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South East Research Program

Groundwater supports the economic base of the South East through irrigation, town and industry water supplies. The water resources of the South East need to be managed as a holistic system, recognising the interconnection between surface water and groundwater to maximise the economic and social benefits of regional water resources and to ensure adequate environmental water provisions to the region’s wetland systems including the Coorong.

South East Regional Water Balance

This project will lay the foundations for the development of a regional water balance model, to facilitate future water allocation planning for the Lower Limestone Coast region. It consists of the development of a regional water balance framework and a preliminary assessment of the spatial variability and indicative fluxes of groundwater discharge to the marine environment. It will also include an assessment of the role of geological faults on regional groundwater flow and inter-aquifer leakage. The major output from this work will be a framework for the development of a regional numerical groundwater flow model for the Lower Limestone Coast region.  This will comprise the datasets, conceptual model and the suggested approach for the full development of a fit-for-purpose regional model.

Improved Modelling of the Catchments and Drainage Network in the Upper South East for Management Outcomes

This project will develop a software tool based on conceptual and stochastic modelling designed to improve confidence in flow volumes that can be expected along Drain M, located in the Lower South East. This tool will enable an upcoming season to be assessed and then translated into a seasonal operational plan, while providing clear information for decision-making. The model will allow water volume information to be estimated in order to support decisions about optimisation of environmental water requirements for a number of regional assets including Lake George.

Developing ecological response models and determining water requirements for wetlands in the South East of South Australia

This project will provide information on wetland ecosystem response to changes in water quantity and quality (salinity).  Eco-hydrological conceptual models will be created to describe the response of wetland plant assemblages for selected wetland sites to altered hydrological conditions. This will involve determining historical trends in wetland plant assemblages in response to hydrological regimes using remote sensing techniques, and identifying thresholds for changes in habitat and wetland plant assemblages in response principal drivers of wetland type (e.g. changes in water and salinity regime). A classification system for wetlands and vegetation assemblages will also be developed as a basis for applying conceptual models of different wetland types at a landscape scale.

Photo: Claire Punter