Review of surface water models in the Galilee subregion

Review of existing surface water models was undertaken only for the Burdekin river basin because all seven proposed coal mines selected for impact assessment are located in this basin. There are several purpose-oriented surface water models developed by the Queensland Government (e.g. DNR, 1999; Dougall et al., 2014) for water resource assessment and management. Surface water models are also available for the Burdekin river basin as a case study for hydrological model calibration and validation (e.g. Post and Croke, 2002). None of these models takes coal mine and coal seam gas (CSG) developments into account.

As a part of environmental impact statements (EISs), mining companies have prepared surface water models to assess the changes in flow regimes due to coal mine developments in the Galilee subregion. As of November 2015, a surface water model exists for six of the seven proposed coal mines (China Stone Coal Project, Carmichael Coal Mine Project, Kevin’s Corner Coal Project, Alpha Coal Project, China First Coal Project and South Galilee Coal Project).

Changes in peak flow and flood inundation for the proposed Carmichael Mine were investigated by GHD (2012) using the XP-RAFTS hydrologic model (XP-Solution, 2013) and the TUFLOW hydraulic model (BMT WBM, 2010). A surface water model has been prepared by URS (2011a, 2011b) to investigate changes in flood inundation in the vicinity of Alpha and Kevin’s Corner coal projects using a suite of hydrologic (RORB) and hydrodynamic models (one-dimensional HEC-RAS and two-dimensional TUFLOW). Hansen Bailey (2015) used XP‑RAFTS to estimate changes in flow regimes for the proposed China Stone Coal Project. Engeny (2011) investigated the changes in peak flow due to the China First Coal Project using XP-RAFTS and conducted hydraulic modelling using TUFLOW. WRM (2012) used the operational simulation solution software (OPSIM) program to estimate the changes in flow regimes due to the South Galilee Coal Project development (Water Solutions, 2010).

Except for the models for mine EISs, none used coal mine development scenarios for long-term flow simulation. While surface water models developed for EIS studies included the mine impacts, they are calibrated locally and may not be suitable for regional flow prediction. Moreover, none of the models have been used for investigating low-flow metrics.

No existing surface water models were found to be suitable to use in the Galilee subregion.

For a discussion of the reasons for the choice of the Australian Water Resources Assessment landscape model (AWRA-L) in this bioregional assessment, readers are referred to companion submethodology M06 (as listed in Table 1) for surface water modelling (Viney, 2016).

Last updated:
6 December 2018