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Goyder Institute leads independent review of the science underpinning reductions to allocations in the Lower Limestone Coast


Sep 27, 2018
Author: Goyder Institute

 

The Goyder Institute for Water Research has begun an independent review of the science underpinning reductions to allocations in Lower Limestone Coast Water Allocation Plan (LLC WAP, 2013) to support the South East NRM Board. The SE NRM Board and the Goyder Institute commissioned the review at the request of the Minister for Environment and Water.

The LLC WAP requires reductions in water allocations to be made in the coming years in six out of the 61 unconfined groundwater management areas. This project will consider the science behind the policies that led to this management decision. It will make recommendations that can be considered in the upcoming re-run of the risk assessment set out in the LLC WAP which is due to be completed by 1 July 2019.

The Goyder Institute has brought together an expert panel chaired by Professor Craig Simmons (pictured) to conduct the science review. Professor Simmons is the Director of the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT) at Flinders University and a leading groundwater academic who has been recognised for major national and international contributions to groundwater science and policy reform. 

Other panel members include:

  • Professor Peter Cook (Flinders University), who is one of Australia’s foremost groundwater scientists and is internationally recognised for his research on groundwater recharge and surface water–groundwater interactions.
  • Dr Lu Zhang (CSIRO), who is recognised internationally for his research on catchment hydrology, ecohydrology, and vegetation impact on water balance. 
  • Professor Andrew Boulton (Flinders University), who works with the National Centre of Groundwater Research and Training and is Adjunct Professor in Ecosystem Management at the University of New England. He has over 35 years of experience researching groundwater-dependent ecosystems, river ecology and water resource management.

The panel will review the science and data used to carry out the risk assessment underpinning the reductions to water allocations in the LLC WAP, as well as any new information that could affect how risks to groundwater resources are assessed. In consultation with stakeholders, the SE NRM Board has provided the panel with a series of guiding questions relating to estimating total available recharge, the response of the groundwater resources to climate and land use, and the risk assessment methodology.

The panel is expected to report their findings by February 2019. This will include a series of recommendations on information to be used in the planned re-run of the risk assessment and any gaps in data that should be addressed to inform the major review of the WAP scheduled for 2022.

This project is a great example of the Goyder Institute’s ability to bring together Australia’s leading researchers to support the government as it develops water resource policies. Contact Goyder Institute Director Kane Aldridge to find out more about the Institute’s collaborative programs.