Groundwater in Fractured Bedrock Environments: Managing Catchment and Subsurface Resources
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Fractured bedrock aquifers have traditionally been regarded as low-productivity aquifers, with only limited relevance to regional groundwater resources. It is now being increasingly recognised that these complex bedrock aquifers can play an important role in catchment management and subsurface energy systems. At shallow to intermediate depth, fractured bedrock aquifers help to sustain surface water baseflows and groundwater dependent ecosystems, provide local groundwater supplies and impact on contaminant transfers on a catchment scale. At greater depths, understanding the properties and groundwater flow regimes of these complex aquifers can be crucial for the successful installation of subsurface energy and storage systems, such as deep geothermal or Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage systems and natural gas or CO2 storage facilities as well as the exploration of natural resources such as conventional/unconventional oil and gas. In many scenarios, a robust understanding of fractured bedrock aquifers is required to assess the nature and extent of connectivity between such engineered subsurface systems at depth and overlying receptors in the shallow subsurface.
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