Securing Australia's Water Resources


Australia is the driest inhabited continent, which makes the use and management of water a key challenge. There is, however, a sparse understanding of our water resources in much of the continent.

Groundwater and surface water systems are fundamentally linked and an adequate understanding of groundwater in particular is critical for optimised and holistic management of water resources. In many parts of Australia groundwater underpins minerals and energy resource development, agriculture and regional communities and the environment. Understanding groundwater systems and minimising the impacts of development on groundwater supply and quality are critical to Australia's ongoing water security and regional development.

Our Role

Inform the understanding of the location, quantity, quality and sustainable use of Australia's groundwater resources and surface water systems.

Desired outcomes

  • Management of Australia's groundwater resources is underpinned by scientific evidence.
  • Communities have access to a sustainable groundwater resource.
  • There is public confidence in the management of groundwater resource use and environmental impacts.

Work Activities and Capability

Evaluating Australia's Groundwater Systems

Significant gaps remain in the scientific knowledge of the size of Australia's groundwater resources, their locations, characteristics, rates of recharge, connectivity with surface waters and rates of use or depletion.

Geoscience Australia's work will deliver new data, interpretations and assessments of the nature, magnitude and status of groundwater resources in key parts of Australia, in collaboration with Commonwealth, state and territory government entities. These new data and information will inform the sustainable management and responsible development of groundwater resources and to provide transparent, evidence-based advice in support of Australian Government priorities.

Groundwater and Surface Water Innovation

To improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness in delivering groundwater assessments and advice Geoscience Australia will establish and embed new techniques to analyse, interpret and characterise groundwater resources, actively pursuing the best available science and technology.

Geoscience Australia's work will advance multi-disciplinary and integrative geoscientific approaches to understanding groundwater-surface water systems and processes, and actively scan, partner with other organisations, and apply current and emerging science and technology that is beneficial in the investigation of groundwater systems.

A key component of this work will be the development of new workflows that incorporate contemporary science, leading-edge mapping, characterisation, assessment and monitoring technologies that utilise 4-dimensional data and advanced computational infrastructure to deliver efficient and cost-effective science applications.

Strategic Priorities and Performance Criteria

Geoscience Australia's work program is delivered through six key strategic priority areas. Each priority area outlines the role of the organisation, the desired outcomes to be achieved, and the core work activities and capabilities.

Geoscience Australia's performance will be assessed using a number of qualitative and quantitative measures to communicate a comprehensive view of performance that will be presented in the organisation's annual performance statement. Performance measures will include assessment against key work deliverables, key performance indicators and case studies.

Deliverables 2018-2019 2019-2020 2020-2021 2021-2022
Evaluating Australia's Groundwater Systems        
Provide authoritative, independent information and advice to the Australian Government and other stakeholders on groundwater resources, processes and impacts
Deliver stage reports to the Department of the Environment and Energy on the Geological and Bioregional Assessments  
Groundwater and Surface Water Innovation        
Develop new workflows to integrate and analyse data in a high performance computing environment
Key Performance Indicators 2018-2019 2019-2020 2020-2021 2021-2022
Requests for groundwater resource management advice under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 responded to within agreed timeframes 95% 95% 95% 95%