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research program 4

salinity mapping and hazard assessment

Murray Darling Basin Commission funded projects

Project Leader : Overall management Ken Lawrie, with sub-project leaders John Wilford, Geoscience Australia

Start date and duration: March 04- end June 08

Participants : Geoscience Australia, CSIRO Exploration and Mining and Land and Water, Australian National University, Adelaide University


Brief project description :

This is a co-investment project between MDBC, DPIVic, and CRC LEME, and liked to activities in CRC Salinity. Over the past 3 years, strategic research projects covering 4 key areas of project activity have been carried out. These are:

1. Catchment characterisation and management. This activity has focussed on evaluating the value-adding potential of regolith geoscience for salinity management in dryland landscapes. The focus has been on developing value-added GFS approaches, and is linked to evaluation in salinity modelling and investment decision making tools in CRC Salinty.

2. Floodplain salinisation processes. Activities include the assessment of the cost-effectiveness of airborne geophysics and regolith-landscape modelling for salinity studies on the Murray Floodplain, and assessment of climate impacts on extent of salinisation.

3. In-stream processes. This activity is focussed on demonstrating how geomorphology/sedimentology and sub-surface architecture studies of floodplain environments can assist with understanding salinity processes, as well as contributing to better estimates of surface-groundwater interaction and sub-surface flow paths;

4. Salt Interception Investi ga tions. This sub-project was established to assess the value of in-river nanoTEM conductivity mapping to optimise salt interception schemes.


Scientific Deliverables (new scientific advances)

  1. New methods for mapping and predicting salinity in upland landscapes, and relating these to management actions.
  2. New products for understanding salinisation processes in floodplain landscapes.
  3. New insights into floodplain landscapes, surface-groundwater connectivity, and salinity dynamics in floodplain landscapes.


Deliverables to Client (Adoption mechanisms)

  1. Publication of MDBC ‘Knowledge Series' publications (listed below) for distribution jointly by MDBC and CRC LEME to clients across the Murray-Darling Basin (relevant more broadly).
  2. Or ga nise and run regional workshops on the value-adding potential of the new GFS methodologies. Target audience is CMAs (and Irri ga tion cooperatives for AEM products)
  3. Publication of maps and digital data through web-interface on LEME website.
  4. Stand-alone products (digital) of value-added GFS constructs (for sub-catchment scale use)
  5. Incorporation of LEME products as data layers or 3D constructs into hydrogeological and NRM planning models and tools.
  6. Reports, knowledge transfer workshops and on-line materials.
  7. Joint workshops with CRC Salinity to assess the uptake of P4 research into CRCFFI.



•  Improved salinity predictions in upland landscapes

•  Improved salinity, groundwater and surface water management in floodplain landscapes

•  Input into salinity interception scheme and disposal basin design.

•  Uptake of LEME products will be greatly aided by partnering with MDBC to disseminate products tailored for a specific audience (eg CMAs and NRM managers more generally)

•  Participation in MDBC-facilitated workshop on GFS methodologies should also be of great benefit in science adoption with key peer and clients groups


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