Help stop the drop!

It just takes one poor wet season across the Territory, for water resources not to be refilled.

How much water you use today will affect everyone tomorrow, that means everyone must work together to reduce water use.

This includes urban, rural, local and Territory government (including Power and Water Corporation) and industry doing their bit.

Across the Territory about two thirds of water is used on gardens.

Territorians are the highest water users in Australia and everyone needs to do their bit to reduce demand on our groundwater resources.

In recent years, 10% to 15% of Darwin’s urban drinking water supply has been sourced from groundwater aquifers in the Darwin rural area.

In 2019, groundwater levels in some groundwater systems in the Darwin rural area were at critical levels. With the wet season underway, we can only wait to see the response.

To track groundwater levels view our tracking hydrographs. These hydrographs are updated at the end of each month.

Some bores in the rural area will become unserviceable when groundwater levels are low.

Water storage tanks will enable rural residents to purchase and store drinking water if this happens.

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Rural residents

There are more than 5,000 household water supplies relying on groundwater in the Darwin rural area compared to 1,500 bores 30 years ago.

If we are going to get through this dry season, there is some information that will help you to understand if your bore is at risk or not.

Remember, it's not just about how deep your bore is!

Other properties of your bore are important in deciding if there is a risk it will become unserviceable, these include:

  • the aquifer your bore is drawing water from
  • the location of your screens/slots within the bore casing
  • the size and depth of your bore pump
  • how often you operate your pump
  • what flow rate your pump is set at
  • the condition of your bore casing.

We have done some of this work for you by creating a tool that looks at all registered bores in the Darwin rural area, called 'Know your bore'.

We know it's not perfect. It's a guide to help you understand the risks associated with your bore.

Know your bore tool

The 2020 revision of 'Know your bore' will be available in June 2020.

The 'Know your bore' tool helps you understand more about your bore, the water resource you are accessing and whether your bore is at risk of becoming unserviceable.

The tool looks at registered bores in the Darwin rural area.

It's a guide to help you understand the risks associated with your bore.

The tool can be used on a laptop or desktop.

We have also built in capability for the tool to used on a mobile device!

Before you use the tool we need you to understand what some of the information means.

What does 'risk of dry bore' mean?

A bore is 'at risk' if the predicted groundwater level in your aquifer at the end of the dry season will impact on your bore.

Impact means your bore is in a situation where the top of the screens/slots in your bore casing will sit above the predicted end of dry season groundwater level.

  • If your bore displays in green then the good news is, the risk assessment shows your bore is 'not at risk'.
  • If your bore displays in red, you are in the Berry Springs or Howard groundwater systems and your bore is 'at risk'.
  • If your bore displays in orange, you are outside of the above two groundwater systems. Orange means that we don't have good information about these groundwater systems and so we've been unable to make an accurate prediction. However, this is a low confidence prediction for bores that are 'potentially at risk'.
  • If your bore displays in blue there isn't a risk prediction available for several reasons.

Be aware that every bore has been captured in this assessment, including dud (dry) bores. This is not an error, it is simply the result of the way the analysis was made (did not include flow rates).

What does 'bore class' mean?

Bore classes range from 1 to 4, based on the information we know about the bore. Class 1 is the best.

  • Class 1 bores: drill depth, construction depth and the location of the bore screens/slots known.
  • Class 2 bores: construction depth and the drill depth known.
  • Class 3 bores: no casing data but a drill depth is known.
  • Class 4 bores: construction depth or the total depth is unknown.

The drill depth is the total depth to which the bore was drilled.

The construction depth is the depth to which a casing is installed. A casing is the pipe that is installed into the drill hole to hold water.

How do I find my bore?

If you know your registered bore number then we think you are amazing and you can just enter your bore number.

If you don't know your bore number, then you can find it by using your street address.

Now you are ready!

Now you are ready to find your bore using the 'Know your bore' tool (current for 2019 only).

What is 'help stop the drop'?

Help stop the drop is about everyone doing their bit.

There is some water saving tips and information to help do this, covering:

  • living on a rural block
  • in the garden
  • in your home.

Is your bore 'at risk'?

If you bore is predicted as being 'at risk', this information could help you preserve or supplement your water resources this dry season.

Know more about bores

It's important to know:

  • about bores in general
  • the reasons why a bore could fail
  • how to maintain a bore.

For more information visit ‘Know more about your bore’.

What about fracking?

Rural residents have asked us about the connection between the Beetaloo Sub-Basin and Darwin Rural aquifers.

We've prepared a diagram to show there isn't a relationship.

This takes a cross-section from Darwin to the Beetaloo region and shows the major aquifers and their inter-relationships PDF (577.1 KB).

You will see the direction of groundwater flow and the distinctions between these aquifers. Groundwater from the Beetaloo region can never reach the Darwin Rural area.

Note that the scales along each axis of the diagram are very different.


Contact Water Resources Division on 08 8999 4455 or send an email to

Last updated: 13 March 2020

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