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Alice Springs Water Supply

Where does our water come from?

Alice Springs' water supply comes from the Amadeus Basin. The Amadeus basin is large (approximately 170,000 km2) but we don't draw from the entire basin. We access the Mereenie Aquifer System, Pacoota Sandstone and Shannon & Goyder formations, which are much smaller. Additionally these aquifers are relatively narrow and deep, so bores have to be deep and water levels drop relatively fast.

Alice Water Smart aims to preserve the life of our finite groundwater resource and secure the long term sustainability of Alice Springs. Our current water supply is drawn from the Roe Creek Bore Field located 15km south of Alice Springs. Our water is currently pumped from 150m below surface and is dropping by about 1m a year. Since pumping began at Roe Creek in 1964 over 250,000 ML of groundwater has been extracted, with minimal replenishment. This is half of the Sydney Harbour!

DLRM Amadeaus Diagram

The more water we use, the harder and deeper the pumps have to work at the bore field. By saving water and reducing our water use, Alice Springs can significantly delay the costly investment in new water pumping infrastructure. Also, with less water being pumped from underground, we will reduce our energy costs and will save about 1,150 tonnes of CO2. The future sustainability of Alice Springs' water supply is reliant on managing the existing resource and the demands placed on it. Through the various Alice Water Smart projects, we can all work together to manage this precious resource and create a sustainable future.

Close up of Amadeus Basin - Alice Springs.pdf

How much water does Alice Springs have?

We have about 300-400 years of water, but some uncertainty surrounds future water quality as we access deeper parts of the aquifer.

The Alice Springs Water Resources Strategy 2006-2015 predicts we will reach the 'sustainable ground water yield' cap by 2017. Once we go over this cap, extraction has to be re-evaluated, adding to costs and increasing the likelihood of the entire bore field being moved to Rocky Hill, resulting in a quantum leap in capital and investment. If we can save more water now, we can delay or slow down the need for costly future investment. 

Download Water Cycle in Aquifers PDF »