Declining rainfall threatens vulnerable stream species in WA’s south-west

Researchers have warned that stream fauna among Western Australia’s towering jarrah forests are at risk of acute loss, as many of the waterways in south-western WA begin to dry out each year under the effects of climate change. These once-reliable streams create small, aquatic havens for rare species, but records going back to the 1970s … Continue reading Declining rainfall threatens vulnerable stream species in WA’s south-west

Mapping floods on every street in the world

Accurate, street-level data on flooding risk is tremendously useful when preparing for natural disasters. But this data can be very hard to come by, especially in poorer nations. Enter the World Flood Mapping Tool, a new site developed by the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH). The tool contains detailed 3D … Continue reading Mapping floods on every street in the world

The fight for the Martuwarra

The Martuwarra (Fitzroy) River system winds its way through Western Australia’s Kimberley region, along deep troughs and shallow rivulets, nourishing a complex and finely tuned ecosystem as well as the culture and cosmology of the local traditional owners. The river is fed by 20 tributaries and flows through three shires across the lands of seven … Continue reading The fight for the Martuwarra

Investing in water quality could fatten up cattle

Renovating dams and improving water quality could fatten up cattle and reap long-term financial rewards, according to a new study by the Australian National University (ANU). Aussie researchers, led by Leo Dobes, conducted a cost-benefit analysis of renovating dams to promote weight gain for cattle on farms in south-eastern Australia. They found that there was … Continue reading Investing in water quality could fatten up cattle

Water availability will drop in the Murray-Darling

Water availability in the southern Murray-Darling Basin is on the decline, and there won’t be enough to go around in the future, according to new research from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). In a study published in Scientific Reports, researchers used statistical analysis and machine learning to establish and predict trends in rainfall and … Continue reading Water availability will drop in the Murray-Darling

Age of water

Australia is an ancient country, geologically speaking, and its groundwater aquifers reflect this: water in the Murray-Darling Basin has been dated to as old as 200,000 years, while some reservoirs in the Great Artesian Basin are thought to be nearly two million years old. That means the oldest Australian groundwater tested to date began trickling … Continue reading Age of water

“They want to blow it up” – environmental scientists weigh in on the Nationals’ plans for the Murray-Darling Basin

The National Party has proposed a number of amendments to legislation governing the Murray-Darling Basin plan that has the potential to “blow it up”, according to some of Australia’s leading environmental scientists. The defeated proposals would have banned government water buybacks, and limited the requirement for water to be returned to the system for environmental … Continue reading “They want to blow it up” – environmental scientists weigh in on the Nationals’ plans for the Murray-Darling Basin

Oxygen declining in the world’s lakes

The world’s lakes and oceans are filled with dissolved oxygen (O2), which aquatic species rely on to breathe. But research published in Nature has found that oxygen levels in temperate lakes are declining rapidly. “All complex life depends on oxygen. It’s the support system for aquatic food webs. And when you start losing oxygen, you … Continue reading Oxygen declining in the world’s lakes

‘Boys and their toys’: how overt masculinity dominates Australia’s relationship with water

By Anna Kosovac. In Australia over recent months, the fury of women has been hard to ignore. The anger, much of it directed at the toxic masculine culture of Parliament House, has sparked a national conversation about how these attitudes harm women. The movement has led me to think about how masculine cultures pervade our … Continue reading ‘Boys and their toys’: how overt masculinity dominates Australia’s relationship with water

Victorian rivers aren’t recovering from drought

One-third of Victorian water catchments have not recovered eight years after severe drought, according to a new paper published in Science, and the rivers may not recover anytime soon. The Australian Millennium Drought between 2001 and 2009 devastated communities that relied on the Murray-Darling Basin. It is commonly thought that rivers and underground water will eventually … Continue reading Victorian rivers aren’t recovering from drought

An answer to the clean water crisis?

Researchers from the University of South Australia (UniSA) are currently developing and refining a low-cost technique that can derive freshwater from seawater, brackish water or contaminated water – powered by sunlight. Freshwater scarcity is one of the most serious global challenges in the face of a growing population, changing climate and pollution. Currently, 1.42 billion … Continue reading An answer to the clean water crisis?

Cosmos Briefing: Water Policy in Australia

Water is the most vital resource on Earth and underpins all areas of survival. Over the next 10 years, we will need more fresh water to sustain us – even as drought and contamination make our current resources dwindle. In yesterday’s Cosmos Briefing, three water experts discussed how we can protect our most precious resource. … Continue reading Cosmos Briefing: Water Policy in Australia