to improve understanding of the interconnectivity between the Condamine Alluvium and underlying Walloon Coal Measures in the Cecil Plains area of the Surat Basin where initial exploration for coal seam gas (CSG) is underway. The aquifer pump testing program is one part of the Program  and has now begun.

CSG is produced by pumping groundwater from coal seams to release gas. Water pressures in the coal seams will be reduced and may cause some reductions in underlying and overlying aquifers where there is some degree of interconnectivity. This research study will provide more data on interconnectivity.

Work has begun this month on the drilling of the first of four water monitoring bores to be installed by Arrow Energy as part of an aquifer pump testing program designed by the Office of Groundwater Impact Assessment (OGIA).

OGIA has also started overseeing an extensive survey of water bores in the area. The survey will measure water levels and water chemistry in approximately 100 private bores to complement data available from existing government and other monitoring bores.

The results of the aquifer pump testing and the bore survey will be reviewed by independent hydrologist, John Hillier, who has been retained by OGIA. The findings from the Condamine Interconnectivity Research Program will be used to update the Surat underground Water Impact Report that was prepared by the then Queensland Water Commission in 2012 and now overseen by OGIA.

At the request of the GasFields Commission, OGIA established the Condamine Stakeholder Consultation Committee at the start of this year to oversee the research processes and outcomes. The committee comprises members from Basin Sustainability Alliance, Central Downs Irrigators, Cotton Australia and other landholders. Many of the committee members attended a field day at the site of the first water monitoring bore on Thursday 11 July.

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