Highest-rated, largest and most diverse multi-disciplinary research entities in the world. CSIRO conducts scientific
research and facilitates the application and utilisation of research results. It is an independent trusted adviser to
industry and government delivering innovative solutions for industry, society and the environment within
Australia as well as the broader international community.
Our scientific and technical personnel are grouped into the following business units:
• Agriculture
• Data61 (digital productivity)
• Energy
• Food and Nutrition
• Health and Biosecurity
• Land and Water
• Manufacturing
• Mineral Resources
• Oceans and Atmosphere
CSIRO is differentiated in the national and global innovation systems by its development and delivery of
integrated assessment studies, approaches, information products, and technologies that have underpinned
policy development and water management, and demonstrated Australia’s global reputation for successful water
As an entity of the Australian government, CSIRO contributes to the preparation and implementation of
Australia’s international policies and responsibilities, including water and other environmentally related issues.
CSIRO’s international activities include aiming to increase the global impact of our water research and capacity building,
such as increasing access to safe water and basic sanitation, and informing policies and strategies that
support effective water resources management. We are building partnerships in the Asia-Pacific, including:
• Bangladesh: nationwide integrated water resources assessment
• Chile: integrated water resources management in Copiapo Basin
• China: management of contaminants in agricultural and domestic wastewaters
• India: managed aquifer recharge
• Koshi Basin, South Asia: transboundary water management.

Organisational Capability

  • 1. Integrated water resources management
    2. Ecosystems and biodiversity assessment
    3. Catchment management
    4. Mitigate environmental contaminants
    5. Resilient urban water supply
    6. Social and economic systems
    7. Earth observation and informatics.


  • Murray-Darling Basin Sustainable Yields Project
    Under contract to the National Water Commission, CSIRO assessed the likely impacts of climate change on the surface water and groundwater resources of the Murray-Darling Basin. This region covers one million square kilometres and supplies at least 40 percent of the national's agricultural production. The project investigated the impacts on water resources of: economic activities in the catchment; changing water extraction; climate variability; climate change. The final publications include a whole-of Basin report and comprehensive results for each of its 18 regions. The project delivered the most comprehensive and complex whole-of-basin water assessment ever undertaken in Australia. http://www.csiro.au/en/Research/LWF/Areas/Water-resources/Assessing-water-resources/Sustainable-yields/MurrayDarlingBasin/Overview
  • Assessing ecological responses to altered water flow regimes in the MurrayDarling Basin
    The prolonged drought of 2000-2009, coupled with water extraction, produced the driest conditions on record, and coincided in a dramatic decline in the condition of aquatic ecosystems throughout the basin. CSIRO assembled Australia’s leading freshwater ecologists to develop the science to underpin improved environmental monitoring and modelling in the basin. Our partnership developed a range of tools to support sustainable water resource management, including: classification and mapping of freshwater ecosystems and threats to their condition; flow-ecology response models; optimisation modelling of environmental flows to inform the delivery of environmental water allocations; methods for monitoring and assessing of environmental watering. http://www.csiro.au/en/Research/LWF/Areas/Ecosystems-biodiversity/Water-ecosystems/EFlowsCluster
  • Mitigating impacts to Great Barrier Reef (GBR) caused by contaminants from rural industries
    Agricultural activities release materials (such as nutrients, pesticides, dissolved organic carbon, pathogens) that can contaminate soils, sediments and waters in adjacent environments. CSIRO is developing tools and approaches to better understand and manage/mitigate adverse impacts of agrochemicals on non-target organisms, including biota in soils and aquatic ecosystems. We are working in the Great Barrier Reef catchments to develop innovative approaches to minimise the off-site migration of pesticides and nutrients. We are also evaluating the fate and effects of new chemicals that could substitute currently used herbicides that have been detected in the GBR. http://www.csiro.au/en/Research/LWF/Areas/Environmental-contaminants/Agricultural-rural-contaminants
  • Improving water resource management in the Koshi River Basin
    The Koshi River Basin is a transboundary river system that flows through some of the poorest parts of China, India and Nepal. The region is prone to natural hazards, particularly floods, droughts, and landslides. However it provides fertile soil and abundant groundwater to a dense population living in the river basin’s flood prone areas. CSIRO is working with local scientists and communities to develop a ‘fit for purpose’ basin-wide hydro-agro-economic modelling framework. This framework will be used to help ensure that Koshi water resources are developed and managed in a coordinated manner for the wellbeing of people and their environment. http://www.csiro.au/en/Research/LWF/Areas/Water-resources/International/Koshi-Basin
  • Climate Change Impacts to Water and Sanitation Infrastructure in Indonesia and Vietnam
    CSIRO worked with local partners to evaluate climate change- related impacts on urban water and wastewater infrastructure in Makassar (Indonesia) and Can Tho City (Vietnam), and develop adaptive urban planning responses. Tasks included: assess risks of climate change to functioning of urban water and sanitation systems; design response alternatives using Integrated Urban Water Management principles; build capacity to assess climate change risks and develop appropriate adaptation responses for sustaining clean water supply and sanitation as well as managing unavoidable impacts of urban, coastal and delta flooding.
  • Bangladesh Integrated Water Resources Assessment
    CSIRO and local partners undertook an integrated water resources / socio-economic study to provide an overview of Bangladeshi water resources, and assess impacts of development and climate change on these resources and the amount available for agriculture, industry and households. The project: identified key issues in future water use and management; identified hotspots, such as a high risk of contamination by saline intrusion or polluted surface waters, and lack of access to safe drinking water and irrigation water; undertook capacity-building on integrated water resources assessment and socio-economic impacts of climate change and future water demand due to population growth.