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The Wellington site will be a world's first facility for undertaking research into relationship between climate and groundwater by enabling the integrated analysis of groundwater - surface water vegetation - atmosphere interactions.

 

This recognises that improved understanding of groundwater relies on the accurate characterisation and quantification of the numerous interconnected hydro meteorological processes and mechanisms that influence the behaviour and response of groundwater systems. The Wellington site lies on land owned by the University of NSW and is underlain by several different fractured rock types. Less is known about the groundwater resources available in fractured rocks than practically any other aquifer system, yet fractured rocks cover approximately 20% of the land surface of the world and it had been estimated that approximately 1/3 of all bores drilled in Australia are into fractured rock systems.

 

The Wellington site is situated at the margin of two rainfall belts to the north. Long-term monitoring and investigations at this site will be unique in its scope to make measurements, the available infrastructure support and scientific capacity, offering a comprehensive multidisciplinary assessment of water cycle observation and analysis across multiple spatial scales. The NCRIS funds will be used to construct a large-scale field laboratory and monitoring facility where research into fractured-rock flow characterisation and monitoring to determine the groundwater response to climate change can be carried out. A facility of this type is long overdue and will have national and international significance. Furthermore, the comprehensive and real-time data from the facility will be made freely and readily available via the internet, significantly enhancing its utility to the research community. 

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