Flinders University scientist Professor Craig Simmons is campaigning to protect the security of precious groundwater resources against urban expansion, drought and climate variability, mining, agriculture and other pressures.
On the driest continent in the world, groundwater in Australia is a vital resource that has long been neglected, undervalued and, to date, little understood, says the Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor of Hydrogeology.
He is now raising public awareness of this precious natural resource as Flinders University’s first Scientist in Residence at The Advertiser, working with journalists and editors on a range of key issues relating to water and the environment.
“More than 30 per cent of Australia’s total water consumption – for industry, town water supplies, agriculture and mining – comes from groundwater,” says Professor Simmons, who is director of the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT) based at Flinders University.
“The centre is playing a key role in enhancing knowledge of this important national asset to ensure its sustainable future management.”
Professor Simmons, who holds the Inaugural Schultz Chair in the Environment at Flinders University, has been a significant contributor to global advances in the science of hydrogeology for many years.
Professor Simmons, who is the 2015 SA Scientist of the Year, is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) with numerous national and international research and teaching awards to his credit, including the Anton Hales Medal for outstanding contributions to research in the Earth Sciences.
Professor Robert Saint, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at Flinders University, welcomed the opportunity for Flinders experts to interact with the media and relay key scientific messages to the public as Scientist in Residence.
“Groundwater is front and centre in many contemporary, pressing issues regarding our environment, food and water security, coal seam gas and fracking, mining and nuclear energy and radioactive waste disposal,” Professor Saint says.
The Scientist in Residence was organised between The Advertiser and the Australian Science and Media Centre (AusSMC).