Southern Stuart Corridor

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Map of the Southern Stuart Corridor Project area showing airborne geophysical (electromagnetic and magentic) survey lines.

The Southern Stuart Corridor project encompasses four water management areas in the Northern Territory: Tennant Creek, Western Davenport, Ti-Tree Basin and Alice Springs.

Water allocation planning and agricultural expansion in these areas is currently hampered by limited information about the size and extent of groundwater resource and groundwater systems more generally, including recharge rates, surface-groundwater connectivity, and the dependency of vegetation communities on groundwater. Outside these proposed agricultural areas, the Southern Stuart Corridor Project also encompasses a number of remote communities where there is a need to identify more secure water supplies.

The main objectives of the project are to:

  • Improve the understanding of regional groundwater systems and processes including the geology, basin architecture, surface-groundwater interaction, inter-aquifer leakage, basin-palaeovalley connectivity and potential groundwater dependence of vegetation;
  • Assess the location, quantity and quality of groundwater resources to underpin agricultural expansion and Alice Spring’s future water supply;
  • Identify new groundwater resources to provide enhanced water security for remote communities; and
  • Assess the potential for managed aquifer recharge to offset existing and potential future groundwater development.

The project will provide baseline data to inform groundwater prospectivity analysis, support the development of holistic water and salinity management strategies, and inform water allocations.


The Project will deliver new data and products including:

  • Airborne electromagnetic (AEM) and magnetic data;
  • Borehole datasets (e.g. geophysics, hydrogeology, hydrochemistry) compiled from existing and new bores;
  • Surface nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) dataset;
  • Geomorphic, geologic, hydrogeologic, and hydrostratigraphic ┬ámaps; and
  • A technical report describing revised geology, geomorphology, hydrogeological and hydrodynamic conceptual models; fault-zone hydrogeological characterisation; assessment of the groundwater resource potential and managed aquifer recharge suitability, and potential implications of new data and improved hydrogeological understanding for existing groundwater models, water allocation planning, monitoring strategies and groundwater management.

New data acquisition

In 2017 the project collected:

  • 9,613 line-kilometre airborne electromagnetic survey;
  • 32 boreholes logged for induction and gamma.

The project will carry out a number of data collection activities in 2018 including:

  • Drilling;
  • Soil/regolith sampling;
  • Additional surface and borehole geophysics;
  • Groundwater and surface sampling; and
  • Landscape mapping.


The Southern Stuart Corridor Project is being undertaken collaboratively with the Northern Territory Department of Environment and Natural Resources and Northern Territory Power and Water Corporation.

Other key stakeholders include Central Land Council (CLC), NT Cattleman’s Association, local indigenous groups and landholders.