Magnitude of Surface Water and Groundwater Interaction


On 21 September 2015, responsibility for water policy and resources was transferred to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources - Administrative Arrangement Order made on 21 September 2015.

This website will be updated to reflect these changes.


Australian Government Funding: $1,350,000

About the project

This project significantly advanced the understanding of surface water - groundwater interaction and associated impacts on water resources.

The reports produced by this project describe the findings from field assessments of surface water - groundwater interaction which took place in 10 selected catchments in 2008 - 2009. Five different methods for estimating groundwater discharge were trialled. All of these methods were considered suitable for providing regional scale estimates of discharge, but the methods had not previously been systematically compared and evaluated.

Through the development of methods implemented in the ten trial catchment studies and summary reports, a range of methods for the assessment of surface water - groundwater interaction have been demonstrated.

Project benefits

The project has:

  • developed methods for quantifying the degree of connection between surface water and groundwater systems, both in a spatial and temporal context
  • improved the understanding of surface water and groundwater connectivity which can assist in improved decision making on water resource allocations
  • installed the necessary monitoring infrastructure and demonstrated the application of these methods in ten representative eastern Australian catchments
  • communicated the project outcomes to local, state and Australian Government decision makers enabling informed water resource management.

Note: The purpose of the project is to compare methods, and as such, the data and subsequent results for base flow estimates in each catchment do not represent agreed absolute estimates of surface water - groundwater flux volumes. Rather, the results and conclusions of this study are intended solely as a comparison of scientific methods for measuring surface water - groundwater exchange.


The project is now complete and the summary reports are available below. Reports describing the field assessment of surface water - groundwater interaction, which took place in 10 catchments in 2008 - 2009 are available on request.