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Technology in Australia 1788-1988Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Table of Contents

Chapter 3

I Background

II Early European Settlements

III Assessment Of Available Water Resources

IV Water Supplies For Goldmining Development

V Irrigation Development

VI Farm And Stock Water Supplies
i Early development - extensive distribution systems
ii The Great Artesian Basin
iii Groundwater research
iv Windmills
v Farm storages

VII Urban Water Supplies

VIII Wastewater Management And Treatment

IX Water Quality Management

X Limnological And Water Quality Research

XI New Techniques In Water Resource Planning And Management

XII Legislation

XIII Conclusion

XIV List Of Abbreviations

XV Acknowledgements

XVI Plantations-high Productivity Resources



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Groundwater research

Significant work has been carried out in South Australia on the use of isotopes to determine groundwater movement. Those most commonly used have been tritium, carbon 13, carbon 14 and oxygen 18.

Tritium was first used in the 1950s, gradually replacing expensive pumping tests as a means of determining recharge rates in aquifers where recharge occurred less than 50 years previously.

Carbon 14 has also been used to calculate recharge, particularly where much of the groundwater is relatively old.

Geophysical techniques have also been developed in South Australia since 1950 as an aid to locating drilling sites for groundwater exploration. Resistivity, gravity and seismic methods have been applied. Geophysical and mechanical well logging procedures have been progressively evolved for the location of aquifers, estimation of aquifer yields and correlation with other drill holes.

In Queensland, the State's vast groundwater resources were developed ahead of surface water resources in rural areas, with much more being known about the location and magnitude of groundwater until the 1960s. Equipment and techniques used for groundwater assessment were adapted from those used overseas to meet local conditions. These have included modification of percussion and rotary drilling methods, development of pumping tests and pump test analysis to provide aquifer parameters and extensive use of automatic water level recorders.

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© 1988 Print Edition page 169, Online Edition 2000
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