Climate Adaptation

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New Job Opportunity: First Nations Engagement Officer, 60 seconds with Mark Koolmatrie, Goyder to host the One Basin CRC hub in Loxton, 2024 CLLMM Science Forum, Workshop held to improve outcomes in the Ecohydrological conceptual Models and Impact Pathway diagrams Project, 60 seconds with Prof Tom Raimondo, 60 seconds with the Goyder Chair, Jody Swirepik, Update on the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth (CLLMM) Research Centre, Outputs from National Drinking Water Forum in remote First Nations communities Released, Successful Launch of the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth (CLLMM) Research Centre, New Fact Sheet: Translating Yannarumi into Water Resource Risk Assessments, Thank you for all those who attended Science in The Pub!, Join us for the Annual #WORLDWATERRUN from 18-24th March!, Science in the Pub presents "The Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth: A journey through droughts and floods.", Join us to Launch the New CLLMM Research Centre, New Project: Analysis of changes in high-intensity rainfall events in South Australia, Goyder Institute 2023 Annual Report Reflects on a Busy Year, New Project: Measuring the impact of Ground Water extractions on Mound Springs in Northern South Australia, CLLMM Research Centre announces a new location in the region, Goyder Institute for Water Research announces new Chair, New Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth Research Centre has hit the ground running. , New Project Aims to Understand the Environmental Response of the Coorong to the 2022-2023 River Murray Flood Event, Another New Member of Staff Joins the Goyder Institute, Goyder Institute welcomes another new staff member to the team, New Goyder Institute CLLMM Research Centre Participates in Collaborative Effort to Assist with Environmental DNA Sampling for Threatened Species, Delivering a Better Understanding of Water and Ecological interactions in the Braemar, Stuart Shelf and Northern Eyre Peninsula regions for Sustainable Development, Goyder Institute announces new Director, Goyder Institute welcomes three new staff to the team, Are you the Goyder Institute’s new Communications and Engagement Coordinator?, One Basin CRC holds its first annual event, Messages from the Working together for better drinking water in the bush forum warmly received by Federal Minister Plibersek, Research to continue on environmental impact of recent floods, Help us drive sustainable, innovative and integrated water management, Farewell to Daniel Pierce, Introducing the Goyder Institute's 2023-2026 Strategic Plan, Working together for better drinking water for bush communities, Coorong Research Hub to embark on program to address the effects of climate change, Goyder Institute welcomes two new staff to the team, Supporting climate change resilience in the Coorong, New website goes live, Institute research on show at Healthy Coorong Healthy Basin Science Forum, Goyder Institute takes home back-to-back national R&D excellence awards, Increased flushing vital to Coorong’s long-term health, Ruppia restoration strategy released for southern Coorong, Institute scientists head to River Murray to study environmental impacts of flood, Your chance to contribute to the development of a Resilient Water Future for Greater Adelaide, Institute embarks on a strategic planning refresh, Team Goyder is off and running again for World Water Day, Goyder Institute extended to 2026, New research report reveals pathway to keeping Adelaide’s liveable city status, Chair Prof Barry Hart releases Institute's 2022 Annual Report, A year in review and farewell from our Director, Goyder Institute’s Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin Research Project wins R&D Excellence Award, How feasible is a water resource rating system for South Australia?, New research project in the South-East kicks off with aerial survey of groundwater, Australian Government announces new Research Hub of the Goyder Institute to support the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth region, Australian Government announces new Research Hub of the Goyder Institute to support the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth region, Chair announcement: Goyder Institute leadership update, Policy changes are needed to better protect environmental water from climate change in the Murray-Darling Basin, Join us as the Goyder Institute prepares to Sweat4Soap once more, Limestone Coast Landscape Board partners with the Goyder Institute to investigate adaptation of the South-East drainage network, New videos showcase research to inform the management of the Coorong, One Basin CRC takes initial steps towards shaping its research program, The South Australian Government and Goyder Institute partner to establish a Water Ambassador, One Basin CRC advances towards establishment with key roles formed, How feasible is land-based aquaculture in South Australia?, Major step towards Institute’s goals achieved as Coorong research concludes, Goyder Institute wins national award for Research Excellence, One Basin CRC to drive a sustainable future for the Murray-Darling Basin, New research project established to explore the feasibility of a water resource rating system, Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin Program fieldwork wraps up, Goyder Institute research supports $10 million investment to improve shorebird habitat, Floods and recent climate projections highlight the importance of ongoing water reform, Water Resources Conference at the World Expo in Dubai identifies new international partnership opportunities, ONE Basin Cooperative Research Centre takes another important step forward, New project established to inform future urban water management options for Adelaide, In Focus: Research providing knowledge to identify climate adaptation pathways for the Coorong and Lower Lakes region, Running for World Wetlands Day (2 February 2022), 2022 shaping up to be an important year, Great progress towards our third term goals as 2021 draws to a close, In Focus: Research providing knowledge to restore a functioning Coorong food web, Welcome news for the ONE Basin Cooperative Research Centre, Impact of second-term projects continue to ‘flow’, Goyder Institute announced as winner of Australian Water Association’s SA Branch R&D award, The Goyder Institute’s new Interim Director looks to an exciting year ahead, In Focus: Research providing knowledge to maintain viable waterbird populations in the Coorong South Lagoon, Goyder Institute team surpasses its #Sweat4Soap target, Call for participation – water resources conference at World Expo in Dubai, Independent evaluation highlights success of Institute’s second term, Goyder Institute team commits to #Sweat4Soap, In Focus: Research providing knowledge to inform the future management of aquatic plants and algae in the Coorong South Lagoon, In Focus: Research providing knowledge to inform the future management of nutrient levels in the Coorong South Lagoon, Goyder Institute partners in the ONE Basin CRC rebid, IPCC 2021 Report on Climate Change emphasises need for the Goyder Institute to continue to support climate mitigation and adaptation, Goyder Institute showcases its Strategic Plan, Goyder Institute unveils new branding, The Sustainable Development Goals and the Goyder Institute for Water Research, Coorong scientific research project crosses halfway mark, Translating Ngarrindjeri Yannarumi into water resource risk assessments, Reducing fine sediment loads into Adelaide’s coastal waters, Project Coorong’s Science Forum resources now available, From South Lagoon to Siberia: tracking Coorong waterbirds via satellite, Interim management updates, New South Australian Government Climate Change Action Plan provides framework for future research of the Goyder Institute, Institute welcomes new Research Program Manager, ONE Basin CRC bid Stage 2 progresses to final stages, Congratulations Prof McKay – winner Premier’s Water Professional of the Year Award, Second term finishes strong – a year in review from the Director, ANNOUNCEMENT: Goyder Institute welcomes a new Chair and Management Board and Research Advisory Committee representatives, Citizen Science: a key part of the Goyder Institute’s involvement in the HCHB program, Finding ancient water in the outback – new research to support remote communities and enterprises, Vale Professor Peter Teasdale, Goyder Institute partners with the Australian and South Australian governments to restore a wetland of international importance - the Coorong’s South Lagoon, ANNOUNCEMENT: Goyder Institute partners establish the third term of the Institute, ONE Basin CRC bid continues to take shape to address the needs of basin governments, industries and communities, Flow on effects – new tools to support the integrated management of river flows and floodplain infrastructure along the River Murray, Advancing integrated management of Spencer Gulf for economic, social and ecological outcomes, Sea grass communities in Gulf St Vincent to benefit from new stormwater management intervention project, ICE WaRM ceases operations after 15 years of advancing excellence in water leadership across the globe, Agricultural technologies in South Australia survey, Investigations underway to help restore the Coorong, Expert panel recommendations inform changes to groundwater management in the Lower Limestone Coast, ONE Basin CRC bid gains momentum, R&D plan charts course for the year ahead, New research papers outline innovative approaches for water exploration and palaeovalley evolution, Call for expressions of interest – ONE Basin Cooperative Research Centre, A year in review from the Director, Research establishes proof of concept for blue carbon benefits from tidal reconnection of coastal wetlands, New research identifies the importance of healthy coastal habitats for combating climate change, New tools to help growers sustainably expand production in the Northern Adelaide Corridor, New research advances blue carbon opportunities in South Australia, Goyder Institute joins Smart Water Mission to New Zealand, Women changing the future of water, State Government seeks community feedback on Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin Action Plan, Water managers now able to predict potential foodweb changes associated with floodplain inundation, Women in Water -- visibility matters, SA's droughts are getting worse -- new published research informed by Institute's SA Climate Ready data, G-FLOWS project enters final stages -- characterising the dimensions of a newly discovered paleochannel in the APY Lands, Goyder Institute for Water Research awarded Minister's Award for Excellence, Goyder Institute projects recognised for informing international best practice approaches to Indigenous engagement, Congratulations to Darryl Day -- Water Professional of the Year, Goyder Institute releases findings of independent review of the science underpinning water allocation reductions in the South East, Carbon offsets research to support the State Carbon Sequestration Strategy

Project Partners:


Research Theme:

Healthy Coorong Healthy Basin


Project Overview

This research project is one of five components of the Institute’s Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin Scientific Trials and Investigations Program.

A climate adaptation plan will be developed for the Coorong and provide a key mechanism for decision-makers, Ngarrindjeri Nation and First Nations of the South East and other stakeholders to anticipate and effectively prepare for the significant challenges that will confront them as the Coorong experiences the continuing impacts of climate change. The project has been designed to maximise the opportunity for stakeholders to incorporate the findings into their planning and activities. The project will build the capacity of all Coorong stakeholders to implement near-term actions in a way that makes available more effective options for addressing future significant climate change. It will help them consider what a ‘Healthy Coorong’ might look like in the face of sustained change, the decision-making challenges associated with sustaining it, and actions they can take to address those challenges through creating or making available relevant knowledge, helping stakeholders develop informed preferences for different outcomes or reforming policies and other institutions.

Progress Update and Key Findings

The Climate Adaptation Component is framed around the needs of decision makers facing the potential for transformative climate change. It is using specifically designed processes to explore the nature of future adaptation decisions, and examining the consequences of those for current decision making.

The Component is addressing the following key management questions:

  1. How will future climate change affect the capacity of existing and new management to maintain the ecological character of the Coorong?
  2. Which of the multiple values of the Coorong are most at risk and which ones could be maintained in the event of continued ecological change and evolution of its character as a result of climate change?
  3. What management would be required to ensure a ‘Healthy Coorong’ and the wellbeing of communities dependent on it in the medium to long term? How would alternative interventions affect different values? What institutional changes would be needed to guide choices between accepting and resisting change, to enable new management, and to consider the multiple values influencing objectives for the future of the Coorong?
  4. What near-term actions could enable future changes in policy and management, and how can these be readily embedded into existing policies and programs (e.g. HCHB), inform future policy reform (e.g. at Murray-Darling Basin scale) and shape local community and stakeholder perspectives and behaviour?

For the purposes of this Component, ‘key knowledge gaps limiting management’ includes, in addition to biophysical knowledge gaps, gaps in all the information that will be drawn upon by the multitude of decision makers and stakeholders who will shape the future of the Coorong as climate change continues. A gap may relate to ‘missing information’ but often it will be a ‘missing process’ that would allow a decision maker or stakeholder to access, provide or create such information. This extends to institutional arrangements that no longer enable effective decision making in the face of novel adaptation challenges.

Project Impacts

This Component is addressing these climate adaptation knowledge gaps and management questions by focusing on the needs of decision makers in the context of possibly transformational impacts of on-going climate change. Transformation may be in the form of major ecological changes in the Coorong, major changes to how the Coorong in managed, or major changes Basin-level water sharing policy.

The needs of decision makers to successfully navigate these issues extend beyond an understanding of the biophysical characteristics of these problems to include consideration of the values that should be at play and the rules that might best enable decision making. The decision makers in this context includes society at large, as these issues will not be navigated by river manager and government officials alone. They will be determined by all those with a stake in the Coorong region and the Basin more broadly and the elected officials who represent them in multiple jurisdictions.

A futures context does not mean ignoring near-term objectives to restore health and minimise change in character, rather it involves helping to plan and implement near-term actions so they address such objectives and also lay the foundation for navigating more challenging decisions to come, and specifically to ensure near-term actions are not ‘maladaptive’.

The approach of engaging with the governance of adaptation differs from a traditional biophysical analysis of impacts and adaptation actions by focusing jointly on the technical knowledge and on the social and institutional context that will determine which outcomes for the Coorong will be deemed preferable and which actions can be chosen and implemented. It is guided by emerging global experience with transdisciplinary adaptation research (Abel et al. 2016; Gorddard et al. 2016; Stafford Smith et al. 2016; Wyborn et al. 2016; Colloff et al. 2017), and the Australian Government’s guidance on climate adaptation for Commonwealth agencies (CSIRO 2017).

Specifically, the Component is following the principles below, derived from Van Kerkhoff et al. (2019).

  1. Co-producing knowledge with stakeholders so they have ownership of the process, the knowledge is credible, and they have the ability and opportunity to use it.
  2. Understanding the context of the Coorong, including change over the last century, the diverse ways the Coorong is valued, the multiple environmental pressures on the Coorong and the current initiatives to manage them.
  3. Navigating considerable uncertainty and diversity of views about the future dynamics of the Coorong, recognising that future-oriented decisions will need to be made despite this uncertainty.
  4. Accommodating significant climate change, including the prospect of continuing transformational change.
  5. Enabling adaptation by evolving the decision context, recognizing that the future of the Coorong will be shaped by the evolving understanding and preferences of multiple stakeholders including people across Australian society and changing institutional arrangements across agencies, sectors and jurisdictions affecting layers of policy and decision making.
  6. Identifying opportunities for near-term management actions and engagement processes to help evolve decision contexts to provide future managers with the knowledge, stakeholder support and institutional environments that create more-effective options for managing the Coorong as the climate continues to change.

Research Outputs

Trajectories of ecological change in the Coorong and Lower Lakes, in response to climate change

Preliminary adaptation pathways for the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth

Preliminary climate change vulnerability assessment for the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth

Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin: 6. Climate Adaptation

Project News

As reported in August 2021, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest report on climate change − highlighting that our climate is changing, with projections for southern Australia including a reduction in mean rainfall, an increase in
The Goyder Institute for Water Research is pleased to announce that it is partnering with the Australian and South Australian governments for Phase 1 of the Healthy Coorong Healthy Basin Program (HCHB). This follows the establishment of the Institute’s