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$5.4 million for atlas of ecosystems dependent on groundwater.

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PW 51/09 2 March 2009 $5.4 MILLION FOR ATLAS OF ECOSYSTEMS DEPENDENT ON GROUNDWATER Minister for Climate Change and Water, Senator Penny Wong, today announced funding of $5.4 million to develop a comprehensive national „atlas‟ of groundwater-dependent ecosystems. Senator Wong made the announcement during a visit to Moree on the first day of a three-day tour of the northern Murray-Darling Basin. “Many ecosystems depend on groundwater to support their plants and animals - but until now, little has been known about the location of these ecosystems and exactly how much groundwater they need to survive,” Senator Wong said. “The first step in dealing with the effects of climate change on Australia‟s water resources is improving our knowledge of them. “We need to better understand the relationship between groundwater and the health of the rivers, streams and wetlands that support vulnerable ecosystems. “This $5.4 million project, to be managed by the National Water Commission, will establish a comprehensive „atlas‟ of groundwater-dependent ecosystems across Australia. “This will give water managers vital information about the ecological requirements of the groundwater systems they deal with.” Under the National Water Initiative, all governments around Australia have acknowledged the importance of groundwater and have committed to sustainably manage the use of both surface water and groundwater. “Better understanding of groundwater systems will contribute to improved water planning and management, consistent with the Rudd Government‟s commitment to properly measure and manage our precious water resources,” Senator Wong said. Funding for the project is from the National Water Commission‟s $82 million National Groundwater Action Plan, which undertakes projects to improve knowledge of groundwater and guide groundwater reforms agreed to under the National Water Initiative. Further information on the project can be found at