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Professor Peter Cook 

Flinders University

BIOGRAPHY 

Peter Cook is a Professor of Hydrogeology at Flinders University and Director of the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT).

 

One of Australia's foremost groundwater scientists, Professor Cook has more than 20 years experience in groundwater research, spanning the fields of groundwater hydrology, ecohydrology, isotope hydrology, unsaturated zone flow process, and surface water – groundwater interaction. He has co-written books on environmental tracers and ecohydrology. He was the National Ground Water Association’s Henry Darcy Distinguished Lecturer in Ground Water Science in 2009, the first time this honour was awarded to a scientist from outside North America.

Qualifications

Ph.D., School of Earth Sciences, Flinders University 1989-1992
BA, 1st Class Honours in Geography, Australian National University 1983-1986

Honours, awards, and grants

2009 Darcy Distinguished Lecturer - Awarded by the US National Ground Water Association
2008 CSIRO Chairmans Medal - Awarded to the Murray-Darling Basin Sustainable Yields Project team for research that has delivered the most comprehensive and complete whole-of-basin water assessment ever undertaken in Australia
2007 CSIRO 'Go for Growth' Award
2005 CSIRO Teamwork Award
1994 Canada International Fellowship
1991 Flinders University Overseas Travelling Fellowship
1991 State Bank Travelling Award
1986 Australian National University Medalist

Key Responsibilities

Director, National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training

Facilitating Open Pit Mine Closure with
Managed Aquifer Recharge

Peter G. Cook, Ilka Wallis, Shannon Sloan, and Anthony D. Miller

 

Abstract

 

Controlled groundwater reinjection, or managed aquifer recharge (MAR), is an established and increasingly applied technology within the urban environment, centered around reinjection or infiltration of stormwater, reclaimed wastewater, and excess surface water to augment limited urban water resources.

 

It is, however, increasingly recognized as a promising water management tool that enables the re-use of water produced during mining and unconventional gas extraction and allows the return of water from dewatering operations back to the source aquifers. In the context of mining, MAR has the potential to reduce the environmental impacts associated with surface discharge, while minimizing the stress on local groundwater resources.

 

However, there is also increasing consideration of the role that MAR can play in mine closure. Dewatering of open pit mines can lower the regional water table for distances of several kilometers from the pit. Groundwater levels surrounding the pit will rise the following cessation of dewatering operations on mine closure. However, in the absence of MAR, stabilization of groundwater levels may take tens to hundreds of years.

 

If any excess water extracted to dewater the mine is re-injected into the subsurface, then this may accelerate the recovery of the water table. Re-injection thereby needs to occur sufficiently far from the mine to minimize the amount of groundwater that flows back to the pit during mine operations but is still close enough to speed up the water table recovery post-mine closure.

 

The optimal injection distance increases with the aquifer hydraulic diffusivity and the mine life (duration of dewatering and injection). We present simple modeling results that illustrate the benefit of MAR for mine closure.