In the Urban Water research theme there were several projects aimed at supporting the development of an Integrated Water Plan for Greater Adelaide and to ensure that Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) formed an integral part of future urban design.
The Goyder Institute examined the use of alternative water sources for fit-for-purpose water supplies including options for harvesting, storage and recycling of stormwater, and has made several contributions to the development of the South Australian Stormwater Strategy and to the preparation of the Urban Water Blueprint.
Allied projects under the Water for Industry research theme researched the storage capacity, sustainable yield and salinity constraints of the Adelaide Plains groundwater resources, Mounty Lofty Ranges water resource modelling of surface water quantity and quality across the catchments, and the hydro-ecological response of catchment environmental assets to water availability. These complemented and contributed to the Urban Water program.
Managed Aquifer Recharge and Stormwater Use Options (MARSUO)
To support management of stormwater reuse, the MARSUO project was designed to assess risks associated with different stormwater use options and determine how they can be managed to inform assessment of the net public benefits of potable options, and to determine the level of community support for these options.
Studies of satellite sites in Australia and overseas were undertaken to compare stormwater quality and treatment requirements for reuse. The Parafield stormwater harvesting scheme at Salisbury in South Australia was a key case study in this project.
In the Water for Industry research theme techniques were developed to promote equitable water sharing in multi-use catchments and in remote regions of the state. The objective was to develop sustainable water management practices for communities and industries (e.g. food, wine, forestry and mining) that are heavily reliant on safe and secure water supplies.
Outback Water Solutions
Planned and potential mining and energy development in South Australia’s far north will have significant consequences for the water resources of the region. The scale of planned developments and exploration programs, facilitated by the South Australian Government through the Plan for Accelerated Exploration (PACE) program, will result in a substantial increase in infrastructure requirements, including access to water resources and Aboriginal lands for exploration and potential mine developments.
The G-FLOWS research project, funded by the Goyder Institute, was undertaken to supplement information and knowledge developed by DEWNR under the Finding Long-term Outback Water Solutions (FLOWS) initiative.
Research under G-FLOWS provided key techniques to inform the accessibility and viability of the state’s groundwater resources, the sustainability of those resources and the relationship to environmental and cultural assets.
The outcomes of this project have enabled prudent decision making and policies regarding water allocation, accounting, licensing and sustainable yields whilst ensuring the protection of dependent ecosystems and environmental assets.
In the Environmental Water research theme the focus was on developing a detailed understanding of the ecosystems of our major water resources like the River Murray and the groundwater fed system of wetlands in the South East of South Australia. These systems contain several RAMSAR wetlands of international importance that require a robust integrated management approach to maintain the environmental values of these regions, while also achieving social and economic outcomes.
The Goyder Institute had made significant contributions to public debate and government policy development through its robust reviews of the science underpinning the proposed Murray Darling Basin Plan and investigations of the River Murray ecosystem response to flooding after an extended drought period.
A series of Goyder Institute projects were established to provide surface water models and a better understanding of the environmental water requirements of wetlands, including the influence of water quality to manage the delivery of water to wetland systems in the Upper South East through the South East drainage system, and develop a regional groundwater computer model for the lower South East for water allocation planning and management.
Murray Flood Ecology
During the height of the Millennium Drought the health of the River Murray was critical. The decade long drought combined with overallocation of water from the river system, resulted in a huge loss of abundance of species across the whole Murray Darling Basin and severe degradation of the environmental assets of the River Murray were evident. The 2010 floods provided a unique opportunity for a cross-disciplinary team to investigate if the ecosystem was able to recover in the South Australian section of the River Murray.
The Murray Flood Ecology (MFE) project was a collaborate research project that investigated the ecological responses to flooding in the South Australian section of the River Murray. The research undertaken aimed to develop critical knowledge to inform the management of environmental watering required under the Murray Darling Basin Plan. Data collected aided in the development of models for assessing ecosystem response to various flow events, helping to create a framework of future management tools for the SA River Murray.
The Climate Change research theme developed an agreed set of downscaled climate projections for South Australia to support pro-active responses to climate change and variability and to ensure a consistent cross-government approach for climate adaption planning and water resource planning.
This led to an increased understanding of the primary climate drivers that are driving the observed climate change and variability over South Australia.
Climate projects have been developed for each of the eight natural resource management (NRM) regions based on this improved understanding of local climate drivers.