The hydrogeology of the Condamine River alluvial aquifer, Australia: a critical assessment

Dafny, Elad and Silburn, D. Mark (2014) The hydrogeology of the Condamine River alluvial aquifer, Australia: a critical assessment. Hydrogeology Journal, 22 (3). pp. 705-727. ISSN 1431-2174


The Condamine plain is an important agricultural zone in Australia with prominent irrigated cotton and grain crops. About one third of the irrigation water is pumped from the shallow alluvial aquifer, causing gross aquifer depletion over time. Over the last few decades, various hydrological, hydrochemical, and geological aspects of this aquifer and the overlying floodplain (including soil properties) have been investigated and used to construct the conceptual understanding and numerical models for management of this resource. Yet, the water balance of the aquifer is still far from resolved, and the geological contact between the alluvial sediments and underlying bedrock is yet to
be categorically defined, to mention two major uncertainties. This paper collates up-to-date knowledge of different disciplines, critically evaluates the accepted hydrogeological conventions, highlights key knowledge gaps, and suggests strategies for future research. Among recommendations are (1) development of numerical flow and solute transport models for the natural (ie. pre-developed) period, (2) analysis of groundwater for isotopic composition and presence of pesticides, CFCs and PPCPs, and (3) use of stochastic approaches to characterize the hydraulic properties of the alluvial sediments. These and other proposed measures are relevant also to other alluvial aquifers which suffer from similar fundamental uncertainties.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Published online 19 Apr 2013. Published version deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - No Department
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2014 05:21
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2016 04:35
Uncontrolled Keywords: Condamine; groundwater management; alluvial aquifer; water budget; hydraulic properties; catchment management
Fields of Research : 07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management > 070108 Sustainable Agricultural Development
04 Earth Sciences > 0406 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience > 040603 Hydrogeology
05 Environmental Sciences > 0503 Soil Sciences > 050399 Soil Sciences not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objective: D Environment > 96 Environment > 9611 Physical and Chemical Conditions of Water > 961103 Physical and Chemical Conditions of Water in Fresh, Ground and Surface Water Environments (excl. Urban and Industrial Use)
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1007/s10040-013-1075-z

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