Groundwater and landscape interactions

Last updated:27 June 2014

Groundwater interactions with the landscape can be an important part of ecosystem processes, particularly in the case of groundwater-dependent ecosystems. However, the interaction of groundwater with landscapes causes significant problems in some parts of Australia. For example, the interaction of groundwater and landscapes in some agricultural areas can affect the quantity and quality of crop and livestock production.

Major issues arising from groundwater and landscape interactions include:

  • salinisation of soils and water
  • acidification
  • subsidence of land surface
  • development of acid sulphate soils.

The interaction of groundwater and landscapes occurs both spatially across the continent and within the soil profile. The complex interactions of soils, rocks and groundwater commonly mean that site-specific management plans are required.

The key for effective management strategies is to gain a better understanding of the entire system-wide processes and various interactions that occur, as these can aid in developing options for better economic and environmentally sustainable management.