The Bubbler mound spring. Courtesy of CSIRO Land and Water.
Great Artesian Basin Water Resource Assessment
This CSIRO-led project examined the water resources of the Great Artesian Basin and assessed potential impacts of climate change and resource development.
9 June 2011 | Updated 7 November 2013
New knowledge of the iconic Great Artesian Basin (GAB) is now available, with the release of the first comprehensive study of the resource since 1980.
The Australian Government Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities and the National Water Commission engaged CSIRO and Geoscience Australia to undertake the Great Artesian Basin Water Resource Assessment, which they delivered in March 2013.
The Assessment provided an analytical framework to assist water managers in the GAB, which covers more than 1.7 million square kilometres and underlies parts of Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory (see the map below).
The A$6.25 million Assessment involved a basin-scale investigation of water resources and the potential impacts of climate change and groundwater development to 2070, and was completed over two-and-a-half years.
Importantly, the Assessment brought together knowledge of the geology and hydrology in a consistent way for the whole GAB. Knowledge of the GAB is ongoing and this new research importantly provides a better understanding of the GAB that will enable future management to take into account the complexity of the system where appropriate.
The Assessment revealed that the complex geological features such as faults and ridges govern groundwater movement in the GAB. It identified areas where underlying geological basins and overlying shallow groundwater are potentially connected with aquifers of the GAB. The Assessment also demonstrates that groundwater has a greater potential to move vertically across GAB formations than previously thought.
This Assessment contributed to building a national picture of our water resources and is a continuation of the Sustainable Yields projects that have been undertaken by CSIRO and partners since 2007.
Read more about the Sustainable Yields projects.
The Great Artesian Basin Water Resource Assessment findings were released at the Great Artesian Basin Coordinating Committee forum in Adelaide on 27 March 2013.
Listen to CSIRO Senior Research Scientist Dr Brian Smerdon, who led the Assessment, discuss the GAB on CSIROpod - Deep water: health of the Great Artesian Basin.
The Assessment reports are available. For more information, read the project updates and FAQ document.
Data produced from the Assessment, including map products and GIS data, can be obtained from Geoscience Australia. For further information on data availability, please visit Geoscience Australia [external link].