Locating groundwater resources for the Aboriginal communities in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands, in the far northwest of South Australia

Geoscientists Without Borders
Water Management Projects

Remote Aboriginal communities in South Australia have significant health and economic challenges.

The communities in the APY lands were established in the 1930s. At that time, a spring fed creek was their primary water source. Currently a dual reticulation system operates with groundwater from two production wells providing water for all non-potable uses. Rainwater is the ONLY potable supply. Rainfall is highly variable and characterized by periods of drought.

Various geophysics surveys were conducted in the hopes of locating potential water sources.

Status Complete

Statement of Work

Magnetotelluics (MT) surveys were conducted in the first phase of this project. Unfortunately powerline noise corrupted the results. Untimely permit issues delayed access the second site, thus the project team allocated resources to an on-going Great Artesian basin (GAB) project. Goals of this project were to characterize artesian mound springs in both near-surface and at depth. These wells have been over exploited in the recent past by miners and farmers, yet they still hold a cultural significance to the Aboriginal groups living in the GAB. Results of these extensive geophysical surveys were shared with Aboriginal elders, and government water officials to assist in their infrastructure planning.

The initial project approach is not sustainable, however the results of the GAB project should enhance plans to better utilize the artesian mound springs

Principal Investigator

Professor Graham Heinson, University of Adelaide  
GeoHazards International

Team members

University of Adelaide: Dr Michael Hatch, Dr Dennis Cooke, Kent Inverarity, David Pedler-Jones, James Wilson, Anastasia Costopoulos, Robert Lampe, Alison Langsford, Katherine Stoate

South Australian Water Corporation: Simon Wurst, Grant Mclean

Department of Energy, Water and Natural Resources SA: Adrian Costar

Flinders University: Professor Craig Simmons

GWB Sponsors

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