UNSW Connected Waters
Groundwater makes it possible to grow many of our crops and pastures. And we’re looking increasingly to aquifers to provide drinking water for our growing towns and cities.
Groundwater is found in the voids between sediment grains in the subsurface. It can flow slowly like a river through aquifers or pool in great underground “lakes”. Although hidden from view it is intimately connected with the rivers, streams, creeks, ponds, lakes and wetlands we can see above ground. So, effective water management must consider surface water and groundwater as “connected” – a single resource.
Australia has doubled its groundwater use in recent decades. It now makes up more than one-fifth of all the water we harvest. Yet we don’t know enough about the many and complex interactions between groundwater and surface water. In many cases, we’re still treating them as if they were separate resources and we know far too little about how to manage them sustainably.