The Gloucester subregion covers about 348 km2, and is defined by the geological Gloucester Basin. It is located north of the Hunter river basin, approximately 85 km north-north-east of Newcastle. About 5000 people live in the subregion, primarily in the towns of Gloucester and Stroud. There are numerous rivers in the subregion that straddle a catchment divide; northern-flowing rivers contribute to the Manning River that discharges to the Tasman Sea beyond Taree and the southern-flowing rivers contribute to the Karuah River, which discharges into Port Stephens. From a groundwater perspective, it is a closed system. The climate is sub-tropical, characterised by summer-dominant precipitation. Grazing is the primary land use (covering over 75% of the subregion) with the dominant pre-European vegetation, eucalypt forests, having been extensively cleared in the subregion since European settlement.
Potential impacts and risks due to additional coal resource development were assessed by comparing the results for two futures: baseline coal resource development (baseline) and the coal resource development pathway (CRDP).
The baseline includes the existing Duralie Coal Mine and Stratford Mining Complex open-cut mines (which commenced in 2003 and 1995, respectively).
The CRDP includes all baseline coal resource developments plus four additional coal resource developments: (i) expansion to the Duralie open-cut mine, (ii) expansion to the Stratford open-cut mine, (iii) establishment of the Rocky Hill Mine, and (iv) establishment of Stage 1 of the Gloucester Gas Project. The Duralie expansion was approved in November 2011, with mining operations of the expansion due to commence in 2013 and cease in 2024. The Stratford expansion was approved in May 2015, with mining operations of the expansion due to commence in 2015 and cease in 2026. As of February 2017, Rocky Hill is still awaiting approval, and in February 2016, AGL Energy Ltd formally announced that they were not pursuing the Gloucester Gas Project.
Section 3.1 first describes the Gloucester subregion. The critical philosophical and operational choices are next outlined to explain the scope and context of bioregional assessments (BAs). These choices include: choice of modelled futures, focus on water quantity and availability, assessment of cumulative developments, increased confidence in modelled predictions, and ruling out impacts. Section 3.1 concludes with an overview of the structure of this product.
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- 3.1 Overview
- 3.2 Methods
- 3.3 Potential hydrological changes
- 3.4 Impacts on and risks to landscape classes
- 3.5 Impacts on and risks to water-dependent assets
- 3.6 Commentary for coal resource developments that were not modelled
- 3.7 Conclusion
- Contributors to the Technical Programme
- About this technical product