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Causes and Solutions for Groundwater Pollution in Australia - Essay Example

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Chapter 1 Groundwater in Australia Unlike many countries, Australia has groundwater beneath in almost all of its provinces. Because of the growing drain on surface water resources since 1960, more and more of the general water supply for domestic consumption and agricultural production has come from the groundwater…
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Causes and Solutions for Groundwater Pollution in Australia
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Download file to see previous pages However, if salinity is too high as a result of existing salt in the materials around the aquifer, then, it is not usable for consumption. If too much water is extracted from aquifers, then, the viability of a variety of ecosystems is at risk. Groundwater provides hydration for areas such as wetlands, streams and even some lakes. Even though the two intermingle, in Australia, the government has managed surface water and groundwater resources as two separate categories. In the country, there are currently 442 groundwater management units, or GMU’s, designated to manage the groundwater inside their territories. Each of these units was selected because the groundwater goes to areas with environmental sensitivity, or because the groundwater was low in salinity. Each GMU has its own aquifer – typically only one, unless there is a series that is connected. GMU’s end at the state and provincial boundaries since the prevailing authority for groundwater comes at the state/provincial level (Ball). For example, four different GMU’s cover the Great Artesian Basin, because it lies under parts of four different states in Australia. When it comes to sustainable yield, the good news is that Australia’s current groundwater yield is more than adequate for the country’s current needs. ...
However, extraction is higher in some parts of the country than others. In Victoria and Queensland, for example, almost two-thirds of the sustainable yield is used on an annual basis. The Great Artesian Basin, with around 500 GL in annual sustainable yield, is the largest source of groundwater in the country, containing 11 different aquifers. However, because 570 GL is extracted each year, the current trend is not sustainable (Ball). At present, the most positive signs are the government's commitment to testing aquifers near the coast rigorously to monitor salinity invasion. Also, the testing of river water can indicate the safety of some groundwater sources. However, many rivers do not have any groundwater as a source, so this is an incomplete method of testing. Current Risks While current use of groundwater is within allowable parameters, given the annual available yield, the only reason that groundwater is necessary for extraction is that surface water is being used to excess. There are many ways to encourage reductions in water consumption, from rebates on low-flow shower heads to the declaration of different stages in water reduction protocols for municipalities. Water consumption is a by-product of social behaviors that are, by and large, out of the government's hands to control, without instituting layers of usage control. Education is an essential strategy; many people just do not know the number of gallons they let flow down the drain each day, during something as straightforward as a morning shower in addition to activities such as running loads of laundry that are not full but using a full load's worth of water, not fixing a leaky toilet or outdoor spigot as well as letting hot water run constantly while shaving. All these are behaviors that do not ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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