Management of the Great Artesian Basin
The Great Artesian Basin (GAB) has been a vital resource in the development of many industries including agriculture, horticulture and mining.
It has been pivotal in the settlement of many parts of Queensland, providing reliable water supplies for stock, domestic, town water, industrial and mining purposes.
There are a range of cultural and environmental heritage values associated with the basin, largely focused on areas where water emanates at the surface in the form of artesian springs, as well as base flow to rivers, streams and other groundwater-dependent ecosystems.
To ensure effective water resource management in the Basin, including the protection of existing users’ access to water, the environment and investments made under capping and piping programs, a framework for groundwater resource allocation and management in the basin is now provided for under the Water Resource (Great Artesian Basin) Plan 2006 and the GAB Resource Operations Plan for the Queensland section of the GAB.
Under the Water Resource Plan, access to limited amounts of new groundwater may be available in accordance with the established criteria. The plan protects the flow of water to springs and maintains and improves long-term trends in water pressure while providing for the take of water for existing and some new water uses.
Since 1989, rehabilitation work on eligible water bores and open bore drains has been undertaken in the Queensland parts of the basin through a partnership approach between landholders and government.
The programs have focused on the rehabilitation of free flowing bores and the replacement of open bore drains with pipes. This has resulted in pressure increases and significant water savings in many areas.
Through careful and sustainable management of the basin, water for future generations can be secured, allowing industries and communities that rely on this water resource to continue to flourish.
Sustainable management of the GAB is being achieved through a combination of the established water resource planning framework and continuing investment in capping and piping programs.
Last reviewed 14 June 2012
Last updated 4 September 2009