The North Burdekin Water Board (NBWB) is a statutory groundwater management authority, responsible for the economic and environmentally sustainable management of the groundwater resource within the proclaimed area of the Burdekin delta.
Over the recent years, salinity issues have become apparent in several coastal areas of the Lower Burdekin Delta. In the Airdmillan Road area, which is close to the coast, steadily rising groundwater salinity levels have been reported.
The Board commissioned CSIRO to investigate the probable cause of the salinity and make suitable recommendations towards future sustainable management in the area. The report confirmed a rising trend in groundwater salinity in the Airdmillan area. Although there is a lack of data, the report attributes the main cause to be the volume of water extracted from pumps in the area resulting in upconing of saline water from depth.
The study made a number of recommendations to help manage the groundwater resource in the Airdmillan Road area, including metering of pumped volumes, supplementing groundwater with surface water, continued monitoring of salinity and moderation of water use through efficient irrigation practices.
To better understand the whole system and then use that understanding to better manage the water resources in the region "Water Resources Observation Network (WRON) Burdekin Project" has been initiated by CSIRO.
Rockwater Australia Pty Ltd has now been commissioned to further assess the findings of the CSIRO report taking particular account of geophysical factors. The report should be finalised in the near future.
This consultancy will develop a conceptual water management plan for the Airdmillan area that will set in place a framework to address the rising salinity problem by sustainable use of groundwater, to be achieved by overall water usage conservation and partial substitution of surface water for groundwater.
The proposed conceptual management plan will provide a framework for investigation, development, implementation and monitoring of water usage in the Airdmillan area.