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Groundwater Research Bid

To safeguard the health of freshwater ecosystems and sustain safe, clean drinking water, research is urgently needed that assesses the current state of groundwater, how groundwater will respond to stressors, and how freshwater resources can be maintained for future generations. ESR and its partners will help address this by developing a new research programme for submission to the 2022 MBIE Endeavour Fund - but our work needs your support.

Access to safe water is a fundamental human right that Aotearoa New Zealand is committed to protecting, with the science and innovation system playing a key role in helping ensure water sources are safe and resilient. Despite advances in understanding and safeguarding of Aotearoa New Zealand’s freshwater systems, major uncertainties remain about how groundwater affects the freshwater system.

As groundwater is stored underground in spaces between rocks or soil particles, it is an important source for replenishing surface water and drinking water. Despite this, almost half of groundwater resources are vulnerable to contamination, and the majority that are monitored don’t meet standards. Groundwater resources are also increasingly threatened by factors like land-use change and climate change. All of this reduces the health of groundwater ecosystems, and thus the overall status of our freshwater ecosystems.

To safeguard the health of freshwater ecosystems and sustain safe, clean drinking water, research is urgently needed that assesses the current state of groundwater, how groundwater will respond to stressors, and how freshwater resources can be maintained for future generations. Building on previous knowledge and research, ESR and its partners will develop a new research programme for submission to the 2022 Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) Endeavour Fund. ESR intends to co-lead this research with Māori partners and researchers, and include key stakeholders from other organisations, to ensure equitable access to water resources and to sustain the standard of our groundwater ecosystems.

Bid submission timeframe

The bid registration closes on 9 December 2021, with submission of the full proposal due on 1 March 2022.

Prior to registration, we would like feedback about the current state of the bid, especially identification of which areas need more explanation. Between bid registration and submission, ESR will hold a workshop about the specifics of the bid and its implementation. For submission, we require public backing in the form of letters of support. This research is also an opportunity to communicate to the public about the link between groundwater and drinking water, and how ESR is working to understand and protect water in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Please check this page regularly for updates: esr.cri.nz/home/gw.