Groundwater sustainability

The National Water Initiative (NWI) definition of sustainable yield (refer to Sustainable yield-definitions) is used in this assessment to consider groundwater resource sustainability. Specifically, this assessment considers whether the sustainable yield of the resource has been determined for each groundwater management unit. The sustainable yield is then compared with the level of water entitlements and with the cap that has been set within that management area.

A national definition of sustainable groundwater yield (refer to Sustainable yield-definitions) has been adopted in some state and territory legislation, including South Australia 's Natural Resource Management Act 2002 .

Windmill in arid Australia
Windmill in arid Australia

The disparity between jurisdictions and their definition of sustainable yield means that comparison across jurisdictions is difficult. For some jurisdictions, sustainable yields are calculated for only high quality aquifers (e.g. salinity levels less than 3000 milligrams per litre), and elsewhere yields have been calculated for groundwater with salinity levels up to 5000 milligrams per litre. With this in mind, the yield data have been compared with caps and the level of entitlements within groundwater management units.

Some groundwater aquifers are managed differently because they have been identified as non-renewable' (refer to Sustainable yield-definitions).

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Groundwater sustainability is discussed in more detail in the following sections:

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Last Updated 20/06/2007