Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

Senator the Hon Don Farrell

Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water

Groundwater Atlas goes online

Media release
11 September 2012

Senator Don Farrell, Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, today launched a new online Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems Atlas. The atlas, funded by the National Water Commission and hosted by the Bureau of Meteorology, presents the first-ever comprehensive picture of Australia's groundwater-dependent ecosystems.

"This project is part of the Australian Government's substantial investment – under the Raising National Water Standards Program – to improving groundwater management," Senator Farrell said.

Groundwater has frequently been considered our water resource safety net in the face of a highly variable climate, growing demands from population growth and the pressures of development.

However, increased groundwater use also places pressure on those wetlands and ecosystems that depend on groundwater for their survival.

Senator Farrell said that the atlas would help address groundwater knowledge gaps and progress reforms agreed to under the National Water Initiative.

"The Australian Government places great importance on the need for a consistent and evidence-based approach to water resource planning.

"This innovative web-based tool will provide vital information for water planners and managers to use when weighing up how to allocate our precious water resources.

"For the first time we now have a clear inventory showing the location and features of groundwater dependent ecosystems across Australia.

"Through its many investments in water science and data, the Gillard Government will continue to ensure that Australia has access to the best possible information to secure its water for the future.

"This is fundamental to our ongoing commitment to the nation's water security."

The Atlas was developed by the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO, with project consultancy services provided by Sinclair Knight Merz, and Cohga, and vital inputs from state and territory water agencies.

It has already been recognised for its excellence in the "Spatial Enablement" Award category at the 8th Annual Victorian Spatial Excellence Awards in Melbourne.

The atlas is available at: