National Groundwater Systems

Due to the complexity of this image and the niche scientific target audience, no alternative description has been provided. Please email Geoscience Australia at for an alternative description.

This continental-scale project further refines the framework for the consistent understanding of national groundwater systems. The process begins with creating a phased inventory of Australia’s groundwater systems in onshore basins.

Groundwater is a critical resource for Australia, providing drinking water to millions of people in cities, towns, and communities across the country, supporting billions of dollars of economic activity each year and sustaining our natural environment. It also supports Indigenous cultural values and sustains a range of groundwater dependent ecosystems (GDEs). Groundwater has the potential to provide a critical drought management resource for both communities and industries such as agriculture. However, it can also, at times, pose a risk to agricultural development in the form of dryland/irrigation salinity and seawater intrusion, and be a limiting factor for industry expansion in water scarce areas.

Management of groundwater resources must address many science challenges. The jurisdictions and the Bureau of Meteorology have been instrumental in providing important groundwater data and information to improve groundwater knowledge and management, however increasing demand for groundwater resources requires a nationally consistent approach to better understand, manage and secure Australia’s groundwater systems.

This project will build a geological framework for groundwater data, in order to contribute towards nationally consistent hydrogeological information and understanding. Results will be delivered through a discovery tool and web-based mapping portal to better visualise, analyse and access hydrogeological information.

New, innovative systems-approach tools, analytics and workflows will improve our understanding of groundwater systems in Australia. The work will focus within the regional deep dive areas in the Exploring for the Future program and incrementally incorporate other areas.

The project also includes a scoping study into indigenous knowledge of groundwater, helping to improve our understanding of the cultural significance of water to Indigenous peoples and develop and strengthen relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

This project continues Geoscience Australia's role in refining and enhancing geoscientific knowledge to improve the understanding of Australia’s groundwater systems. Such knowledge complements responsible management of groundwater for the benefit of industry, communities, the environment, water managers and regulators.