1.5 Current water accounts and water quality for the Cooper subregion

Executive summary

Cooper Creek near Innamincka, SA, 23 May 2013 Credit: Dr Anthony Budd, Geoscience Australia

Information on surface water and groundwater quantity and quality for the Cooper subregion is documented in this product. The information was captured in September 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.

Water accounts and water quality information is very scant for this subregion and it may be very difficult to detect changes in either due to coal resource development. For this reason, it would be difficult to assess impacts on water related assets as a result of any coal seam gas development (no coal mining development potential was identified in the coal resource assessment).

Water accounts

The Cooper subregion incorporates a portion of Cooper creek basin and receives water from the two main tributaries of the Cooper Creek: the Thomson and Barcoo rivers. Cooper Creek is the only major waterway in the subregion and is not affected by dams or diversions.

Groundwater in the subregion is used for stock and domestic purposes, exploration and industrial purposes, monitoring, and irrigation. Groundwater is managed according to Queensland and South Australian state management plans.

 As of September 2015 there are 1681 groundwater licences within the Central and Warrego West groundwater management areas of the Great Artesian Bore Water Resource Plan in the Queensland portion of the subregion. Groundwater allocations are identified for only 13 licences, totalling 3785 megalitres per year.

As of September 2015, 17.4 gigalitres of surface water can be extracted under licence in the Queensland portion of the Cooper creek basin. There are no surface water licences for the South Australian part of the Cooper creek basin.

Water quality

Surface water quality in the Cooper subregion is monitored by various programmes administered by the Australian Government and the governments of Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory.  

Groundwater quality in the Cooper subregion is not widely monitored. Some Great Artesian Basin monitoring bores are located in the subregion, and some other bores and petroleum wells have associated groundwater quality data.

Groundwater, in two areas of the subregion considered in this assessment, is generally soft to moderately hard, suitable for stock watering and not suitable for irrigation.


Last updated:
5 January 2018