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How is groundwater monitored?

How is groundwater monitored?

Groundwater is monitored by a network of observation bores.  These bores are part of the State Observation Bore Network (SOBN). The information collected from the SOBN is added to a database and analysed using hydrographs. Other information such as metered groundwater use and rainfall can be used to help interpret hydrographs.  Water quality is tested in all new bores and more regularly in some observation bores.

State Observation Bore Network

There are 880 bores in the SOBN in Southern Victoria.  Groundwater levels in the SOBN are checked regularly and the information recorded in the Water Management Information System (WMIS).  The data from this network extends as far back as the 1960’s in some cases.

Most bores in the SOBN occur in Groundwater Management Units where significant groundwater extraction occurs.  In most cases only groundwater level information is measured however sometimes groundwater salinity is also measured.

Groundwater levels in your area

To view hydrographs in your region:

Simply activate the ‘Observation bore’ layer on the top right of the map, zoom in and click on the relevant bore point.

How to read a hydrograph

When looking at a hydrograph it is important to look at the long term trend.  Groundwater may fluctuate over the course of the year as we move through seasons of low rainfall and high pumping to seasons of high rainfall and low pumping.  This is normal.

Example hydrograph

Hydrograph to show how groundwater may fluctuate over the course of the year, with falling levels due to low rainfall and then seasonal recovery due to high rainfall.

This graph is an example of what a hydrograph might look like and provides some explanation about the possible causes of the changes you see in the trend line. Diagram: ©Spatial Vision Innovations Pty Ltd (2015)

Other monitoring

There are many other bores not in the SOBN used to collect groundwater data. Watertable levels and salinity are monitored by government departments, Landcare Groups and Waterwatch in areas suffering land salinization and sites such as landfills maybe required to collect groundwater quality information for compliance reporting.  This information is held in private databases.

Page last updated6th June 2016
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