Integrated surface water and groundwater management is the joint or coordinated management of surface (SW) and groundwater (GW) resources. Connected SW and GW resources can be managed as a single resource. Unconnected resources in the same region and/or with common users can be managed in a coordinated manner to achieve common objectives. Currently most SW and GW resources are managed separately whether they are connected or not. Integrated surface water and groundwater management can achieve more efficient and flexible use of scarce water, for example by storing water underground and extracting it when and where it is needed.
My PhD examines the rationale for integrated water management and how it can be implemented to improve water management outcomes in the Murray-Darling Basin. What are the priorities and conditions for implementing integrated water management, including infrastructure, knowledge and governance systems, and adaptive management to allow for complexity, uncertainty and information gaps? What are the opportunities for and barriers to integrated water management? How have water laws, rules in use and management organisations affected the integration of water management? This research will include a comparison of water management areas in Australia and the USA with participation by government and industry representatives.