About the project


This study focused on predicting the occurrence of fresh groundwater discharge from the terrestrial environment to the adjacent marine environment. The area covered in this study is the western extent of the Cape Range peninsula and adjacent Ningaloo Reef Marine Park. The aim of this study was to help reduce the threat of pollution through better coastal and groundwater management. Fuel and oil, sewage and other wastes from vessels or contaminants from coastal developments can affect water quality.


  • To characterise the western coastal geological and aquifer structure
  • To characterise the hydrogeology of the western coastal plain and availability of potable water
  • To characterise the coastal seawater/freshwater interface, and its behaviour in relation to seasonal fluctuations, tidal and episodic events (e.g. cyclones)
  • To determine the physico-chemical structure of the freshwater/saltwater system
  • To determine the pathways of groundwater discharge to the Ningaloo Reef lagoon, and physical and/or benthic ‘signals’ of discharge, by remote sensing and ground truth studies


Spatial analysis, GIS


It was identified that spatial patterns do exist in the fresh groundwater data for the Ningaloo Reef Marine Park. The Null Hypothesis can therefore be accepted that states “A predictive model can be used to help identify groundwater discharge into a marine environment”. The prediction model used in this study provides suggested areas for freshwater groundwater occurrence.


Program: WAMSI 2006-2011

Completed: March 2010

Location: Cape Range Peninsula, Ningaloo Reef Marine Park

Project Leader: Lindsay Collins, Curtin University



Final Report