The health of the Kangaroo Island environment and the viability of its economy rely heavily on clean and adequate supplies of water. In 2015 there was community concern that the Kangaroo Island Landscape Board Water Affecting Activity Control Policy did not sufficiently consider the water requirements of the island’s aquatic ecosystems. In response, the Kangaroo Island Ecologically Sustainable Water Take Limits project was initiated.
Using a rich long-term Kangaroo Island dataset, the project’s recently published report describes the methods used to collect ecological and hydrological data, and the machine learning model used. It presents an assessment of the level of risk posed to the health of the island’s aquatic ecosystems under different water take limits and other water management options.
The assessment clearly identified that the key drivers of ecosystem health are streamflow, salinity and native vegetation. The risk of a decline in aquatic ecosystem health increases as water taken by dams and forestry increases and riparian vegetation decreases.
The Kangaroo Island Ecologically Sustainable Water Take Limits project is the result of a collaboration between the Kangaroo Island Landscape Board, the Department for Environment and Water and the Environmental Protection Authority.
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