Help stop the drop!

It just takes one poor wet season, for water resources across the Territory 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 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.

After a poor wet season in 2018-19, groundwater levels in some systems in the Darwin rural area fell to critical levels. This 2019-20 wet season has also resulted in below average rainfall.

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

Some bores in the Darwin rural area, Palmerston and Katherine will become unserviceable when groundwater levels are low.

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

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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 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 it is at risk of becoming unserviceable. These include:

  • the aquifer your bore is drawing water from
  • the location (how far down) of 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 and parts of Palmerston, called 'Know your bore'.

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

Know your bore tool

The 2020 version of 'Know your bore' is now available for Darwin rural, Palmerston and Katherine.

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.

It can be used on a laptop or desktop.

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

Before you use the tool we need you to understand what some of the information means, as it differs for Katherine.

What does 'risk of dry bore' mean?

Darwin rural and Palmerston

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.

The Darwin assessment area is the Darwin Rural Water Control District and Palmerston municipality.

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'. We have good information about your area.
  • If your bore displays in red, this is a high confidence prediction that your bore is 'at risk'. We have good monitoring data for your area.
  • If your bore displays in orange, this is a low confidence prediction that your bore is 'potentially at risk'. We have limited monitoring date for your area.
  • If your bore displays in purple (risk is not determined), no risk prediction could be made due to lack of bore construction information.
  • If your bore displays in blue (bore not assessed), your bore is either outside of the assessment area or is a new bore entered into our database after this assessment was completed.

Be aware that only bores with a 'current' status are being displayed in the 'Know your bore' tool. If your bore is displayed in the 'historical' data set and you are using it, please email us at waterresources@nt.gov.au and we will update its details.

Katherine

A risk assessment has been undertaken for bores that intersect the Tindall Limestone within the Katherine Tindall Water Allocation Plan area – called the Katherine assessment area.

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 near 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'. We have good information about your area.
  • If your bore displays in red, this is a high confidence prediction that your bore is 'at risk'. We have good monitoring data for your area.
  • If your bore displays in orange, this is a low confidence prediction that your bore is 'potentially at risk'. We have limited monitoring date for your area.
  • If your bore displays in purple (risk is not determined), no risk prediction could be made due to lack of bore construction information.
  • If your bore displays in blue (bore not assessed), your bore is:
    • outside of the Katherine assessment area, or
    • within the Katherine assessment area but not drilled into the Tindall Limestone, or
    • a new bore that was entered into our database after the assessment.

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 that the pump goes into.

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. Use RN with six digits after it.

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

What if my bore is not shown?

Only bores with a 'current' status are displayed in the 'Know your bore' tool.

If your bore is not shown; this means we don’t know you are using it.

Please email us at waterresources@nt.gov.au and we will update its details and let you know.

Now you are ready!

Now you are ready to find your bore using the 'Know your bore' tool (current for 2020 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 supply 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.

Contacts

Contact Water Resources Division on 08 8999 4455 or send an email to waterresources@nt.gov.au

Last updated: 08 July 2020

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