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.

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.

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.
  • 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.