Groundwater Management Unit: Billabong Creek Alluvium
The groundwater resource characteristics for the Billabong Creek Alluvium groundwater managment unit are presented below. This includes technical detail on aquifer properties and water level change for key monitoring bores.
|Total Water Allocated||7,461 ML/yr|
|Total Water Used||2,000 ML/yr|
|Average Salinity||1,000 mg/L|
|Sustainable Yield||20,000 ML/yr|
|Depth to top of aquifer||10 m|
The aquifers are thin sand and gravel lenses within a sequence dominated by clay and silt layers, and groundwater in them occurs under partially confined conditions. Individual yields of up to about 4 ML/d can be obtained, but the alluviated valley is so narrow that there is barely room for more than one bore in any cross section of the valley. Considerable longitudinal separation is also needed.
Method used for determining sustainable yield:
One of the most basic pieces of data required for sensible management of a resource is the quantity of input to a system or recharge. The sustainable yield of an aquifer is almost always considerably less than recharge because of the provision for the environmental needs. Nevertheless, any sustainable yield study will always involve the determination of recharge as a first necessary step. The following working definition has been adopted: SUSTAINABLE YIELD IS THAT PROPORTION OF THE LONG TERM AVERAGE ANNUAL RECHARGE WHICH CAN BE EXTRACTED EACH YEAR WITHOUT CAUSING UNACCEPTABLE IMPACTS ON THE ENVIRONMENT OR OTHER GROUNDWATER USERS The actual proportion is not specified in this definition. This proportion will change according to each situation and is assigned differently to each aquifer system. An interim sustainable yield figure has been derived for NSW aquifers by applying a sustainability factor to estimated recharge. These sustainability factors are a proportion of long term annual average recharge. An arbitrary default factor of 70% (ie 30% of recharge is reserved for environmental needs) has been adopted for most cases to date, but as better understanding of groundwater systems is developed, the sustainable yields can be adjusted accordingly. The initial figures are intended to be conservative while bearing in mind that it is most often easier to subsequently adjust Sustainable yield values upward rather than downward. Sustainability factors offer protection to the integrity of the groundwater system itself and ultimately all groundwater users including the environment and ensure that neither temporary nor permanent damage to the aquifer system results from overuse. Sustainable yield values can - and indeed will - change over time as our technical understanding of the dynamics of individual groundwater systems is enhanced as a result of more rigorous investigation and in response to changes in natural and socio-economic realities. In short, this is a commencement of a continuous process of periodic review and adjustment of sustainable yield estimates. It follows therefore that a set of sustainable yield figures will reflect a level of understanding that exists at a point in time. Groundwater management committees may change the sustainable yield factor to suit local conditions. High levels of accuracy in determining sustainable yield require a degree of rigorous study that would take years if not decades to achieve. As many NSW systems are either over- allocated or nearly so, it is not practical nor is it in the communitys best interests to wait those decades before adopting allocation ceilings that are technically highly accurate. In short, at this stage a very high degree of accuracy is not required to commence management consistent with the philosophy of sustainability. Nevertheless, the approach applied has generated a set of figures that have been produced as a synthesis of knowledge accumulated to the present and have been adjusted according to good hydrogeological common sense and an understanding of local issues. Additionally, the approach has been conservative in the interest of resource protection but tempered with compromise recognising the need to preserve current development and acknowledging the importance of encouraging continued development where appropriate to do so. Where rigorous numerical models have been developed and have resulted in the generation of acceptable recharge figures for an aquifer system, these values have been adopted as acceptable for use in sustainable yield determinations. In some cases systems that are similar to a modelled system have had recharge determined empirically using the modelled system as a reference. Most systems however, have not been modelled. In those cases, inputs (or recharge) to the system have generally been kept to rainfall and river components of recharge. Throughflow and underflow have in most cases been omitted from calculations in the interest of both simplicity and conservatism. Likewise, irrigation returns have not been considered even though in some situations, a certain proportion of irrigated water might be expected to access the underlying aquifer. Two equations were used to estimate recharge. Both have a limited number of terms and allow recharge values to be assigned respectively to:
- Rainfall sourced and;
- River sourced.
Rainfall recharge was calculated according to assessed rainfall, area and assumed proportion of rainfall accessing the aquifer. River recharge was estimated using an equation, which is a modified form of the Darcy equation that is used in the assessment of river recharge in the Modflow software package that models groundwater flow. The result is a theoretical contribution of the river to the recharge. An additional factor was applied to this result as an adjustment factor intended to reduce the theoretical river recharge and is set as a) the fraction of the year and/or b). fraction of river reach - that is considered as a loosing stream. In this way an actual river recharge component is produced. There is a strong subjective character to the results achieved by the above method which has been applied to all GMUs across NSW, but they have been made with common sense and with hydrogeological principles in mind. They are therefore valid within the needs of the present situation.
Of the 20000 ML/y estimated sustainable yield, about one third is estimated to be due to recharge from Billabong Creek.
Assumptions used for allocating development categories:
The categorisation is based on poor data. The estimated sustainable yield is probably too high, since the area of alluvium greatly exceeds the area in which there are useful aquifers. Allocation data are suspect and there are no abstraction data. There are grounds for suspecting that it should be at least category 2 for both allocation and abstraction.
Technical information on the key groundwater bores and monitoring stations is presented below, including hydrographs where available. Link to a discussion on groundwater levels and trends at a State level as it relates to dryland salinity.
|Bore ID||Start record||End record||Depth of bore (m)||Reduced level (m)|
The following groundwater management units also occur in Lachlan Province:
- Alexandra (VIC)
- Araluen Alluvium and Weathered Granite (NSW)
- Ascot (VIC)
- Bell Valley Alluvium (NSW)
- Belubula River Alluvium (NSW)
- Bullarook (VIC)
- Bungaree (VIC)
- Cudgegong Valley Alluvium (NSW)
- Glengower (VIC)
- King Lake (VIC)
- Lancefield (VIC)
- Lower Macquarie Alluvium (NSW)
- Mid Murrumbidgee Alluvium (NSW)
- Mid and Upper Murrumbidgee Catchment Fractured (NSW)
- Molong Limestone (NSW)
- Moolort (VIC)
- Mudgee Limestone (NSW)
- Murrumbidgee (ACT)
- Namadgi (ACT)
- Orange Basalt (NSW)
- Queanbeyan and Molonglo (ACT)
- Spring Hill Groundwater Supply Protection Area (VIC)
- Tourello (VIC)
- Unincorporated Area - Lachlan (VIC)
- Unincorporated Area - Lachlan Fold Belt Province (NSW)
- Upper Lachlan Alluvium (NSW)
- Upper Macquarie Alluvium (NSW)
- Wandin Yallock (VIC)
- Young Granite (NSW)
- New South Wales Water Resources Assessment 2000 Report
- New South Wales Water Resources Assessment 2000 Technical Report
- For more information about water and other natural resource issues link to www.dlwc.nsw.gov.au
- Link to data available for download on the Groundwater management units and provinces - ARC/INFO export
- Link to Map maker to make a map using this information.
Links to an another web site
Opens a pop-up window