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Groundwater Regulation in a Drying South West

The south west of Western Australia has experienced a significant decline in rainfall and streamflow since the mid-1970s, increasing pressure on its valuable groundwater resources.

This one year research project, which concluded on 30 June 2014, considered this experience and its implications for groundwater management and regulation. It investigated the following questions:

How can groundwater use be maintained within sustainable limits in a drying climate, and how can groundwater be used productively and efficiently within these limits?
What role does the regulatory framework for groundwater management have in achieving these goals?

The analysis and recommendations in the final report are relevant to water law reform in Western Australia, and seek to contribute to scholarship on groundwater law and policy more generally – an important area, given that groundwater is the source of around one third of freshwater withdrawals worldwide.

The research was funded by the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training, an Australian Government initiative supported by the Australian Research Council and the National Water Commission.

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