Capping Uanda Bore

Guest post by Jessie Alford

Diane Alford wrote about Rainsby, a cattle property near Aramac, here nearly ten years ago. Jessie and her husband Tim have taken over its management since then; Jessie wrote this for her Facebook page but was happy to share it more widely.

The people of Western Queensland have depended on artesian bores for a century but have realised that the supply is not endless. Here’s one small step towards reducing waste.

Bore drain on Rainsby
Uanda bore – permanent water in dry country

Uanda bore was drilled on August 13, 1917, 104 years ago. Since then it has been flowing freely at a rate between 4.68 (1917) and 1.84 (1937) L/second. A month ago it was running at 3.8L/s, (328 000 L/day) which tells me that it has released approximately 10 – 12,000,000,000L (10 – 12,000 megalitres) out into the bore drain since it was sunk. (This bore is relatively slow, as some bores produce up to one million litres per day, and the pressure and heat with which they explode from the bore heads is incredible!)

The aquifer was reached at approximately 124m and the bore hole is 151m deep, producing free-flowing, clean, cool, potable water. In order to reach the aquifer the steel casing has been passed through soil, assorted marls, 7m of hard quartz, assorted sand types and shale. It has also been through non viable water in salty aquifers.

It’s just amazing how much clean, cool groundwater we’re blessed with here! It has come time for this bore to be capped so as not to waste any more of it.

Capping the old bore

Uanda Bore on Rainsby
Uanda Bore, with water trough and cattle in the distance

We will have to drill another bore hole nearby before we can cap this one due to the water pressure having the potential to blow out the casing (steel pipes). The new bore will be capped and have poly pipes and tanks/troughs so its flow can be monitored and controlled more easily. There will no longer be a need to delve and maintain the bore drains, which is a big relief for Tim as they have been flooding out as seen in the photo above.

The removal of the drains will mean that many beautiful birds and other wildlife will lose a reliable permanent water source and its associated habitat, but hopefully the wildlife will be able to find other resources in our creek system, and they will still have permanent water from the troughs.

And the environment as a whole gains in two way – we will reduce the waste of our precious artesian water, and with tanks and troughs we will better be able to control the grazing pressure on our nearby paddocks.

Further reading

An overview of the Great Artesian Basin at https://www.agriculture.gov.au/water/national/great-artesian-basin

Detailed information about water resources at Queensland Globe > Natural Resources in ‘Topics’ > scroll down to select ‘water bores’ and apply to map.

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