Turning the Tides
A Final Wakeup Call?
The UN’s recently published IPCC report ‘Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis’ has been dubbed humanity’s “final wake-up call” by environmental experts, painting a bleak picture warning of “certain devastation from climate change”.
The ever-growing body of evidence supporting the UN’s message has now become compelling enough to also convince those who have long denied climate change; they too are finally coming around, with surely more people to follow.
With the shared environmental and resultant economical threats forewarned, significant and impactful actions are needed to improve the quality of life for us and future generations.
In this regard, many governments and organisations are already committing to achieving ‘net zero’ targets. However, as we globally face more and more extreme weather events from flood to drought, it is clear that much remains to be done across the world and by all industries, to better protect our environment.
Climate Change in Australia
For us in Australia, the lowest, flattest and (apart from Antarctica) the driest continent in the world, water probably has the most impact on the environmental issues we have to endure. Across our continent we face both ends of the “extreme” spectrum; from devastating floods on the one hand to droughts and raging fires on the other. Both extremes are occurring at increasing, and alarmingly more frequent, rates and intensities.
One thing is for sure, water is our most vital resource and it needs to be protected in its most stable form: our aquifers. However, this precious resource also needs to be managed when it comes in its fiercest form at times of extreme weather events (rains and flooding).
To secure societies’ future, infrastructure and investment is needed from both the public and private sectors. Monies will need to be channelled into educating the public to ensure they learn how to mitigate and alleviate the effects of these environmental impacts. At the same time governments and industries will have to work towards a sustainable multifaceted resolution of the current issues that are causing the devasting effects of our changing climate.
Australia's Water Issues
The need for Australia to act now was highlighted in a recent independent Policy Paper released in April 2021 by expert Grahame Campbell (‘Make every drop count, and count every drop: Vanishing groundwater needs proper monitoring and management’), which studied Australia’s growing use and depletion of groundwater resources.
In the paper Mr Campbell identifies the ever-growing reliance (in some areas, complete reliance) on groundwater in Australia (90% increase in groundwater use between 1985 and 2000 - still increasing) and the fact that Australia’s extraction and use of groundwater is exceeding the rate at which our critical aquifers are being recharged.
With 30% of Australia’s total water consumption coming from groundwater, the depletion of these aquifers is a real-life, critical problem that needs to be addressed.
As such, Mr Campbell calls for the urgent need for further investment and upgraded monitoring bore networks, with the data that could be delivered from these networks being the only practical and pragmatic way for us to protect and secure our most vital resource.
Light at the end of the Tunnel?
Regulators’ have increased their focus and attention on ensuring those industries that interact with the aquifers are at least meeting minimum requirements by scrutinising companies’ monitoring and sampling data. The recognised benefits afforded by the installation of aquifer monitoring systems has led to an increased uptake in the installation of these systems.
Since Qteq’s inception in 2017, the company has played a prominent role in the development of actual solutions to groundwater monitoring issues. As such, Qteq has been able to share its expertise in this field by working with public and private customers across 4 of Australia’s states, designing and deploying fit for purpose, cutting-edge, robust, real-time monitoring solutions.
Once installed, through training of their staff, customers have the ability to manage their systems, and thus their resources, by being able to obtain contaminant-free samples of scarce and valuable groundwater aquifers.
While governments and industries catch up with the measures that need to be implemented to reduce the impact of climatic changes, and Australia learns to cope with the “feast or famine” scenario of floodings and/or severe droughts, Queensland Reconstruction Authority (QRA) has been working hard to secure funding and undertake the significant task of visioning, planning and implementing its detailed ‘Flood Warning Infrastructure Network’ Project.
In collaboration with QRA and 28 councils, Qteq has been closely involved with the delivery of the $8 million FWIN Project. This project was instigated to support recovery following the 2019 North and Far North Queensland Monsoon Trough disaster event.
The FWIN Project is part of the larger, $242 million Category C and D Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) package jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland Governments. The successful completion of the project will play an important role to help safeguard our communities and mitigate the impacts when the floods inevitably come next.
“Climate Change” is nothing new and is here to stay for the foreseeable future. The dramatic recent shift in sentiment and attention, particularly following the UN report publication, has given new impetus to concerned parties in Australia and across the world.
Both public and private sectors are having to bind together to implement new technologies, strategies, policies and performance metrics to ensure that our shared responsibility to the Environment is a board-level agenda item and receives the attention and urgency it deserves.
With Qteq clearly having (and keeping) a finger on the pulse, the company was able to anticipate the recent paradigm shift to the need of shared environmental responsibility through implementation of sustainable business solutions. As such, the company undertook major efforts in early 2020, to refocus the business on providing true “Environmental Stewardship”.
Qteq is ready to play its part in facilitating the energy transition, helping Australia navigate its way to ‘net zero’ and effectively help protect our most valuable resource: water.
About Qteq: Qteq plays a vital role in the responsible development of water, energy and minerals resources, minimising extractive environmental impacts, and safeguarding communities from natural disasters.
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