The role of groundwater in catchment management

David Lerner, Bob Harris, Ben Surridge (2007) in: Ribeiro, Chambel & de Melo (eds), 
Groundwater and Ecosystems, Abstract Book 35th IAH Congress, Lisbon, 
p62, Sept 2007. ISBN 978-989-95297-2-4


The management of river basins, and the catchments within them, needs to evolve from the current compartmentalised and piecemeal approaches to be more holistic. The future catchment manager has to develop solutions to address the many and various land use pressures, often acting in synergistic ways to impact on the aquatic ecosystems which are the measure of the health of our surface water systems. These pressures need to be managed, but their respective importance and how they are promulgated through the catchment, must first be determined. An understanding of the pathways therefore becomes very important, particularly for diffuse pressures such as nutrients and pesticides derived from agriculture land management and urban pollution from the high densities of contaminated land and leaking sewers. In moving towards more sustainable resource management, risk-based approaches (used in addressing existing point source pollution) need to evolve to more proactive approaches based on an assessment of vulnerability.