WIT Press

A Decision Support System For Sustainable Groundwater Management. Case Study: Gnangara Sustainability Strategy – Western Australia


Free (open access)





Page Range

327 - 339




1,991 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


A. Elmahdi & D. McFarlane


The Gnangara Sustainability Strategy is a cross-government initiative that aims to ensure there is sufficient groundwater in the Gnangara Mound for drinking and commercial use, and to meet existing and future environmental needs. The Gnangara Groundwater System (GGS) is a large aquifer situated in the southwest region of Western Australia. Historically, the GGS has been considered to be an infinite reservoir for water, but this impression has quickly shifted following the realization that 45 GL of water has been lost per annum since the late 1990s. The main causes for this loss are lower rainfall since 1975; land uses that reduce recharge; and increased water extraction. As a result, many significant environmental features, especially wetlands, are declining in health and value. The GGS faces increasing demands for its water from several key users within the public water supply, environmental and agricultural sectors. However, declining water levels related to climate change, demand urgent prioritisation of a set of inter-sectoral and inter-temporal land use planning and water abstraction rules that would maximize societal welfare while ensuring the sustainability of this crucial water source and its dependant ecosystems. The sustainable management of the GGS is a major problem for water and environmental Innovative modelling approaches should be employed to assist in better decision making by modelling the feedback loops inherent in the system and analysing the impact of alternative land use and water policy scenarios. This paper details a systems approach to developing an integrated decision


DSS, groundwater, sustainable management, scenario analysis, integrated modelling