Limestone Coast Landscape Board partners with the Goyder Institute to investigate adaptation of the South-East drainage network

The Goyder Institute for Water Research is pleased to announce that it is partnering with the Limestone Coast Landscape Board for a new 2.5 year research project to help build resilience of agriculture and groundwater dependant ecosystems in the Limestone Coast region of South Australia.

The Limestone Coast (LC) region contains a diverse and productive agricultural sector that supports the local economy and a number of important wetlands regionally, nationally and internationally. These values are underpinned by the availability of good quality water, but demand for water is outstripping supply. Future climate change and ongoing increases in water demand are expected to put further pressure on water resources and the values they underpin.

With this in mind, the LC Landscape Board is exploring whether there are opportunities to manage water from the extensive drainage network in the region to address risks to primary industries and groundwater dependent ecosystems (GDEs). An important component of this is the establishment of the new research project with the Goyder Institute: Adaptation of the South-Eastern drainage system under a changing climate.

Blackford regulator (courtesy: LC Landscape Board)

Penny Shulz, the Chair of the LC Landscape Board, was delighted in establishing the project with the Goyder Institute, saying “the project will provide us with critical knowledge to identify whether there are options to manage the drainage network differently to help manage risks to groundwater dependent ecosystems and primary industries. This will be an important step in our endeavours to enhance cultural, economic, environmental and social values of the Limestone Coast region through innovative management of our precious water resources”.

Ms Shulz also recognised “the ability to ‘tap into’ leading and diverse expertise from across the Goyder Institute’s partnership will be critical given the complexity of the problem”. A collaborative, transdisciplinary research team from CSIRO, Flinders University, the University of South Australia and The University of Adelaide will collaboratively deliver the research. Task leaders for the project are Dr Bethany Cooper, a Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Markets, Values and Inclusion of the University of South Australia; Dr Matt Gibbs, a Senior Research Scientist (hydrologist) in CSIRO’s Water Resource Assessment team; Professor Adrian Werner, a renowned expert in groundwater modelling at Flinders University; and Dr Tim Munday, the Research Director of CSIRO’s Deep Earth Imaging Future Science Platform.

The project will identify opportunities to redirect and retain drainage water in the landscape to mitigate risks and build resilience of primary industries and groundwater dependent ecosystems. Specifically, it will assess the potential to manage the drainage water to locally recharge groundwater to provide additional water for meeting the environmental water requirements of key wetlands, navigate projected climate change, and mitigate the risk of seawater intrusion. This will be achieved through five integrated tasks between now and early 2025, including:

  • Quantifying the value of different water uses and future demands, which will develop an understanding of the value of different water uses in the Limestone Coast.
  • Current and future water availability, which will quantify water availability across the region for historic and future climates.
  • Groundwater and wetland modelling, which will investigate options to improve water availability to groundwater dependant ecosystems.

The project will ‘kick-off’ with an airborne electromagnetic (AEM) survey along the south coast of the Limestone Coast in October 2022. This will form part of a fourth task (Seawater intrusion risk), which will develop an understanding of the risk to irrigated agriculture posed by sea level rise and seawater intrusion into groundwater.

Proposed AEM flight lines (in blue) covering the south coast of the Limestone Coast

All of these tasks will feed into a final task – Landscape feasibility analysis – which will develop a GIS-based prioritisation tool to support the LC Landscape Board to identify priority locations for management intervention to improve wetland health and to prevent seawater intrusion within the coastal aquifers.

The research will build on previous work of the Goyder Institute in the Limestone Coast, including the recent South East Science Review project and previous projects; South East Regional Water BalanceCatchment and drainage network modelling for the Upper South East, and Developing ecological response models for wetlands of the South East. This was highlighted by Goyder Institute Director, Dr Kane Aldridge who said “It’s fabulous to be able to continue our important partnership with the Limestone Coast Landscape Board by building on our previous research that has provided solid foundational knowledge to allow us to tackle some more specific management questions for the region and support them addressing one of their major challenges in future water availability”.

The project is part of the LC Landscape Board’s broader water resource management approach of “Making every drop count”, which has funding support through the National Water Grid Authority, the State Government’s Landscape Priorities Fund, and the LC Landscape Board. The work will also form an important part of the Institute’s priority Impact Areas of Water for Agriculture and Water for the Environment of the Institute’s Strategic Plan, 2020-2023.

Please contact Daniel Pierce, Goyder Institute for Water Research, for more information about the project or the Institute’s research program.

Tags: Climate Resilience Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Department for Environment and Water (DEW) Goyder Institute News Groundwater Hydrogeology Hydrology Managed Aquifer Recharge Modelling South East SA Surface Water University of Adelaide University of South Australia Water for Agriculture Water for Cities and People Water for Industry Water for the Environment Wetlands

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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

Accountant

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.