Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems Atlas

Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems Atlas

Groundwater plays an important role in sustaining aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, such as springs, wetlands, rivers and vegetation. Understanding these groundwater-dependent ecosystems (GDEs) is essential for groundwater management and planning.

The Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems Atlas (GDE Atlas) was developed as a national dataset of Australian GDEs to inform groundwater planning and management. It is the first and only national inventory of GDEs in Australia.

The GDE Atlas web-based mapping application allows you to visualise, analyse and download GDE information for an area of interest without needing specialised software.

GDE Types

The Atlas contains information about three types of ecosystems:

  • Aquatic ecosystems that rely on the surface expression of groundwater–this includes surface water ecosystems which may have a groundwater component, such as rivers, wetlands and springs. Marine and estuarine ecosystems can also be groundwater dependent, but these are not mapped in the Atlas.
  • Terrestrial ecosystems that rely on the subsurface presence of groundwater–this includes all vegetation ecosystems.
  • Subterranean ecosystems–this includes cave and aquifer ecosystems.

Data Sources

The GDE mapping in the Atlas comes from two broad sources:

  • National assessment–national-scale analysis based on a set of rules that describe potential for groundwater/ecosystem interaction and available GIS data. View the methodology report for further details.
  • Regional studies–more detailed analysis undertaken by various State and regional agencies using a range of different approaches including field work, analysis of satellite imagery and application of rules/conceptual models.

Read the Information Sheet (169 KB) for an overview of the GDE Atlas.

Launch the GDE Atlas or view a plain text interface.