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

aquitard: a saturated geological unit that is less permeable than an aquifer, and incapable of transmitting useful quantities of water. Aquitards often form a confining layer over an artesian aquifer.

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.

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

Clarence-Moreton bioregion: The Clarence-Moreton bioregion is located in north-east NSW and south-east Queensland and adjoins the Northern Inland Catchments bioregion. Along with the towns of Casino, Lismore and Grafton, it contains the outskirts of the Queensland cities of Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan and Toowoomba. The bioregion contains large river systems (including the Clarence, Richmond and Logan-Albert rivers) and extensive wetlands, some of which are nationally important. Many of these wetlands are home to water-dependent plants and animals that are listed as rare or threatened under Queensland and Commonwealth legislation. The bioregion contains numerous national parks and forest reserves and includes sites of international importance for bird conservation. A large area of the bioregion is used for dryland farming and plantations and as grazing land for livestock. Irrigated agriculture takes up a comparatively small area. Groundwater is extracted for various uses but most commonly for livestock and agricultural purposes. The largest water reservoir in this bioregion is Lake Wivenhoe on the Brisbane River, which supplies Brisbane and its surrounds. The NSW part of the bioregion has smaller dams located in the upper Richmond river basin.

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

confined aquifer: an aquifer saturated with confining layers of low-permeability rock or sediment both above and below it. It is under pressure so that when the aquifer is penetrated by a bore, the water will rise above the top of the aquifer.

consequence: synonym of impact

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

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

discharge: water that moves from a groundwater body to the ground surface or surface water body (e.g. a river or lake)

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 (ACRD). 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

Gloucester subregion: The Gloucester subregion covers an area of about 348 km². The Gloucester subregion is defined by the geological Gloucester Basin. It is located just north of the Hunter Valley in NSW, approximately 85 km north-north-east of Newcastle and relative to regional centres is 60 km south-west of Taree and 55 km west of Forster.

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 recharge: replenishment of groundwater by natural infiltration of surface water (precipitation, runoff), or artificially via infiltration lakes or injection

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

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

Hunter subregion: Along the coast, the Hunter subregion extends north from the northern edge of Broken Bay on the New South Wales Central Coast to just north of Newcastle. The subregion is bordered in the west and north-west by the Great Dividing Range and in the north by the towns of Scone and Muswellbrook. The Hunter River is the major river in the subregion, rising in the Barrington Tops and Liverpool Ranges and draining south-west to Lake Glenbawn before heading east where it enters the Tasman Sea at Newcastle. The subregion also includes smaller catchments along the central coast, including the Macquarie and Tuggerah lakes catchments.

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

inflow: surface water runoff and deep drainage to groundwater (groundwater recharge) and transfers into the water system (both surface water and groundwater) for a defined area

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 emulator: a computationally efficient statistical approximation of a process model that mimics the effect of parameter values on a model prediction. In uncertainty analysis a slow, complex process model is replaced by an emulator, which, for a given parameter combination, will provide a prediction that is very close to the prediction that would be obtained by running the process model.

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

probability distribution: the probability distribution of a random variable specifies the chance that the variable takes a value in any subset of the real numbers. It allows statements such as 'There is a probability of x that the variable is between a and b'.

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)

recharge: see groundwater recharge

reproducibility: the extent to which materially consistent results are obtained when experts outside of the Assessment teams redo part or all of a bioregional assessment using the same methods, models, data and software, but different computer systems

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.

scalar value: a single real number that describes a measurable quantity, such as temperature, length or groundwater level

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)

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)

subsidence: localised lowering of the land surface. It occurs when underground voids or cavities collapse, or when soil or geological formations (including coal seams, sandstone and other sedimentary strata) compact due to reduction in moisture content and pressure within the ground.

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

sustainable yield: the level of water extraction from a particular system that, if exceeded, would compromise the productive base of the water resource and important environmental assets or ecosystem functions

transparency: a key requirement for the Bioregional Assessment Programme, achieved by providing the methods and unencumbered models, data and software to the public so that experts outside of the Assessment team can understand how a bioregional assessment was undertaken and update it using different models, data or software

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.

unconfined aquifer: an aquifer whose upper water surface (watertable) is at atmospheric pressure and does not have a confining layer of low-permeability rock or sediment above it

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 make: the groundwater extracted for dewatering mines

water use: the volume of water diverted from a stream, extracted from groundwater, or transferred to another area for use. It is not representative of 'on-farm' or 'town' use; rather it represents the volume taken from the environment.

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:
8 June 2018