Risk Assessment Applications in Groundwater Management: the Macleay Sands coastal aquifer in NSW

IAH NSW Branch
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
NSW IAH Symposium 2011 - Hydrogeology in NSW - the Challenge of Uncertainty, 2011, pp. 172 - 178
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A risk management strategy for the groundwater industry, including a three tiered risk assessment tool, is proposed. The proposed risk management framework utilises a set of risk criteria and analyses risks to produce a risk ranking and assess management options to reduce the risk. The outcome of the assessment is the basis for a comprehensive study into groundwater management options and their associated activities. The tiered approach to risk management allows the user to adapt to all levels of study required, ensuring that risks are captured, analysed and transparent from early stages of planning through to in-depth management of existing resources. The proposed risk management framework is a formal decision making tool for assessment of groundwater management options. The method is transparent, easy to follow and standardises the decision making process for management of groundwater resources. The merits of a risk management approach to the sustainable management of coastal groundwater resources are demonstrated using a case study of the Macleay Sands aquifer on the mid-north coast of NSW. The scope of risk assessment included: security of groundwater supplies for coastal communities; seawater intrusion; urban development and water quality, and the sustainability of groundwater dependent ecosystems (GDE's). Risk management was examined with the three tiered assessment tool and SEAW AT modelling. The risk analyses have identified that climate risk has the argest overall risk ranking for the Macleay Sands aquifer.
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