Water Journal : Water Journal July 2012
use of surface and groundwater would increase yield per megalitre, despite the different characteristics of surface and groundwater. However, to gain the benefits of planned conjunctive use, essential to meet future water needs, would require changes to institutional structures. Mike Williams from NSW Office of Water adopted a state- government perspective in addressing the issue of groundwater management. The issue in NSW has been in deciding what is an acceptable level of drawdown of groundwater by users such as irrigators. This has implications for storage levels in accessible aquifers, groundwater-dependent ecosystems and the quality of the groundwater. Williams chose to argue his case with an example, that of water trading in the Lower Namoi Valley where groundwater entitlements had been reduced so as not to exceed sustainable diversion limits. Compensation was available to those landowners/irrigators affected, but many remain dissatisfied and have moved to legal action. Neil Power, Chair of the National Water Working Group, was the final speaker in this morning session. He drew attention to recent improvements in groundwater interest, management and understanding, many as a result of the work and active promotion of groundwater by the NWC -- improvements in groundwater regulation to achieve a nationally compatible market is a goal, together with regular monitoring and review as well as looking at water accounting and forecasting. In relation to future goals for the Groundwater Policy Group, Power committed the members to providing continued support to the National Water Initiative, trying to reconcile and align differences between the states in definition and management and, finally, new guidelines for groundwater and surface water connectivity. The afternoon session continued the theme and was pursued by the NWC looking at special challenges, emerging priorities and future directions. Speakers included Craig Simmons from the National Centre for Groundwater Training and Research. Understandably, Simmons concentrated on the role of education in building scientific expertise in groundwater management. He was followed by Peter Dillon, Stream Leader -- Recycling and Diversified Supply from CSIRO. Dillon's focus was on managed aquifer recharge, and the opportunities it presents for storage and treatment, especially for recycling water, including that harvested from stormwater capture. Tony Boston from BoM provided an overview of BoM's role in collecting and consolidating rainfall and runoff information, and its significance in providing data on recharge rates and volumes to groundwater. Peter Hyde from the Murray-Darling Basin Authority closed the presenters' section by updating the audience on progress in finalising and implementing policy for the Murray-Darling Basin with multiple stakeholders, competing interests and political-institutional barriers. Ozwater'12 Special Report Small Water and Wastewater Systems SWWS National Conference 26-28 September 2012 Newcastle, NSW Are you up to date in your knowledge of decentralised water systems? Do you want the opportunity to learn more and share your experiences? Decentralised water systems are re-emerging as long term solutions to water scarcity and constraints of the centralised approach. Hear from leaders in the eld including Robert Siegrist, Joe Van Belleghem and Ted Gardner. Make sure YOU are up to date and join us at AWA's Small Water and Wastewater Systems National Conference in Newcastle. Register now at www.awa.asn.au/swwsconference Gold Sponsor Matt Kendall, from the National Water Commission.
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