Aerial view of Wingecarribee Reservoir, NSW.

Our research provides the scientific basis for the management of water storages.

Catchment biogeochemistry and aquatic ecology

Our research provides the tools to deliver integrated and sustainable catchment and waterway management.

  • 7 March 2011 | Updated 25 October 2012

Overview

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Rivers and coastal systems worldwide are under pressure from the effects of land use, water use and climate fluctuations. Groundwater dependent ecosystems are at risk due to increasing groundwater usage and the interconnections between surface water and groundwater supplies.

These pressures result in deteriorating water quality, modified natural habitats, disrupted food webs, and reduced ecosystem services.

In Australia, these threats to rivers and receiving waters are intensified by the high variability of stream flows.

In response Australian governments at all levels have committed to improve catchment and river management nationwide through a focus on environmental sustainability. The effectiveness of these initiatives is under close scrutiny because of the competition for water resources.

We have 29 research staff along with field instrument specialists and laboratory technicians.

To ensure effective and efficient allocations of water for environmental improvement there needs to be a significant increase in our understanding of the functioning of Australian drainage basins, catchments and waterways.

This requires improved analyses of environmental water requirements and better prediction and assessment of ecosystem responses to changes in water regimes and water quality.

The Catchment Biogeochemsitry and Aquatic Ecology Research Program provides the scientific knowledge to underpin the formulation of management strategies that protect and improve Australia’s aquatic systems.

Research conducted within the program focuses on understanding how material fluxes (sediment and nutrients), water flows, and the basic life forms of ecosystems interact in rivers, floodplains, wetlands, water storages, and estuaries, thereby providing a scientific basis for the management of these environments.

Read more about CSIRO Land and Water.