An Independent Queensland Regional & Rural
(Cairns... Far North Queensland)
AUSTRALIA'S GREAT ARTESIAN BASIN
Great Artesian Basin (GAB) is one of the largest underground water reservoirs in
the world. It underlies approximately 22% of Australia, occupying more than 1.7
million square kilometres beneath the arid and semi-arid parts of Queensland,
New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory.
emerges naturally from the Basin through cracks in the rock encasing the water,
into springs, shallow water tables or into creeks and rivers creating a
permanent water source even during dry periods. Most springs and leakages occur
on the edges of the Basin where water is close to the surface.
was recognised by the early 1900s that control over GAB groundwater was
inadequate and there was a reduction in water pressure and volume due to the
increasing number of bores drilled that were allowed to flow uncontrolled into
open drains and creeks for distribution to stock. However, even in
well-maintained drains up to 95% of this water can be wasted through evaporation
flow from bores and open earth bore drains in the GAB threatens the health of
important groundwater-dependent ecosystems and continued access to artesian
water by pastoralists.
addition, it has become difficult for new water users in or near the GAB to
obtain access to groundwater resources.
waste of water is causing environmental damage through:
The common-sense solution to recharge the entire Great Artesian Basin was obvious.
Bradfield Scheme proposed in 1938
required large pipes,
tunnels, pumps and dams. It involved diverting water from the upper
reaches of the Tully,
rivers. These Queensland rivers are fed by the monsoon, and flow east to
Sea. It was proposed that the water would enter the Thomson
River on the western side of the Great
Dividing Range and eventually flow south west to Lake
Eyre. An alternative plan was to divert water into the Flinders
It is claimed that extra water and vegetation in the interior may then produce changes to the climate of Australia, however various studies have concluded that this is unlikely. This may increase the rainfall in areas of southern Queensland and northern New South Wales. Extra rainfall may drought-proof Eastern Queensland, and thereby improve river inflows to the Murray-Darling River system.
It is claimed that a full Lake Eyre would moderate the air temperature in the region by the absorption of sunlight by the water instead of heat radiation from dry land into the air. No evidence to support the theory that an inland sea would increase rainfall has ever been produced, nor have any of the other claims been supported... until now!
In the book "The Great Boomerang" by Ion Idriess, it is reported that on two occasion when Lake Eyre filled up with floodwater, the eastern seaboard reported good harvests for the preceding seven (7) years.
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Written and Authorised by Selwyn Johnston,
Cairns FNQ 4870