New South Wales Minister for Water Property and Housing Melinda Pavey
Water Pressure Returns In The Great Artesian Basin
Victor P Taffa
New South Wales Government is investing $13 Million over the next 4 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 ha, 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 2 Sydney Harbours.” Minister 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 % of the water lost through evaporation. This significantly reduced water pressure across the Basin, resulting in many bores ceasing to flow.” Minister Pavey said.
Under the New South Wales ‘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, 18,000 km of piping has been installed, enough to go from Sydney to Perth and back again twice, and 10,000 km of bore drains removed, which is enough to go half way along the Great Wall of China.” Minister Pavey said.
“New South Wales 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.”
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.