Water Resources

Knowledge about Australia’s water resources has improved considerably in recent decades, in particular through investment in the coordinated national efforts of the National Land and Water Resources Audit (NLWRA; ref) and the Australian Water Resources 2005 (AWR2005; ref) assessment. In addition, the CSIRO Murray-Darling Sustainable Yields project (MDBSY; ref) has provided a detailed water resources information base for the Murray-Darling based on consideration of both historical and future climates.

In areas where water resources are already over-allocated, and where climate change is likely to reduce water availability, the adjustment challenges are huge.  Further improving hydrological modelling under future climate scenarios and incorporating the impacts of fire, forestry and other land use changes is needed at a catchment scale.

National Workshop: Climate Change Adaptation of Water Resources and Freshwater Biodiversity

On August 10th and 11th, CSIRO, in collaboration with NCCARF held a National Cross-Sectoral workshop looking at the value of freshwater ecosystems, both intrinsically and through the provision of goods and services and support functions to various sectors, including the environment.  The aim of the workshop was to identify how climate change might impact the provision of valued goods, services and functions by impacting our freshwater ecosystems.  The workshop results, once analysed, will recommend adaptation options which are viewed as important by the workshop members and the sectors they represent.  Additionally, the workshop will help pinpoint areas where participants feel information is missing, particularly in the context of decision making under climate change.  Some key points revolved around the ubiquity of water across many sectors, and the vulnerabilities and strengths associated with its presence or absence, particularly in its links with human wellbeing and the political implications of this. This highlights the need for climate-water research to be integrated across all sectors, with particular attention on the social aspects which also traverse all sectors.It is anticipated that initial results will be available via a discussion paper towards the end of November with a full report availble end of 2011. 

Following the National Workshop, which brought together a targetted audience of 20-25 experts, the results of this workshop will also be assessed by CSIRO experts to identify links between the ‘desired information’ identified by the workshop participants and potential hydrological and climate modelling capabilities which might fulfill these.  In order to expand the selection of opinions, CSIRO and NCCARF will be presenting the results from the workshop in an interactive feature session on Monday 26th of September as part of RiverSymposium, at the Brisbane Convention Centre. 



Identifying hydrological characteristics of a healthy freshwater ecosystem to guide adaptation of freshwater systems to climate change

Monday 16th September, 11am, Brisbane Convention Centre.

Presented by: CSIRO, NCCARF

This interactive session opens for discussion to the public the results of a National Expert Workshop run as a collaborative effort between the Water Resources and Freshwater Biodiversity Network of the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) and the Australian Commonwealth Scientific Research Organisation (CSIRO).   This interactive session hopes to both elicit opinion from the participants as well as disseminate information from the National Workshop through the NCCARF Adaptation Research Networks, for adaptation to Climate Change in the water resources and freshwater biodiversity sector.

Maintaining a healthy freshwater ecosystem is a fundamental requirement when developing climate change adaptation plans for the water resource management sector. Failing to do so may have severe repercussions for essential services currently provided by rivers and water bodies systems, i.e., food and energy production, health and sanitation. The National Workshop aimed to elucidate what constitutes a healthy freshwater ecosystem from a hydrological perspective and how those characteristics may alter under climate change, thereby altering the value and services provided by that ecosystem.  Such knowledge can be gained from improving our understanding of the synergies between the catchments’ environments and the pressures that surround them. From this information, a matrix of the potential future responses of various sectors, and the resulting pressures which might be exacted on the ecosystem in the future, could be generated.