Recharge Estimation in the Surat Basin

Gemma's PhD project will complement the work currently being carried out for the CCSG's "Recharge Estimation in the Surat Basin" project. Specifically, her project aims to improve regional groundwater recharge estimation by adapting existing tools to be applicable in geologically heterogeneous environments, using the Surat Basin as a case study. The research to be conducted includes an uncertainty analysis of the Chloride Mass Balance (CMB) method, which is the most common approach for estimating long-term recharge, as applied to the Surat Basin by the Office of Groundwater Impact Assessment (OGIA).

Sampling issues will be the main focus of this section. The second chapter of the PhD will focus on baseline analysis, sensitivity analysis, calibration, and validation of the Australian Water Resources Assessment modelling system (AWRA-L), which represents the ‘state-of-the-art’ in near-surface water modelling. The final component of the research will explore the usefulness of merging the CMB method with the AWRA-L model with the aim of developing a method for more accurately estimating groundwater recharge than is currently available when applying the methods individually.

Following the completion of her Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree majoring in Geology and Marine and Coastal Management at the University of Western Australia (UWA) in 2010, Gemma joined Coffey Geotechnics as a Graduate Engineering Geologist. For the four and a half years Gemma worked at Coffey, she consulted on a number of mining, oil and gas, and civil engineering projects across Western Australia, with most of her experience gained in the Pilbara region. During this time, she also commenced her Master of Hydrogeology at UWA, gaining her qualification in 2014. Gemma joined SMI in 2016 to commence her PhD in regional groundwater recharge estimation with the CCSG and CWiMI.

Gemma is an active member of the SMI student community. She is a current member of the CAC and was also a member of the SMI RHD Conference Committee in 2016. Gemma is currently studying her PhD under the supervision of Prof. Neil McIntyre and Dr. Harald Hofmann.


While researching her Honours project in 2010, Gemma accepted a vacation scholar position at the Western Australian Geothermal Centre of Excellence (WAGCoE), a collaboration between CSIRO, UWA, and Curtin University of Technology. Gemma is currently a member of the International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH) and frequently attends the Queensland Branch's monthly meetings.

Key Publications

Reid, Lynn B., Bloomfield, Gemma, Ricard, Ludovic, Botman, Chris, and Wilkes, Paul (2012) Shallow geothermal regime in the Perth Metropolitan Area. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences 59 7: 1033-1048.


Professor Neil McIntyre


Featured projects Duration
Recharge Estimation in the Surat Basin