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Siting A Water Supply Bore – Mandatory Requirement

Siting A Water
Supply Bore

Water Wells


Siting a Water Supply Bore


  • A bore is sited to provide a reliable and useful water supply. Information should be sought about the hydrogeological conditions in the area before drilling.
  • Water supply bores shall be positioned a suitable distance from known possible sources of contamination, or designed and constructed to eliminate all sources of contamination.
  • The driller shall ensure the location complies with any conditions specified in the bore permit.

Siting a water supply bore usually involves considering a range of factors in order to provide a cost-effective and reliable supply of water of acceptable quality.

Obtaining Information

Selecting and investigating the initial location are very important in the overall construction and performance of a bore. The depth, cost, and relative importance of a water supply bore will usually dictate the amount of investigation required.

Licensing authorities and hydrogeological consultants can provide information and advice, and, if required, give an assessment of groundwater availability in a specific area of interest. This could include data that is available from previous drilling work in an area (e.g. location, depth to water, amount of water pumped, type of water-bearing formation, and water quality) and other geological and geophysical records.

Depending on the extent of the work required to provide the assessment, costs may be incurred. Local information may also be available from other drillers and from neighbouring landholders.

Driller Considerations

Drillers who have worked consistently in an area may have some knowledge of the construction, depth, quality, and yield of bores in that area.

The driller should have an understanding of the known hydrogeological conditions of the area to determine whether the drilling equipment available can do the job.

Provisions relating to licensing can vary between different state and territory water authorities, so drillers must check the requirements of the particular area in which they operate.

Client Considerations

The client should seek information from the relevant state or territory water authority so that the best site for the bore can be determined.

The client should check with the service providers (e.g. ‘Dial before you dig’) to ensure there are no underground or overhead services in the area of the proposed drill site.

The positioning of a water supply bore should be based on the best prospects for obtaining a successful supply and for working convenience.

Other requirements may have to be considered if the pump is to be solar or wind-powered. A cleared area might be preferable if such pumps are to be used. State and local government requirements might limit or control the ways in which vegetation or timber can be cleared, and these should be checked before undertaking any clearing for a bore site.

The water supply bore site should allow ready access for heavy machinery for drilling and subsequent servicing of the bore and pumping equipment.

Some state and territory water licensing authorities may have a bore permit condition that stipulates a bore should be located not less than a specified distance from the property boundary and/or from a bore on a neighbouring property, channel or stream, or source of pollution. These pollution sources can include dairies, septic tanks and absorption trenches, refuse dumps, landfill, effluent discharges (e.g. from piggeries or feedlots, sewage treatment discharges, drainage ditches, cattle/stock dips, chemical spray use and/or preparation areas). This requirement is to minimise the possibility of contaminating the bore and any surrounding bores.

If the driller has any doubts about the potential problems and requirements for a particular situation, advice should be sought from the relevant state, territory, or local water licensing authority.

The client should provide access to the bore site and advise the driller if there are any particular site access requirements.

Mandatory Requirement

  • The driller shall obtain confirmation from the permit holder that the bore location meets the requirements specified in the bore permit.

Good Industry Practice

  • All water supply bores should be positioned away from the influence of possible sources of contamination.
  • In bores where the target aquifer is deeper than the source of the contamination, the bore may be constructed providing the contaminated formation is adequately cased and cement sealed.

If the driller has any doubts concerning the potential problems and the requirements for a particular situation, advice should be sought from the client and the relevant state or territory water authority.

  • Bores should be positioned so that the headworks can be protected from damage, frequent flooding, and surface water drainage.
  • Site work should be planned and carried out in such a manner to minimise damage to property, infrastructure, crops, land, drainage works, and roads.
  • Before commencing drilling, the client/driller should contact the local service providers (e.g. gas, electricity, power, communications, water) to obtain advice on location of these services and the minimum clearance distances between the drilling rig and services. This information should be sought, as far as practical, in written form.

The driller should ensure that no underground or overhead services are located in the area of the proposed bore sites.


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