Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in the north-western part of South Australia.
Research and planning
Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands
Estimated cost
$2.5 million
Project status

This project is jointly funded by the Australian Government ($1.9 million) and the South Australian Government ($0.6 million). Australian Government funding is provided through the National Water Grid Fund.

A desert in outback South Australia.

This project will investigate groundwater in the remote South Australian region of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands.

Project overview

In the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in the north-western part of South Australia, water supplies are reliant on shallow, low yielding groundwater systems. Water scarcity has impacts on health, wellbeing, and economic development.

Previous investigations identified aquifers with high yield and low groundwater salinity. These could be developed to support community and agricultural initiatives. Further work is required to underpin the sustainable use of these groundwater resources. 

This project is a research partnership with:

  • APY Lands community stakeholders
  • state government departments responsible for water supply and quality. 

Researchers will undertake drilling, sampling and testing to collect the data and information. This information is needed to understand the possible sustainable uses of the groundwater. Community members will establish priorities for potential new groundwater resources. 

Community members and researchers will co-develop First Nations and western science knowledge on:

  • sky water (rainfall)
  • surface water (water on the ground)
  • groundwater (springs). 

Goals of the assessment

This project aims to provide data and information. This information is needed to sustainably develop groundwater aquifers to support communities in the region.  

The assessment will:

  • include stakeholder engagement to support long-term groundwater resource initiatives, which will improve community wellbeing in the region
  • recognise community-led water management decisions
  • work together with First Nations peoples in the APY Lands
  • undertake hydrogeological investigations on sustainable groundwater in the aquifers in the APY Lands
  • undertake detailed assessments of water quality risks to inform water supply infrastructure development and water security
  • consider water supply options for activities other than drinking water, including parks, recreational facilities, agriculture and other economic opportunities.

About the APY Lands

Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara, also known as APY, APY Lands or the Lands, is a large, sparsely populated local government area for Aboriginal people. It is located in the remote northwest of South Australia.

It covers an area of 103,000 km2 and is home to around 2,500 people.

Key project benefits

First Nations access
Local community
Water quality
Water security

Learn more