Great Artesian Basin and other regional aquifers water plan

This information will help you understand how water is managed in the water plan area and how you can access water.

Map of the water plan area

View the water plan area on the Great Artesian Basin and other regional aquifers (GABORA) water area map (PDF, 235KB).

What's happening next?

Water plan information

Bore management

The Great Artesian Basin and Other Regional Aquifers (GABORA) Water Plan 2017 requires all artesian stock and domestic bores to have watertight delivery systems by 2032. This means that these bores must be capped and bore drains replaced with pipes, tanks and troughs.

Relevant water licensees have been notified of the date to achieve watertight delivery systems. Licences will not be individually amended to reflect the extended deadlines . All bore owners who have these conditions on their water licence and have not yet completed a bore management statement (PDF, 112KB) may do so and submit this to the department.

If a previously ceased to flow bore begins to reflow, you must notify the Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water (DRDMW) by contacting your local business centre or emailing or

Bore-fed wetlands with significant cultural and environmental values

In special circumstances, bores that support significant cultural or environmental values may be exempt from being made fully watertight. If you have a bore that feeds a wetland area which you believe contributes to or sustains cultural or environmental values, you can apply to amend your water licence to maintain a non-watertight system for the wetland only. Water taken for stock and domestic purposes would still require to be delivered through a watertight delivery system.

There will be a rigorous assessment process requiring the applicant to provide detailed supporting information. If approved, the wetland area will need to be managed to maintain the assessed cultural or environmental values.

You will need to complete the following forms:

You must supply the following information with all applications:

  1. Site description: A summary of the wetland's physical characteristics and history, such as area, depth, volume and surroundings.
  2. Description of existing works: A summary of the existing bore structure, flow rate, extent of piping and/or non-watertight flow, history of bore construction, capping and piping.
  3. Map and/or photos: A map of the wetland showing relevant features such as existing bores and/or bore drains, homestead, roads and fences. Photos can assist in showing the wetland's condition and extent.

Only compete the following sections of the form that relate to your application:

  1. Environmental values: A description supported by evidence of the ecological and environmental significance of the wetland (e.g. wildlife, vegetation and ecosystems it supports). Information supplied must demonstrate the ecological values of the wetland and would ideally be supported by expert evidence and advice.
  2. Cultural or social values: A description and evidence of the wetland's cultural or social benefits including:
    • regional or local significance (such as heritage)
    • education opportunities
    • significance to Aboriginal peoples
    • economic (both private and public)
    • social activities which are dependent on the wetland's existence.

Information supplied would ideally be supported by expert advice and evidence.

Send completed application forms to the department's Water Hub by emailing

The department will assess the application and will contact you for further supporting information as required or to discuss your application.

If the water licence amendment is approved, the amended water licence will result in a change of conditions which allow for water to be taken from the bore without a watertight delivery system. The conditions may include specific flow rates to support the identified values and also restrict the flow of water to the particular locations where the values exist.

If the application to amend the water licence is refused, all bores taking water under the authority of the water licence will continue to be required to be made watertight by the year 2027.

Accessing water

Water from the Great Artesian Basin and other regional aquifers (GABORA)

Check the water management protocol (PDF, 803KB) for:

  • water sharing rules
  • water licence relocation rules
  • seasonal water assignment rules
  • protections for groundwater-dependent ecosystems and existing users.

If you want to access GABORA water, contact your local DRDMW office for more information.

Other water

Other water includes surface water, overland flow and underground water in aquifers not managed by the GABORA water plan. Check requirements for accessing this water for the relevant water plan area.

Older milestones

  • January 2023: The Minister's performance assessment report for the GABORA is available.
  • March 2022: Applications were sought for up to 4,545 megalitres (ML) of unallocated Great Artesian Basin water from general reserve in parts of the Cadna-owie, Hooray, Springbok Walloon, and Hutton groundwater units.
  • October 2021: Explore the Great Artesian Basin and learn more about its cultural, economic and ecological importance to regional Queensland.
  • December 2019: The water management protocol has been amended and can be accessed below. The amendment allows more water users access to GABORA seasonal water assignment and makes the trade rules easier to understand. A statement of changes (PDF, 366KB) summarises the changes.
  • September 2017: The water entitlement notice (PDF, 1.9MB) to convert, grant or amend water entitlement notices has been published. All affected licence holders have been notified of these changes.

More information

Contact us

Contact your local DRDMW office for more information about water management and how you can access water.

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