The Department for Environment and Water (DEW), in partnership with the Goyder Institute for Water Research, received the Australian Water Association’s (AWA) National Award for R&D Excellence last Thursday (11 May 2023) for the Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin Scientific Trials and Investigations (T&I) science program.
T&I ran from July 2020 until June 2022, investing $12M in developing new science in nutrient dynamics, aquatic plants and algae, food webs, waterbirds, climate adaptation, as well as an integration project that synthesised all the science into management ready models and frameworks.
This unprecedented investment generated critical knowledge and capability for the management of the Coorong through a collaborative, transdisciplinary team from 13 organisations, and involving 72 researchers, including 21 early career researchers. The team included CSIRO, Flinders University, The University of Adelaide, the University of South Australia and the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI).
The T&I science formed an important part of the $77 million Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin (HCHB) Program, an initiative of the Australian Government and Government of South Australian, that aims to support the long-term health of the Coorong by providing evidence-based solutions to both immediate threats and future conditions under a changing climate.
The science provided critical knowledge, data and tools to predict responses to management options with much greater certainty. In doing so, it is directly informing present and future management decisions that will support a healthy Coorong and provide ecological, cultural, social and economic values to communities.
This program has demonstrated how a collaborative and interdisciplinary delivery model, built on trusting and respectful partnerships, can be used to tackle a difficult socio-economic and environmental issue.
The Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin program is jointly funded by the Australian Government and the Government of South Australia.