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The challenge

Knowing how much water there is, when and where

Australia’s demand for water continues to rise with our growing population and the expansion of water intensive industries such as mining and agriculture.

Robust information is needed for sound water allocation decisions to ensure resources are sustainably managed for industry and the environment.

Our response

Successfully managing Australia’s precious water resources

CSIRO conducted a series of comprehensive water resources assessments in the Murray-Darling Basin, northern Australia, south-west Western Australia, and Tasmania; plus assessments in the Great Artesian Basin, and the Flinders and Gilbert River catchments. We found water development opportunities and constraints under a range of scenarios.

CSIRO is the only organisation in Australia, if not the world, that has the breadth and depth of research capability at this scale – particularly with our specific focus on integrated river basin modelling.

The results

Nationally consistent framework for assessing water resources

Our water resource assessments provide regulators with the confidence they need to make sound water allocation decisions, and provide security of access against which investment can be made.

An economic assessment of just two of many major water management decisions informed by CSIRO research (Murray-Darling Basin and the construction of irrigation schemes across Tasmania) estimated benefits of between $685–795 million and $1.24 billion.

Because of our efforts, Australia now has a nationally consistent framework for assessing water resources, covering 72 per cent of total water for agricultural use.

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