The register of terms and definitions used in the Bioregional Assessment Programme is available online at (note that terms and definitions are respectively listed under the 'Name' and 'Description' columns in this register). This register is a list of terms, which are the preferred descriptors for concepts. Other properties are included for each term, including licence information, source of definition and date of approval. Semantic relationships (such as hierarchical relationships) are formalised for some terms, as well as linkages to other terms in related vocabularies.

activity: for the purposes of Impact Modes and Effects Analysis (IMEA), a planned event associated with a coal seam gas (CSG) operation or coal mine. For example, activities during the production life-cycle stage in a CSG operation include drilling and coring, ground-based geophysics and surface core testing. Activities are grouped into components, which are grouped into life-cycle stages.

additional coal resource development: all coal mines and coal seam gas (CSG) fields, including expansions of baseline operations, that are expected to begin commercial production after December 2012

aquifer: rock or sediment in a formation, group of formations, or part of a formation that is saturated and sufficiently permeable to transmit quantities of water to bores and springs

asset: an entity that has value to the community and, for bioregional assessment purposes, is associated with a subregion or bioregion. Technically, an asset is a store of value and may be managed and/or used to maintain and/or produce further value. Each asset will have many values associated with it and they can be measured from a range of perspectives; for example, the values of a wetland can be measured from ecological, sociocultural and economic perspectives.

baseline coal resource development: a future that includes all coal mines and coal seam gas (CSG) fields that are commercially producing as of December 2012

bioregion: a geographic land area within which coal seam gas (CSG) and/or coal mining developments are taking place, or could take place, and for which bioregional assessments (BAs) are conducted

bioregional assessment: a scientific analysis of the ecology, hydrology, geology and hydrogeology of a bioregion, with explicit assessment of the potential direct, indirect and cumulative impacts of coal seam gas and coal mining development on water resources. The central purpose of bioregional assessments is to analyse the impacts and risks associated with changes to water-dependent assets that arise in response to current and future pathways of coal seam gas and coal mining development.

Bioregional Assessment Repository: a collection of systems that together store source and derived datasets, products and maps, accompanying metadata, lineage and supporting material. It consists of the Data Store, Metadata Catalogue and the Repository website. The Repository is not available to the public.

bore: a narrow, artificially constructed hole or cavity used to intercept, collect or store water from an aquifer, or to passively observe or collect groundwater information. Also known as a borehole or piezometer.

causal pathway: for the purposes of bioregional assessments, the logical chain of events – either planned or unplanned – that link coal resource development and potential impacts on water resources and water-dependent assets

coal resource development pathway: a future that includes all coal mines and coal seam gas (CSG) fields that are in the baseline as well as those that are expected to begin commercial production after December 2012

component: for the purposes of Impact Modes and Effects Analysis (IMEA), a group of activities associated with a coal seam gas (CSG) operation or coal mine. For example, components during the development life-cycle stage of a coal mine include developing the mine infrastructure, the open pit, surface facilities and underground facilities. Components are grouped into life-cycle stages.

conceptual model: abstraction or simplification of reality

connectivity: a descriptive measure of the interaction between water bodies (groundwater and/or surface water)

context: the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement or idea

cumulative impact: for the purposes of bioregional assessments, the total change in water resources and water-dependent assets resulting from coal seam gas and coal mining developments when all past, present and reasonably foreseeable actions that are likely to impact on water resources are considered

dataset: a collection of data in files, in databases or delivered by services that comprise a related set of information. Datasets may be spatial (e.g. a shape file or geodatabase or a Web Feature Service) or aspatial (e.g. an Access database, a list of people or a model configuration file).

direct impact: for the purposes of bioregional assessments, a change in water resources and water-dependent assets resulting from coal seam gas and coal mining developments without intervening agents or pathways

drawdown: a lowering of the groundwater level (caused, for example, by pumping). In the bioregional assessment (BA) context this is reported as the difference in groundwater level between two potential futures considered in BAs: baseline coal resource development (baseline) and the coal resource development pathway (CRDP). The difference in drawdown between CRDP and baseline is due to the additional coal resource development. Drawdown under the baseline is relative to drawdown with no coal resource development; likewise, drawdown under the CRDP is relative to drawdown with no coal resource development.

ecosystem: a dynamic complex of plant, animal, and micro-organism communities and their non-living environment interacting as a functional unit. Note: ecosystems include those that are human-influenced such as rural and urban ecosystems.

ecosystem asset: an ecosystem that may provide benefits to humanity. It is a spatial area comprising a combination of biotic and abiotic components and other elements which function together.

ecosystem function: the biological, geochemical and physical processes and components that take place or occur within an ecosystem. It refers to the structural components of an ecosystem (e.g. vegetation, water, soil, atmosphere and biota) and how they interact with each other, within ecosystems and across ecosystems.

effect: for the purposes of Impact Modes and Effects Analysis (IMEA), change in the quantity and/or quality of surface water or groundwater. An effect is a specific type of an impact (any change resulting from prior events).

extraction: the removal of water for use from waterways or aquifers (including storages) by pumping or gravity channels

formation: rock layers that have common physical characteristics (lithology) deposited during a specific period of geological time

Geofabric: a nationally consistent series of interrelated spatial datasets defining hierarchically-nested river basins, stream segments, hydrological networks and associated cartography

groundwater: water occurring naturally below ground level (whether in an aquifer or other low permeability material), or water occurring at a place below ground that has been pumped, diverted or released to that place for storage there. This does not include water held in underground tanks, pipes or other works.

groundwater-dependent ecosystem: ecosystems that rely on groundwater - typically the natural discharge of groundwater - for their existence and health

groundwater system: see water system

hazard: an event, or chain of events, that might result in an effect (change in the quality or quantity of surface water or groundwater)

hydrogeology: the study of groundwater, including flow in aquifers, groundwater resource evaluation, and the chemistry of interactions between water and rock

hydrological response variable: a hydrological characteristic of the system that potentially changes due to coal resource development (for example, drawdown or the annual streamflow volume)

impact: a change resulting from prior events, at any stage in a chain of events or a causal pathway. An impact might be equivalent to an effect (change in the quality or quantity of surface water or groundwater), or it might be a change resulting from those effects (for example, ecological changes that result from hydrological changes).

impact cause: an activity (or aspect of an activity) that initiates a hazardous chain of events

impact mode: the manner in which a hazardous chain of events (initiated by an impact cause) could result in an effect (change in the quality or quantity of surface water or groundwater). There might be multiple impact modes for each activity or chain of events.

Impact Modes and Effects Analysis: a systematic hazard identification and prioritisation technique based on Failure Modes and Effects Analysis

indirect impact: for the purposes of bioregional assessments, a change in water resources and water-dependent assets resulting from coal seam gas and coal mining developments with one or more intervening agents or pathways

landscape class: for bioregional assessment (BA) purposes, an ecosystem with characteristics that are expected to respond similarly to changes in groundwater and/or surface water due to coal resource development. Note that there is expected to be less heterogeneity in the response within a landscape class than between landscape classes. They are present on the landscape across the entire BA subregion or bioregion and their spatial coverage is exhaustive and non-overlapping. Conceptually, landscape classes can be considered as types of ecosystem assets.

likelihood: probability that something might happen

model node: a point in the landscape where hydrological changes (and their uncertainty) are assessed. Hydrological changes at points other than model nodes are obtained by interpolation.

preliminary assessment extent: the geographic area associated with a subregion or bioregion in which the potential water-related impact of coal resource development on assets is assessed

receptor: a point in the landscape where water-related impacts on assets are assessed

receptor impact variable: a characteristic of the system that, according to the conceptual modelling, potentially changes due to changes in hydrological response variables (for example, condition of the breeding habitat for a given species, or biomass of river red gums)

receptor register: a simple and authoritative list of receptors in a specific bioregional assessment

risk: the effect of uncertainty on objectives

runoff: rainfall that does not infiltrate the ground or evaporate to the atmosphere. This water flows down a slope and enters surface water systems.

sensitivity: the degree to which the output of a model (numerical or otherwise) responds to uncertainty in a model input

severity: magnitude of an impact

source dataset: a pre-existing dataset sourced from outside the Bioregional Assessment Programme (including from Programme partner organisations) or a dataset created by the Programme based on analyses conducted by the Programme for use in the bioregional assessments (BAs)

spring: a naturally occurring discharge of groundwater flowing out of the ground, often forming a small stream or pool of water. Typically, it represents the point at which the watertable intersects ground level.

stressor: chemical or biological agent, environmental condition or external stimulus that might contribute to an impact mode

subregion: an identified area wholly contained within a bioregion that enables convenient presentation of outputs of a bioregional assessment (BA)

surface water: water that flows over land and in watercourses or artificial channels and can be captured, stored and supplemented from dams and reservoirs

uncertainty: the state, even partial, of deficiency of information related to understanding or knowledge of an event, its consequence, or likelihood. For the purposes of bioregional assessments, uncertainty includes: the variation caused by natural fluctuations or heterogeneity; the incomplete knowledge or understanding of the system under consideration; and the simplification or abstraction of the system in the conceptual and numerical models.

water-dependent asset: an asset potentially impacted, either positively or negatively, by changes in the groundwater and/or surface water regime due to coal resource development

water-dependent asset register: a simple and authoritative listing of the assets within the preliminary assessment extent (PAE) that are potentially subject to water-related impacts

water system: a system that is hydrologically connected and described at the level desired for management purposes (e.g. subcatchment, catchment, basin or drainage division, or groundwater management unit, subaquifer, aquifer, groundwater basin)

watertable: the upper surface of a body of groundwater occurring in an unconfined aquifer. At the watertable, pore water pressure equals atmospheric pressure.

well: typically a narrow diameter hole drilled into the earth for the purposes of exploring, evaluating or recovering various natural resources, such as hydrocarbons (oil and gas) or water. As part of the drilling and construction process the well can be encased by materials such as steel and cement, or it may be uncased. Wells are sometimes known as a ‘wellbore’.

Last updated:
12 December 2018