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Flora and fauna communities
In 2016 the Department for Energy and Mining engaged the Department for Environment and Water to undertake a characterisation of flora and fauna communities of the Cooper-Eromanga basins in South Australia, to provide fit-for-purpose ecological knowledge for the energy industry, the regulator and the state’s lead environmental agency. The information obtained from the project is available to both industry and government agencies, as well as the general public, through a spatial layer on the South Australia Resource Information Gateway (SARIG).
Following the completion of a flora and fauna communities of the Cooper-Eromanga Basin study in 2017, the Department for Environment and Water, the Department for Energy and Mining and energy industry partners concluded that there was an opportunity to further utilise the ecotype mapping and ecological data, combined with new analyses of remote sensing data to further refine assessments of Environmental Values of the Cooper-Eromanga Basin.
These new investigations have interrogated Landsat satellite data (~30 m resolution) to identify high-value groundwater-dependent ecosystems (GDE), assess conservation priorities, develop metrics to assess vegetation condition, and provide updated mapping of environmental values in the region.
These spatial tools are intended to facilitate routine assessments of the potential impact of existing or new industry activities on environmental values, and to provide a desktop method to rapidly and consistently evaluate rangeland native vegetation clearance and offset applications (i.e. significant environmental benefit, SEB).
The information obtained from the project is available to both industry and government agencies, as well as the general public, through a spatial layer on the South Australia Resource Information Gateway (SARIG).
Water balance model
The Department for Energy and Mining commissioned Golder Associates to produce the model of the Cooper-Eromanga basin with current and future predicted water supply, demand, type and quality. Subsequent planning meetings were held in February 2014 and April 2014, with the study commencing in July 2014, and the report completed in January 2015.
The water balance model provides a framework to ascertain tangible opportunities for the water industry, including identifying re-use opportunities within water quality constraints, and collaboration to avoid duplication of infrastructure. The results of the model will be utilised to deliver improved, innovative water management practices, and extend involvement in Water Group 3 under the Roundtable for Oil and Gas to the wider water industry.
The final results demonstrate that there is an overall surplus of water in the industry. The report provides insight into demands and sets a foundation for future improvements in data quality and collaboration initiatives. Currently demand for water is approximately 6% of total extraction, with SA’s component of 2014 extractions at approximately 65% of the 60ML/day industry allocation. Extractions are expected to grow by 28% by 2016, with demand to reach 15%. The greatest extraction quantities are from Produced Formation Water (Oil), with the greatest demand for drilling and completions both now and in the future, projected to grow by about 4 times. The area of largest change in excess is in north-west SA.
In relation to water use and fracture stimulation, there is no evidence or realistic expectation of fracture stimulation resulting in contamination of fresh water supplies. More information on fracture stimulation (PDF 2.24MB).
Impact of seismic lines on ant communities
The SA Museum was contracted to investigate the use of ants as bioindicators of the impact of seismic operations in the Cooper Basin. Almost 67,000 ants were caught and classified making this the largest single study of ants carried out in Australia.
- The Impact of Seismic Lines on Ant Communities in the Cooper Basin (PDF 2.3MB)
- Validation of Use of Ants as Bioindicators of the Impact of Seismic Operations (PDF 121.7KB)
Assessment of the recovery of 3D seismic lines
This study explores the visual recovery rates of 3D seismic lines in the Cooper Basin that lie within South Australia and were created between 1992 and 2015.