Australia's Water Resources: From Use to Management by John Pigram

By John Pigram

Australia s Water assets seeks to discover the situations underpinning the profound reorientation of attitudes and relationships to water that has taken position in Australia in contemporary many years. The altering emphasis from improvement to administration of water assets maintains to adapt and is mirrored in a sequence of public coverage projects directed in the direction of rational, effective and sustainable use of the nation's water. Australia is now known as a pace-setter in water reform. Administrative restructuring, water pricing, water markets and exchange, built-in water assets administration, and the emergence of the personal quarter, are good points of a extra economically sound and environmentally appropriate water undefined. it is crucial that those alterations are documented and their purpose and effectiveness defined. This well timed paintings offers a major synthesis of those concerns. This revised paperback variation is an absolutely corrected reprint which has additionally been up-to-date to take account of the appointment of Malcolm Turnbull as Minister for the surroundings and Water assets, and the Commonwealth Government's initiative about the administration of the Murray Darling Basin.

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Most streams are variable, both seasonally (within the year) and annually (from year to year), and short-term variations can also occur from day to day. Annual flows in the Darling, said to be Australia’s most unreliable river, can vary 10 000 fold. Very rapid changes in stream flow can occur over much shorter periods as a result of torrential rainfall. Among the highest daily falls recorded are 907 millimetres (approximately 36 inches) at Crohamhurst (Queensland) in 1983, and a massive 1140 millimetres (approximately 46 inches) at Bellenden Ker Top station near Cairns in January 1979, following Cyclone ‘Peter’.

Some of the practices adopted by irrigators in manipulating the attributes of catchments and floodplains to bring more land into productive use can have serious repercussions during future floods (see Chapter 8). For example, considerable areas of both the Namoi and Gwydir Valleys have been developed for off-river irrigation schemes, requiring the construction of large water supply channels usually at right angles to the direction of natural drainage. These structures, along with associated access roads, checkbanks, drains, landing strips and other obstructions, have the effect of modifying flood behaviour and probably aggravate the situation.

Although yields are relatively low, these aquifers supply an estimated 310 gigalitres of water annually, or about ten per cent of total groundwater abstraction in Australia. One-third of all bores tap aquifers in fractured rocks and they are an important source of water for stock and domestic purposes in many parts of the country. Deep aquifers present in the porous rocks provide 30 per cent of total groundwater abstractions. Bore yields depend upon type, thickness and extent of the multi-layered confined aquifer system.

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