Workshop on Environmental Water Requirements for Australia Estuaries: Outcomes and Future Directions

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Fluvial Systems Pty Ltd, 2002

for Environment Australia

About the report

The environmental water requirements of aquatic systems has emerged as a key issue in Australian natural resource management over recent years. Despite the recent attention that this area is beginning to attract amongst the scientific community and resource managers, including a number of comprehensive studies, environmental flows and the effect they have on aquatic systems are not fully understood. This is particularly the case for estuaries. Filling the knowledge gap of environmental water requirements for estuaries is a critical part of developing good water management practices for these systems.

So how can resource managers determine appropriate environmental water requirements for Australian estuaries? And what kind of methodology can resource managers use to determine these flows? Is there a model that is applicable to all Australian estuaries? And what are the information gaps and impediments to measuring and implementing environmental flow requirements of estuaries

These questions have been addressed in a report recently released by Environment Australia "Environmental Water Requirements to Maintain Estuarine Processes" (Peirson et al., 2002). The report was launched at a Workshop on 30th May 2002, held at the Water Research Laboratory, the University of New South Wales, King St, Manly Vale, Sydney.

The Workshop allowed an opportunity for the report's first author, Bill Peirson, to present a summation of the recommended approach. Other speakers presented perspectives on water and estuarine management from different levels of government and community groups. The focus of the Workshop later shifted onto future directions.

This report summarises the presentations from the Workshop, and suggests some possible future directions for management of environmental flows in Australian estuarine environments.