Great Artesian Basin

Last updated:7 June 2023

The Great Artesian Basin (GAB) is Australia's most significant hydrogeological system. 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 and extractive industries as well as for many town water supplies, supporting at least $12.8 billion in economic activity annually (Frontier Economics 2016). The GAB also supports significant Indigenous cultural values and sustains a range of groundwater-dependent ecosystems (GDEs), including iconic mound springs across central Australia.

Three-dimensional slice through the GAB and underlying older sedimentary basins. Layers within the Eromanga Basin represent the major aquifers and aquitards of the GAB (Rreproduced from work undertaken for the Great Artesian Basin Water Resource Assessment (Smerdon BD, Ransley TR, Radke BM and Kellett JR (2012)))