Contractors have completed inspections at a number of test bore sites this week and will now begin exploration drilling on Tuesday to find ground water sources to supplement the Armidale region’s dwindling town water supplies.
Hydrogeology consultant Hydroilex shortlisted a total of 36 sites in the Guyra and Armidale areas that are likely to provide significant groundwater supplies with suitable water quality.
“If the test drilling identifies suitable ground water sources and we have a clear picture of locations for production bores, we will keep the community informed about those sites,” Armidale Regional Council Mayor Simon Murray said.
“Each of the sites is located on public land, close to roads and power supplies, and the drilling and bore operations will be undertaken in a way that does not impact on adjacent landholders. However, Council will liaise with landholders near the production bores to outline the project and address any concerns.
“While Hydroilex’s studies have identified sites with the right attributes for significant supplies of good-quality groundwater, we are still in the preliminary stages until we actually know if there is water in those locations,” he said.
“For that reason, we have shortlisted 36 sites for exploration with the expectation that only a small proportion of them will be used to supply water.”
Cr Murray said the test drilling and subsequent production bores would be sunk several times deeper than existing nearby bores, to avoid tapping into groundwater supplies already being utilised by adjacent landholders. While the existing bores are generally between 30 and 50 metres deep, the bores proposed by Council will be around 150 metres deep to access ground water supplies suitable to supplement the region’s existing water storages.
“If the test drilling finds other ground water supplies above the targeted water sources, water-tight sleeves will be fitted for the test drilling and production bores to ensure the shallower supply is not affected,” he said.
Contractor FB Drilling has been engaged to undertake the test drilling in Guyra and Armidale, while a second contractor, Mac Drilling, will conduct the exploratory drilling in the rural locations around Armidale and is expected to begin in late October.
Level 5 water restrictions are in place for town water users in Guyra and Armidale, with remaining dam supplies on course to run out in around 420 days without significant rainfall.
“We’re optimistic the groundwater supplies could push back that Day Zero but even if these bores deliver the quantities of water we’re hoping for, they will still be relatively small compared to our dam supplies. Careful water conservation by households and business is essential to extend our remaining supplies until we get substantial rain,” Cr Murray said.