Australia has around 500 dams
but they come at a cost!
Extreme climatic events such as droughts and floods
make dams less viable for consistent supply.
Where does my water come from?
The main sources of our water in Queensland are rivers (around three quarters) and groundwater.
Australia has around 500 big dams collecting water from rivers and streams. Given the substantial environmental impact and big establishment costs, it’s unlikely that we will see new dams any time soon.
Groundwater, also known as bore water, accumulates from rainwater seeping into the ground and collecting in aquifers. The Great Artesian Basin is the biggest aquifer in Australia. It is believed to date back 160 million years ago when much of Eastern Australia was a flood plain.
Other options for water supply include buying irrigation water from farmers who do not need their supplies, piping it from other catchments, recycling water and the good old rainwater tank. Coastal cities and towns also have the option to desalinate seawater, which basically means removing the salt from seawater.
Australia’s water supply tends to go through booms and busts and we know that when it rains, it pours! While most of our water infrastructure performs well during wet years, our water service providers need to ensure we have lots of options available to allow our communities to survive and bounce-back during and after droughts.
Unfortunately most of our other safe supply options also come at a high cost and there is no one option which is best. It all depends on where you are in the country, and how you use your water. There is no question that in the longer term, water will cost more to cope with changing demand and increased costs of supply.