A fresh take on groundwater modelling

Groundwater is a finite but valuable resource in Australia that makes up around 17 percent of Australia’s accessible water resources. Understanding the age, flow rate, and recharge rates for aquifers and groundwater is critical to enabling industry to sustainably manage these fresh groundwater resources. Researchers from Flinders University at the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT) investigated the mechanics of river water seepage, variations, and management to support the conservation of floodplain and improvements in vegetation growth.

Collaborating with non-government organisations, state environmental departments, and local communities, the NCGRT developed models of groundwater systems as well as methods for evaluating water management plans. By developing methods to examine the extent, growth, and decline of these groundwater systems — including field measurements, computer modelling, and laboratory experiments — researchers could more efficiently understand the broader consequences of water variability within degraded ecosystems.

Researchers from Flinders University also enhanced national understanding of groundwater as it related to Australia’s environmental, economic, and social wellbeing.

Throughout Australia, particularly in remote parts of northern Australia, many communities face challenges associated with water supply problems. This affects not only drinking water, but also agriculture, industry, and livelihoods. Depletions or seepage in groundwater can have detrimental and far-reaching environmental consequences.

By collaborating with local communities and industry partners to investigate the management of freshwater on resource-constrained islands and in riverine environments, scientists are able to develop solutions for the future of these systems.

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