Australia's Great Artesian Basin is one of the largest groundwater basins iin the world. Underlyng parts of Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, and the Northern Territory, it contains 130,000 times as much water as Sydney Harbour.
Previous research into how water flows through the basin and to the surface was 30-years-old. It was believed that the basin was one layer but new findings show that there are multiple interconnected levels, which reach down as far as 1.4 kilometres in the central parts of the basin.
The South Australia Arid Lands Natural Resources Management Board has been mapping the area and has found about 5,000 springs whereas only about 800 were previously recorded.
David Leek, the Regional Manager for Sustainable Water Use in the North & West of South Australia, said that
"The amount of water down in the Great Artesian Basin is huge, we have many hundreds of years worth of supply. It's not the volume of water that's really the issue, it's more about managing the pressure, and that's about knowing where we can extract without impacting on the springs."