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Groundwater Impacts and Management under a Drying Climate in Southern Australia
Article

The Importance of Legislative Reform to Enable Adaptive Management of Water Resources in a Drying Climate

Department for Environment and Water, Adelaide 5000, Australia
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Glen R. Walker
Water 2022, 14(9), 1404; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14091404
Received: 17 February 2022 / Revised: 15 April 2022 / Accepted: 20 April 2022 / Published: 27 April 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated Water Assessment and Management under Climate Change)
In South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, groundwater provides 85% of the region’s reticulated water supply. Fresh groundwater resides within shallow karstic limestone aquifers recharged by incident rainfall. Water levels are very responsive to short-term climate variability and are at risk of sustained decline due to long-term drying trends and the further rainfall declines indicated by projections of future climate, thereby increasing risk to water security and groundwater-dependent ecosystems. In 2009, a new adaptive resource management approach was enabled through legislative reform that better addresses climate variability, particularly where aquifer robustness is low. This allows the volume of water available for licensed allocations to be varied annually depending on the current condition of the aquifer resources. A three-tiered trigger level policy varies the rate at which water allocations are limited in proportion to monitored changes in groundwater storage. The three trigger thresholds are specified for each discrete groundwater resource, based on levels of risk. We now have more than five years of observations and practice of this approach to learn of its efficacy and consequences for water users, the water resources, and the environment. It has proved to be an effective way to deal with the uncertainties in how and when climate may change and how water management principles can effectively respond. Our case study provides an example of the importance of legislative reform to enable adaptive water resource management to effectively tackle the challenges of water planning in a drying climate. View Full-Text
Keywords: groundwater management; 3-D hydrostratigraphic modelling; adaptive management; Arc Hydro Groundwater; water allocation plan; karst aquifers; legislative reform groundwater management; 3-D hydrostratigraphic modelling; adaptive management; Arc Hydro Groundwater; water allocation plan; karst aquifers; legislative reform
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MDPI and ACS Style

Stewart, S.; Green, G. The Importance of Legislative Reform to Enable Adaptive Management of Water Resources in a Drying Climate. Water 2022, 14, 1404. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14091404

AMA Style

Stewart S, Green G. The Importance of Legislative Reform to Enable Adaptive Management of Water Resources in a Drying Climate. Water. 2022; 14(9):1404. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14091404

Chicago/Turabian Style

Stewart, Simone, and Graham Green. 2022. "The Importance of Legislative Reform to Enable Adaptive Management of Water Resources in a Drying Climate" Water 14, no. 9: 1404. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14091404

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