NT map, recalibration models high demand water systems
Research and planning
Estimated cost
Project status

This project is funded by the Australian Government ($900,000). Australian Government funding is provided through the National Water Grid Fund. 

Aerial view of mango orchard in Darwin with small trees spaced evenly across a field.

This study will help to refine existing groundwater and surface water models.

Project overview

This desktop study will help to refine existing groundwater and surface water models. This will increase the certainty on the amount of water that can be used for agricultural developments. It also provides information on the amount that should be kept for the environment.

Study areas includes the Flora, Roper, Oolloo/Lower Daly Rivers and the Western Davenport Central Plains aquifer.

Goals of the assessment

This project aims to update the water resource models. These models are used for water planning and allocation decisions.

Resource managers use hydrological and hydrogeological models to replicate surface water and groundwater processes. They predict the possible effects of resource development on the environment and other existing users. These models must be updated to ensure they are accurate and reflect the latest science.

This project will:

  • enable the Northern Territory Government to recalibrate and refine groundwater models for high-demand water systems
  • improve the predictive capability of the models
  • enhance certainty on environmentally sustainable yields
  • identify water available for allocation
  • increase supply assurance to large agricultural projects.

Environmental and cultural considerations

The project will lead to a better understanding of the sustainable extraction limits for key high-demand systems. Sustainable extraction limits provide clear information on how much water is needed to support the environment now and in the future. It also provides information on how much can be sustainably used for economic or other purposes.

Phase 2

Phase 2 of this project will focus on 3 major underground aquifer systems:

  • Ti Tree Paleochannel and Berry Springs Dolostrone aquifers – the main community water supply for the region and the single source of water supply for stock, horticulture and domestic water use. 
  • Koolpinyah Dolostone Aquifer – the sole source of water for Darwin’s rural residential areas and the communities who do not have access to reticulated water.

Funding for this phase of the project is provided through the Australian Government’s National Water Grid Science Program ($500,000). The Northern Territory Government is also contributing $110,000 through in-kind contributions*.

*In-kind contributions are contributions of goods and services and do not contribute to the total project cost.

Key project benefits

Natural environment
Water security