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Summary of past drilling activity within the Great Artesian Basin, Great Artesian Basin Coordinating Committee



Summary of past drilling activity within the Great Artesian Basin, Great Artesian Basin Coordinating Committee


Great Artesian Basin Coordinating Committee


E-Publications; E-Books; PublicationNT; D0851




Great Artesian Basin


The Great Artesian Basin Coordinating Committee (GABCC) requested bore hole data from the state and territory government databases to be collated to estimate the number of bore holes that have been drilled into the Great Artesian Basin (GAB). This is to inform discussions on the legacy of the 140 years of past drilling activity with respect to the long term management of the groundwater resources of the GAB.


Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).

Table of contents

Executive summary -- Introduction -- Scope -- Limitations of the data -- Summary of all available data -- Total number of reported bore holes drilled -- Date of construction -- Water bore data -- Drilling in areas of artesian conditions -- Water supply bore depths -- Estimated replacement value of water supply bores -- Number of bores with uncontrolled artesian flow -- Discussion -- Appendix A-E




Great Artesian Basin; Drilling Activity

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Great Artesian Basin Coordinating Committee

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27 pages : colour illustrations, colour maps, tables ; 30 cm.

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Great Artesian Basin Coordinating Committee.



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24 Appendix D. South Australian data The Far North Prescribed Wells Area covers a large part of the South Australia and includes the artesian and sub-artesian underground water resources of the Great Artesian Basin (GAB) in South Australia. Located in the far north-eastern corner of the State, the arid climate of the area is characterised by very low average annual rainfall and very high summer temperatures. The majority of the underground water recharge occurs in the GAB recharge zones in eastern Queensland and New South Wales. GAB water extraction is managed through a approach based on an acceptable fall in pressure head, with water extraction allocated by volume against pressure targets. The approach is based on: Extent of the aquifer system and response time Vertical leakage in South Australia The volume of water in storage that can buffer the impacts of temporary water needs. Pressure, and hence spatial distribution of the discharge, is the main variable rather than the volume of discharge, as falling artesian heads, particularly in low-pressure areas near the basin margins, will: Gradually reduce spring flows, to the point that flow will stop when the head locally falls below ground level. Increase the cost of water extraction if pumps are required to supplement or replace artesian pressure. Potentially allow the downward leakage of poorer quality water from other aquifers into the main aquifer. The discharge volume is defined as a volume that produces an acceptable fall in artesian head, and what is acceptable is spatially variable and dependent on acceptable impacts on the underground water resources, underground water dependent ecosystems and existing users. Extraction is managed according to acceptable target pressure distribution across four management zones, namely the Western Recharge Zone, the Southwest Springs Zone, the Western Zone and the Central Zone. The majority of extraction in the South Australian area is from the artesian aquifer, and is the major water supply for mining and petroleum industries, the pastoral industry and domestic purposes and to support the expanding tourism industry. A number of natural artesian mound springs of high ecological, cultural and social value occur in the area, many of which are listed as threatened ecological communities under the Environmental Protection Biodiversity and Conservation Act 1999 (Cth). The Great Artesian Basin Sustainability Initiative (GABSI) program implemented over the past decade has seen stabilisation (and localised increases) in pressure levels across the basin.

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