Many countries and regions have struggled to put in place adequate water information systems to assist with sustainable water management. This article describes and assesses the key components of Australia's water information and data systems, with particular reference to rural and regional Australia, focusing on progress with strengthening these systems at a national level since 2007. Through the early part of the period, much of Australia was experiencing a crisis in water availability. The article concludes with ongoing challenges for Australia and lessons from the Australian experience for other countries embarking on upgrading their water information and data systems. Upgrading a nation's water information systems is a long-term task, but an important one in a world of climate change and increased climate variability. Substantial progress is likely to take five to 10 years to materialize. From the outset, upgrading information systems needs to be focused on data series that will facilitate answering key policy questions, assist water users in making significant decisions more effectively, and allow businesses and government to better address risks from water-related events. As always, political support matters. To sustain investments in information, its coverage must facilitate illuminating key questions and issues. Custodians of information systems must ensure that the value proposition is clear to all.
|Publication status||Published - 2015|