Cockburn connectivity studies

The department is investigating options for setting a daily cease to pump rule for aquifer access licences in the Cockburn River Alluvium Management Zone in the Peel Alluvium Groundwater Source.

The Water Sharing Plan for the Namoi Alluvial Groundwater Sources 2020 allows groundwater access rules to be established after 1 July 2022.

A Review of Groundwater-Surface Water Connectivity - Cockburn Alluvium Management Zone completed in June 2019 confirmed that:

  • groundwater in the alluvial aquifer is highly connected to the surface water of the Cockburn River
  • groundwater extraction has the potential to impact on the flows and pool volumes in the Cockburn River, and
  • there is no current short-term alternative cease-to-pump trigger points.

While this review showed groundwater and surface water in this area is highly connected, we want to better understand the effect of groundwater extraction on the surface water pools and habitat for endangered populations of Eel-tailed catfish and Murray cod.

The department is now undertaking further work to investigate the relationship between groundwater extraction and surface water pools in the Cockburn River Alluvium Management Zone.

The Cockburn River groundwater and surface water connectivity study – progress report provides information on study sites, data collected to date and the next steps of the study.

The department will consider the study findings when developing options for groundwater access rules before consulting with stakeholders on their views.