‘Water banking’ sites found in the Murray-Darling Basin

The CSIRO has identified aquifers in the Murray-Darling Basin it says could be used for long-term underground water storage and to enhance water security.

The aquifer regions, which include areas around the Warrego River, Condamine-Culgoa Rivers, Darling River, Macquarie-Bogan Rivers and Namoi River, could potentially store than 200 gigalitres, CSIRO researchers say.

Study co-author Declan Page said recharging aquifers at times of higher rainfall, storing the water, and discharging them during droughts is a cost-effective way to manage regional water security.

“Drought resilience starts well before droughts hit – it’s planning and preparing by implementing practices that are water efficient and developing infrastructure that enables water conservation and storage,” Dr Page said.

“Water banking allows communities and their industries to potentially limit the economic impacts of a drought, operating at far less restrictive levels, for far longer.”

The study was part of CSIRO’s work to develop a mission to improve Australia’s drought resilience and protect regional communities, industries, and the environment from droughts.

The study was published in the journal Water.