Securing Australia's Water Resources

Environment

Australia is the driest inhabited continent, which makes the use and management of water a key challenge. There is, however, a sparse understanding of our water resources in much of the continent.

Groundwater and surface water systems are fundamentally linked and an adequate understanding of groundwater in particular is critical for optimised and holistic management of water resources. In many parts of Australia groundwater underpins minerals and energy resource development, agriculture and regional communities and the environment. Understanding groundwater systems and minimising the impacts of development on groundwater supply and quality are thus critical to Australia's ongoing water security and regional development.

Our role

Inform the understanding of the location, quantity, quality and sustainable use of Australia's groundwater resources and surface water systems.

Desired outcomes

  • Management of Australia's groundwater resources is underpinned by scientific evidence.
  • Communities have access to a sustainable groundwater resource.
  • There is public confidence in the management of groundwater resource use and environmental impacts.

Work Activities and Capability

Exploring for the Future - Groundwater

The  Exploring for the Future programme will deliver an improved understanding of the potential mineral, energy and groundwater resources in northern Australia. This is an under-explored region and offers significant potential for development and economic growth.

Geoscience Australia will deliver a resource prospectus, as a series of integrated maps, reports and datasets, for minerals, energy and groundwater that will attract industry investment and support a vibrant mining, equipment and services industry. Geoscience Australia will lead the programme in collaboration with state and Northern Territory government entities and will include delivery of a suite of new pre-competitive geoscience data and knowledge for targeted areas of northern Australia.

Evaluating Australia's Groundwater Systems

Significant gaps remain in the scientific knowledge of the size of Australian groundwater resources, their locations, characteristics, rates of recharge, connectivity with surface waters and rates of use or depletion. Geoscience Australia's work will deliver new data, interpretations and assessments of the nature, magnitude and status of groundwater resources in key parts of Australia, in collaboration with Commonwealth, state and territory government entities.

These new data and information will inform the sustainable management and responsible development of groundwater resources and to provide transparent, evidence-based advice in support of Australian Government priorities.

Groundwater and Surface Water Innovation

To improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness in delivering groundwater assessments and advice Geoscience Australia will establish and embed new  techniques to analyse, interpret and characterise groundwater resources, actively pursuing the best available science and technology.

Geoscience Australia's work will advance multi-disciplinary and integrative geoscientific approaches to understanding groundwater-surface water systems and processes, and actively scan, partner with other organisations and apply current and emerging science and technology beneficial in the investigation of groundwater systems.

Performance Criteria

Geoscience Australia's work program is delivered through six key strategic priority areas. Performance will be assessed using a number of qualitative and quantitative measures to communicate a comprehensive view of performance that will be presented in the organisation's annual performance statement. Performance measures will include assessment against key work deliverables and performance indicators.

Programme Deliverables

2017-2018

2018-2019

2019-2020

2020-2021

Exploring for the Future - Groundwater

  • Acquisition, interpretation and delivery of pre-competitive data
  • Deliver prospectus of groundwater resource potential in northern Australia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Groundwater and Surface Water Innovation

  • Provide authoritative, independent information and advice to the Australian Government and other stakeholders on groundwater resources, processes and impacts
  • Deliver final products and data for Lake Eyre Basin bioregion as part of the Bioregional Assessment Programme
  • Deliver stage reports to the Department of the Environment and Energy on the Geological and Bioregional Assessments

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Groundwater and Surface Water Innovation

  • Assess geophysical and remote sensing technologies for groundwater system mapping and characterisation

 

 

 

 

Key Performance Indicators

2017-2018

2018-2019

2019-2020

2020-2021

Stakeholder satisfaction with Geoscience Australia's groundwater products and services (biennial stakeholder survey)

N/A

80%

N/A

80%

Requests for groundwater resource management advice under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 responded to within agreed timeframes

95%

95%

95%

95%