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Glossary

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360° photo

The 360 degree photos have been taken from the location of the [camera ] symbol on the map. In some of the photos you can see groundwater monitoring bores (vertical white pipes) that have live dataloggers installed. The solar panel visible next to one monitoring bore provides power to the telemetry base station, which sends data each day to a server which hosts the information provided on the website. Note that the 360 photo image is not live.


Alluvium

A sediment deposit of clay, silt, and sand left by flowing floodwater in a river valley or delta, typically producing fertile soil.


Aquifer 

Underground rock or sediment such as sandstone that is saturated with water and has enough connected spaces (pores or fractures) that water can move through it. Groundwater typically travels very slowly through aquifers and it can take hundreds or thousands of years for it to move even a few kilometres.


Aquitard

Suggested change: Underground rock such as shale or claystone that does not have a lot of connected spaces. These rocks act as a barrier to groundwater flow letting only a very small amount of water to pass through.


Barometric pressure

Also known as atmospheric pressure, this is the pressure created by the weight of the air in the Earth’s atmosphere above a given point on the Earth’s surface. This pressure varies with the height of the point above sea level and is used to increase the accuracy of our recorded water levels.


Bore or borehole

A narrow hole drilled into the ground. All our groundwater monitoring boreholes are lined with casings (either steel or PVC). A groundwater monitoring bore has a screen (or holes within the casing) towards the base of the bore allowing the groundwater at that depth to enter the bore, enabling a sample to be taken or water levels to be monitored. Groundwater monitoring bores are typically 5 centimetres (2 inches) wide and can be tens or hundreds of meters deep into the ground.


CSG exploration lease

Granted to a petroleum exploration company by the NSW Government, a petroleum exploration licence (PEL) allows the holder exclusive rights to explore the subsurface for petroleum (including coal seam gas) within the exploration licence area for the period of the licence. An exploration licence does not allow for production of oil and gas (including coal seam gas) nor does it guarantee a production lease will be granted within the PEL area.


CSG production lease

Granted to a petroleum exploration company by the NSW Government, a petroleum production licence (PPL) gives the holder exclusive rights to extract petroleum (including coal seam gas) from underground within the production licence area for the period of the licence. Since all petroleum production is State Significant Development, development consent under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act (1979) must be in place before a petroleum production lease can be granted.


Daily rainfall

The amount of rainfall that was captured at the weather station during each 24 hour period from (local time) 9am the day before to 9am on the day it is reported.


EC

Electrical conductivity (or EC) is used to measure salinity of a water. Specifically, EC is the measure of the ability to conduct electricity through the dissolved salts within the water. A water with more dissolved salts (or salinity) will have a higher EC. EC is commonly measured in the unit microsiemens per centimetre (µS/cm).


Groundwater

Water held underground in the soil or in pores and crevices in rock. Groundwater is recharged from, and eventually flows to, the surface as part of the natural water cycle. Groundwater slowly moves through the rock or soil. The depth at which the soil or rock spaces (pores or fractures) becomes completely saturated is called the water table.


Groundwater monitoring bore

Similar concept to a drinking straw, a monitoring bore lets us find out what is happening with the groundwater at the certain depth underground. It is a sealed pipe (PVC or steel) that is installed to a certain depth underground. The pipe has a screen (or holes) towards the bottom that allows groundwater from that depth to enter the pipe (bore). The water rises up the bore to a level that reflects the water pressure at the depth of the screen. We can install a device (a datalogger) to monitor the changes in water levels or water quality over time. We can also take samples of the water inside the bore and have the water chemistry analysed at a laboratory to understand what type of groundwater is present and see if it changes over time.

We often put several monitoring bores next to each other installed to different depths underground to monitor the groundwater in different aquifers or groundwater systems. We can monitor the water level and water quality in each of the bores to see how they relate to each other and whether they change over time.


Hydrogeology

Hydrogeology is a field of science that relates to understanding the distribution and movement of water in the soil and rocks of the Earth’s crust.


mbgl

Metres below ground level.


mAHD

Meters relative to the Australian Height Datum, which is similar to sea level.


Permeability

Permeability is a property of rocks and soils that is an indication of the ability for fluids or gasses to move through rocks or soil. Higher permeability allow fluids and gases to move more easily through rocks and soil. Permeability is also affected by the pressure exerted on a rock; typically, rocks deeper underground have a lower permeability.


Relative humidity

The actual measured amount of moisture (water vapour) in the air compared to the amount it could hold at given air temperature. When the air cannot “hold” all the moisture, it will condense as dew (and in that case, the relative humidity is 100%). (Relative humidity is specifically the ratio of the partial pressure of water vapour in an air-water mixture to the saturation vapour pressure of water at the same temperature).


Salinity

Salinity is the measure of dissolved salts in water or soil. Drinking water is very low in salinity (typically 10 – 1,500 µS/cm), whereas sea water is quite high (as high as 55,000 µS/cm or more). Groundwater salinity can be anything from quite fresh to reasonably salty, depending on the types of rocks it has moved through and how long it has been underground. We monitor the changes in salinity of groundwater over time to understand the natural variations as well as to see how the different groundwater systems interact with each other and monitor impacts from our exploration activities. Electrical conductivity (EC) is a way to measure salinity by measuring the ability of water to conduct an electrical current. A higher EC means the water is more salty. EC is commonly measured in the unit microsiemens per centimetre (µS/cm).


Stream gauge

One way that we monitor surface water is using stream gauges installed along rivers, creeks and streams. These gauges provide information on the water level of the river, creek or stream. Devices can also be installed to measure the salinity of the surface water or we can manually take samples of the water for analysis. It is useful to monitor the level and quality of a stream as it can provide information about natural variations in the water cycle, whether groundwater is connected to surface water, and also allows us to monitor for impacts to surface water.


Telemetry

The process of using special equipment to automatically take measurements of something (such as water pressure or temperature) and send them wirelessly to another place. AGL has installed telemetry at several of our water monitoring points in the Camden, Gloucester and Hunter Gas Projects. By using telemetry, we can remotely access our water monitoring data and view it updated daily on our Water Portal.


Vibrating wire piezometer

A vibrating wire piezometer is a pressure measuring device that is installed in a borehole and then cemented in place. It is used to monitor groundwater pressure (or water level) at a certain depth underground. We usually install vibrating wire piezometers when we want to monitor deeper groundwater systems.


Water levels

In addition to the regularly-updated water level and water quality data that is being collected from some of the water monitoring sites, AGL also holds water level data for our other water monitoring sites that have been downloaded manually. We have been collecting data from some of our water monitoring sites for 5 years.

We monitor water levels within different water systems (for example, rivers and groundwater aquifers) to understand how the system changes over time (naturally or for other reasons). Monitoring water levels of different water systems at the same location (for example, a river and also different aquifers underground) tells us the relationship between these systems and how they may, or may not, be connected.


Water level chart

This plot shows the level of water in the groundwater monitoring bores and stream gauges over time, compared to daily rainfall. The water level in a groundwater monitoring bore is the depth from ground level to the water inside the bore. Monitoring groundwater levels lets us know if and how the water level in an aquifer changes over time. The water level at our stream gauges shows how the river or stream changes height over time. Especially at our shallowest groundwater and stream monitoring locations, you can see how water level responds to rain. Sometimes water levels can be seen to briefly drop. This is usually caused when technicians visit a bore to take a water sample, temporarily lowering the amount of water in the borehole.


Water quality chart

This plot shows the water quality of the groundwater monitoring bore water in terms of electrical conductivity over time, compared to daily rainfall. Electrical conductivity (EC) is a measure of the ability of water to conduct an electrical current, and relates to salinity. A higher EC means the water is more salty. Monitoring the groundwater quality lets us understand natural variations and whether there is any significant change over time. EC is commonly measured in the unit microsiemens per centimetre (µS/cm).


Weather station

At our AGL weather stations at both the Gloucester and Hunter Gas Projects, we collect continuous readings of rainfall, air temperature, wind speeds, air pressure and humidity. The daily rainfall data shows the amount of rain that was captured at the weather station during each 24 hour period from (local time) 9am the day before to 9am on the day it is reported. The hourly temp (temperature) chart shows the average temperature each hour measured at a point 10 meters above ground level.

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