Bore water is a natural resource and it can be used for some domestic purposes instead of using the drinking water we supply.
What is bore water?
Whenever it rains, some of the water soaks into the ground where it is stored in areas of earth called 'aquifers'.
Bores drill into the aquifers and extract water from them. It is not treated and therefore is not safe to drink, but it can be used outdoors.
Risks of using bore water
Bore water is not an unlimited supply. It is dependent on the level of rainfall and how much water is absorbed into the aquifiers through the ground.
If bore users take too much freshwater out of the aquifer, then seawater will slowly fill the space, contaminating the freshwater source. It takes years for the aquifer to remove all traces of seawater and become usable again.
Due to the salt levels in seawater, it is not suitable for most garden use and the natural ecosystems could be affected.
Who manages bore water licences?
Currently, the state government’s Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) manages and regulates aquifers and bore water use. Unitywater has no legal powers to regulate domestic bores. However, we can help educate and inform the community to protect our natural water reserves for future generations.
For more information on drilling a bore, you should contact your nearest State Government business centre. They can help you with construction requirements for underground water in your area.
Bribie Island bore use
Most of Bribie Island sits on two aquifers — a deep one below a layer of rock and a shallow one above it. Rainwater soaks into the shallow aquifer and seeps slowly through until it discharges into the sea at the coastline. Some of the rainwater reaches the deep aquifer and then it moves slowly towards the coast. This effectively stops the seawater surrounding the island from soaking into the aquifers.
Most domestic bores on Bribie Island tap the shallow aquifer and therefore have the potential to interfere with the natural ecosystems.
Soils on Bribie Island are sandy. Sandy soils don’t hold moisture well and have low nutrients. The first step gardeners can take to be smart with their bore water is to choose plants and lawn that like sandy soils.
Here are some good ideas to help improve the sandy soil and keep your plants healthy:
- Add organic matter like compost to help hold moisture and add nutrients.
- Add water-saving crystals to help hold moisture.
- Use mulch around your plants to help hold the moisture in the soil.