Great Artesian Basin

The Great Artesian Basin (GAB) is one of Australia's most significant hydrogeological entities. Covering more than 1.7 million square kilometres, the GAB underlies parts of Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory. The GAB contains a vast volume of underground water (estimated at 64,900 million megalitres) and is the largest groundwater basin in Australia. Groundwater from the GAB is a vital resource for pastoral, agricultural, extractive industries town water supply and springs - which support unique ecological communities.

Hydrogeological Atlas of the GAB

The atlas presents a compilation of maps documenting some of the key regional geological, hydrogeological and hydrochemical aspects of the GAB. It provides insights into the current understanding of the regional geometry and physical characteristics of the rocks and water contained within this vast groundwater basin and baseline information against which future changes can be assessed.

The atlas draws upon recent work undertaken by Geoscience Australia that has contributed to a number of projects, such as the CSIRO-led Great Artesian Basin Water Resource Assessment (GABWRA) project and Geoscience Australia's Carbon Capture and Storage project. Since these projects, new information has led to some of the concepts and interpretations being revised or refined for this atlas. Two key pieces of new work that are presented in this atlas are the up to date interpretations of the extent and thickness of the major aquifers and aquitards and the basin-wide perspective of the variation of water chemistry found within the major aquifers.

The atlas and associated datasets have already proven to be a valuable information resource base for state and Commonwealth, resource and environmental agencies, water managers and communities. The Atlas will help inform water management decisions within the GAB, assisting agencies to better understand the groundwater resources and to evaluate the effectiveness of management activities.

Download a high resolution copy of the Atlas

Related article: Navigating Australia's largest groundwater resource

GAB Research Priorities Workshop

Geoscience Australia organised a two-day Great Artesian Basin Research Priorities Workshop in Canberra on 27 and 28 of April 2016.

This workshop was aimed at identifying and documenting key science issues and strategies to fill hydrogeological knowledge gaps that will assist federal and state/territory governments in addressing groundwater management issues within the GAB.

Workshop report
Download the summary of the Great Artesian Basin Research Priorities Workshop

GAB Water Resource Assessment

Funded by the then Australian Government Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Populations and Communities and the National Water Commission, the Great Artesian Basin Water Resource Assessment (the Assessment) carried out a basin-scale investigation of water resources across the GAB, assessing the status of water resources, identifying the potential impacts of climate change and resource development on those water resources and filling knowledge gaps in our understanding of the resource. The Assessment provides an updated interpretation of the geology and hydrogeology of the GAB resulting in an update of the conceptualisation of how the groundwater system operates.