Collaborating Organisations: Murray-Darling Basin Authority, Flinders University, Australian National University, Charles Sturt University and CSIRO.
The MDBA-NCGRT Strategic Groundwater Research Partnership was a three-year, $2 million research program funded by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority between 2015 and 2017. Its overarching goal was to undertake strategic research in support of enhanced groundwater knowledge and management in the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB). It has examined critical science issues in three thematic priority areas, namely:
SW-GW Connectivity: improving knowledge and predictive capacity at the regional scale in the MDB;
Groundwater Recharge: increasing our understanding of MDB recharge processes with a strong emphasis on improving recharge estimation and predictions techniques, and quantifying and managing uncertainty in recharge estimation;
Socioeconomics and Integration: identifying the socioeconomic factors that will improve water management in the MDB, including factors such as conjunctive use; building tools and approaches in a participatory relationship that facilitates the integration of important biophysical and social models, knowledge and data.
Research on these issues was advanced through a range of modelling and field-based projects. A focus case study was chosen to be in the Campaspe in north-central Victoria. Some activities were also undertaken in the Murrumbidgee catchment. Many of the approaches and findings presented in this report, and associated papers and reports, are based on work in the Campaspe region. We anticipate that many of the approaches developed here will be applicable in and transferable to many parts of the Murray-Darling Basin. However, they should be evaluated and tested on a case by case basis to ensure applicability and transferability.
The Partnership has considerably enhanced the MDBA and NCGRT’s scientific and socioeconomic knowledge base; delivered state-of-the-art modelling processes and integrated assessment tools for managing groundwater in the Basin with a particular focus on understanding and managing surface water and groundwater interaction in the future; leveraged the NCGRT’s extensive national and international network of groundwater scientists and field research sites and equipment; trained postgraduate students to build relevant capacity for the future; delivered innovative new scientific and management tools and practises to support integrated catchment scale socio-hydrology; and produced transferable outcomes that will assist in the management of major Basin groundwater systems in the MDB. The approaches and findings from this Partnership will allow the government and industry to better understand, conceptualise, measure, model, predict and manage groundwater behaviour in the Basin – both biophysically and socially. These underpin important policy and management frameworks and state / national strategic planning for water, environmental and agricultural security in the Basin.