Impact of second-term projects continue to ‘flow’

Following the successful completion of the second term of the Goyder Institute as highlighted in our October e-newsletter, the research program continues to have important impacts locally and nationally.  Whilst the second term research program was focussed on providing expert research and advice to inform priority water policies of the South Australian government, additional benefits are now being realised through the development of new collaborations, research projects and management products and services. These benefits are being realised across all three Impact Areas – Economic Development, Climate Action and Healthy Ecosystems Sometimes – with three examples outlined below.

Economic Development: Finding Long-term Outback Water Solutions (G-FLOWS)

CSIRO are partnering with the South Australian Government to better understand the groundwater potential of the Braemar region using innovative technologies developed in the GFLOWS projects (stages 1, 2 and 3). The South Australian Government has identified water as a critical resource and a limiting factor in the development of some of the most prospective areas in regional South Australia. The Braemar corridor in north-east South Australia is one of these regions, being highly prospective not only for magnetite, but also for other commodities including gold, copper and uranium.

The Braemar corridor comprises a sequence of weathered ancient rocks overlain by younger sedimentary rocks. There is a potential for 20 to 40 billion tonnes of mineable deposits throughout the Braemar Iron Formation. However, supporting the development of this resource requires water, particularly to support mining and processing.

The new initiative builds on work of the GFLOWS projects and involves the development of a hydrogeological framework map, underpinned by the re-interpretation of regional and finer-scale airborne electromagnetic data which covers the areas of interest. Initial work has focused on the identification of sediment-filled palaeovalley systems which may host groundwater resources of varying quality. This will be followed up by targeted drilling and an analysis of the groundwater identified.

Climate Action: Blue Carbon research projects

Research undertaken by the two ‘Blue Carbon’ Goyder Institute projects (Salt to C and Coastal Carbon Opportunities) supported the development of the South Australian Government’s Blue Carbon Strategy. These projects are now continuing to play a foundational role in achieving some of the key objectives of the Strategy.

The two Goyder Institute projects identified the potential for coastal wetlands to store and sequester carbon across South Australia and contribute to the state’s emissions reduction targets. Important progress has recently been made in connecting blue carbon ecosystem restoration to carbon markets through the development of an accredited Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) blue carbon methodology. This has been supported by findings of the Goyder Institute research projects, with researchers Dr Alice Jones and Associate Professor Luke Mosley (The University of Adelaide) and Professor Sabine Dittmann (Flinders University) providing expert input through a technical reference panel and carbon abatement modelling working groups. The proposed method is being progressed by the Clean Energy Regulator (CER) and will enable carbon crediting projects for Blue Carbon to go ahead in Australia based on activities that reintroduce tidal flows.

The projects of the Goyder Institute are also underpinning further scientific investigations needed to realise blue carbon opportunities in South Australia. Work is currently underway through Green Adelaide’s Blue Carbon Futures Fund to map blue carbon potential; understand wetland vegetation dynamics after reintroduction of tidal flow; quantify blue carbon opportunities through tidal reconnection; explore the carbon storage potential of coastal sedgelands; and analyse blue carbon changes linked to seagrass recovery in the Port River. Other work is being advanced by the Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board with support from the Coast Protection Board to investigate fine scale drivers of blue carbon variability in Eyre Peninsula saltmarsh and mangroves1, and by SA Water to monitoring seagrass recovery using drones (with the University of Adelaide’s Unmanned Research Aircraft Facility).

Healthy Ecosystems: Ecological Connectivity of the River Murray

The Ecological Connectivity of the River Murray project developed a new model to inform the operations of new floodplain infrastructure to balance the environmental water needs of the River Murray and its floodplains and mitigate water quality risks. The new infrastructures are Supply Projects of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, that aim to improve ways to manage the Basin’s rivers to more efficiently deliver water for the environment. With a number of Supply Projects across the Basin, outputs of the Goyder Institute project are now being used interstate to inform river operations across the Basin.

The dissolved oxygen dynamics task within the Ecological Connectivity project (Dr Matt Gibbs and Todd Wallace, The University of Adelaide) extended the Dissolved Oxygen – Dissolved Organic Carbon model developed by the Department for Environment and Water to assess water quality risks associated with different infrastructure operation scenarios. This was achieved through an extensive data collection campaign and novel applications of the model to inform cumulative operations of infrastructure along the River Murray. This is being used in South Australia to maximise benefits from increasing inundation of the floodplains without increasing the risk of poor water quality events. The tool has recently been adopted for upstream sites, with work currently being undertaken by the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and by the Victorian Murray Floodplain Restoration Project to inform proposed increases in floodplain inundation at both the site and whole of reach scales.



  1. Described further in the following articles:
Tags: Carbon Sequestration Climate Action Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Department for Environment and Water (DEW) Economic Development Environmental Water Flinders University Goyder Institute News Healthy Ecosystems Modelling Murray River Murray-Darling Basin SA Water South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) University of Adelaide University of South Australia Wetlands

Other News

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The Millennium Drought (1996-2010) had a devastating environmental, economic, social and cultural impact throughout the Murray-Darling Basin. The Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth (CLLMM) region, situated at the end of the Basin, was no exception.

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Chris Wright

Manager Water Science, DEW

Chris Wright holds significant experience in public sector senior leadership, having led policy, scientific and operational business units over the last twelve years in both State and Commonwealth government agencies. Chris has excellent experiences in leading policy and strategy formulation. He is skilled in building and maintaining networks across the public and private sectors to facilitate business delivery; leading and negotiating with others to achieve outcomes; and in bridging the science-policy gap, drawing on earlier roles in geospatial information systems (GIS) consulting. Chris’s formal qualifications include a Bachelor of Social Science, a Masters of Spatial Information Science and graduation from the AICD Company Directors course in 2019.

Dr Ilka Wallis

Senior Lecturer, Flinders University

Dr Ilka Wallis is a hydrogeologist with areas of expertise in quantitative hydrogeology and geochemistry. Ilka focuses on the development of reactive geochemical transport models which integrate fundamental processes that are normally studied in isolation (hydrogeological, mineralogical, geochemical and biochemical).

Ilka is also an Adjunct Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Manitoba, Canada since 2017.

Peter Goonan

Environmental Science Branch, EPA

Peter Goonan is the Principal Aquatic Biologist in the Environmental Science Branch of the EPA. He has over 30 years’ experience monitoring the condition of aquatic ecosystems in SA and assessing the environmental effects caused by discharges, deposits and contaminants entering inland and coastal waters. He specialises in aquatic invertebrate identification and their responses to contaminants and water quality stressors. He also provides expert professional advice relating to water quality risks, regulation, policy, and strategic directions, and represents the EPA as an expert witness in court.

Dr Paul Monis

Manager, Research Stakeholders and Planning, SA Water

Dr Paul Monis is a technical expert within SA Water’s Business Services group, which provides scientific expertise to support the delivery of water and wastewater services to SA Water’s customers. He has specialist expertise in the areas of biotechnology and microbiology, with almost 20 years’ experience applying DNA-based and other technologies to address water quality challenges posed by microorganisms, especially enteric pathogens. Dr Monis also holds title of Adjunct Associate Professor at Flinders University, the University of Adelaide and UniSA.

Jennie Fluin

Principal Advisor Research Partnerships, DEW

Jennie’s role in the Department for Environment and Water (DEW) allows her to foster and strengthen opportunities for researchers to better connect with government to enable evidence-based decision making. Jennie has extensive experience working in both universities and government, allowing her to bridge the divide between the two sectors. She is focused on connecting natural resource researchers with natural resource decision makers, and facilitating fit for purpose partnerships.

Dr Tanya Doody

Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO

Dr Tanya Doody is a Principal Research Scientist working on high impact spatial eco-hydrological projects within CSIRO’s Land and Water Business Unit. Dr Doody leads the Managing Water Ecosystems Group, based in Adelaide, Albury and Canberra and has significant experience in quantifying the water requirements of vegetation and at times, their impact on water resources. This involves ecophysiological field-based research to underpin remote sensing tools to scale regionally to improve our understanding of the effect of flood regimes on the health of water-dependent ecosystems on the Murray-Darling Basin floodplains. Additional research includes investigating the ecological response of vegetation to water availability and environmental water to inform integrated basin water planning and management.

Professor Lin Crase

Dean of Programs (Accounting & Finance), UniSA

Professor Lin Crase is Professor of Economics and Dean of Programs (Accounting & Finance) at UniSA. He joined UniSA in February 2016 as Head of School of Commerce. Prior to commencing at UniSA, Lin was Professor and Director of the Centre for Water Policy and Management at La Trobe University.

Lin’s research has focused on applied economics in the context of water. He has analysed water markets and the property rights that attend them, water pricing and numerous applications of water policy. Whilst his expertise includes the Murray-Darling Basin in Australia, he has also worked on projects in south Asia, Japan and Europe. Lin has published over 100 journal articles, numerous book chapters, four books and a range of other papers and opinion pieces.

Professor Justin Brookes

Director, Water Research Centre, University of Adelaide

Justin has broad research interests in limnology and water treatment with a primary focus on coupling between hydrodynamics, biology and water quality contaminants such as cyanobacteria and pathogens. He is a founding member of the management committee of the IWA Specialist Group on Lake and Reservoir Management and member of the Steering Committee for the Global Lakes Ecological Observatory Network.

Justin has a PhD and a Bachelor of Science degree with Honours from the University of Adelaide.

Daniel Flaherty


Daniel Flaherty is the Accountant for the Goyder Institute for Water Research.

Daniel has extensive experience in higher education having worked in senior financial management roles at the University of South Australia, Flinders University and the University of Adelaide over the past 26 years. Daniel has also been a Board Director on a number of university related entities. Prior to that, Daniel has worked in a range of agencies in the Commonwealth and State Governments.

Daniel is a Fellow of CPA Australia and has a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Adelaide.

Dr Alec Rolston

Interim Director

Alec Rolston joined the Institute in 2021 as Research Program Manager of the Goyder Institute’s research projects in the Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin program. He has extensive experience in integrated water resource management, integrated catchment management, drinking water source protection and wetland ecology, conservation and management across Europe and Australia.

Alec holds a PhD from the National University of Ireland Maynooth and has worked with An Fóram Uisce|The Water Forum and the Dundalk Institute of Technology in Ireland as well as the MANTEL Innovative Training Network across Europe.

Alec spent his early career in Adelaide working with Flinders University through the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth (CLLAMM) Ecology Research Cluster and within the Department for Environment and Water.

Daniel Pierce

Research and Development Officer

Daniel Pierce has managed research projects at the Goyder Institute for Water Research since November 2017 under both the second and third terms of the Institute.

Daniel brings experience in project management and knowledge transfer and application from 4 years working as a Senior Hydrogeologist in the Department for Environment and Water (DEW) in South Australia and from 13 years of private sector work in environmental management, science and engineering in Australia and the South Pacific. His work with DEW has included providing technical advice to the development and revision of Water Allocation Plans around South Australia in collaboration with researchers and policy makers, and managing a team of groundwater modellers and hydrogeologists involved in an assortment of water resource management issues.

Daniel has a Bachelor of Engineering (Hons, Environmental) and a Bachelor of Science (Geography) from the University of Western Australia.

Professor Enzo Lombi

Dean of Research, UniSA STEM

Professor Lombi’s main contributions to environmental research cover various aspects of contaminant risk assessment, biogeochemistry, ecotoxicology and waste management. Furthermore, the methodological development he has pursued in his research has provided the basis for collaborative efforts in a variety of research areas ranging from soil fertility and plant physiology to human health issues related to contaminant uptake via occupational exposure and diet. In the last few years he has been increasingly focusing on the transformation and toxicity of manufactured nanomaterials in the environment.

Dr Carmel Pollino

Research Director Land and Water, CSIRO

Dr Carmel Pollino is a Research Director for Land and Water at CSIRO. She has 20 years of experience working on water issues in Australia and throughout Asia. Carmel has degrees in science and environmental law and works across the science and policy interface. Significant areas of research in Environmental Flows, Hydrology, Ecology and Integrated River Basin Planning. Carmel is the lead and also a contributor to global working groups on water and has published widely in this domain.

Professor Bronwyn Gillanders

Head of School of Biological Sciences, The University of Adelaide

Professor Bronwyn Gillanders is interim Head of School of Biological Sciences at the University of Adelaide. Prof Gillanders completed her BSc at the University of Canterbury, MSc at the University of Otago and her PhD at the University of Sydney. She has a research background in environmental science focused predominantly on freshwater and marine ecology.

Her research interests include integrated marine management; coastal carbon opportunities; multiple use activities and cumulative impact assessment; biology, ecology and fisheries of cephalopods; stocking and provenance of fish; plastics in the marine environment including in seafood; use of fish bones (and other calcified structures) for assessing ecological and environmental change. She has trained and mentored ~70 Honours and Higher Degree Research students and shaped the future of 1000s of students through her undergraduate teaching. She is passionate about encouraging capable women to enter and remain in science careers.

Dan Jordan

Director, Water Security, Policy and Planning, Department for Environment and Water (DEW)

Dan Jordan is the Director, Water Security, Policy and Planning, Department for Environment and Water (DEW). Dan is also the Basin Officials Committee Alternate Member for South Australia.

Professor Okke Batelaan

Dean, School of the Environment, Flinders University

Professor Okke Batelaan is a graduate of the Free University of Amsterdam, Netherlands (MSc – Hydrogeology) and of the Free University Brussels, Belgium (PhD – Engineering). He worked for more than 20 years at the Free University Brussels and also led the hydrogeology group at the KU Leuven, Belgium since 2006. He was chairman of the Interuniversity Programme in Water Resources Engineering.

Since 2012 Okke Batelaan is Strategic Professor in Hydrogeology and currently Dean of the School of the Environment, Flinders University. Okke has broad experience in teaching groundwater hydrology, groundwater modelling, GIS and remote sensing for hydrological applications. He was supervisor of more than 140 MSc and 25 PhD students. He has extensive research experience and a publication record in shallow groundwater hydrology and modeling, recharge-discharge estimation and modeling, urban hydrology and distributed modelling, ecohydrology and impacts of land use and climate change on groundwater systems. He coordinated and participated in a large number of projects in Europe, Africa, South America, Asia and Australia. He is editor-in-chief of Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies and of MDPI-Hydrology.