2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 7–10, 2004)

Paper No. 8
Presentation Time: 3:25 PM


BARNETT, Steve R., South Australian Dept of Water, Land and Biodiversity Conservation, GPO Box 2834, Adelaide, 5001, barnett.steve@saugov.sa.gov.au

In South Australia, the State Water Plan defines sustainability as applied to groundwater as “ the groundwater extraction regime, measured over a specified planning timeframe, that allows acceptable levels of stress and protects the higher value uses associated with the total resource”. This definition allows greater flexibility in applying management regimes, which in the past, relied heavily on technical experts to derive a ‘magic number’ sustainable yield with varying degrees of precision.

The determination of “acceptable levels of stress” and “higher value uses” will require considerable community debate to complement findings from technical investigations in order to apply management that is appropriate to the local conditions.

The paper will highlight examples from various aquifer systems in the semi-arid Murray Basin in South Australia, each with different sustainability issues. These include management of aquifer salinisation and controlled mining of groundwater resources, which have resulted in unique management approaches.