Fractured Rock Groundwater - Wheatbelt Western Australia - Data and Methodology Review

Louise Hopgood, Global Groundwater, Nedlands
R Nixon, Global Groundwater, Nedlands


The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) in partnership with Water Corporation, working with Murdoch and Curtin Universities, are looking at new options to improve farm water security in the wheatbelt of Western Australia (Figure 1).

Winter rainfall has declined since 2000 and dams, traditionally used for farm water supply, no longer provide sufficient or reliable water, especially after 1 to 2 below average years (Richard George, pers comm., 2021). Increasingly, groundwater supplies are being considered to supply farm needs, including those from fractured rock aquifers, with opportunities to desalinate to improve water quality.

This project undertook to review groundwater availability in fractured rock aquifers for agricultural use in the wheatbelt of Western Australia with the aim of developing an exploration hypothesis and methodology to:

- Locate high (> 3 L/sec) to moderate (0.5 to 3 L/sec) yielding bores

- Locate bores with moderate (TDS) to low (< 3000 TDS) salinity

- Locate bores with long term sustainable yields

-Target the lower saprock and fractured basement zone from 50 to 150 m depth

- Target opportunities on private and public lands