Liverpool Plains water study starting
From the August 2011 edition of Agriculture Today.
Soil, surface and ground water interactions on the Liverpool Plains will be studied in a new project for the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training.
There are concerns that the quality and quantity of groundwater resources may be adversely impacted by agriculture, developing industries and urban activities.
Dryland salinity and salinisation of fresh water aquifers are two major issues behind these concerns.
The research will evaluate the effect of agricultural land use on water quality and quantity within the crop root zone, and land use interactions with groundwater across landscapes typical of the Liverpool Plains.
Dr Malem McLeod, hydrologist with NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is the project leader.
Initially, her colleague, Ian Daniells, will assess the effect of managing a black cracking clay at Breeza DPI field station.
He will monitor quantity and quality of water drained out to below root zones of deep rooted and shallow rooted crops.
This will be compared to changes in groundwater levels and quality from nearby observation boreholes and piezometers managed by a University of New South Wales (UNSW) team.
A piezometer is a sealed borehole that measures changes in the pressure of an aquifer.
This project compliments existing groundwater research in the Liverpool Plains regions, led by Dr Wendy Timms from UNSW.
The UNSW research team will track water movement down the soil profile.
These measurements will be made on two geophysics casings and a 10 metre deep foundation for a gravity meter station at Breeza Field Station and at a site along Norman’s Road near Carrol.
The UNSW researchers will investigate if these data can be used to determine the specific storage capacity of the aquitard (the geological structure which confines groundwater in an aquifer).
Storage changes will be compared to pressure changes in the five piezometers already installed at both sites.
Contact Malem McLeod and Ian Daniells, Tamworth, (02) 6763 1100.
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