We’ve probably all driven past a dam and not really thought anything further of it aside from noticing the water inside. When it comes to water infrastructure, most of us would likely only think of dams and pipelines.
But have you ever wondered why this water infrastructure matters? This water infrastructure is playing an important role in preparing Australia for the future.
On its most basic level, it’s helping to ensure clean and reliable water for all Australians. But it’s much more than that. It can help a region to develop and build resilience to a changing climate, including periods of droughts and floods. At the same time, it can promote economic growth and a sustainable way of living.
It’s not only dams and pipelines either. Water infrastructure also includes:
- water recycling and treatment plants
- irrigation networks, and
- other water storage, distribution and scientific solutions.
Combining these together, along with natural water systems such as rivers, lakes and groundwater, we get a ‘water grid’.
Water infrastructure is central to this water grid and is arguably now more important with drier times already here. Growing populations in regional Australia and the effects of climate change are both also placing pressure on Australia’s water resources.
Solving the problem involves more than just building a new dam to capture water or connecting pipes to provide water for a town. There are a range of other factors to consider, such as:
- What impact will this have on the environment?
- Water infrastructure can change river flows, impact native species breeding grounds, and much more if not done right.
- Are First Nations communities being involved and consulted?
- First Nations communities have a cultural and spiritual connection to water, and have managed Australia’s water resources for 65,000 years.
- Will this support regional Australia?
- Regional Australia is the backbone of our nation, and relies on water to survive and maintain livelihoods, in particular to support agriculture.
- What’s the evidence behind why it’s needed?
- Water systems in Australia are complex, and we need to look at the science behind them in order to develop the right infrastructure in the right place.
The National Water Grid Fund is the Australian Government’s infrastructure investment program to improve water access and security by delivering nationally important water infrastructure projects that unlock potential, build resilience, and promote growth and sustainability. It’s supported by a strong Science Program, designed to help determine the best way to harness and protect our water systems and supplies.
We’re rolling out a series focussing on the key topics about ‘why water infrastructure matters’.
You can follow this series and see what other great work the team is doing by visiting the National Water Grid’s news centre.