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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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3 to inform other management decisions outside of the constraints of this compilation may lead to incorrect conclusions. Clarification on any of the data reported here should be directed to the relevant state government agency that manages the data within that jurisdiction. Queensland provided a subset of this request, providing information from its state groundwater database. This excludes most resource related exploration and production wells but includes groundwater monitoring wells and production wells converted for water supply. For the purposes of this report the term artesian refers to conditions that result in groundwater rising above the surface of the ground under its own pressure, either via a spring or when accessed by a bore. Sub artesian refers to conditions where the groundwater pressure causes the groundwater to rise in a bore but it is not sufficient for it to rise above the ground surface. 3 Summary of all available data 3.1 Total number of reported bore holes drilled Table 1 summarises data for 50,508 bore holes recorded as being drilled into or through the GAB across the four jurisdictions according to their intended purpose at the time of construction. The categories were selected after consideration of the capability of each jurisdictions data bases to provide a consistent reporting base. The current utilisation of an asset may have changed since construction, or it may be used for multiple purposes, however the original purpose is considered to provide a better indicator of the type of construction used and consequent indicator of potential maintenance issues. An example of a bore having multiple purposes is a water supply bore also being used as a pressure and flow monitoring point in a state based monitoring program. Its initial and ongoing primary purpose is water supply and it would be reported below in this category. Table 1: Total number of boreholes and their intended purpose at construction. Bore purpose NSW NT Qld1 SA Total Water supply 9,232 125 26,042 2,775 38,174 Groundwater monitoring 299 7 252 61 619 Coal & mineral exploration 326 0 4222 6,524 7,272 Oil/gas exploration/production 237 16 4282 2,061 2,742 Other / not recorded 811 161 4412 288 1,701 Total 10,905 309 27,585 11,709 50,508 1The Qld groundwater database records the most recently recorded purpose of a water bore, not necessarily the original purpose. This misalignment with other states data is expected to have minimal effect on the results of this assessment as the purpose of most bores does not change over time. 2Qld data on coal, mineral, gas and oil wells is not included. Only data from the Qld groundwater database has been included in this report.