Department of Water: 2014 Proposed Update NRM Research in the Region (Andrew Maughan, Tracy Calvert)

Water
Research FieldPossible Projects
(as identified in February 2011)
Projects Developed since 2011
Acidificationnatural causes and impacts of acidification of surface waters on biodiversity 
monitor flow regime and now much acidity is release under which conditions (Ewart Swamp - Torbay Inlet) 
monitor impact of high acidity flow events (eg. end of winter, opening of sand bar) on biodiversity in Torbay Inlet 
develop Ewart Swamp management system that minimises negative impacts of acidity on Torbay Inlet 
monitor movement of acidity from the upper to the lower reaches of the catchment 
monitor biological impacts of acidity 
use monitoring data to understand how and where acidity is generated and how and where it is attenuated before the West Daly River enters Lake Gore 
Use results to develop a model that can predict the impact of land use changes on self-attenuation of the river 
disposal options for acidified waters; Dalyup river continuation; treatment of acid waters; low regimes of acidified systems 
links between acidification and eutrophication 
what are barriers to farmers applying lime to increase soil pH?; linking potential acid sulphate solids with water quality data 
Impact of water abstraction and lowering water table on potential acid sulphate soil areas Royalties for Regions South Coast Groundwater Investigation - Albany and Esperance. Improved topography mapping (LiDAR 1x1m Digital Elevation Model), Hydro-Geo-Chemical sampling program (major and minor ions and environmental tracers - CFCs, stable isotopes) and numerical modelling.
Chemistry data will identify areas affected by acidification and modelling will predict future risk areas due to drawdown (due to climate and/or groundwater abstraction)
disposal of saline and acidic brines 
Aquatic biodiversitycharacterisation of fauna (macroinvertebrates) of rivers generally and in unsampled system, and under different hydrological regimes 
distribution of riverpools; sediment infilling, including into estuary; as refugia; connectivity between riverpools 
Climate changeProtection and adaptation: biological; physical; chemical; nutrient; holistic 
Impacts of climate change on stream and estuary values 
Impact of climate change on saltwater-freshwater interface (less rainfall, recharge, throughflow, discharge and higher sea levels = problems) Royalties for Regions South Coast Groundwater Investigation - Albany and Esperance. Airborne Electromagnetic (AEM) surveys, improved topography mapping (LiDAR 1x1m Digital Elevation Model), Hydro-Geo-Chemical sampling program (major and minor ions and environmental tracers - CFCs, stable isotopes) and numerical modelling.
AEM survey imagery shows current saltwater interface (SWI) location and modelling will predict inland SWI movement due to reduced groundwater throughflow and head.
impact of climate change on wetlands 
Management of impacts of climate change eg. sea level uses and estuary foreshores. 
Incorporation of climate change impacts into management planning and review Department of Water has produced guidelines for the selection and use of future climate scenarios and baseline periods to be used for consistent ground and surface water modelling in Western Australia. (Selection of Future Climate Projections for WA, Water Science Technical Series WSB 72 June 2014)
impact of climate change on estuary values and uses (from changes in both sea levels and water inputs); impacts on flora and fauna - including aquatic flora and fauna.This is a repeat of above
impact of climate change on hydrology, aquatic ecosystems, biodiversity, streamflows, catastrophic events 
Eutrophicationtriggers in estuaries and embayments; trigger mechanisms 
forms of phosphorus (P) in catchments at different scales - how are transformations taking place? Missing P in stream systems: retention of nutrients in streams sediments, pondwater; big rainfall events and nutrient dynamics. Transformation, capture and release of nutrients in transit between source and estuary/ocean 
retention and release of nutrients by streams 
Review effectiveness of existing waterways management - nutrient management.  
Groundwaterimpact on aquifers in terms of water quality environmental; treatment; feasibility; salt water interface: impact of decreasing rainfall, etc. on salt water interface; impacts of reduced water tables on acidification and heavy metal mobilisation 
impacts of groundwater use on fauna/flora and groundwaterSee below
mapping of groundwater aquifers eg. deeper vs. shallower aquifers; characterisation of groundwater aquifers in terms of quality and quantity, physico-chemical; links between surface water and groundwater Royalties for Regions South Coast Groundwater Investigation - Albany and Esperance. Airborne Electromagnetic (AEM) surveys, improved topography mapping (LiDAR 1x1m Digital Elevation Model), Hydro-Geo-Chemical sampling program (major and minor ions and environmental tracers - CFCs, stable isotopes) and numerical modelling.
AEM survey helps define spatial extent of aquifers and their properties, chemistry sampling helps determine rainfall recharge and aquifer connectivity - this characterisation informs revised conceptual hydrogeology for improved management and to construct numerical model for scenario evaluation.
Impact of climate and/or current abstraction on Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems: vegetation tapping into groundwater, coastal vegetation at the freshwater discharge zone Royalties for Regions South Coast Groundwater Investigation - Albany and Esperance. Improved topography mapping (LiDAR 1x1m Digital Elevation Model) and numerical modelling.
LiDAR survey and new modelled watertable surface, based on improved monitoring data will enable existing GDE mapping completed by DoW in 2012 to be updated. Potential GDEs are identified using GIS sieve mapping techniques to intersect classes of remnant vegetation/wetlands with depth to groundwater data. Modelling will estimate groundwater level where not monitored and predict future impacts related to climate and abstraction.
Land use managementrefugia, longitudinal connectivity; catchment influence on instream habitat/biota 
hydrological implications of changing fire regimes: water balance work: through the region (W to E); ecological and cultural values; water quality; aquatic geochemistry 
impact of major land use changes as a result of having a carbon credit system in place; impacts of climate change, scenario testing, exploring trade_offs, local and regional scales 
impact of climate change on hydrology, aquatic ecosystems, biodiversity, streamflows, catastrophic events 
impact of harvesting and second rotation on plantations; conversion from plantations to pasture: costs, rehabilitation needs (site dependent) This is addressed to a limited extent in Ward, B; Sparks, T and Blake, G. (2011) Denmark River Water Resource Recovery Plan: Salinity and Land Use Impacts Series, Report no. SLUI 40, Department of Water, Perth
impact of plantations on water quality - Kent, Denmark, Marbellup See Barb Cook CENRM - Marbelup Brook macro invertebrate studies in associate with APFL and other plantation companies..
appropriate vegetation cover to optimise water usage; detailed investigations on optimal use of water relating to land use; integration of knowledge of water usage of plantations into local scale example for water use optimisation; impacts of the permanent removal of plantations on hydrology, soil condition 
Influence of perennials on hydrological balance 
Efficient use of water resourcesstormwater management 
Collection of water use data - agriculture, industry, households 
Performance of households in water use Potential wheatbelt town water auditing project currently being developed by Department of Water in part to research audit methodologies
what is influence of household vs industry - regionally; metro vs rural; water use data (household, industry) (survey of major users) 
impact of using granite outcrops as catchments; impact on biodiversity of using biodiverse areas as catchments 
Ways to improve the runoff from a natural catchment and/or treatment of a bitumen or roaded catchment that does not require the intensity of maintenance and associated equipment for bitumen 
Reducing evaporation from water storages 
overcome barriers to the take up of increased water efficiency measures and water re-use would be welcomed eg. reuse of stormwater or wastewater from treatment plants (overcoming health department concerns); promote water conservation given regional climate; effectiveness of water tanks; types of lawn that minimise water use; management of rural land uses to minimise water use eg. viticulture industry 
what are the barriers to use; how can these be overcome eg. energy sources and cost; use of saline groundwater for rural towns - what are ways of providing cost effective solutions to small towns? 
Better management of storage and dam construction, understanding losses – explore cost effective options 
Reduce demands on scheme water from non-drinking water uses 
Promoting 'fit for purpose' supplies - match quality of demand with source 
Look at alternative supplies for agriculture and industry - self supply. Provide help on alternative sources - package information on available water sources? 
Promote native gardens or behavioural change for lawns 
Increase recycling and use of 'wastewater' 
Utilise wastewater, grey water and stormwater for appropriate beneficial uses (ideally that reduce impact on other sources) - what are the barriers? 
Provide alternative means of meeting drinking water needs 
Use of rainwater tanks for households - what are barriers?  DoW assessment of economics of rainwater tanks - Warren Tierney?
Development of new scheme water sources - improving our processes 
Desalination of hypersaline groundwater Demonstration desalination site using photovoltaics has been conducted in Kendenup (currently in operation to supply water to accommodation cottages)
Use of desalinisation for inland and coastal areas - barriers are cost (energy) and waste. What are viable options, particularly for smaller users? Neil Palmer (Murdoch Desalination Research Centre) and Olga Barren (CSIRO) are currently conducting a desalination project in the wheatbelt. Other studies including economic analysis have been conducted.
Trial conducted in Morawa also.
Fine scale surface water modelling 
Use of saline groundwater for rural towns - what are ways of providing cost-effective solutions to small towns? 
hydrological modelling (linking surface and ground water flows to derive total sustainable water) 
water treatment plant powdered activated carbon (PAC) sediment 
wastewater treatment plant biosolids; and treated wastewater from wastewater treatment plants 
Wetlandscharacterisation of wetlands, including a better system for cataloguing wetlands (vs. Ramsar); evaluation of wetland boundaries; management planning for wetlands, estuaries; representative and reference systems 
impact of climate change on wetlands; oral histories from NRM professionals and Aboriginal community 
Collation of most recent hydrological information relating to the Upper Kent and Balicup wetland suites and the implications of this for ecological restoration 
Evaluation of wetland boundaries