Digging deep: Landholders urged to stay above board with new bores

20 October 2023

With an El Nino weather pattern confirmed, landholders looking to find new sources of water are urged to get familiar with the legislation before sinking any new bores.

The long, dry summer is expected to trigger a spike in bore drilling and the Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water is urging landholders to familiarise themselves with the rules and regulations before commissioning a new bore.

Executive Director Ingrid Fomiatti Minnesma said landholders, and those drilling bores, needed to understand their obligations or they risked facing extra costs to fix non-compliance issues or may even have to decommission bores.

“The Queensland Government is working hard to return pressure to the Great Artesian Basin to make it watertight. This involves significant capping and piping work and we don’t want this work undermined by poorly constructed bores,” Mrs Fomiatti Minnesma said.

“Every new bore presents a risk. Bores are expensive and it’s important that landholders educate themselves about the rules and regulations related to constructing water bores.

Water bores must be drilled by licensed driller. Mrs Fomiatti Minnesma said landholders should only engage a qualified professional and it may be beneficial to speak to previous clients of the contractor to check references.

“The top tip before you start drilling is make sure that the contractor you use is licensed to drill water bores in Queensland,” she said.

“Using an unlicensed driller may result in a bore that can’t be used and that could be a lot of money and time wasted.

Mrs Fomiatti Minnesma said there was plenty of information on the Business Queensland website but landholders with any questions could also ring the department to get advice.

Other advice for landholders considering a new bore:

  1. How much water do I need?
  2. What supply can be expected in my area? Am I going to find enough water to fulfil my needs, and have enough to allow for seasonal variations?
  3. What water quality do I need, and what can I expect in my area?
  4. What depth will the bore need to go to?
  5. How much will it cost?
  6. What type of drilling rig will be needed? Different types of drilling rigs excel in different areas/formations, eg rotary air, rotary mud, cable tool.
  7. Where is the best bore site on my property?
  8. Do I need a permit to drill a bore?
  9. Do I need a licence to take water?
  10. How should the bore be designed and constructed?

Fines for failing to comply with legislation and water entitlement requirements can range from around $3000 for individuals to $15,500 for drilling companies. Depending on the circumstances, multiple offences may be involved.


Contact DRDMW Media Unit:

E: media@rdmw.qld.gov.au
M: 0457 228 028

Last updated: 20 Oct 2023