Groundwater investigations

Western Australia relies on groundwater for drinking water supplies, irrigated agriculture, industry, mining, economic development and liveable communities more than any other state in the country. Groundwater is also essential for the natural environment to flourish.
Image of bore testing

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation investigates, assesses and monitors these precious resources to support the sustainable and productive use of groundwater while protecting the environment.

We have completed more than 25 groundwater investigations since 2005. A wide range of organisations and industries – including the state and federal governments, local councils, agriculture, mining, manufacturing, construction, universities and local communities use the information we gather.

What the groundwater investigations tell us

We establish monitoring networks and collect groundwater information through a coordinated, prioritised and statewide approach. The information we collect helps balance the state’s water use while protecting important wetlands and rivers.

Both the information from our groundwater investigations and ongoing monitoring underpin our water resource management decisions by improving our understanding of:

  • where groundwater occurs, and how much is there
  • the quality of groundwater
  • how groundwater supports environmental, social and cultural values
  • how much and where to take groundwater while sustaining associated values.

What the department does

To collect information about the state’s groundwater supplies we:

  • drill bores to understand the geology and hydrogeology
  • collect and analyse water samples to determine groundwater quality, chemical composition and age
  • study ecosystems to determine how much plants and wetlands depend on groundwater or rainfall
  • commission electromagnetic or seismic surveys
  • review decades of data we hold in our database
  • analyse, interpret and use the results to inform groundwater management.

You can access all the raw data we have gathered at our Water Information Reporting portal.

We also publish technical reports on the findings of our investigations.

Across the state we investigate groundwater resources where we need better groundwater information to support sustainable management. The investigations are in areas where high projected future demand, high water use and declining rainfall due to climate change are factors that could threaten the long-term sustainable use of groundwater.

Since 2005 we have carried out several large work programs:

  • State Groundwater Investigation Program (SGIP): this began in 2005 and is a major strategic and ongoing work program. The investigations focus on collecting new hydrogeological information that helps us formulate the best water management strategies for all regions across the state.
  • Water for Pilbara Cities, Water for Food and Regional Water Availability groundwater investigation programs (2012–16): these Royalties for Regions-funded programs accelerated our statewide program and proved-up new groundwater resources in the Kimberley, Pilbara, Murchison, South West and South Coast regions, enabling sustainable development in these growth areas and protecting the environment at the same time.
  • Perth Region Confined Aquifer Capacity (PRCAC) (2012–16): this study explored the deep aquifers under Perth. Understanding how aquifers interact and where recharge comes from helps us develop strategies to sustainably abstract groundwater from these resources.
  • Shallow Groundwater System groundwater investigations (2006–11): these focused on numerous lakes and wetlands around the greater Perth metropolitan area and their interaction with the shallow groundwater of the Gnangara and Jandakot mounds.

You can download our technical reports and other publications in the document collection.

Groundwater investigations by region

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You can use the table below to view the details of our ongoing and completed groundwater investigations or go to our Groundwater investigations by region page.

Region

Project Period

Statewide

Statewide seawater interface investigations Ongoing
Statewide Groundwater telemetry trial Ongoing
Statewide Groundwater modelling optimisation partnership 2019–2021
North West region
(Kimberley/Pilbara)
La Grange and Walyarta groundwater-dependent ecosystems Ongoing
North West region
(Kimberley/Pilbara)
Hamersley Ranges groundwater assessment 2012–2016
North West region
(Kimberley/Pilbara)
Dampier Peninsula groundwater investigation 2012–2016
North West region
(Kimberley/Pilbara)
Water for Pilbara cities 2012–2016
Mid West Gascoyne region
(Exmouth to Cervantes to Meekatharra)
Allanooka–Casuarinas groundwater investigation 2007–2011
Mid West Gascoyne region
(Exmouth to Cervantes to Meekatharra)
Mid West groundwater-dependent ecosystem vulnerability 2009–2012
Mid West Gascoyne region
(Exmouth to Cervantes to Meekatharra)
Murchison palaeochannels investigation 2012–2016
Perth-Peel region
(Cervantes to Myalup)
Murray-Peel groundwater investigation 2011–2013
Perth-Peel region
(Cervantes to Myalup)
Kings Park Formation - WESROC partnership 2016–2020
Perth-Peel region
(Cervantes to Myalup)
North-East Corridor and Swan Valley investigation Ongoing
Perth-Peel region
(Cervantes to Myalup)
North Gnangara groundwater investigation 2007–2010
Perth-Peel region
(Cervantes to Myalup)
Shallow Groundwater Systems investigations - Perth 2006–2010
Perth-Peel region
(Cervantes to Myalup)
Perth Region Confined Aquifer Capacity (PRCAC) study 2012–2016
Perth-Peel region
(Cervantes to Myalup)
Gingin-Cowalla groundwater investigation 2005–2006
Perth-Peel region
(Cervantes to Myalup)
North Gingin groundwater investigation 2010–2015
Perth-Peel region
(Cervantes to Myalup)
East Midlands groundwater investigation Ongoing
Perth-Peel region
(Cervantes to Myalup)
Gingin Brook and groundwater interaction 2007–2009
South West region
(Myalup to Margeret River)
South West regional reconnaissance investigations 2008–2009
South West region
(Myalup to Margeret River)
Cowaramup groundwater investigations 2005–2006
South West region
(Myalup to Margeret River)
Scott coastal plain groundwater investigation 2005–2006
South West region
(Myalup to Margeret River)
South West groundwater areas investigation 2006–2010
South West region
(Myalup to Margeret River)
South West (Scott River) investigation 2012–2016
South Coast
(Albany to Esperance)
South Coast groundwater investigation 2012–2016

Technical reports

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You can view a list of our published and unpublished hydrogeological reports.

Technical reports are available for download in the document collection.

Page reviewed 8 June 2022