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Assessment aims

The Pilbara Water Resource Assessment covers the water resources in the Fortescue, Port Hedland Coast, De Grey, Onslow Coast and Ashburton river basins with an emphasis on areas undergoing active mining and prospecting for water supply to coastal towns.

This map shows a region of the Pilbara in Western Australia. It highlights water resources for each area in differing colours and includes the:

  • Ashburton river (light green)
  • De Grey river (light pink)
  • Fortescue river (light blue)
  • Onslow coast (light yellow
  • Port Headland Coast (light purple)
  • west Canning Basin (dark pink)
  • western Sandy Desert (orange).
Pilbara water resource assessment map.

The Assessment will review the region's water resources and estimate the effect of possible future climates and proposed developments on the region's surface and groundwater resources.

It will provide context for more detailed hydrological investigations and help put individual and combined impacts from resource development into a broader context of climate variability and change.

The Assessment will also include possible impacts on water dependent ecosystems. A scenario approach is applied due to considerable uncertainty about the future climate.

Project deliverables

  • An overall report on the Pilbara, which will combine high level climate, physiography, hydrology and water dependent ecosystems results.
  • A report on the past and future climate of the Pilbara.
  • Separate reports will cover the five river basins (Ashburton, Onslow Coast, Fortescue, Port Hedland Coast and De Grey) will combine detailed results from all six work areas.

This information will help governments, industry and communities consider the environmental, social and economic aspects of the sustainable use and management of the water assets of the Pilbara.

The project commenced 9 August 2012 and will be completed mid 2015.

Project methods

Access the project methods (CSIRO Research Publications Repository).

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