Free flowing bore and drain, South Australia. Photo: GABCC
Free flowing bore near Wyandra, Queensland. Photo: Sarah Moles
Tego Springs, Queensland. Photo: GABCC
The Great Artesian Basin (GAB) is one of the world's largest groundwater resources. It lies under 22% of Australia, stretching from the wet tropics to the outback deserts and vast pastoral areas. A relatively unsung hero, the GAB has sustained Aboriginal people for thousands of years and now supports a wide range of communities, enterprises and industries. It is truly a resource of national importance.
Like many of Australia's natural resources, the GAB faces many challenges. New, rapidly evolving industries now compete with traditional pastoral and agricultural users for a share of GAB water. Management of the GAB is complex and requires a great deal of cooperation between five governments, hundreds of communities and the many industries that rely on its waters.
The GAB underlies parts of Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory, which each operate under different legislation and policy. Actions in one jurisdiction have the potential to affect another because of the continuity of Basin aquifers. Coordinated management of the GAB aims to maximise the benefits to the community from the use and existence of GAB water resources while minimising the adverse impacts associated with its use.
Active engagement of the GAB's many stakeholders is vital for the GABCC to facilitate the Basin-wide exchange of information between stakeholders, and to encourage a strong commitment from government and industry leaders to the sustainable management of Basin resources.
Established in 2004, the Great Artesian Basin Coordinating Committee (GABCC) provides advice from community organisations and agencies to Ministers on efficient, effective and sustainable whole-of-resource management, and coordinates activity between stakeholders.
The GABCC website provides general and technical information on one of the world's largest groundwater resources, recently awarded Australian hydrogeological wonder of the world.