Program 5 looks at the social, economic, ecological and policy dimensions of groundwater resource management, as well as community attitudes to groundwater management and adaptation opportunities.
Program 5 ties together the work being done across all five research programs to inform how we understand and make decisions about groundwater. Social scientists, economists, environmental lawyers, hydrologists and interdisciplinary modellers are working collaboratively with interest groups to identify and clarify issues and to develop decision-making tools and other solutions. The program is closely aligned with the National Water Initiative in working to optimise economic, social and environmental outcomes for water management through a national regulatory and planning system.
Sub-projects link with other programs to examine socioeconomic and ecological factors, and to help formulate effective policy and management practices. Researchers are developing tools and approaches that identify appropriate interest groups, frame specific issues with them, co-develop a representation of the drivers, interactions and outcomes, and develop integrated models and methods that allow the characterisation of quantitative and qualitative trade-offs.
A key focus is on how to reduce uncertainty in groundwater decision making. Researchers are also looking at specific issues, such as ways to engage the farming community around the need for sustainable groundwater management.
A sample of Program 5 projects can be found in the box to the right.