TRaCK: Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge

Science and knowledge that governments, communities, industries for sustainable use of Australia's tropical rivers and estuaries

Howard Springs’ residents have their say about water use

Howard Springs’ residents have their say about water use


In the face of increasing demand for water by residential subdivisions and urban uses, Howard Springs’ residents are invited to be part of a new research project that will answer key questions around local groundwater levels and the effects of residential and commercial bore use at a local public meeting next Tuesday and a web-blog.

Tropical river researchers will use the information from residents to develop a 3-dimensional simulation model of the Howard East groundwater (aquifer and bore fields) that will help the local community make better decisions in future water planning processes.

 ‘We’ve got a good understanding of how the aquifer works but we now need to get the local community involved,’ says Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge (TRaCK) researcher Sharna Nolan from CSIRO.

Researchers have gathered information from many independent sources — including Power and Water Corporation, CSIRO and Griffith University — and are now inviting members of the community to give anecdotal information at a public meeting at Girraween Primary School, 25 Carruth Road, Howard Springs on Tuesday 21 April at  6:30 – 8:30 pm.

‘We are asking people to come along to the meeting and talk about their own experience with water,’ says Ms Nolan. ‘This will help build the bank of knowledge that the local community need to make decisions.’

‘All this information will feed into a 3-D model of the Howard East aquifer that everyone will have free access to,’ says Ms Nolan.

‘Everyone with a bore puts in initial investment to drill their own bore – and if they’ve got $15 000 sunk in their bore they want to know that the water supply is secure and the bore isn’t going to run dry.

Gerry Wood, MLA (independent Member for Nelson) is also involved in the project and says while the local community has never planned for water before, it is obvious they need to start thinking about it.

‘Besides being the local member for the area I’m a resident in the Howard Springs area and I rely on bore water for domestic use,’ says Mr Wood.
‘We’ve got to understand how much we can remove from the aquifer – we can’t keep pumping more and more water until we know the effect this has on the environment and other bore users.’

The Howard East area has undergone rapid development in rural residential properties that were previously horticultural farms. Rural residents take up 30 per cent of the water available for consumption, Power and Water Corporation takes 15 per cent and mango and exotic fruit growers use 50 per cent. But with residential development increasing, there is also an increasing demand for water.