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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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2 2 Introduction Since the first flowing bore in the Great Artesian Basin (GAB) was drilled in 1878 near Bourke, New South Wales, over 50,000 bore holes have been drilled across the basin. Drilling was initially focused on securing reliable water supplies in the low rainfall areas that coincide with much of the GABs geographic extent. Whilst this is still a primary focus of the current drilling activity, in the last thirty years there has been a significant increase in drilling associated with the development of the resource industries. Given the long history of drilling into the GAB and the continual evolution of technologies and standards for drilling over this time, there have been a range of bore construction materials and design as well as construction and decommissioning methods employed in the existing bore holes. The legacy of this drilling, both in terms of the potential risk to the long term management of the groundwater resources and the ongoing maintenance requirements of the bores, is an issue being considered by the GAB Coordinating Committee (GABCC) in the development of future management options. To determine the scale of the issue for consideration in the new GAB Strategic Management Plan, the GABCC requested government jurisdictions to collate data on all bores and previous drilling activity in the GAB. This report is a compilation of publicly available data from the state data archives of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory. 2.1 Scope The scope of this report includes (where possible) all bores drilled into the GAB, including the recharge and non artesian areas of the GAB. This includes water supply bores groundwater monitoring bores groundwater exploration bores coal exploration bores conventional gas exploration and production bores/wells unconventional gas exploration and production bores/wells petroleum exploration and production bores/wells geothermal energy bores, and mineral exploration holes. Not included in this data compilation are shallow bores that have been completed in sediments overlying the GAB such as the Cenozoic alluvium associated with the present day river systems. This data is presented in a series of tables and graphs which combines data for the whole of the GAB. Each jurisdiction has compiled a further break up of these data which is reported in the report Appendices. 2.2 Limitations of the Data With 140 years of drilling history it is to be expected there is considerable variation in the detail and currency of the data record across the Basin states. In the compilation of the data it has been necessary to interpret, group and filter data to achieve the best estimate for the issue being considered by the GABCC. The use of this data

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