Mount Gambier and the wider South East community recently hosted a water official from East Timor who was keen to learn from local experts about water resource management in the region.


Ms Juviana Jeronimo Neto from the National Directorate of Water, East Timor, spent two days with Department for Water staff as part of a work and knowledge exchange to help inform the future of groundwater management in East Timor.


Nick McIntyre from the Department for Water said the exchange was a great opportunity to provide East Timor Water Directorate staff with the benefit of South Australian experience.


“East Timor shares some similar groundwater issues with the South East region, and both areas’ groundwater systems are karstic systems,” said Mr McIntyre.


“During the exchange, the importance of groundwater monitoring to assess resource conditions was highlighted. Other points raised included the need to develop an understanding of recharge to groundwater from rainfall, making provision for environmental water needs, and having a licensing system to regulate the volume of extraction from the groundwater resource, including the use of water meters.


“Ms Neto informed us that they are just starting to look at ways to further use and manage their groundwater, and she was particularly interested to learn about the legal and planning aspects of South Australia’s water management systems.


“Formal regulation of groundwater is a fairly new concept in East Timor and we provided Ms Neto with detail around South Australia’s well permitting process as, under the current situation in East Timor, water is obtained primarily from rising groundwater springs.


“We also outlined some of the potential issues that could occur if wells are drilled or excavated without some level of permit control, such as potential groundwater contamination, improper construction standards or over-extraction from the groundwater resource.”