Water for Australia's arid zone – identifying and assessing Australia’s palaeovalley groundwater resources: summary report

Ecosystems Water Australia

This report presents the results of a project aimed at improving understanding of palaeovalley groundwater resources.

Palaeovalleys are geologically ancient, buried river valleys which no longer function as active surface water systems. These palaeovalley aquifers are often relied upon in regional Australia to supply water to pastoralists, mines, tourist centres and remote communities.

Groundwater in Australia’s arid zone is essential to the sustainability of this vast region and palaeovalleys represent the only viable groundwater resource in many areas. However, palaeovalley aquifers and groundwater systems remain little understood despite their role as major water sources.

This Waterlines report summarises the main findings from investigations at five regional demonstration sites and outlines the process involved in developing the new thematic palaeovalley map of arid and semi-arid Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory (referred to as WASANT). The report also details key areas in which overall understanding and knowledge of arid zone palaeovalley systems and their groundwater resources were improved and summarises the key project outcomes, recommendations and lessons learnt from the project.

Authored by Pauline English, Steven Lewis, Joseph Bell, John Wischusen, Maria Woodgate, Evgeniy Bastrakov, Mike Macphail, and Penny Kilgour.

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