The water source beneath one-fifth of Australia

Garry Schlatter

Brisbane, Australia

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The most well-known and important groundwater source in Australia is the Great Artesian Basin. This is a vast groundwater source that underlies 22 per cent of Australia – extending beneath the arid and semi-arid regions of Queensland, the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales. It covers about 1.7 million square kilometres, and contains an estimated 8700 million megalitres of water. Not surprisingly, it’s one of the largest artesian water basins in the world.

The water is coming from a depth of up to 3 kilometres, and some of the water is believed to be up to two million years old. The average water temperature is between 30 and 50 degrees, but it can be as hot as 100 degrees Celsius.

The Great Artesian Basin has always been an important source of water for many Outback communities. Unfortunately, much of the water that is extracted is also wasted. It is estimated that up to 80 per cent of the total outflow from the Great Artesian Basin is wasted….

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