Research Impact

Visualisation of methane gas on Little Nerang Dam

The interactive 3D visualisation shows how the greenhouse gas is generated in the dam's sedement zone. It allows non-technical stakeholders to make better informed decisions about methane management.

nerang smallGreenhouse gas accounting, a national reporting system for greenhouse gas emissions, is focused on improving estimates of non-carbon dioxide emissions such as methane and nitrous oxide. Recent research has found that water storages, such as dams, are major sources of methane production, presenting a new challenge for water regulation bodies.

To overcome this problem, QCIF worked with Seqwater to build a visualisation of the methane activity of major South East Queensland water store, Little Nerang Dam. The interactive, 3D image allows stakeholders and non-technical policy makers to see how methane is generated in the dam’s sediment zone, affecting the development of plans to better manage the gas. The model combined multiple data sets into a single image. Researchers were able to:

  • identify pockets of methane, a greenhouse gas that needs to be included in carbon accounting schemes
  • integrate bathymetry and side-scan sonar data critical for hydrodynamic modelling
  • include Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data for a 3D model of dam landforms and vegetation above the waterline

Reductions in the amount of methane produced by water storages such as Little Nerang Dam will become a priority for Seqwater once Greenhouse Gas accounting schemes are
fully introduced.

The model has the potential to accommodate further data sets as they become available, and develop into a tool for building scientifi c models of dam water quality, potentially reducing the amount and cost of treatment required. It is a further step in being able to provide a complete view of water’s journey from raindrop to storage to drinking tap.

Project participants: The UQ Centre for Water Studies, the QUT HPC Unit, Seqwater, CSIRO, the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM), QCIF

Download the Visualisation of methane in Little Nerang Dam project sheet pdf