Senator Wong made the announcement during a visit to Dubbo on the second day of a three-day tour of the northern Murray-Darling Basin.
“As a result of drought and climate change, surface water in some parts of the Murray-Darling Basin is declining and groundwater is being pumped in increasing quantities as an alternative water source.
“Because pumping can lead to water moving between different levels of an aquifer, it can cause deteriorating groundwater quality either through changing salinity or chemical composition.
“This project will help water managers better understand and manage the impacts of pumping on he quality of groundwater resources.”
The project will investigate up to seven groundwater management areas in New South Wales where there is risk of declining groundwater quality.
Research results will allow water managers to predict the impact of pumping on quality of water, enabling more informed decisions.
The project results will be used to provide more accurate estimates of the level of risk to groundwater quality in all Groundwater Management Units in New South Wales.
This scientifically-based evidence will influence future management decisions on sustainable yields and will be used in the development of New South Wales Water Sharing Plans.
Under the National Water Initiative, all governments of Australia have acknowledged the importance of groundwater and committed to specific actions including environmentally sustainable levels of extraction.
The project is co-funded by the New South Wales Department of Water and Energy, which is contributing in-kind support of up to $350,000.
Funding for the project is from the National Water Commission’s $82 million National Groundwater Action Plan, which undertakes projects to address groundwater knowledge gaps and progress the groundwater reforms agreed to under the National Water Initiative.