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Thursday 31st October

For the recording on the seminar click here

Seminar: SA IAH Chapter/NCGRT Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems

Find out how GDEs are protected in water allocation plans and what information is required for exploration and mining applications.


Seminar Flyer (Pdf 240 KB)

Groundwater dependent ecosystems (GDEs) have been in the news recently, especially in relation to controversial mining developments in Queensland. This seminar will shed light on the GDE situation in South Australia – their characteristics, their location, how they are taken into account in the water allocation planning process, and what is considered in the mining approval process.

Four experts from DEW will make the following presentations;

1)   What are GDEs and where do they occur in SA?   Glen Scholz, Principal Aquatic Ecologist

2)   How can you find out where they occur?  Matt Miles, Principal – Environmental Information

3)   How does Water Planning take into account GDEs?  Jason Vanlaarhoven​, Senior Aquatic Ecologist

4)   How does the Mining Approval process take into account GDEs?  Lloyd Sampson, Principal Hydrogeologist


June 27th 2019

Seminar: Cumulative impacts on streamflow from potential groundwater extraction under MDB Plan

Presenter: Dr Glen Walker || Abstract: Cumulative impacts on streamflow from potential groundwater extraction under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan: a preliminary risk assessments



Cumulative impacts on streamflow from potential groundwater extraction under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan: a preliminary risk assessment.
Under the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) Plan, sustainable diversion limits (SDLs) have been set for groundwater resources across the whole of the MDB and at a range of depths. The resulting aggregate SDL for the MDB (3494 GL) is much greater than the mean annual groundwater extraction for the period 2003-2017 (1335 GL) and hence would allow increases in extraction to meet future demands. Any increase in groundwater extraction may reduce surface water flow and potentially undermine the surface water SDLs, a key outcome of the Basin Plan. In response to this concern, University of Melbourne was asked to review the potential risk of increased extraction. A preliminary risk assessment was conducted for the cumulative impact of groundwater extraction on streamflow within 40 years under different scenarios of increased groundwater extraction. The baseline condition is no evident increasing trend for groundwater extraction during the period 2003-2017. The talk will describe the methodology, which had developed in various studies over 15 years; the results of the assessment; and the implications for management.


Glen Walker has conducted groundwater and salinity research for over 30 years with CSIRO in Adelaide. Specific research interests included recharge and discharge, vegetation and salinity, catchment modelling for salinity management, groundwater-surface water interactions and climate impacts on groundwater. He also led the groundwater component of the Murray-Darling Basin Sustainable Yields project and is a recipient of WE Woods Award for National Excellence in Salinity Research. Since his retirement from CSIRO in 2014, Glen has been consulting with his company, Grounded in Water, and is a member of the Independent Scientific Expert Committee for Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development.

Tuesday 26 February 2019

Statigraphy and Hydrogeology – St Vincents Basin


The second of a series of workshops examining the stratigraphy and hydrogeology of the major sedimentary basins in SA focusses on the St Vincent Basin and the aquifers beneath Adelaide and the Northern
Adelaide Plains. The workshop includes;

  • Examination of core samples of the major sedimentary units
  • Presentations on the geological history, structure and processes
  • Viewing 3D visualisations of the surfaces of the major sedimentary units
  • Discussion of the hydrogeology and management issues for the major aquifers (including MAR)
  • A data package of key geological and hydrogeological reports and GIS coverages of 3D sedimentary surfaces and hydrogeology (salinity and potentiometric surfaces)

Attendance is limited to 50. If there is sufficient demand, a second workshop will be held on Wednesday 27th February.

For further information, contact Steve Barnett on 08 8463 6950 or Please send dietary requirements through to

Friday 13th July, 2018

NGWA McEllhiney Lecture Tour 2018

The Future of Water: Data or Instincts?

Mankind uses economics, politics, and basic instincts to make decisions about water. However, the data on the hydrologic cycle suggests we are developing water incorrectly for two basic reasons. The first is our instincts are built upon water that is visible, so we ignore evapotranspiration which causes salinization, reduced water availability, and increased infrastructure costs. The second is our development of water preceded satellite data and computing power. This resulted in ignoring complicated groundwater systems that need to be defined on the meter scale and adopting simple concepts like dams and center pivot irrigation that do not require significant data management. A framework to improve our water resources will be presented as well as some case studies on how these problems present themselves.


Todd Halihan, Ph.D., P.Gp., is a Professor of Geology at Oklahoma State University and Chief Technical Officer for Aestus LLC. His professional interests center in subsurface characterization and sustainable water supply. Halihan has been an associate editor for Groundwater and has served as Secretary-Treasurer of the U.S. Chapter of the International Association of Hydrogeologists. He served as Chair of the Hydrogeology Division and the South-Central Section of the Geological Society of America. He currently serves on the Oklahoma governor’s Coordinating Council on Seismic Activity.

Halihan has worked on over 200 different research and commercial sites in more than 30 U.S. states and overseas. His international research work has occurred in Australia, Bahamas, Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa along with a number of other countries on a commercial basis. He has also spent a significant amount of time in his home state of Oklahoma evaluating the Arbuckle Group of carbonates and associated springs.

Halihan is the recipient of the Karin and Robert J. Sternberg Award for Excellence, the Partners in Conservation Award from the U.S. Department of Interior, and the Sterling L. Burks Award for Outstanding Environmental Research. He is also a professional driller in the state of Oklahoma and a PADI divemaster (Professional Association of Diving Instructors). He has provided input to stories on CBS, Fox News, NPR, CNBC, Popular Science, The New Yorker, and The New York Times.


Friday, 25th May 2018

2018 Darcy Lecture | Dr. Masaki Hayashi

“Alpine Hydrogeology: The Critical Role of Groundwater in Sourcing the Headwaters of the World”


Many of us have been awed by the stunningly beautiful view of alpine lakes and streams—and they are not just beautiful. Nearly half of the world’s population relies on rivers originating in high mountains for water supply. Source areas of mountain streams have rugged topography with sparse soil and vegetation covers, and were once considered “Teflon basins” that have minimum capacity to store groundwater. Over the past decade or so, a new understanding of alpine hydrogeology has been emerging based on detailed field observations around the world. Alpine basins actually have important aquifer units that provide temporary storage of rain and meltwaters from snowpack and glaciers. Gradual release of water from these aquifers sustains streamflow during dry or cold periods, and is critically important for water supply and aquatic habitats in downstream regions. Due to rugged terrain and severely limited vehicle access, alpine hydrogeologists need to rely on creative methods to investigate groundwater, such as geophysical imaging techniques or observation of surface water/groundwater interaction. This lecture will demonstrate how we can gain valuable insights into groundwater in challenging environments and develop a conceptual understanding of hydrological systems. These ideas and approaches will have broad applicability in a variety of environments, where hydrogeologists are faced with challenging conditions.


Masaki Hayashi, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Geoscience at the University of Calgary. He holds the Canada Research Chair in Physical Hydrology. Hayashi received his B.S. and M.S. in earth sciences from Waseda University and Chiba University, respectively, in Japan, and his Ph.D. in earth sciences from the University of Waterloo in Canada. His main research interests are in the connection among groundwater, surface water, and atmospheric moisture in various environments ranging from the prairies to the mountains.



Friday, March 2nd 2018

SA Basins – Stratigraphy & Hydrogeology Workshop

This the first of a series of workshops examining the stratigraphy and hydrogeology of the major sedimentary basins in SA. The Murray Basin is the first on the list. The workshop includes:
• Examination of core samples of the major sedimentary units

• Presentations on the geological history, structure, and processes

• Viewing 3D visualisations of the surfaces of the major sedimentary units

• Discussion of the hydrogeology of the three major aquifers

• A data package of key geological and hydrogeological reports and GIS coverages of sedimentary surfaces and hydrogeology (salinity and potentiometric surfaces)

South Australia Drill Core Reference Library
5 Tonsley Boulevard, Tonsley, SA (map page 2)


The Department of the Environment, Water and Natural Resources and the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training – Flinders University. 


16th January, 2018

Investigating the fate of hydraulic fracturing fluid in shale gas formations through two-phase numerical modelling of fluid injection

Presented by Ryan Edwards.

This talk will introduce the shale gas system, present the results of our modelling, and discuss those results in the context of the broader body of work on potential environmental impacts from shale gas development.

About the seminar

Hydraulic fracturing in shale gas formations involves the injection of large volumes of aqueous fluid deep underground. Only a small proportion of the injected water volume is typically recovered, raising concerns that the remaining water may migrate upward and potentially contaminate groundwater aquifers. We implemented a numerical model of two-phase water and gas flow in a shale gas formation in order to test the hypothesis that the remaining water is imbibed into the shale rock by capillary forces and retained there indefinitely. In this talk I will introduce the shale gas system, present the results of our modelling, and discuss those results in the context of the broader body of work on potential environmental impacts from shale gas development.

About Ryan

Ryan Edwards will complete a PhD at Princeton in May 2018, on the topic of investigating the fate of hydraulic fracturing fluids in shale gas formations. Ryan hails from SA, and holds a double degree in civil engineering and geology from Adelaide University. He worked at Aquaterra for a few years before winning a scholarship to do a Masters at Princeton under Mike Celia, which led to the PhD. Ryan’s research is of direct relevance to the recent federal initiative to investigate shale gas and tight gas via the Geological and Bioregional Assessments program.

Ryan Edwards – PPT Presentation


Friday 18th August 2017 

NGWA Darcy Lecture Series with Kamini Singha

Lecture topic:  The Critical Role of Trees in Critical Zone Science: An Exploration of Water Fluxes in the Earth’s Permeable Skin

Lecture Description

Earth’s “critical zone” — the zone of the planet from treetops to base of groundwater — is critical because it is a sensitive region, open to impacts from human activities, while providing water necessary for human consumption and food production. Quantifying water movement in the subsurface is critical to predicting how water-driven critical zone processes respond to changes in climate and human perturbation of the natural system. While shallow soils and above ground parts of the critical zone can be easy to instrument and explore, the deeper parts of the critical zone — through the soils and into rock — are harder to access, leaving many open questions about the role of water in this environment.

This presentation opens the black box in the subsurface and sheds light on a few key subsurface processes that control water movement and availability: linkages between changes in evapotranspiration and subsurface water stores, water movement in three dimensions over large areas, and potential control of slope aspect on subsurface permeability. Geophysical tools are central to the quantitative study of these problems in the deeper subsurface where we don’t have easy access for observation. In particular, this lecture explores the role of trees in the critical zone, and their connection to soil moisture, groundwater and streams through innovative imaging .

More information

Friday 28th July, 2017

Carmichael Mine court case presented by: Professor Adrian Werner, Flinders University

Professor Adrian Werner Biography

Lecture Description

The proposed Carmichael coal mine is a controversial project in Queensland’s Galilee Basin. It is one of the world’s largest coal mines, and is proposed for construction in close proximity to a set of springs that supports endemic ecosystems and that holds great importance to Indigenous Australians. The decision to approve the mine is considered by some to be underpinned by misconceptions and considerable uncertainty on the back of a few field measurements. Adrian Werner was one of several expert witnesses to the case, and reveals the process that ultimately led to approval on the mine despite what he considers to be critical and fundamental problems with the investigation into potential impacts caused by the mine void.
If you’re a regulator, consultant or proponent who’s involved in hydrogeological assessments of major projects then you should attend this informative and topical presentation.
Adrian Werner is Professor of Hydrogeology at Flinders University, and a member of the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training. After completing his Ph.D. at the University of Queensland, he embarked on an academic career in 2006. He is an Associate Editor for Advances in Water Resources and Journal of Hydrology, and has published over 90 international journal articles.
This is free event
All welcome

To download flyer click here: SA IAH Meeting 28 July 2017

Friday 20 May, 2016



Uncertainty in hydrogeology and groundwater modelling is front and centre in groundwater science, management and policy. Methods to measure, conceptualise, understand, reduce and communicate uncertainty remain key issues.  This seminar and panel discussion will present state of the art understanding and approaches in this area and will discuss and debate the needs and future directions in a Q&A style panel.

Register here:


3.00 -3.10  Welcome and Intro – Craig Simmons (NCGRT)

3.10-3.20  Some uncertainty analysis options available through PEST – John Doherty (Watermark Numerical Computing)Download Presentation here

3.23-3.33  Conceptual Uncertainty in Groundwater Models – Hugh Middlemis (HydroGeoLogic) Download Presentation here

3.36-3.46 Qualitative uncertainty analysis: discussing the ‘so what?’ question -Luk Peeters (CSIRO)Download Presentation here

3.49-3.59 Wrangling uncertainty in groundwater models – Anthony Knapton (CloudGMS) Download Presentation here

4:02-4.12 Great Expectations – How groundwater managers should use model outputs – Steve Barnett (IAH/DEWNR) Download Presentation here

4.15-5.00 Panel Discussion – Craig Chair

Thursday 12th May

Groundwater supporting the Adelaide Region  towards 2100

What role might groundwater contribute to Adelaide’s future water mix? By 2100 the Adelaide region’s population might exceed 2 million; climate change would likely generate very dry conditions; the Murray would be struggling and the existing infrastructure will be very aged. The aquifers beneath Adelaide have the potential to contribute to water security. This Symposium brings a panel of eminent speakers to share their research and understandings of the regional groundwater systems.

Sessions  included:

  • Overview – The aquifers, issues and 21st C Scenario
  •  Tools and Models – validation and prediction
  • Groundwater pollution risks & responses
  • Managed Aquifer Recharge & Recovery
  • Willunga Basin water balance case study
  • Policies – Water Allocation Plan
  • Future hypothetical scenario – Panel discussion Extended abstracts and presentations will be  available to registrants on the day.

Nuclear Fuel Royal Commission

Mr Chad Jacobi, Counsel assisting the South Australia Nuclear Fuel Royal Commission will speak on the terms of reference for the inquiry and the importance of groundwater as an issue for consideration by the commission of the nuclear fuel cycle activities covered by the terms of reference, based on the public submissions received by the Inquiry.

 This is not a debate about the benefits or otherwise, of nuclear power.

Friday 2nd October, 2015

NGWA McEllhiney Lecture 2015 – Ronald B. Peterson hosted by SA IAH and NCGRT

Drilling Fluids: A Common Sense Approach- Ronald B. Peterson

Learn how using the proper drilling fluid for a particular project is paramount to a successful job during Ronald B. Peterson’s lecture. Peterson’s presentation will briefly cover the evolution of the water well industry with emphasis on drilling fluids and grouts, and the progress that has been made over time as technology and the understanding of drilling fluids has

Topics to be covered include, but are not limited to the:

  • Evolution of the water well industry
  • Importance of proper project planning and follow-through
  • Functions of a drilling fluid
  • Uses of bentonite focusing on its use as a basis for drilling fluids
  • Development of other drilling fluid additives and their use to enhance the fluid properties
  • Proper selection of a grout
  • Development of grouts, and the issues and limitations in placement and in attaining a competent well seal.

Peterson’s lecture will provide you with the basics for the proper planning, implementation, and follow-through of a well-designed drilling program with the goal of providing the best seal possible during the final well construction.

Tuesday 18th August, 2015

2015 Henry Darcy Lecture Series in Groundwater Science – Dr. Rainer H. Helmig

Dr. Rainer H. Helmig is the 2015 Henry Darcy Distinguished Lecture Series in Groundwater Science.Helmig is head of the Department of Hydromechanics and Modelling of Hydrosystems at the Institute for Modelling Hydraulic and Environmental Systems, University of Stuttgart, Germany.


“Evaluating the Competitive Use of the Subsurface: The Influence of Energy Storage and Production in Groundwater.”

In this lecture, Helmig will provide insight into how advanced numerical models may be used to analyze and predict the mutual influence of subsurface projects and their impact on groundwater reservoirs, and the expanding need to do so.

South Australian Groundwater Forum 2015

Wednesday 22nd July, 2015

The focus of this inaugural groundwater forum was to provide an insight into the current condition of SA’s groundwater resources and the latest developments in various aspects of the groundwater industry, as well as discussing future opportunities within South Australia.

Presentations – Click on presentation to download PDF

State overview by DEWNR – Usage, trends, latest info on products – Steve Barnett, DEWNR

Reasearch Reports (Chair: Michele Akeroyd, Goyder Institute)

Mining and Groundwater (Chair: Lloyd Sampson, DEWNR)

Managed Aquifer Recharge (Chair: Peter Dillon)

Contaminated sites – (Chair: Melinda Morris, URS)

Climate change impacts (Chair: Graham Green, DEWNR)

Monitoring and Geophysics (Chair: Steve Barnett)

River Murray projects (Chair: Juliette Woods)

Water planning (Chair: Juliette Woods)

If you are interested in joining the IAH  please click here or to submit your  comments on the Premier’s economic priorities email:

The Forum was proudly supported by:

Goyder Institute
CDM Smith
Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources
National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training
Flinders University


SA IAH/NCGRT Modellers’ Forum #5

Wednesday 25th February, 2015

Patrick McKelvey, Groundwater Manager for QGC – A BG Group business will introduce and discuss the GEN3 Surat Basin Regional Groundwater Flow Model.


The GEN3 Surat Basin Regional Groundwater Flow Model is the third numerical groundwater flow model to be generated for the QCLNG Project. The model integrates a robust and regionally-consistent stratigraphic framework of the major geological units with the latest hydrogeological conceptualisation of the Surat Basin. The key enhancements compared to previous simulations are the detailed characterisation of the Walloon Subgroup and dual phase gas and water modelling capability. This regional groundwater flow model will be the first time to our knowledge that a model of this scale has been built for groundwater impact assessment with the petroleum industry standard simulator: ECLIPSE. Use of the ECLIPSE software, with its dual phase, porosity and permeability functionality, has allowed cross disciplinary collaboration and innovative hybrid workflows to quantify the drawdown associated with QGC’s coal seam de-pressurisation


Patrick McKelvey: A strategic and technical water management specialist with 20 years post graduate experience. Technical capability covers general water resources management, groundwater,surface water and water treatment.
Sectors include mining, oil and gas, international development projects, and general industrial water management.
Experience covers the project cycle from program design and field investigation through to implementation, operation and closure. Includes strategic water management for national agencies and governments.
Currently managing water resources for the QCLNG unconventional gas project in Queensland including regulatory compliance, impact assessment, technical studies on water resources and water related technical support to gas production. Responsible for a $125,000,000 budget and a staff of 15


The National Groundwater Association’s 2014 Henry Darcy Lecture Series was presented by Dr. Dorthe Wildenschild.

Friday 27th February 2015

“What Happens in the Pore, No Longer Stays in the Pore: Opportunities and Limitations for Porous Media Characterization and Process Quantification Using X-ray Tomography.”


SA IAH Chapter/NCGRT Free Seminar Fracking: Friend or Foe?

Wednesday 26th November 2014

IAH SA and the NCGRT have joined up to present a seminar on the debate about the risks associated with fraccing. Three speakers gave presentations injecting some technical rigour into the discussion with reference to the Otway Basin in SA where groundwater is an important resource.

Hydrocarbon Prospectivity of the Otway Basin, South Australia

Presenter: Tony Hill, Principal Geologist, Energy Resources Division, Dept of State Development

Tony presented an overview of the development history and how gas was produced for 23 years before being exhausted. The prospective area in the Penola Trough lies at a depth of 3000 m with up to 2000 m of low permeability aquitards intervening between the gas reservoirs and the overlying good quality groundwater. Current exploration targets are conventional gas that does not require fraccing.

See presentation

Unconventional Oil and Gas in South Australia

Presenter: Michael Malavazos, Director Engineering Operations, Energy Resources Division, DSD

Mike gave a brief description of the fracking process and how it has been occurring without problems in the Cooper Basin since 1991. He presented a detailed overview of the regulatory framework in SA including best practice principles and stakeholder engagement. Various issues of concern were discussed (aquifer contamination, impacts on landholders etc).

See presentation

South East Groundwater Quality Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Program

Presenter: Tavis Kleinig, Senior Adviser Site Contamination EPA

Tavis outlined the basis of this monitoring program and listed the 15 other hazards for groundwater quality in the shallow limestone aquifer, apart from petroleum and gas exploration and production. These include dairies, viticulture, septic tanks, drainage wells, timber mills, agricultural chemicals etc, some of which have already caused aquifer contamination. In conjunction with DSD, monitoring will commence at 14 locations aligning with areas of current & potential future petroleum exploration & development.

See presentation


Groundwater resources beneath Adelaide

Joint meeting with Hydrological Society of SA

27 March 2014, Waite Campus

 Steve Barnett (DEWNR) presented an overview of the hydrogeology of the metropolitan area. The thin Quaternary sand aquifers are contained within the thick Hindmarsh Clay which is up to 80m thick. These aquifers supply numerous backyard bores and can be subject to point source contamination in some areas. The deeper confined Tertiary limestone aquifers are the major suppliers of about 12 GL/yr for the beverage industry, golf courses and other industrial uses. Monitoring trends show no alarming trends. Data gaps include the risk of seawater intrusion, how leakage between aquifers occurs and the nature of groundwater flow across faults from fractured rock aquifers of the Mt Lofty Ranges. Presentation click here

Peter Cook (NCGRT) outlined how previous methodologies applied to the Willunga SuperScience Project could be applied to address the above data gaps identified for Adelaide area. These include the coring of aquitards, isotopic dating of groundwater along transects and closed spaced drilling across faults. Peter presented some Carbon-14 results for four transects across the Adelaide Plains which shows increasing groundwater age downgradient from the eastern faulted boundary which confirms the thesis that recharge to the sedimentary aquifers is predominately from the Ranges. The groundwater movement velocity is about 0.5 m/yr. Presentation click here


SA IAH/NCGRT Modellers’ Forum #4


The analytic element method is a numerical method used to solve partial differential equations, which has been used worldwide over many years specifically for modelling regional flow, although it is not commonly used in Australia. There is a range of advantages and limitations to using this approach compared to MODFLOW, and this forum will delve into when it can be most successfully applied.

Professor Strack will focus on the use of elementary analytic solutions and models created with the analytic element method for solving groundwater flow problems. This approach to solving groundwater problems, regardless of their complexity, is greatly enhanced in terms of both insight and efficiency by carrying out preliminary computations. Such computations may consist of relatively simple solutions amenable to implementation, either in interactive computer programs such as MATLAB®, or in dedicated analytic element computer programs such as SLAEM or MLAEM.

Following Professor Strack’s presentation, an NCGRT Program 2 researcher will lead a discussion into how and why this method could be applied to Australian groundwater modelling. Anyone interested in learning more about new and innovative approaches to groundwater modelling should attend.

Click here to view presentation


SA IAH/NCGRT Groundwater Modellers’ Forum #3


Predicting the impacts of climate change on groundwater resources is not a straightforward exercise, given the ‘cascade of uncertainty’ that occurs when outputs from one model are used as inputs to another which has its own uncertainties and simplifications. The desire for simplicity and ‘magic’ number answers may result in highly misleading outcomes from such predictions. Four experts will briefly discuss the various modelling processes and associated uncertainties before a spirited open discussion about possible best practice methodologies to prevent misunderstandings and distorted predictions of groundwater impacts.



Inaugural Groundwater Modellers’ Forum – 21 February, 2013

The forum aims to have regular meetings of groundwater modellers here in Adelaide to discuss a host of issues relevant to consultancies, agencies and researchers.