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Thursday, 01 April 2010
Open-cut coal mining operations in the Collie Basin have continued for several decades resulting in pit lakes, many of considerable size. Currently, 15 pit lakes occur with varying depth, shape, chemical and biological characteristics. Whilst these lakes represent a potential water resource for recreational uses they are also potential human health and environmental risks. A project entitled 'Understanding Pit Lake resources within the Collie Basin' was jointly funded by the Department of Water, WA and the Australian Government under the 'Water for the Future Plan'. This project supported water resource planning and management in Collie mine region through 5 main tasks. These include, collating and summarising historical pit lake water quality and ecological information collected by government agencies, industry and researchers; determining how local communities use the pit lakes and what potential health effects these uses might pose, developing a pit lake monitoring strategy, conceptual modelling of fundamental pit lake hydro-chemical and ecological processes and risks and the numerical prediction of water quality and volume under different scenarios of altered groundwater abstraction and climate change. All project tasks have been completed and are available as Centre for Ecosystem Management reports.