The Great Artesian Basin has more than 450 spring groups which are made up of more than 7000 individual springs. As these springs are rare water sources in a generally arid landscape, they are recognised as icons of national and international significance. The basin is one of the few large artesian systems in the world that has not been severely degraded by water extraction or land use.
There are two major threats to the basin springs:
• Reduction in water pressures that reduces spring flows
• Surface disturbance in and around springs that impacts ecosystems and cultural values.
An adaptive management plan has been developed for the springs that presents evidence-based strategies for protecting springs while balancing the needs for groundwater extraction and productive land use. The plan is focused on effective adaptive management practices that are cost-effective and acceptable to water users and landholders.
Project team:• Lynn Brake Senior Research Fellow University of South Australia; Founding member of the GABCC • Colin Harris President of Friends of Mound Springs • Simon Lewis Friends of Mound Springs executive • Travis Gotch Chief Researcher on the NWC GAB Springs Study •Professor Megan Lewis University of Adelaide • Assoc Prof Andy Love Flinders University • Anne Jensen Project Officer • David Leek Principal Policy Officer Department of Environment and Water SA
Mr Brake has managed the development of the ‘Great Artesian Basin Springs Adaptive Management Plan’ on behalf of the South Australian Arid Lands Natural Resources Management Board for the Australian Government Department of Agriculture.
Mr Brake is Chair of the Water Advisory Committee for Far North Prescribed Wells area in South Australia and also sits on the basin governments’ Great Artesian Basin Coordinating Committee which advises Australian, State and Territory Ministers on efficient, effective and sustainable whole-of-resource management of the Basin.
Mr Brake’s attendance at this conference has been funded by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture through a sponsorship arrangement with the Royal Society of Queensland. Through this sponsorship, the department aims to help raise awareness of the plan and to promote its use by basin landholders, governments and industries.