National Groundwater Action Plan

Posted 19 September 2007

The comprehensive $82 million National Groundwater Action Plan initiated by the National Water Commission was launched by the Australian Government in September 2007. This plan, which will improve our knowledge and understanding of groundwater, consists of three major components.

1. The National Groundwater Assessment Initiative
This $50 million initiative is the centrepiece of the action plan. It will fund hydrogeological investigations to help overcome critical groundwater knowledge gaps. There are eight priority investment themes.

2. National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training
This $30 million joint venture between the National Water Commission and the Australian Research Council will build capacity in groundwater knowledge and tackle the shortage of skilled groundwater scientists and managers in Australia. The primary functions of the Centre will be to train postgraduate and postdoctoral scientists in advanced hydrogeological and related technologies, as well as improving knowledge of groundwater and policy and management issues confronting water managers.

3. Knowledge and Capacity Building component
This $2 million component will deliver principles, guidelines and good practice examples that can be used by groundwater managers, users and water planners to improve awareness and management of groundwater issues. The key outcome is to develop understanding that groundwater resources are not infinite, that they are at risk of over exploitation and contamination and require more sustainable management practices.

The National Water Commission has established a Groundwater Technical Advisory Committee (GTAC) to advise on groundwater direction setting and investment strategies to ensure that the groundwater program delivers outputs including on-ground results that are consistent with the NWI. The panel which is chaired by Ken Matthews (CEO/Chair, NWC) and includes NWC Commissioner John Radcliffe, is predominantly skills-based and includes a number of high level Australian groundwater experts, along with representation from groundwater managers, the Chair of the National Groundwater Working Group and the Chair of Australian Chapter of the International Association of Hydrogeologists.

Integration of the action plan projects with policy objectives will involve representatives of all jurisdictions through the National Groundwater Working Group.

More information:

Source:
National Water Commission web site: National Groundwater Action Plan.

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