CSIRO Land and Water provides the science to underpin Australia's economic, social and environmental prosperity through stewardship of land and water resources ecosystems, and urban areas.

Our research

CSIRO Land and Water brings together interdisciplinary teams that combine biophysical and social sciences to develop solutions for complex environmental challenges. Holistic, integrated science solutions are key to solving the challenge of increasing environmental pressures.

CSIRO's work draws on the world's largest team of social science and economic expertise. Researchers bring deep knowledge of disciplines including biodiversity, water resources, social systems, economic expertise, infrastructure, and interpretation and analysis of environmental information. We combine this knowledge to develop new approaches to complex problems.

CSIRO researchers work with a broad range of industries, regulators, and other researchers to better understand problems facing Australia. Deep engagement with stakeholders ensures the right questions are asked and that there is understanding and uptake of the results. Together, we produce outcomes, products and tools that help policy- and decision-makers.

Our integrated capability is instrumental in supporting efforts to ensure that Australia's environment is managed sustainably, consistent with our role as the national science organisation.

[Zooming down to planet Earth from space, to a magnified view of a spinning DNA strand.]
VOICEOVER: With a view from space down to the inside of a cell, CSIRO Land and Water is helping solve the world's most complex environmental challenges. Our scientists are delivering innovative ideas and sustainable solutions that help manage the impacts we have on the environment that supports us. 
[Several teams are hard at work. A computer-generated topographical map, a city skyline, and a tractor pushing through a landfill.]
VOICEOVER: We're answering questions like, "How will Australia's biodiversity cope with a changing climate?", "How do ecosystems in the Murray Darling basin respond to different ways of managing water?", "What is the biggest impact we can have with our finite resources?" 
[From numerous water pipes feeding out of a river to a machine drilling for water.]
VOICEOVER: We're assessing Australia's essential water systems, forecasting water flows and availability, developing a clear picture of our groundwater systems. By sharing our knowledge and skills internationally, we can help other nations tackle their own water issues.
[A man is using a bottle attached to a rope to extract water from a well, and an Indian woman is washing clothes in a concrete basin.]
VOICEOVER: Our expertise is helping improve the resilience of the Great Barrier Reef, understanding the impacts and causes of extreme climate events, helping develop sustainable enterprises in Northern Australia and enabling the innovative cities of the future. 
[A small bushfire is burning, and murky water is flooding a suburb. CSIRO researchers are working in several locations, bottling a water sample, monitoring a small fire, and testing samples in a lab.]
VOICEOVER: By supporting industry to reduce environmental impacts, together we're discovering better ways of doing business. We're rehabilitating mining and industrial sites and applying gene technologies to environmental problems - helping manage the global challenge of nuclear fuel cycle waste. 
[Stacks upon stacks of yellow drums, all bearing symbols warning of radiation.]
VOICEOVER: By utilising our research, industry can protect the Australian environment, develop more sustainable processes, reuse water and turn waste into valuable products. 
[From a waste management facility to a busy city street.]
VOICEOVER: People are a vital part of our work. We're investigating the social and economic impacts of the environmental challenges we face. How can we best support the sustainability and enterprise aspirations of Indigenous Australians? 
[An Indigenous Australian park ranger in the bush is digging a hole, alongside a colleague.]
VOICEOVER: What are society's attitudes and values around resource developments and emerging technologies? 
[In a workshop, a man is monitoring a robot as it moves its arms and turns its head.]
VOICEOVER: We're helping to kick-start the industries of tomorrow by exploring the new frontiers in science, like synthetic biology. We are CSIRO Land and Water. 
[Zooming back out from planet Earth, which becomes the round logo for the CSIRO.]
Find out more about how we're working towards a better future.  

World-leading land and water research

Key challenges we address

Australia's environmental systems are challenged and changing, and will be profoundly exacerbated by climate change. There are social changes, with growing recognition of environmental stewardship and Indigenous culture. These changes are coupled with rapidly changing technologies and digital innovation that offer both opportunities and challenges.

Despite these complexities, Australia has the capacity to thrive while living within the constraints and opportunities of our climate and natural resources, and managing the impact on future generations and nature. There is an opportunity to choose positive social and environmental pathways, but our choices need to be evidence-based and holistically consider the entirety of the system.

  • Our research into 'thriving natural systems' considers the natural landscape in its entirety – with parks, forests, agricultural land and urban areas forming a continuum. We partner with Indigenous peoples to better understand challenges such as fire, pests, endangered species, and climate impacts.
  • Our research into 'water security' addresses Australia's highest per capita usage of water, increasing population growth, and changing land use and climate. We consider how water moves in the landscape, the relationship between users and uses of water, and how we balance demands for water with supply.
  • Our research into 'resilient communities and liveable cities' addresses Australia's strongly urbanised society by using biological, social, economic, infrastructure and environmental design expertise to build connected communities from regions to capital cities that are functional and socially vibrant, with high standards of wellbeing.
  • Our research into 'sustainable industries' explores the objective of zero waste and reducing contaminants such as microplastics, nuclear waste, and chemicals. Our research looks at how to develop technology and manufacturing that minimises the footprint on the environment, so our legacy is clean into the future.

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We partner with small and large companies, government and industry in Australia and around the world.

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