World Water Day: Equitable and Sustainable Water Management

Water remains the most critical resource for human and all ecosystem survival. Australia’s highly variable climate makes robust and reliable water management essential. In Australia, climate change is causing heavier rainfall and an increasing number (and duration) of dry periods. This is already leading to high fluctuations in streamflow, adding to the natural high variability.

The difficulty with climate change impacts, specifically on Australian water resources, is that it is not only about less available water. What climate change will mostly affect is the variability, increasing both floods and droughts. This will make it more difficult to store water, to plan for the future and to provide sufficient water for humans and ecosystems.

It will also increase the uncertainty in measurements and model predictions. The quantification of uncertainty is crucial for decision making in water resources, as this will provide understanding of the risk of the decision and will highlight deficiencies in our knowledge about the hydrological system.

On World Water Day, DARE Director Prof Willem Vervoort highlights that it continues to be a priority to improve how we measure water resources and to improve model predictions across our large catchments, otherwise we will continue in failing to deliver equitable water management.

Professor Vervoort was pleased to see that the NSW Government recently agreed to consider climate change in water sharing rules moving forward, after supporting the Environmental Defenders Office in the matter as an expert.

“Having a clear picture of the available resources is key to resilience and preparedness for the future.”