Finding Long-term Outback Water Solutions Initiative Introduction

Significant growth in mining, energy and industry development in the Far North of South Australia will require reliable water supplies. The scale of the planned developments and potential from current mineral exploration programs facilitated by the South Australian Government through the Plan for Accelerating Exploration (PACE) Program will result in a substantial increase in infrastructure requirements, including access to water resources.

Groundwater is the primary water resource for this region but, outside of the Great Artesian Basin, there is limited knowledge of these resources and their capacity to meet the emerging industry water requirements.

In response to increasing demand for information about water source options, the Department for Environment and Water (DEW) implemented the Facilitating Long-term Outback Water Solutions (FLOWS) Initiative.

The objective of the Initiative is to increase the knowledge base and options for long-term water solutions to support mining, energy and industry development in the Far North, including Eyre Peninsula, and assist in the development of potential water supply options for remote Far North communities under Water for Good, Action Item 66.

The primary responsibility for securing mine water supplies rests with mine developers. However, it is recognised that this will lead to individual, short-term development of water resources where a more targeted approach could potentially facilitate the development of shared resources, which in turn may increase the viability of mining development in the region.

The FLOWS Initiative will initially involve a comprehensive three to five year investigation of Far North groundwater resources and incorporates a number of DEW sub-projects, as well as a major research project known as G-FLOWS conducted by the Goyder Institute for Water Research.

In 2012, DEW released Phase 1 assessment reports on the non-prescribed water resources of the Alinytjara Wilurara (pronounced “alin-jara wilu-rarrra”) Region (far North West of the State), Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, Northern and Yorke and the South Australian Arid Lands Natural Resources Management regions.

Stage 1 of the G-FLOWS research project is currently being finalised by the CSIRO and focuses on the Musgrave Block area (i.e. the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands) and part of the Frome Embayment, east of the Northern Flinders Ranges.  This stage of the project is worth $3.05 million, spans two years and focuses on the reinterpretation of airborne geophysical surveys to locate potential groundwater resources.

A proposal for Stage 2 of the G-FLOWS research project is currently being drafted to focus on the Northern Eyre Peninsula area.

The FLOWS Initiative is intended to complement the Department for Manufacturing, Innovation, Trade, Resources and Energy’s (DMITRE) PACE Program.

See also:

  • Phase 1 and 2 updates, listed under In this section (right).

  • Publications and related Downloads by DEW listed under In this section (right).

  • Technical reports published by the Goyder Institute on their website; links listed under Related links (right).