Oral Presentation NCGRT/IAH Australasian Groundwater Conference 2019

An adaptive management plan for GAB springs (157)

Lynn Brake 1
  1. University of South Australia, Brighton, SA, Australia

The Great Artesian Basin (GAB) is one of Australia’s most important natural assets. It is among the largest artesian aquifer system in the world, and Australia’s largest freshwater resource. GAB springs, the natural surface expressions of the GAB aquifers, have iconic geological, cultural and ecological values that are widely recognised both nationally and internationally. They are one of the few major artesian spring systems in the world that have not been severely degraded by over-exploitation of the water-bearing aquifers and/or the impacts of land-use in and around spring vents

An adaptive Management Plan has been developed to protect active GAB Springs on land used for pastoral production, mining or other purposes. The Plan is designed to protect asset values of springs with as little disruption to productive land uses as practicable. It is built around an evidence-based template that facilitates cooperative spring management between landholders and management agencies. The template consists of practical, cost effective methodologies to:

  • Classify springs and identify important values and threats to particular spring groups
  • Identify risks that may arise from various types of land uses
  • Develop intervention strategies to manage the risks with as little disruption to land uses as practicable
  • Monitor changes that indicate how well risks are being managed
  • Modify on-ground management in response to changing conditions

The Template called Springs on Your Place is designed to be easily understood by landholders and water managers as well as other government and industry decision makers. It is built around an attractive, easy to use graphic database that provides robust information on each of the spring groups within the 13 super groups across the GAB. Springs on Your Place uses best and most up-to-date local and scientific knowledge and has the capacity to be revised and updated as knowledge gaps are filled, decisions made and spring conditions change. Springs on Your Place can be a key consultation tool between landholders and department staff to aid in decision making about the most appropriate management response for particular spring groups.