Sunday, 29 January 2012

Groundwater issues - sustainability, salinity, water sufficiency

From water campaigner, Maria Reidl:

Maria has sent a link to podcast of a Fran Kelly interview with Professor Craig Simmons of the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training and Professor Robert F.Glennon is the Morris K. Udall Professor of Law and Public Policy in the Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona.

The interview was brought about because of last week's meeting in Sydney where four of the world’s leading authorities on global and regional water issues will gathered to advise on Australia’s groundwater research and training needs.

A note on groundwater below is from here.

Due to the cap on surface water extractions in the Murray-Darling Basin and the scarcity of surface water resources in other areas, groundwater use across Australia has increased by 90% between 1985 and 1996/97 to approximately 5000 GL/year (NLWRA 2001b). Overall, 33% of groundwater extracted is for urban/industrial use, 48% is used for irrigation and 19% is for stock watering and rural use. South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria use more than 60% of groundwater for irrigation, while Western Australia uses 72% for urban and industrial purposes.
The total volume of groundwater that can be sustainably extracted from groundwater resources is currently estimated to be 25 735 GL/year (< 5000 mg/L TDS); however, many undeveloped groundwater resources are in remote areas. More importantly, most groundwater sustainable yield estimates do not consider groundwater dependent ecosystems or the impact of groundwater extraction on baseflows associated with surface waters. These are major issues that need to be addressed before the intensive development of groundwater resources can be managed sustainably. Some groundwater resources are already overdeveloped including the Great Artesian Basin and many small aquifers in the Murray-Darling Basin and along the east coast of Australia.
Further reading & listening:

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