Managed Aquifer Recharge: Suitability and economic potential in Lower Namoi valley NSW, Australia
The risks to Australia’s water resources are increasing in the form of growing demand and reducing reliability of supply. Enhancing recharge to the groundwater can offset overdraft in stressed aquifers and provide a greater reliability of water under period of droughts. Managed aquifer recharge is the intentional storage of water to the aquifers for subsequent recovery and use. In arid and semiarid areas MAR can be a feasible management option to address agricultural water demands when implemented at suitable locations and scale while addressing challenges imposed by socioeconomic, environmental and hydrogeological conditions.
Droughts are a common feature of Australian climate, this understanding of drought has led to the agreement that climate-sensitive industries such as agriculture must learn to manage and adapt to the extreme weather events. In Australia current research interests on MAR are focused on the urban context. Feasibility of MAR for rural areas including agriculture is one of the current research gaps; in particular enhancing recharge to the aquifer during high flood events has not been assessed on a regional scale. This study will assess the potential of Managed Aquifer Recharge under major flood events in lower Namoi valley of NSW Australia. The study aims to investigate technical suitability and economic efficiency of MAR for the agriculture sector at the catchment scale.
The study aims to:
- Investigate key parameters of site and aquifer suitability for Managed Aquifer Recharge projects;
- Develop an integrated hydro-economic framework (model) for the feasibility of MAR project for the agriculture sector.
A case study in the sub catchment of lower Namoi valley, one of the highly groundwater extraction zone in NSW, will be used to investigate the feasibility of MAR. The study will investigate the technical suitability and farm profitability of various Managed Aquifer Recharge methods in relation to the catchment and aquifer characteristics to recommend the best choice within given set of alternatives.