1.5 Current water accounts and water quality for the Arckaringa subregion

Executive summary

Hookeys waterhole in Neales catchment, SA. November 2009 Credit: ​Dale McNeil (South Australian Research and Development Institute)

Information on surface water and groundwater quantity and quality for Arckaringa subregion is documented in this product. The information was captured in August 2015 and is used in the evaluation of the potential impact of coal seam gas and coal mining development on water and water-dependent assets.

As there is very little surface water available in the Arckaringa subregion this product focuses primarily on groundwater as a source of water for mining, stock and domestic use, and town supply.

Water accounts

This product identifies known sources of information on the current water accounts for the Arckaringa subregion.

The surface water systems in the Arckaringa subregion are unregulated, with surface flows typically occurring only after high-intensity storms and lasting for a short period of time, making it an unreliable water source. There are a few waterholes in parts of the Neales-Peake river system, but most are small and generally shallow.

As a result groundwater is the main source of water in the Arckaringa subregion. It is used for mining, stock and domestic supply, and town water supply. Groundwater is extracted from aquifers of the Great Artesian Basin and the Arckaringa Basin and is managed by the South Australian Government under the Far North Prescribed Wells Area Water Allocation Plan.

One of the largest licensed allocations within the Arckaringa subregion is the Prominent Hill copper-gold mine. It extracts about six gigalitres per year of groundwater from a sedimentary aquifer system within the Arckaringa Basin.

Water quality

Because of the low surface water flows in the Arckaringa subregion the information available about surface water quality relates mostly to some semi-permanent waterholes in the Neales-Peake river system, which varies in salinity from fresh to hypersaline.

The aquifers of the Great Artesian Basin are the main and the freshest source of water for the Arckaringa subregion with groundwater salinity generally measuring less than 5000 milligrams per litre total dissolved solids. When measured against the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines and the National Water Quality Management Strategy these levels are considered to be unacceptable for human consumption and borderline for watering stock.

Last updated:
9 September 2016