Water pressure returns in the Great Artesian Basin

Published: 3 October 2019

Water pressure returns in the Great Artesian Basin

The NSW Government is investing $13 million over the next four years to continue their ‘Cap & Pipe the Bores Program’ in the Great Artesian Basin, work that has seen water pressure in the area increase for the first time in decades.

Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said the program spans across 4.2 million hectares, an area roughly the size of the land between Sydney and Cowra, and is currently saving 76 gigalitres of water per year.

“In 20 years we have saved 1,100 gigalitres of water from this program, or the equivalent of two Sydney Harbours,” Mrs Pavey said.

“Bore water is essential for many farms and towns, helping to reduce demand on our drought-ravaged rivers and supporting a population of over 200,000 people.

“Before the program began, the Great Artesian Basin was being tapped by 1,400 bores, many of them decades old, with around 95 per cent of the water lost through evaporation. This significantly reduced water pressure across the Basin, resulting in many bores ceasing to flow.”

Under the NSW ‘Cap and Pipe the Bores Program’ leaky bores are being fixed, open collection ponds are replaced with storage tanks, open water channels replaced with pipes, and disused bores are being capped and closed.

“Since the program’s inception, 18,000km of piping has been installed, enough to go from Sydney to Perth and back again – twice, and 10,000km of bore drains removed, which is enough to go half way along the Great Wall of China,” Mrs Pavey said.

“The NSW Government is investing a further $13 million to continue this important work and ensuring only the water needed is being drawn from the basin, safeguarding the long term sustainability of the Great Artesian Basin.”

The ongoing, long-term benefits of the program include:

  • Increased resilience of pastoral enterprises to drought and climate change;
  • Partnerships between landholders, government, industry and communities;
  • Investment, employment and opportunities for economic growth in rural communities;
  • Enhanced productivity of pastoral industries;
  • Improved water quality for stock and domestic use;
  • Improved sustainability, security and management of Basin water;
  • Increased water pressure in the Basin;
  • Support for endangered species at Basin springs.

Find further detail on the NSW ‘Cap and Pipe the Bores Program’.

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