Australian Groundwater Conference taps into reservoirs of knowledge
3 November 2015
The Australian Groundwater Conference brings together researchers, industry professionals and policy development specialists to address the key opportunities and challenges in groundwater management.
Opening the conference, Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Anne Ruston, said the government was committed to managing Australia’s groundwater resources sustainably and with long-term vision.
“Groundwater is a precious resource, and provides more than 30 per cent of Australia’s total water use—in addition to generating significant economic activity,” Minister Ruston said.
“We need to ensure that all water users can continue to share in the economic, social and environmental benefits of well-managed groundwater resources for generations to come.
“Key to this is the government’s work to implement the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) Plan, secure the Great Artesian Basin, and invest in better water infrastructure in northern Australia.
“In the Murray-Darling Basin alone we are investing an average of about $2.5 million per day in infrastructure upgrades to support water security, agricultural productivity and healthy ecosystems across the Basin.
“The next 12 months will be an important time for charting the future strategic direction for the management of the Great Artesian Basin.
“The government is currently working in consultation with state and territory governments, the Great Artesian Basin Coordinating Committee, national organisations, landholders and water users to develop a new Great Artesian Basin Strategic Management Plan.
“Several projects have already been funded under the $500 million National Water Infrastructure Development Fund, including $15 million for resource assessments for the Mitchell River catchment, West Kimberley and Darwin region. These resource assessments will include extensive assessment of groundwater. We will be calling for further project proposals soon.
“As we look to the future, innovation and new technologies will become increasingly important in groundwater management—making it more viable and efficient to use groundwater as a safe and reliable water supply.
“Our work across all these areas is underpinned by our commitment to evidence-based policy, and principles of adaptive management, which ensure that the best available information and evidence is incorporated into decisions about how best to manage our water resources.
“The better our understanding of groundwater issues, the more effectively we will be able to manage them sustainably as a long-term water resource for future generations.”