Australian Partners

Flinders University

The NCGRT was established in 2009 to provide address Australia’s national groundwater research and management challenges with unparalleled scale and focus. Our expertise spans all of the critical fundamental and applied groundwater research disciplines. Over the last 5 years we have grown from a new start-up organisation into the world’s leading inter-disciplinary groundwater research and training institution. Today we work with over 300 researchers from 40 partner organisations located in Australia and internationally, and deliver Australia’s leading professional development program for policy and industry practitioners working in the natural resource management field. Our key scientific advances include:

• Novel ways to characterise and model geologic heterogeneity;

• An award-winning theoretical framework for simplifying field date so groundwater models make reliable predictions; and

• Quantifying and mapping the water needs of the Australian landscape for the first time ever. One of our key business drivers is to enhance the knowledge exchange capacity of the international groundwater science and management community. We have achieved this by:

• Rigorously aligning our research program with contemporary water management challenges and end-user requirements;

• Producing 700 journal papers, delivering a quantum leap forward in terms of our understanding of groundwater resources;

• Training 160 PhD and Postdoctoral Researchers and 100 Honours students;

• Delivering over 75 courses to 3,000 participants through our internationally-acclaimed Industry Training Program; and

• Developing strategic research partnerships (e.g. UNESCO, World Bank, UK Aid) to accelerate the development of management practice, and showcase Australia’s scientific, technological and public policy expertise on the global stage.

• Groundwater flow and transport modelling
• Groundwater management including regulatory arrangements, allocation tools and community engagement
• Groundwater recharge and discharge estimation
• Integrated water resources assessment, planning and decision-support system development
• Managed Aquifer Recharge
• Hydrochemistry, environmental tracer and isotope hydrology
• Surface water – groundwater interaction
• Aquifer characterisation and state-of-the-art field methods
• Groundwater impacts of unconventional gas and large-scale mining
• Groundwater dependent ecosystems

  • Groundwater Governance – A Global Framework for Action support by the Global Environment Facility and implemented by the UN FAO with the UNESCO-IHP, IAH and World Bank
    The project provides an urgent call for action to ensure that member nations understand the vital role that groundwater resources play in helping them achieve their social and economic development goals. It aims to promote best groundwater governance practices to avoid irreversible degradation of groundwater resource and their aquifer systems. Professor Craig Simmons is a member of the Permanent Consultation Mechanism, serving as Rapporteur for the Asia and Pacific Regional Meeting in December 2012 and contributing to the development of the subsequent meeting report for UNESCO prepared by Dr Andrew Ross. Please see the attached link for more information:
  • Strategic Research Partnership Murray Darling Basin Authority
    In January 2015 the NCGRT and Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) joined forces to secure the health of the Murray-Darling system. This new $2 million strategic research partnership will provide the critical technical and scientific necessary to support fully integrated management decision making in the Murray Darling Basin. The 3-year research program will build understanding of some of Australia’s most significant groundwater systems, investigating groundwater and surface water interactions, the way groundwater is replenished, and the impact of social and economic factors on groundwater management.
  • Cross-cultural Management of freshwater on resource-constrained islands
    This project will develop a methodology for community-led adaptive water management on resource-constrained islands, involving Indigenous communities in the development of predictive groundwater models. The project involves 3D participatory mapping and stakeholder engagement processes which will be led by the local Milingimbi Island community in NT. These activities will support the conceptualisation and development of a numerical model of the island’s groundwater system. They will also provide a more robust methodology for evaluating future water management plans, contributing to the resolution of water supply problems in remote communities in Australia, and overseas.
  • Google Impact Challenge Project
    Led by Professor Derek Eamus, this project received $250,000 from Google for an innovative and simple device that could provide water security to the poorest 40% of the world’s population. This project combats the problem how to minimise the impacts of over-extraction of groundwater in arid and semi-arid regions where almost half the world’s population relies on groundwater for their wealth and health. It will achieve this by developing an early warning system for communities who may be at risk of over-using the local groundwater table. Google also assigned a relationship manager to maintain strong relationships with the company and, showcase the results of the project internationally.
  • Heihe River Basin
    The NCGRT is collaborating with Professor Chunmiao Zheng at Peking University to evaluate water resources in the Heihe River basin, in northern China. The Heihe Research Program is an on-going major research program of the Chinese NSF (2011-2018), receiving 150 million RMB core funding (A$100 million). The research team is examining groundwater – surface water interactions and their ecohydrological effects in this strategically significant basin. The NCGRT’s research engagement is led by Peter Cook, Craig Simmons and Dr Yueqing Xie. The joint research team has conducted an initial field assessment and collected water samples to support project implementation.
  • A Hidden Crisis: Unravelling current failures for future success in rural groundwater supply in Africa
    More than 30% of new African groundwater supplies are non-functional within 5 years and many more are unreliable. Improving the functionality of these supplies is therefore a priority, and essential to improving the health and livelihoods of many rural communities. Professor Peter Cook is part of a 4-year research project team (commencing May 2015) that aims to build a robust, multi-country evidence base to deliver a step-change in reducing rural groundwater supply failure in Africa and assist the African government in tracking progress towards achieving its Sustainable Development Goals.
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