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Summer 2014


Season's Greetings .....

It's been another remarkable year for the Centre with its flagship research programs nearing completion having smashed their performance targets for the fifth consecutive year. At the date of this newsletter the Centre has:

  • Trained 160 Post-Doctoral and PhD researchers;
  • Produced over 700 journal publications;
  • Delivered 100 professional training courses for 3,000 industry practitioners in Australia and internationally;
  • Produced 2,284 media articles, webinars, and video clips to support the transfer and adoption of our research,  and promote greater public awareness of the importance of Australia’s groundwater resources.

Everyone connected with the Centre is extremely proud of these achievements and we'll be returning to our desks in the New Year with renewed sense of purpose and enthusiasm for the challenges that lie ahead.

On behalf of everyone at the NCGRT, I would like to wish you a happy and relaxing New Year. We’re looking forward to working with you in 2015.

Professor Craig Simmons
Centre Director


2015 The Next Chapter

The Centre's key challenge in 2015 is to continue building on this success.  A new Strategic Plan which be launched in the New Year that will shape our research and training priorities through to the end of 2017. The new plan sharpens and intensifies our research focus on:

* Understanding the impacts that mining, unconventional gas and hydraulic fracturing have on groundwater resources,

* Supporting the successful implementation of the Murray Darling Basin Plan,

* Assessing the role that groundwater will play in underpinning the sustainable development of Northern Australia, and

* Maintaining Australia’s water security, with a particular focus on tackling the challenges associated with urbanisation and climate change variability.

The launch of the new Strategic Plan is part of a broader renewal process that includes the formation of a new Advisory Board with a mandate to challenge the Centre to continuously improve every aspect of its research and training operations.

Other exciting developments in 2015 include the delivery of the Australian Groundwater Conference in partnership with the International Association of Hydrogeologists and Dr. Peter Dillon’s forthcoming NCGRT Distinguished Lecturer Tour exploring managed aquifer recharge and the water banking frontier. We’ve also planned an exciting program of industry training and networking events – please make sure you check our website for details.

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Special Thanks

This Centre's success over the last 5 years has been attributed to the outstanding leadership of Centre’s research program leaders: Prof Andy Baker (UNSW), Prof Peter Cook (CSIRO/Flinders), Prof David Lockington (UQ) and Prof Tony Jakeman (ANU).

I’d also like to publicly acknowledge the hard work and dedication of our Chief Investigators who have ably assisted our Program Leaders in their roles and helped the NCGRT become the largest and most prolific inter-disciplinary centre of its kind in the world. It’s also important to acknowledge the contribution of our foundational partner organisations whose technical expertise and feedback has played a key role in ensuring that our research programs are aligned with the research needs of end-users.

I’m thrilled to announce that the NCGRT research network will continue expanding in 2015 with new partner organisations, based in Australia and internationally, joining our alliance. The new additions will see the number of formal partner organisations exceed 30, with the Centre maintaining research affiliations with a further 200 organisations across the globe. I would like to thank our partner organisations for their vote of confidence in the NCGRT moving forward into the future.

DECRA Awards

We're delighted to report that Dr Margaret Shanafield (Research Program 3 based at Flinders) and Dr Hugo Gutierrez-Jurado (Research Program 4 based at Flinders) have been awarded Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards (DECRAs) in the Australian Research Council’s 2014 funding round. The DECRA scheme aims to support and advance promising early-career researchers, and promote enhanced opportunities for diverse career pathways.

Margaret and Hugo will be using these highly prestigious awards to undertake new 3-year research projects. Margaret will be developing easily applicable tools to predict aquifer replenishment and storm events and predictions of groundwater availability under future climate conditions. Hugo’s aiming to develop, implement and evaluate a new field monitoring technique building upon new theoretical developments to quantify evaporation and transpiration from soil and vegetation using a limited number of measurements of temperature, humidity and net radiation above soil and canopies.

Developing the next generation of groundwater researchers continues to be of the Centre’s key objectives and we are thrilled that Margaret and Hugo’s contribution to Australian groundwater research has been recognised at the national level.

More Research Success Stories

Congratulations are also in order to the following NCGRT researchers:

Prof Derek Eamus (Program 4, UTS) on making it to the final of the 2014 Google Impact Challenge Australia. As one of 10 finalists from 350 submissions, Derek received $250,000 and mentoring from Google to get his project up and running This is a phenomenal result and we are incredibly proud of Derek’s achievements.

Prof Peter Cook (Program 3, CSIRO/FUSA) who is part of a research team, led by the British Geological Survey, that was recently awarded research funding from the UK’s National Environment Council’s UpGro Scheme for a new project “A hidden crisis: unravelling current failures for future success in rural groundwater supply”.

Prof Tony Jakeman (ANU) and his Research Program 5 team for successfully completing a project for the Cotton Research and Development Corporation on ”Socio-Economic Impacts climate change, technology and water policy”.

Prof Allan Curtis (Program 5, CSU) on being awarded the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand’s Eric Anderson Award for the best paper published in the Australasian Journal of Environmental Management (AJEM) in 2014.

And, last but not least, Centre Director, Prof Craig Simmons, on his election as a Fellow of the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. Craig’s Fellowship citation acknowledges his major national and international contributions to groundwater science, education and policy reform, including his leadership of the National Groundwater Centre.

Very well done to all!

2015 NCGRT Distinguished Lecture series

As noted above Dr Peter Dillon will be delivering free public in all State and Territory capitals as part of his 2015 NCGRT Distinguished Lecturer Tour.  Peter is presenting on "Progress in managed aquifer recharge and the water banking frontier" on the following dates:

Brisbane, Tuesday 2 June
Sydney, Wednesday 3 June
Canberra, Friday 5 June
Adelaide, Thursday 11 June
Melbourne, Tuesday 23 June
Hobart, Friday 26 June
Perth, Tuesday 28 July
Darwin, Thursday 30 July

Please stay tuned for the times and venue on our website in early 2015!

Groundwater industry training

The Centre’s training and development team continues to go from strength to strength and 2015 will see the continuing delivery of provision to meet the needs of industry.

Courses planned for the early part of next year include the Australian Groundwater Modelling School, the 2015 Australian Groundwater School and Field Trip and Modelling for Managers and Decision Makers, an online course delivered via webinar.

If you have any questions or need more information about the existing or customised training offered by the NCGRT, please email or call 08 8201 5632.

PhD recruitment

The Centre's continuing success in attracting major national and international grant funding means we will be seeking to recruit new PhD candidates in 2015.  For further information, please email


Upcoming events and activities

Australian Groundwater Conference - Save the Date

The National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training and the Australian Chapter of the International Association of Hydrogeologists are joining forces to deliver the Australian Groundwater Conference in Canberra in November 2015. We are looking forward to welcoming groundwater researchers, industry professionals and policy development specialists to this exciting event. The conference themes will be announced on 17th December 2014 with the call for abstracts opening on 2nd March 2015.

Date: November 2015

Venue: The Shine Dome, Canberra

Click here for more information 

2015 Darcy and McEllhiney Lecture Tour

Dates are being finalised for the 2015 Darcy and McEllhiney lecture tours and will be posted to the website as soon as they are confirmed. 


National Centre
for Groundwater
Research and Training

Flinders University
GPO Box 2100

Tel +61 8 8201 2193
Fax +61 8 8201 7906





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