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The Artesian Basin - Origins of Water

22 August 2001

The Great Artesian Basin has had an effect on both the way humans and many animals live in the Outback. For humans it has been a reliable source of water in an area where nothing but hot summers are guaranteed. Sure, reservoirs are built out here to hold the huge amounts of water that fall during the wet season, but what happens when there’s a drought? The water that is stored in the reservoirs can also evaporate well before the summer rains begin again. The Basin is a huge pool of water below ground that can be tapped by wells and accessed anytime of the year. With this almost guaranteed supply, the risk of not having enough water to raise cattle in this area is reduced significantly. Stockmen in this area of the country are able to raise many more animals and are primarily limited only by the amount of food available from the land. The Basin is also the main water source for many of the towns that exist in this part of the Outback.


The troughs of water that the stockmen provide for their cattle help other animals as well. Kangaroos can maintain larger families because of the availability. Flocks of budgerigars (budgies) and other birds can find more places of refuge than they could before people began tapping the water below and bringing it up to storage areas above.

In other arid and semi-arid parts of Australia, away from the Great Artesian Basin, water is often the most limiting factor for the existence of any life, whether human, animal or plant.

Suggested Learning Activity:
Find out where your water comes from.


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