Groundwater extraction across Victoria has the potential to negatively impact on groundwater dependent ecosystems (GDEs). The DELWP Environmental Water team has been developing a state-wide map of the extent and location of high value, at-risk GDEs. This project addresses action 8.8 of the Victorian Waterway Management Strategy - ‘Identify and prioritise types of high value groundwater-dependent ecosystems to inform regional waterway planning processes and water allocation decisions’
The map was initially going to be displayed as a state-wide ArcGIS layer, but this project shifted focus and adopted a “reproducible research” approach. Reproducible research is the idea that data analyses are published with the data and software code, so that others may verify the findings and build upon them. This approach has the benefit of making the results easy to interrogate, and it creates a uniform platform to interrogate the results.
We developed a framework using a shortlist of available data sets for three GDE classes (wetland, rivers and terrestrial) to rank and weight attributes. Then we implemented a Knowledge Translation Strategy to share results using interactive HTML dashboards – in addition to traditional formats (PDF, DOC, SHP).
It is also possible to build other information and parameters into this dashboard over time, such as climate change scenarios. DELWP may use this to complement the Ministerial Guidelines for Protection of Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems, as well as the Victorian Water Program Investment Framework. Examples of potential use include as part of selection criteria for investment in GDE-related projects.