Assessment of pre- and post-flood groundwater recharge via 3D visualisation, Lockyer Valley, southeast Queensland
Raiber, Matthias, Cox, Malcolm, Hawke, Amy, & James, Allan (2011) Assessment of pre- and post-flood groundwater recharge via 3D visualisation, Lockyer Valley, southeast Queensland. In 11th Australasian Environmental Isotope Conference and 4th Australasian Hydrogeology, 12th - 14th July 2011, Rydges Tradewinds, Cairns, QLD. (Unpublished)
The Lockyer Valley in southeast Queensland supports important and intensive irrigation which is dependant on the quality and availability of groundwater. Prolonged drought conditions from ~1997 resulted in a depletion of the alluvial aquifers, and concern for the long-term sustainability of this resource. By 2008, many areas of the valley were at < 20% of storage. Some relief occurred with rain events in early 2009, then in December 2010 - January 2011, most of southeast Queensland experienced unprecedented flooding. These storm-based events have caused a shift in research focus from investigations of drought conditions and mitigation to flood response analysis.
For the alluvial aquifer system of the valley, a preliminary assessment of groundwater observation bore data, prior to and during the flood, indicates that there is a spatially variable aquifer response. While water levels in some bores screened in unconfined shallow aquifers have recovered by more than 10 m within a short period of time (months), others show only a small or moderate response.
Measurements of pre- and post-flood groundwater levels and high-resolution time-series records from data loggers are considered within the framework of a 3D geological model of the Lockyer Valley using Groundwater Visualisation System(GVS). Groundwater level fluctuations covering both drought and flood periods are used to estimate groundwater recharge using the water table fluctuation method (WTF), supplemented by estimates derived using chloride mass balance. The presentation of hydraulic and recharge information in a 3D format has considerable advantages over the traditional 2D presentation of data. The 3D approach allows the distillation of multiple types of information(topography, geological, hydraulic and spatial) into one representation that provides valuable insights into the major controls of groundwater flow and recharge. The influence of aquifer lithology on the spatial variability of groundwater recharge is also demonstrated.
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