Change is afoot in outback Queensland. Out deep in the country, far beyond the city lights, the Great Artesian Basin is one of the world’s biggest water reservoirs, and it’s just barely below the surface under countless outback tracks. A great sand stone layer beneath the surface, the basin extends over 1,700,000 square kilometres from central Australia in the west, right up to the tip of Cape York in the north. Up to three kilometres deep in some points, there’s nearly 65,000 cubic kilometres of our fresh drinking water stored in there.
Why is this important to 4X4 owners? Well, for the first time in over 150 years there’s actual good news for the basin. The precious water supply has been tapped into thousands of times since the mid 1800’s. When European colonists moved to the area unregulated boring of the basin exploded. And with it, the water pressure dropped significantly drying out natural springs across over 20% of the Australian mainland.
A decades long program to map, and close off many of these bores is finally seeing progress. In the last 30 years, 700 bores have been capped. Previously left to free flow, they did little more for the environment than create a few muddy puddles. Now, with over 200,000 megalitres saved each year, the water is once again flowing to those iconic natural springs.
With the record rains we’ve had over the last few years recharging the Great Basin, it’ll mean drastic changes to travel through outback Queensland. Expect previously dry rivers to flow. Condemned swimming holes to replenish. And life to return to large stretches of outback Australia. A resurgence of such a huge natural resource will forever change the way 4X4 owners experience outback Queensland.