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3 Groundwater Essentials
National Water Commission | Groundwater Essentials © Commonwealth of Australia 2012 This work is copyright. The Copyright Act 1968 permits fair dealing for study, research, news reporting, criticism or review. Selected passages, tables or diagrams may be reproduced for such purposes provided acknowledgement of the source is included. Reproduction for commercial use or sale requires prior written permission from the National Water Commission. Requests and enquiries concerning reproduction and rights should be addressed to: Communication Director National Water Commission 95 Northbourne Avenue Canberra ACT 2600 or email [email protected] ISBN 978-1-921853-28-9 Groundwater Essentials March 2012 Published by the National Water Commission 95 Northbourne Avenue Canberra ACT 2600 Tel: 02 6102 6000 Email: [email protected] Date of publication: March 2012 Design by Arup Printed on Impact 100% Recycled ( FSC Recycled 100% ) Printed by Finsbury About the National Water Commission The National Water Commission is responsible for driving progress towards the sustainable management and use of Australia’s water resources under our blueprint for water reform - the National Water Initiative (NWI). Established under the National Water Commission Act 2004, the Commission advises the Council of Australian Governments and the Australian Government on national water issues and the progress of the NWI. The Commission assists governments in implementing the NWI and administers the Australian Government’s $250 million Raising National Water Standards Program. Acknowledgments The Commission acknowledges the assistance of Arup Pty Ltd, which has developed this booklet on behalf of the Commission. Front cover photo courtesy of CSIRO An appropriate citation for this publication is: National Water Commission 2012, Groundwater Essentials, NWC, Canberra I
Foreword James Cameron Chief Executive Officer National Water Commission March 2012 Groundwater makes up about 17 per cent of Australia’s currently accessible water resources and up to 30 per cent of our water consumption in particular regions. However, this valuable resource is neither understood nor managed as well as it needs to be if it is to be sustained. Continuing water scarcity and climate change are placing pressure on Australia’s groundwater reserves and the security of supply. These ‘hidden’ reserves are increasingly being tapped to supplement surface water supplies. In fact, much of our groundwater is connected to surface water, with consequent impacts on stream flows, aquifer recharge, groundwater–dependent ecosystems, and water quality. Groundwater quality also requires careful management. Risks include uncontrolled urban and industrial discharges, the cross-contamination of aquifers, and seawater intrusion into heavily used coastal aquifers.

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