NCRIS Groundwater Infrastructure



Where is Wellington?

Wellington is a town in inland NSW on the junction of the Macquarie and Bell rivers. It lies about 50 km south-east of Dubbo. Nearby, the limestone Wellington Caves are an important geological site.

Research is being undertaken at the new Wellington Research Station near to Wellington itself, at the Wellington Caves, and at Baldry, in the nearby Goobang National Park.

The Wellington Research Station site lies on land owned by the University of NSW and is situated at the margin of two rainfall belts to the north. The area is underlain by several different types of fractured rock.

Why is this location important?

Less is known about the groundwater resources available in fractured rocks than practically any other aquifer system, yet fractured rocks cover approximately 20% of the world and approximately one third of all bores drilled in Australia are into fractured rock systems.



Acworth, R.I., Halloran, L.J.S., Rau, G.C., Cuthbert, M.O. & Bernardi, T.L. (2016) An objective frequency domain method for quantifying confined aquifer compressible storage using Earth and atmospheric tides, GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, vol. 43, pp. 11671 - 11678,

Ajami, H., Evans J.P., McCabe, M.F. and Stisen, S., (2014) Technical Note: Reducing the spin-up time of integrated surface water–groundwater models. Hydrology and Earth System Science, 18, 5169-5179.

Asmyhr M.G., Hose G., Graham P. and Stow A.J. (2014) Fine-scale genetics of subterranean syncarids. Freshwater Biology 59(1):1-11. Doi: 10.1111/fwb.12239

Coleborn, K.,  Rau, G.C., Cuthbert, M.O. Baker, A. & Navarre, O. 2016, Solar-forced diurnal regulation of cave drip rates via phreatophyte evapotranspiration, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, vol. 20, pp. 4439 - 4455,

Cuthbert, M.O., Baker, A., Jex, C.N., Graham, P.W., Treble, P., Andersen, M.S and Acworth, R.I., (2014) Drip water isotopes in semi-arid karst: implications for speleothem paleoclimatology. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 395, 194-204.

Cuthbert, M.O., Rau, G.C., Andersen, M.S., Roshan, H., Rutlidge, H., Marjo, C.E., Markowska, M., Jex, C.N., Graham, P.W., Mariethoz, G., Acworth, R.I., Baker, A. (2014) Evaporative cooling of speleothems. Scientific Reports, 4, Article number: 5162

Graham, P., Andersen, M.S., McCabe, M., Ajami, H., Baker, A. & Acworth, R.I. (2015) To what extent do long-duration high-volume dam releases influence river-aquifer interactions?. Hydrogeology Journal. Vol. 23, p. 319-334. DOI 10.1007/s10040-014-1212-3.

Graham, P.W., Baker, B., Andersen, M.S. & Acworth, R.I., (2015) Field measurement of fluorescent dissolved organic material as a means of early detection of leachate plumes. Water Air and Soil Pollution 226:211. P. 1-18. DOI 10.1007/s11270-015-2475-6.

Graham, P.W., Baker, B. and Andersen, M.S. (2015) Organic Carbon mobilisation in a Groundwater System Stressed by Pumping. Scientific Reports, 5 Article number: 18487, p. 1-12. DOI: 10.1038/srep18487.

Jex, C.N., Mariethoz, G., Baker, A., Graham, P., Andersen, M.S., Acworth, I., Edwards, N. and Azcurra, C. (2012) Spatially dense drip hydrological monitoring at the Wellington Caves, South East Australia. International Journal of Speleology. Vol 41 (2), p 285-298. DOI:

Keshavarzi, M., Baker, A., Kelly, B.F.J. & Andersen, M.S. (2017): River-groundwater connectivity in a karst system, Wellington, NSW. Hydrogeology Journal. Vol. 25(2), p. 557–574. Doi:10.1007/s10040-016-1491-y.

Markowska, M., Baker, A., Treble, P. C., Andersen, M. S., Hankin S., Jex, C. N., Tadros, C., Roach, R. (2015): Unsaturated zone hydrology and cave drip discharge water response: Implications for speleothem paleoclimate record variability. Journal of Hydrology. Vol. 529, p. 662-675. doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2014.12.044.

Rau, G.C., Cuthbert, M.O., Andersen, M.S., Baker, A., Rutlidge, H., Markowska, M., Roshan, H., Marjo, C.E, Graham, P.W., & Acworth, R.I., (2015) Controls on cave drip water temperature and implications for speleothem-based paleoclimate reconstructions: From surface to drip source. Quaternary Science Reviews. Vol. (127), p. 19-36. Special issue on: Water Isotope Systematics: Improving our Palaeoclimate Interpretations. DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2015.03.026. 

    Rutlidge, H., Baker, A., Marjo, C.E., Andersen, M.S., Graham, P., Cuthbert, M.O., Rau, G.C., Roshan, H., Markowska, M., Mariethoz, G. and Jex, C.N. (2014) Dripwater organic matter and trace element geochemistry in a semi-arid karst environment: implications for speleothem paleoclimatology. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 135, 217-230.

    Rutlidge, H., Andersen, M.S., Baker, A., Chinu, K.J., Cuthbert, M.O., Marjo, C.E., Markowska, M., Jex, C. and Rau, G.C. (2015) Organic characterisation of cave dripwater by LC-OCD and fluorescence analysis. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. Vol. 166, 15–28. doi:10.1016/j.gca.2015.05.042.