Impacts of land use change on groundwater resources
Issue Paper 3
National Groundwater Committee
Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2004
About the issue paper
It has been known for many decades that water in the hydrological cycle is in a continuum between the various parts of the cycle, and development or contamination of one component will impact on the other parts of the cycle.
There is now increasing recognition of the potential for land use and particularly land use change to impact on parts of the water cycle other than just rivers and lakes. The potential impacts on recharge characteristics are of particular concern as the water allocation process assumes a certain level of recharge of suitable quality (on average) each year — if this level of recharge in not achieved this will cause ongoing aquifer depletion in developed aquifers, with all its attendant adverse consequences.
As a resource nears full allocation and/or use, reductions in the recharge become progressively more important.