Conceptual Approaches, Methods and Models Used to Assess Extraction Limits in Australia: From Sustainable to Acceptable Yield

  • Daniel PierceEmail author
  • Peter Cook
Part of the Global Issues in Water Policy book series (GLOB, volume 24)


The establishment of a limit for extraction is a fundamental requirement for the long-term sustainable development of groundwater resources. As in many countries, the context and methodology for determining these limits in Australia has evolved over time. The instigation of the National Water Initiative (NWI) in 2004 was a major milestone in Australia which enabled the development of a nationally consistent framework for water management. A key component of this major reform process has been a commitment across the States and Territories to the concept of establishing a sustainable water extraction regime for each water system. National guidelines developed over the past decade have outlined a general approach to using scientific processes and techniques to determine this regime which minimises the risks to the resource and users that depend on it.

This chapter analyses the evolution of the use of ‘sustainable yield’ in Australian groundwater management and presents how four themes have come to shape a shared conceptual framework for groundwater management. These are: appreciating how the timing and location of extraction impacts on recharge and discharge processes; accepting that setting sustainability limits necessarily requires value judgements; employing a risk-based management approach that includes socio-economic considerations and greater stakeholder engagement; and using resource condition limits together with volumetric allocations to set optimal management rules.


Acceptable extraction limits Resource condition limits Risk-based management Sustainable yield 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department for Environment and WaterAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.Flinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia

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