Whiteman Park highlights groundwater research

Measuring recharge of groundwater was highlighted at the first Whiteman Park Field Day for the Recharge Estimation Collaboration (REC) project.

Measuring groundwater recharge was highlighted at the first Whiteman Park Field Day for the Recharge Estimation Collaboration (REC) project.

More than 25 representatives of the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER), Whiteman Park staff and hydrological consultants joined The University of Western Australia staff and students at the day-long event on November 9.

Associate Professor Sally Thompson from UWA’s Centre for Water and Spatial Science said it was a great day.

“We examined state-of-the-art scientific instruments, inspected soil cores, visited the instrumented sites and ran geophysical measurements together,” Thompson said. “We looked at the collected data and heard presentations from UWA research students.”

The Field Day was held to share the work of REC with DWER staff and other stakeholders. REC is a partnership between UWA, CSIRO and DWER to measure and model recharge to Perth’s aquifers. Estimates of recharge are essential for managing groundwater resources sustainably.

As part of REC, UWA and DWER have established seven research sites across the 12,000km2 Swan Coastal Plain. The sites are near Dandaragan, Gingin, Gnangara, Whiteman Park and Myalup. These sites measure water movement, storage, energy, and quality through soils on different land covers and land uses.

Why Whiteman Park?

Whiteman Park is a unique conservation reserve close to the CBD and hosts two sites. One is on native Banksia woodland, and the other is on a pastured site.

Dr Simone Gelsinari, a Research Associate from UWA’s School of Engineering who coordinates the field sites, said the Field Day highlighted the broad range of techniques and questions the research can address.

“For example, the Gnangara site measures recharge in areas where pine plantations have been thinned to reduce water use but also allowed to regenerate because of the importance of pine seeds as a food resource for endangered Carnaby’s black cockatoos,” Gelsinari said

“Other research sites take advantage of specialised instrumentation, such as the Gingin Ozflux site where water, energy and carbon dioxide transport between land and the atmosphere is measured, or strategically important areas, such as the horticultural district at Myalup, where the final REC sites will be installed in December.”

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