The quality and amount of groundwater in our region has been identified as an issue central to our region.
NQ Dry Tropics has been working with a number of organisations in the region to gather groundwater information.
What is groundwater?
When rain falls to the ground, the water does not stop moving. Some of it flows along the surface to streams or lakes, some of it is used by plants, some evaporates and returns to the atmosphere, and some sinks into the ground.
Groundwater is water that is found underground in the spaces in soil and sand. It is stored in layers of soil and sand called aquifers.
The area where water fills the aquifer is called the saturation zone. The top of this zone is called the water table. The water table may be located only a foot below the ground’s surface or it can sit hundreds of feet down.
What causes groundwater levels to rise and fall?
Heavy rains over long periods may cause the water table to rise, or heavy pumping of groundwater supplies may cause the water table to fall.
Groundwater supplies are replenished by rain. In most parts of the region, rainfall is far less than the amount of water used by plants. This means that not much water passes through the soil to recharge the groundwater aquifers. However, heavy monsoonal rainfall during the wet season usually provides some replenishment.
What is groundwater used for?
Groundwater can be used as drinking water or for irrigation purposes. The largest use for groundwater in our region is to irrigate crops.
Burdekin Water Futures Group
The Burdekin Water Futures group was established in 2006 to facilitate a more strategic approach to water management in the Burdekin. The role of managing the district’s water resources is performed by several different bodies, operating at various levels. Burdekin Water Futures brings these different bodies together so there is greater coordination between them.
The Burdekin Water Futures group is increasingly driving more of the research and activities carried out in the lower Burdekin, and is currently supporting development of a groundwater science plan for the whole of the lower Burdekin. Development of this groundwater science plan is being led by SKM with funding and support from NQ Dry Tropics.
Lower Burdekin Knowledge Platform
The Lower Burdekin Knowledge Platform is a website containing a collection of all the available knowledge on groundwater in the Lower Burdekin region.
The website contains videos, animations, maps, documents and a number of external links to help with any water management issues. It presents sometimes complex information in a very simple format.