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Groundwater: Making the invisible visible

The theme of today’s World Water Day 2022 is groundwater – making the invisible visible.

Published: 22 March 2022

Groundwater is the theme of today’s annual World Water Day and while you can’t see it, managing it sustainably is so important.

Groundwater is the water that flows beneath the earth’s surface. It is stored in fractured rocks, porous rocks and soils called aquifers or groundwater systems. Groundwater often connects to surface water, which includes the water in our creeks, rivers and wetlands.

In the Murray–Darling Basin there are 80 groundwater systems and some rivers and river ecosystems in the Basin rely on groundwater to survive. Communities access groundwater for drinking water, and it is also used by agriculture for irrigation and stock water and by industry. In times of drought, groundwater is often used to maintain water supply and keep fish and aquatic animals alive.

For the first time, through the Murray–Darling Basin Plan, groundwater is being managed across state borders with consistent rules and arrangements. The Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) works with Basin state governments to monitor and manage the Basin’s groundwater resources to make sure groundwater use remains within the Basin Plan limits.  

Keeping groundwater healthy is critical for many reasons.

Groundwater is important for ecosystems in caves, such as the Cathedral Cave in Wellington, New South Wales and it also provides the water source and pressure for springs and supports rivers and wetlands. Many groundwater dependent ecosystems are significant cultural places for First Nations.

World Water Day is celebrated annually by the United Nations on 22 March with the goal of celebrating water and raising awareness of the 2 billion people who don’t have access to safe water.

Find out more about the importance of groundwater and how you can get involved at the World Water Day 2022 website.

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