Bore maintenance

Water users in the SA Arid Lands region who have a bore under their care and control are reminded to undertake simple, routine maintenance to reduce risks to water supplies, prevent costly and inconvenient breakdowns, and to meet their legal obligations.

Regular maintenance can extend the working life of a bore and reduce ongoing costs by minimising the risk of breakdown.

For pastoralists who require access to water for stock, judicious water management and routine maintenance of bores is also important for forward business planning and for the benefit of local communities and industries.

Over time, inefficient water use can impact on security and sustainability of ground water access. The Far North Prescribed Wells area was proclaimed as a means of encouraging responsible use of groundwater, in particular ground water resources of the Great Artesian Basin, where pressure and water loss impact the economic viability of enterprisers in the region and the ecologically important and endangered GAB mound springs communities. 

In recent decades, governments, industry and individuals have invested significantly in bore rehabilitation and installing piped reticulation systems to deliver Great Artesian Basin water efficiently.

The Australian Government has made funding available for the installation and maintenance of wells and associated distribution networks. Funding is currently available through the Commonwealth Government’s $27.6m Improving Great Artesian Basin Drought Resilience (IGABDR) program.

Owners of wells completed within the Great Artesian Basin are invited to lodge an expression of interest to be involved in this program which will co-fund eligible water supply infrastructure projects that contribute to water security and drought resilience in the Great Artesian Basin.

This includes:

  • replacement of ageing wells
  • decommissioning of wells
  • installation of water-tight distribution infrastructure
  • replacement of ageing water distribution infrastructure.

This opportunity will allow all owners of wells who have an obligation to maintain their wells and water distribution networks as part of their business operations, to meet this obligation with co-funding provided through this program for successful and eligible parties.

Legislation and planning in South Australia that defines the responsibilities of landholders with respect to well maintenance includes:

  • The Landscape South Australia Act 2019 which places responsibility for well maintenance with the occupier or lessee of the land on which the well is located. The Landscape South Australia Act 2019 replaces the Natural Resources Management Act 2004 from 1 July 2020.
  • The Board’s Water Allocation Plan (WAP) for the Far North Prescribed Wells Area, requires that water be used judiciously.  It also requires that water for stock and domestic purposes must only be taken if the water reticulation system is maintained as a water-tight delivery system. A water-tight delivery system is a self-enclosed water reticulation, piped system with no leaks, including within the well headworks.

Legal requirements to maintain bores and licensing conditions requiring closed water delivery systems apply to all pastoralists across the SA Arid Lands region. Information on water licensing and compliance can be found on the Department for Environment and Water website.  

Further information and resources

Contact us for information on how to meet your licensing and legal obligations, and to find out where further information and support is available.

The Bore Maintenance Handbook provides information on how to maintain bores and associated infrastructure in good condition. An editable version of the bore maintenance sheet  can be used to advise the Water Resource Monitoring Unit DEW.ResourceMonitoring@sa.gov.au

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