HOW FRAGILE IS THE GAB?   A credible  and supported study of the Great Artesian Basin by: Emeritus Professor Endersbee

As two of Australia’s major cities (Melbourne and Adelaide) face the grim reality that conventional water sources are no longer available, Australians begin to look towards “underground water sources”, in particular the GAB.  It is important that all Australians leave no stone unturned in a quest to understand both the importance and origin of the Great Artesian Basin, which many are now hailing as our possible saviour.  Is it already too late?  Is the Basin along with underground streams, already doomed, poisoned, exhausted?

Professor Endersbee delivers this study.   …..”In two previous papers in Focus on the Great Artesian Basin (see references) I put forward my view that the present official concept of recharging of the Basin from surface waters was incorrect. At the time I was not certain as to the actual origin of the waters, only that recharging from surface waters was a physical impossibility.

My continuing studies set me on a quest for the source of the waters…………”

The Plutonic Waters of the Great Artesian Basin (PDF)  by Emeritus Professor Lance Endersbee


9 replies »

  1. Declare position on the current corporate acts of stealth occuring across Australia.

    Nick Xenophon gave a great speech on the Murray water situation and the inevitable need for the federal government to act to prevent corporatisation and ill conceived ideas of competing premiers, strung along by the energy and mineral concerns that foot the caviar and oyster bills, membership has its priviledges, if you are a member of the public never mind – there is always the next election and the prospect of a brighter future.

    Get real Australians, our resources are being swiped from under our feet and we are barely saying anything about it…Parnell and Xenophon are.

    There are many wolves in sheeps clothing prattling meaningless and out of date mantras like ‘economic security’, continued growth, integration with our trading partners…blah blah…a lot of standard media crap which is more and more evident on the ABC…mind control of sorts while the corporatised governments of Australia are play a foul game , not at all focused on the well being of communities or Australians….selfish, short sighted grabs for resources…approved more readily by a government which has lost sight of treaties, the environment and plain common sense. A water and Climate Change Minister who may as well be retired, as she is’nt acting or making any sense.

    The GAB Give-away has to stop, BHP and the rest of the consortium know its a steal…..sucking the lifeblood out of this beautiful nation, instead we play ping pong with China and cricket with India, and as long as there is a commission no questions asked – Garrett, failing a nation whether you were a fan or not, he is a disgrace to the nation and another indication oir entire political framework and parliamentary democracy has decayed into a self infested pit of corruption and said deals for many nations. and investors.

    We dont have a sincere government and we are now seeing Australia exposed to unnecessary risk. Support change and honesty by declaring your position on the current corporate acts of stealth occuring across Australia.

    Congratulations to those are speaking out about the current rash of corporate theft sweeping this nation.

  2. Who put Dracula in charge of the blood bank?

    AUSTRALIANS BEWARE, we clearly have a HUGE WATER PROBLEM here and should rise up and address it before it is too late. Our own government are selling us out to offshore preditors and taking us into the THIRD WORLD!

    Through lack of leadership and insight our country’s assets are being sold off for a short term money fix. Government control = dependency = depression and apathy = an easy target for watching preditors. To earn respect in this world, you are judged by how you look after your own household first. This is no longer happening here in this country. This country has become an unfortunate business, with the tax payer and particularly the older generation, either useful or inconvenient!!

    This study makes perfect sense. ANCIENT IRREPLACEABLE WATER FROM A PREVIOUS AGE. We always knew the current managment of OUR Great Artesian Basin was a sham and a pending crisis. We are now waiting for our so called government to work it out instead of drain it out.

    Why is it that these great masters who had no obvious agenda are completely overlooked, particularly now when climate change and natural resources are clearly our prime consideration?

    Endersbee was obviously and humbly inspired by others and built on their hard work and study.

    Endersbee says: “A wonderful aspect of my analysis of the source of water in the GAB has been the discovery of the writings of J W. Gregory, who was to become Professor of Geology at the University of Melbourne from 1900 to 1904, and then Professor at the University of Glasgow”.

    Quote: In 1892-3, Gregory led an expedition into British East Africa, studying the Rift Valley and the associated volcanoes, the great lava fields and the geothermal waters. He wrote a book on “The Great Rift Valley” in 1896. He is credited with naming it the Great Rift Valley, part of which is now called The Gregory Rift.

    He described the Rift as a zone of lateral extension in the earth’s crust, and related that to the volcanism, the lava fields and the geysers. This and other work led to him becoming a Fellow of the Royal Society.

    Now, Don Anderson, a distinguished geophysicist at Caltech, has just published a paper in which he notes his discovery of a relationship between “Extensional Tectonics” and “Global Volcanism”, presenting it as a new concept. Gregory saw that connection quite clearly a 100 years ago in his work on the Great Rift Valley!

    When Gregory was at the University of Melbourne, he took a group of students on a field trip in 1901-02 into the area around Lake Eyre, studying the ‘flowing wells of Central Australia”. He wrote a book, “The Dead Heart”.

    Gregory, with his background of understanding of the geology of Africa, America and Europe, immediately sensed that the origin of the waters was plutonic.

    In his book, published in 1906, he makes some comments that we should still take very seriously today.

    “Plutonic waters are especially important in mining countries, because most of the chief ore-deposits are due to them. And as the deep, water-bearing basin of Central Australia is surrounded on all sides by rocks, containing rich mineral veins, from the Queensland gold-fields on the east, the Cobar copper-field and Broken Hill in the south, and the Cloncurry gold-field in the west, there is likely to be a considerable amount of plutonic water under Central Australia.

    Its existence appears sometimes to have been altogether overlooked; and the argument, that evaporation would carry off the whole of the rainfall in this district, has been dismissed as obviously impossible, because of the existence of artesian water.

    Where these ascending waters are cut off from the surface by an overlying sheet of clay, they accumulate in any porous beds they can enter, and remain in them subject to high pressure. Any plutonic water rising from the old rocks of Central Australia would collect in the permeable beds of sandstone beneath the clays. Thence it would rush to the surface, if a bore-hole were made through the water-tight cap above, just as oil and natural gas escape from the wells of the Caspian and Pennsylvania.”

    J. W.Gregory in “The Dead Heart Of Australia” 1906

  3. Parched Toowoomba first to draw water from ‘exploited’ basin by: Greg Roberts, October 17, 2008,25197,24508820-5013404,00.html

    Quote from The Australian:

    “TOOWOOMBA will become the first large urban centre to draw its town water from the Great Artesian Basin, with more than 400 megalitres a month to be extracted to meet the needs of the drought-ravaged city on Queensland’s Darling Downs.

    A $17million project is under way to drill bores to meet Toowoomba’s requirements as experts warned that water levels in the 1.7 million sqkm basin were falling sharply from overuse……………

    …………….”There were no other options on the table,” said Toowoomba Deputy Mayor Paul Antonio.
    “We will stop using water from the bores as soon as we can.”

    CSIRO groundwater expert Andrew Herczeg said programs were under way to reduce water extraction from the Great Artesian Basin, particularly in western Queensland.

    “There has been overuse and over-exploitation in parts of the basin so there needs to be a cautious approach to the use of its water,” Dr Herczeg said.

    “Water in the Great Artesian Basin that was once close to the surface is now 100 metres underground.”

    NSW University of Technology water expert Stuart White said the tapping of the basin to meet Toowoomba’s water needs was avoidable.

    “It’s a great pity the waste water issue was put to a referendum in the first place,” Professor White said. “All that did was to create a politically polarised row, when there should have been a reasoned community debate about options.”

    It is very interesting that it took a referendum to give Australian water to an Australian town of Australian citizens. I hope I’ve read this correctly.

    The article from the Australian, seems to imply that Mr. White was suggesting that recycled waste water might have been good enough for the residents of Toowoomba. What sort of waste!

    Perhaps the NSW University of Technology “water expert” Stuart White should visit the state of South Australia and do a more thorough study of Australia’s GAB to find out why the levels in the Great Artesian Basin have dropped so dramatically in Qld and if any recycling measures are in place in that state for the Queensland share of the Basin that runs rather steadily across the border.

    Surely he is aware that the Basin is not just in Queensland! In fact there is an alleged tilt of the Basin which is said to fall largely towards South Australia, somewhere near Marree where incidently many new mining projects are scheduled to start.

    Most of Australia, except for Canberra has seriously acknowledged that the Basin is struggling along with “incidental” Australian cities and towns. No doubt emerging mining projects will all be required to find some other source of water, like the much spoken about desalination plants or even better BYO. There appears to be no hurry and no worry on alternative water for the hit and run visitors. Always a few years away! Amazingly enough Great Artesian and underground water seems totally free for mining, however paying for it won’t put it back either. The solution here is quite clear everyone.

    It does indeed appear as suggested above that our country is the victim of a huge corporate sell off. Instead of voting for a party who promised to take us into the future, we have been done in and are heading for the third world.

    Well actually most of us didn’t vote for that party. As we understand it, they got in by default!!

  4. Extraction of an additional 120 million litres of publicly-owned artesian water per day, every day, for the next 70 years.)

    There is surely no more important research for Australia than the study of WATER, and of our greatest water resource the Great Artesian Basin.

    In the meantime, why are we letting BHPBilliton get away with? :
    1. the daily extraction of 35 million litres of Great Artesian Basin water for which the company pays nothing, (and BHPB plans to extract an additional 120 million litres of publicly-owned artesian water per day, every day, for the next 70 years.)
    2. the risk of permanent radioactive pollution of the GAB, through uranium mining.

    One reason why this obscene process continues is that the SA Roxby Downs Indenture Act provides BHP Billiton the legal authority to override important state legislation including the Water Resources Act 1997. These legal exemptions and overrides should be repealed.

  5. Nick Xenophon SA Independent has described the Murray Darling situation quite correctly….

    Thats right folks,

    Nick Xenophon SA Independent has described the Murray Darling situation quite correctly and the solution is for federal management of water resources, for and on behalf of the people of Australia – instead of the situation of state chaos & corruption we sadly witness now, water barons sold licences under the illusion that water can be stolen from a nation and communities without an eventual response from the nation?

    The states, and state premiers are failing Australians and this is seen in relation to the wholesale disruption and abuse of the ancient water course – the GAB. Rann, Brumby, the rogue premiers of all states need to be brought to account for their un-popular actions on the behalf of vested and priviledged interests.

    Nick says his vote is not for sale in the Senate, its important for such Senators to have as much popular and colleague support so that the situation as it is now is made clear and such plans are supported to enable reform to occur.

    Penny Wong, as Nick says, can choos to be responsible and use the powers of constitution to enable the introduced Act, to empower full Commonwealth control of natural resources in the long term interests of the nation, not the corporate raiders who are getting away with a free lunch, and also blue murder in relation to the destruction of native habitat and ecological systems which of course underpin climate and sustainable living. This Act will prevent the likes of BHP and global partnerships from raiding the cookie jar…the cookie jar needs to be put on a higher shelf and kept safe for the sake of the environment and the nation, and we can then adopt a new approach to economics and understand that there is no ‘jobs on a dead planet’ are start behaving more as humans within communities rather than mad ravenous rats on a sinking ship.

    Water is not the main issue, lack of a national approach and honest leadership is endorsing state damage to the national estate and the national economy, whatever people choose to think that is.


  6. Government to divest Aboriginal Heritage protection to WMC:

    All the talk of reconciliation, protection for aboriginal people and their children, promoting aboriginal art is clearly a distraction. Funding which is not natural to the original tribes of Australia is not the currency or values that they relate to. it is so amazing to read this paper release over a decade ago. Keating was right, despite he did nothing about it. The Australia Governments have stolen and are continuing to sell out the aboriginal people. If this wasn’t the case they would stop.

    It shows that any government we reluctantly elect to power denies aboriginal people the very lifeblood of their existence, their land? And makes the people party to this deceipt and theft. Is there no respect, honesty integrity or honour amongst white Australia as they continue to deny, exploit, deprive and continually ravage and destroy all that is good?

    2ND December 1997 ACF Media Release

    Exemption from the SA Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988 for Olympic Dam Aboriginal rights are under attack in more than one Parliament across Australia. As the SA Parliament resumes today, Cabinet has approved the Roxby Downs (Indenture Ratification) (Aboriginal Heritage) Amendment Bill 1997 and intend its passage into law within two weeks. If this Bill is passed WMC will be granted effective power over Aboriginal Heritage sites within the Olympic Dam and the Stuart Shelf Areas.

    The Bill would grant WMC legal privilege to be covered by an Act of Parliament that has never been proclaimed, the 1979 Aboriginal Heritage Act, rather than the existing 1988 Aboriginal Heritage Act. ACF are aware that Crown Law advice confirms WMC and their Olympic Dam mine operations are presently covered by the 1988 Act.

    In seeking to pass this Bill the Government is abdicating its responsibility to undertake processes by which they address Aboriginal Heritage issues under the 1988 Act. The Minister Dorothy Kotz is presently required to undertake consultation with Aboriginal people in regard to sites. However if the Bill is passed WMC would then be in a legal position to:

    ignore the provisions of the 1988 Act designed to protect Aboriginal Heritage;
    undertake any consultation that occurs and decide the manner of that consultation;
    decide which Aboriginal groups the Company consults with;
    decide the level of protection that Aboriginal Heritage sites receive;
    decide which Aboriginal Heritage sites they recognise.

    “As the commercial operator and proponent of expansion within these areas, in spite of conflict of interest, WMC would decide the level of protection for Aboriginal sites. Government can not be allowed to divest itself of due obligations to Aboriginal Heritage.”

    “The ACF believes that these intended outcomes of the Bill are fundamentally unacceptable to the broad Australian community. This Bill seeks to take away from Aboriginal traditional owners the due process and protection of the law in regard to Aboriginal Heritage sites within the Olympic Dam Area and Stuart Shelf Area” said David Noonan, ACF Campaign Officer.

    As a matter of urgent public interest the ACF has called on the SA Government to withdraw this controversial and divisive Bill. The ACF has called on the Labor Party, Australian Democrats and Independents of the SA Parliament to prevent its passage into law.

    It is quite clear they arrogantly and greedily ignored this – ACF!

  7. Roxby is a Sick Place – the British Connection even Sicker

    Hasn’t anyone ever wondered why BHP Billiton at Roxby Downs Olympic Dam has such a high turnover of workers?

    It’s because THEY MAKE US SICK. They made us sick when WMC was running it. Physically and mentally we wanted to puke. Their highly paid team of propaganda puke experts spin yarns about their protection of the GAB and the environment.

    Most workers who come out of Roxby have either been carelessly radiated and buggered off. Or they are apalled by the the practices around the water which are nothing short of a criminal coverup. Roxby has the highest turnover of residents in the state. None of us were/are really residents of Roxby Downs. We followed a dream – dollars.

    20 years ago contaminated tailings were leaking into the boreholes where they measure the ever falling depth of the Great Artesian Basin. Again – Artesian. This magnificent article by Endersbee is spot on. There is no way the Basin is being recharged from the surface and everyone knows it. They all knew it at the start. Even the workers know it.

    What a lame government South Australia has. They know, we know and yet we wait for them to protect Australia’s water. It’s not going to happen this way. All in it for the short term kill.

    The South Australian Government have been in power far too long. We don’t have to ask for more transparancy of governmental issues, they are already transparent.

    To add to that, selective preservation of Aboriginal Heritage sites and their Environmental Impact Statement is pure unadulterated bull. There was nothing left living in the form of natural habitat anywhere near operations at Olympic Dam in our time there. Only evidence of where the habitat had died a slow, poisionous death.

    Even for the fast money we made working at the mine sites, most of us who were young, didn’t spend it wisely and have little to show at this point in time. A time regretfully spent helping to screw our country. Now we have a water crisis. Water from the other states in Australia is pouring into Olympic Dam and being contaminated onsite.

    Ashamed workers coming out of these mines, identify strongly with the returned Vietnam Veterans, so it helps to get it off our chest when we see what will soon be the demise of Australia’s last hope, what we ex-Olympic Dam workers predict as the end of the Great Artesian Basin. Once you have a few kids, you get out of there fast unless you are brainwashed or just plain greedy.

    Someone mentioned a revolution. It’s getting near that time where the people have to start speaking up. Next we will act. Just put us under a bit more pressure.

    Mother bloody England – why don’t you dig up your own country and keep your thieves at home? All problems come from our association with little England. Why do we think that Lords and royalty have anything to do with us that we have to continue business with them. They are so small and vulnerable over there they rely on their alliance with Australia, particularly it’s resouces to continually protect itself at the expense of a country we are now sure is stolen.

    England are the bloodsuckers behind all crime in Australia, right back to Maralinga. Always weaponry interests, using the Commonweath connection. Count the British crimes to this Continent and it goes right back to Captain Cook and his ambitious cronies.
    Lies all the way. A now collapsing empire built on lies while lazy and politicians with no answers experiment with our water. TIME TO GET BACK TO BASICS – We’ll be there soon enough.


    With all this knowledge of the damage being done to the ecology of Australia and the long term water, its fair to assume the government is aware of its actions yeah?

    Well, perhaps the greens people can co-ordinate a class action of damages against SA Incorporated for intentional damages to the states, nation and therefore the people of Australia.

    Its time to do something practical which will put the people responsible on notice…

    “No Jobs on a dead planet” goes the saying, reckon we can do without the states, they are one layer of crudd which is costing us too much in accrued expenses.



    With the Roxby Indenture Act I’m assuming that’s an agreement with the SA govt. Would that be correct everyone?

    Obviously we are aware, aren’t we, that a majority of the water is sucked into SA (Olympic Dam) by a pumping process, from as far away as Qld and northern NSW? Again…we are aware, aren’t we folks?

    GAB water is clearly going to Olympic Dam from across the border and needs an IMMEDIATE enquiry as to whether the Roxby Downs Indenture Act is signed by NSW and Queenland along with Indigenous (Land and) Water use Agreements from every aboriginal nation that has a tradition tie to land connected to every area above the GAB across Australia.

    If this is the case then BHP Billiton would have a legal agreement and open permission to syphon off NSW and QLD water without conscious during our countries greatest drought.

    This continual extraction of water whether it is dewatering, bore water or the syphoning off of underground streams will inevitably force many Australian primary producing properties to close? These primary producers are our food chain folks. Take a reality check….please!

    From an ex-WMC worker: Quote: ” Roxby does control the sump of the GAB and therefore the whole Basin.

    Current water extraction causes a cone of depression at the well site which in turn causes a drop in the potentiametric head across the whole basin. ie the drawdown effect can be felt 1000’s of kms away. The result of the cone of depression causes water to speed up as it tries to fill the void created by pumping.

    The eastern states should be querying Roxby’s water extraction program as a reason for the poor state of their own Artesian waters” End of quote.

    BHP Billiton ARE using water from across two state borders.

    As mentioned the Land Use agreements with the indigenous people are now called “Land and Water Use Agreements”.

    Are the South Australian indigenous people informed of this impact on water belonging to other states and that they are being coerced into signing illegally on behalf of the NSW and QLD indigenous people.

    Again, does BHP have signatures from every indigenous group who has historic ties to land above the entire GAB land mass in this country?

    According to three credible studies the origin of the Great Artesian Basin water is Plutonic, which means any surface recharge would be of little significance to the main body of any Artesian Basin in the World.

    Mining companies have collapsed Artesian Basins in countries, not their own, before today. One in India and one in North America causing a sunken land mass and a changing of the shoreline.

    I read a report a few days ago which says that BHP claim the levels in GAB are down due to very little rain.

    From memory it was 100 metres down. Wouldn’t you stop immediately to spare a country who has been your host from pending thirst and devastation? BHP won’t, all the while we believe it is only SA water on the line. Are we so stupid in 2008?

    Are the Governments of this country so naïve, lacking information or instruction, not initiated; deficient in relevant experience and totally gullible or just plain, short term greedy middle men?

    Does the Queensland Government enjoy considering giving Australian taxpayers expensively processed recycled sewage while an offshore company collapses our own water lifeline which is our birthright? Is there some knowlege that the world will end soon and we won’t be needing this water?

    If this company was the “good corporate citizen” it claims to be then it would have the honesty and the moral conscience to get off OUR Basin and find something else less destructive to do.

    This goes for every other mining company with it’s massive water extraction plans that are put conveniently out of the reach of the average person. Don’t you ever wonder how these mining companies water needs are satisfied?

    If you don’t, then you deserve what you get.

    If any of our Governments really cared about it’s own citizens or had any knowledge of natural evolution, then this would not be happening.

    We not only have a problem with red tape in this country; there are far too many chiefs and not enough indians in a stuffy, clicky, complicated, pumped up bureaucracy of Ostriches, who have made a mistake and won’t admit it or are too inept to correct it.

    How do they compensate for BHP having control of the main body of Australia’s water? By forcing the people of this country to pay the price.

    Let BHP recycle their own sewage. We don’t wan’t the slurry from their desal plant in our environment either.

    WAKE UP AUSTRALIANS, YOUR CHILDREN WILL NEED THIS WATER. Our very own Primary Producers need this water. Wake up Governments and dispense with BHP Billiton. Get them off our Land…now… and turn off the GAB tap to Olympic Dam – BHP Billiton and every other company currently rorting the sharemarket.

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