A new online Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems Atlas has been launched, presenting the first comprehensive picture of Australia's groundwater-dependent ecosystems.


The Atlas has been funded by the National Water Commission under the Raising National Water Standards Program and hosted by the Bureau of Meteorology.


Announcing the Atlas, Senator Don Farrell, Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, said groundwater has frequently been considered our water resource safety net in the face of a highly variable climate, growing demands from population growth and the pressures of development.


However, increased groundwater use also places pressure on those wetlands and ecosystems that depend on groundwater for their survival.


Senator Farrell said that the atlas would help address groundwater knowledge gaps and progress reforms agreed to under the National Water Initiative.


"This innovative web-based tool will provide vital information for water planners and managers to use when weighing up how to allocate our precious water resources.


"For the first time we now have a clear inventory showing the location and features of groundwater dependent ecosystems across Australia.


The Atlas was developed by the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO, with project consultancy services provided by Sinclair Knight Merz, and Cohga, and vital inputs from state and territory water agencies.


It has already been recognised for its excellence in the "Spatial Enablement" Award category at the 8th Annual Victorian Spatial Excellence Awards in Melbourne.


The Atlas is available at: www.bom.gov.au/water/groundwater/gde