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GAB Groundwater rights and obligations

News release
23 June 2017

Posted 27 February 2017.

About 30 landholders attended a workshop in Mungerannie on the Birdsville Track last
week (22 February) about their rights and obligations when using Great Artesian Basin
(GAB) groundwater.
The workshop was part of an initiative of the Department of Environment, Water and
Natural Resources (DEWNR), with the SA Arid Lands NRM Board, to remind landholders in
the Far North Prescribed Wells Area (FNPWA) of their obligation to maintain bores and
associated infrastructure on their properties.
SA Arid Lands regional director Stuart Paul said it is a condition of the Far North
Prescribed Wells Area Water Allocation Plan that pastoralists meet their licencing
requirements to use closed, watertight, stock water delivery systems by February 2019.
“Pastoralists have a right to access groundwater for their stock but they are also
responsible for maintaining bores on their land including the casing, lining and screen
and any mechanism to cap the bore,” Mr Paul said.
“Judicious groundwater management and bore maintenance is part of forward business
planning and ensures water remains accessible for all local communities and industries.
“Over time, inefficient water can lead to reduced water pressure impacting water
access for other properties as well as the conservation values of the ecologically unique
GAB springs.”
The initiative brings South Australia in line with interstate and national policy with a
push across the entire Great Artesian Basin to ensure water is used in the most efficient
and equitable way. New South Wales already has these requirements in place and
Queensland introduced similar requirements as part of their latest water allocation plan.
In recent decades, governments, industry and individuals have invested significantly in
bore rehabilitation and installing piped reticulation systems to deliver Great Artesian
Basin water efficiently.
All landholders with a bore under their control or care have been mailed a copy of the
Bore Maintenance Handbook which provides information on how to maintain bores and
associated infrastructure in good condition.
Further information on well maintenance is available from DEWNR’s Water Resource
Monitoring Unit, call 8303 2303.