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Who uses groundwater?

Who uses groundwater?

Groundwater is used by a range of individuals, businesses and the environment for a variety of purposes and reasons. It is also used for public emergency supply during periods of drought and for bushfire management.

D&S users

D&S users are individuals living in both rural and urban areas who use groundwater for a variety of purposes such as kitchen garden watering, general household use (ie toilet flushing) and drinking water for cattle, sheep and other stock. D&S users access groundwater that occurs close to the surface, predominantly from the upper and middle aquifers as well as where the lower aquifer or basement rise to the surface around the basin margins. While all other consumptive users require a ‘take and use’ licence, D&S users have a ‘private right’ which is protected under legislation, however they do need a licence to drill a bore. To find out more about licences visit our Get a licence page.

The environment

The environment is a significant user of groundwater. Streams, springs, lakes, swamps, wetlands and plants access groundwater where it occurs at or near the surface. The total volume of groundwater used by the environment is thought to be significant however it is difficult to quantify. The relationship between surface water environments and groundwater goes two ways, to read more visit our How does groundwater interact with the environment page?

Agribusiness users

Agribusiness users account for the majority of licensed volume across Southern Victoria. Agribusiness covers a broad range of commercial, agricultural and horticultural uses such as irrigation (for vegetables, pasture, orchards and flowers), dairy wash, intensive feedlots, water bottling and aquaculture. These users access the upper, middle and lower aquifers depending on where they can source reliable quality and yield to support their enterprise at a cost that is suitable to them.

Urban users

Urban water corporations have licences to access groundwater for town drinking water supplies and other purposes. This water is treated before use. These users generally access the middle and lower aquifers as the reliability of supply is greater.  In the South West, groundwater use by urban water corporations is more prolific than other regions because there are fewer alternatives such as large dams or rivers.

Industrial users

Industrial use includes activities such as offshore oil and gas extraction, quarry and coalmine dewatering and the cooling of operational equipment used in power production. These users generally access the middle and lower aquifers as they require a reliable supply of very high quantities of  water.

Groundwater use across our region

To find out more about groundwater use across Southern Victoria, visit our Groundwater use in Southern Victoria page.

Page last updated28th April 2015
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