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Technology in Australia 1788-1988Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Table of Contents

Chapter 3

I Background

II Early European Settlements

III Assessment Of Available Water Resources

IV Water Supplies For Goldmining Development

V Irrigation Development

VI Farm And Stock Water Supplies

VII Urban Water Supplies

VIII Wastewater Management And Treatment

IX Water Quality Management

X Limnological And Water Quality Research

XI New Techniques In Water Resource Planning And Management

XII Legislation

XIII Conclusion

XIV List Of Abbreviations

XV Acknowledgements

XVI Plantations-high Productivity Resources



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Assessment Of Available Water Resources (continued)

A significant volume of original work was done in Australia in the 1950s and 60s, particularly by the Victorian State Rivers and Water Supply Commission, in the fields of stream flow correlation, the estimation of drought frequencies and the determination of storage-yield relationships. This work was laborious and time-consuming. The advent of the computer, with its ability to quickly correlate large volumes of stream flow records, has permitted significant increases in the number and variety of hydro-logic studies. Australia's work in this field continues to be of international standard, particularly in respect of the estimation of maximum flood discharges and frequencies of floods, and the forecasting of stream and storage yields.

Systematic assessment of groundwater yield was, as with surface water, largely ignored, and this resource was widely exploited in the early years of settlement without thought of possible over-utilization or impairment of quality.

Early legislation concentrated on the encouragement of underground water location and use, particularly in the artesian basins of western New South Wales. With rapid expansion of drilling programs, and increasing use of high-pressure artesian water came a progressive reduction of pressure and flow of groundwater in many areas and a realization that the resource was not unlimited. In 1912 the New South Wales Government initiated the first Inter State Conference on Artesian Waters in Sydney, with succeeding conferences up to 1924.

Systematic gaugings of pressure and flow were instituted as a result of the conferences, and showed that the diminution of flow was due to reduction of pressure. A comprehensive understanding of the behaviour of artesian bores followed the development of the theory of the elasticity of aquifers and the derivation of the non-equilibrium equation in 1935.

A very large amount of investigation of underground water resources has been undertaken in Australia in recent years, on a scale and of a standard at least equal to that of any other comparable country. The assessment of these resources is a complex task, and some important techniques have been developed in this country. This work is important because, in many areas, the reserves of groundwater of potable quality greatly exceed those of surface water, and they are relatively cheaper to develop.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Victoria. Government Departments

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