Great Artesian Basin Info

See Great Artesian Basin Map

  1. Europeans discovered the Great Artesian Basin (GAB) in 1878 at Burke.
  2. The GAB’s depth varies from 100m at the edges to 3,000m.
  3. The GAB stores 64,900 megalitres of water.
  4. The GAB lies under 1.7 million square kilometres of Australia. That’s over 22% of the continent.
  5. The GAB lies beneath parts of Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory.
  6. State and territory governments are in charge of the GAB water.
  7. The GAB is situated mostly within the 70% of Australia that is classified as either arid or semi- arid.
  8. Over one hundred and twenty towns rely on the GAB for part or all of their town water.
  9. Water from the GAB significantly increases the stock carrying capacity of properties.
  10. GAB water originated from rainwater, rocks deep in the earth’s crust or it was trapped during formation.
  11. Some water is up to 2 million years old.
  12. The critical recharge areas on the eastern side of the GAB do not have the capacity to recharge the Basin at the rate water is being used.
  13. These recharge areas provide the pressure head (or weight of water) needed to keep artesian bores flowing to the surface without the aid of pumps.
  14. Recharge water travels at a rate of 1 – 5 metres per year.
  15. Gas companies drill through the GAB to get to coal seams below.
  16. Scientists have warned that gas companies dewatering aquifers under the GAB will reduce the pressure head and stop bores and spring water flowing to the surface without the aid of a pump.
  17. Scientists and mining companies have concluded that CSG extraction may contaminate aquifers and the GAB.
  18. Old gas wells and bores are plugged with steel and cement, which corrodes over time in a salty environment.


Great Artesian Basin Protection Group Inc.

Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (December 2003) A Social Profile of the Great Artesian Basin

SoilFutures Consulting Pty Ltd for the Artesian Bore Water Users Association, (March 2015) Great Artesian Basin Recharge Systems and Extent of Petroleum and Gas Leases

Great Artsian Basin, Water Down Under, map produced by the Great Artesian Basin Coordinating Committee (GABCC)

Great Artesian Basin Protection Group Inc, Management History.