Upper Burdekin

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Map of the Upper Burdekin Project area showing location of newly acquired data.

The Upper Burdekin region is located west of Townsville, in central eastern Queensland. The McBride and Nulla basalt provinces contain groundwater aquifers that support domestic and stock water use, with some minor irrigation. They also support groundwater-dependent ecosystems and contribute baseflow to the Burdekin River and its tributaries. However the hydrogeological characteristics of the study area are poorly understood. An enhanced understanding of the groundwater system will assist in managing and facilitating increased demand for groundwater resources in the area.

Geoscience Australia in partnership with the Queensland Government Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy and Department of Environment and Science is undertaking an investigation of groundwater systems of the Upper Burdekin region.

The main objectives of the project are to:

  • Understand and document the hydrogeology and groundwater characteristics of the aquifers in the Nulla and McBride basalt provinces and their interactions with rivers and groundwater-dependent ecosystems;
  • Collect new baseline information including geological, hydrogeological, and geophysical data to map and characterise the groundwater systems.


The Project will acquire and deliver new data and products including:

  • Basic and interpreted data including :
    • borehole geophysical logs;
    • surface geophysical data;
    • investigative drilling lithology logs;
    • groundwater, surface water and spring water quality;
    • detailed digital elevation data in targeted areas;
    • time-series groundwater level;
    • drill core material properties (chemical, physical).
  • Reports:
    • Technical report outlining the hydrogeology, hydrodynamics (including surface water/groundwater connectivity), a conceptual understanding of the system and an assessment of the groundwater resource potential for the region;
    • Short synthesis report documenting the key findings and recommendations from the project;
    • Scientific papers describing novel approaches, methodologies and key results.

New data acquisition

The project has carried out of the following data collection activities during 2017 including:

  • Investigative groundwater drilling;
  • Groundwater, surface water and spring sampling for hydrochemistry; and
  • Groundwater level measurements.


  • The key stakeholders for this project includes North Queensland Dry Tropics, James Cook University Centre for Tropical Water and Aquatic Ecosystem Research, Queensland Department of  Natural Resources, Mines and Energy and Department of Environment and Science, Queensland Department of National Parks, Sports and Racing, Charters Towers Regional Council, Tablelands Regional Council and local landholders.