Products – The Centre for Independent Studies

Make every drop count, and count every drop: Vanishing groundwater needs proper monitoring and management

Grahame Campbell
22 April 2021 | PP39
Make every drop count, and count every drop: Vanishing groundwater needs proper monitoring and management

Aquifer groundwater is a crucial and valuable resource for Australia, but is poorly managed and monitored to the point of being neglected in some areas. This neglect is a risk for the future of Australia’s $60 billion agriculture production and industry that relies on the resource in an arid country.

About 30% of Australia’s total water consumption comes from groundwater, and use of the resource is increasing (estimated to have increased at least 90% — nearly doubled — in the 15 years from 1985-2000 alone).

About 70% of the groundwater extracted is used for agriculture, and accounts for about 30% of the overall water used for agriculture. There is also strong reliance on groundwater for household water and other uses, with the Northern Territory in particular relying on groundwater for 90% of its overall water requirements.

The volumes of water drawn far outstrip the estimated restocking from natural recharge, resulting in groundwater levels falling in many parts of Australia..

However, it is impossible to accurately gauge how much the levels of groundwater resources have fallen, due to the poor monitoring of groundwater extraction, lack of proper management, underpricing of the resource, and lack of acknowledgement of its importance.

A renewed effort to audit and evaluate the current state of the monitoring system with recommendations for improvements to bring it up to an acceptable level is needed.

Latest Publications

Crucial Collaboration: The Case for Closer Australia-UK Defence and Security Ties in Light of a Rising China
Tom Tugendhat
23 June 2021 | PP42

China’s rise is perhaps the single most significant geopolitical question of the next decade – indeed, the next century. The sheer scale of its economy and military, combined with an increasingly authoritarian regime under Xi Jinping, means that the Indo-Pacific lies at the heart of the China challenge. Growing militarisation and Chinese aggression are destabilising the region, whilst Beijing’s willingness…

The MMT Hoax
Tony Makin, Gene Tunny
27 May 2021 | PP41

Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) is a supposedly new macroeconomic paradigm, but it is essentially a reprise of 1930s Keynesian economics. Its central premise — that countries which can borrow in their own currencies should not worry about government deficits and can finance as much government spending as they want — is deeply flawed, yet it has political appeal and has…

Does high-rise development damage neighbourhood character?
Peter Tulip, Zachary Lanigan
29 April 2021 | PP40

Local residents often oppose new apartment buildings on the grounds that they would harm neighbourhood character. This paper suggests these concerns are overstated. The paper examines several examples of high-rise development in Sydney: Chatswood, Forest Lodge, Green Square, Liverpool and Turrella. If these developments harmed neighbourhood character, as local residents often claim, nearby house prices should fall. But that does…

Resisting China’s Economic Coercion: Why America should support Australia
Alan Dupont
08 April 2021 | PP38

China’s unprecedented trade campaign against Australia is a case study in economic coercion for geopolitical purposes. Its aim is twofold: to bend Canberra to Beijing’s will and to decouple it from the US alliance system. Australia has withstood such pressure to date, but needs American support. This paper argues that the Biden Administration should lead in helping Australia and other…

Australians’ Attitudes to Social Media: Connection or Curse?
Monica Wilkie
29 March 2021 | PP37

Social media appears in the news cycle, almost daily, and the majority of the coverage is negative. Politicians from all sides, and bureaucratic agencies have been warning about the apparent danger social media pose to journalism, democracy, business, and civil society. But Australians are far more optimistic about social media than the alarmist narrative. The CIS commissioned YouGov to poll…