An assessment of groundwater management and monitoring costs in Australia
Waterlines report No 90 - September 2012
Australia’s bore monitoring network is the backbone of groundwater planning and management, providing vital information to support decision making.
This report assesses existing groundwater monitoring infrastructure in terms of age, technology, suitability of coverage, and baseline cost. Around 23,000 bores form part of the network with a total asset replacement cost estimated at $872 million in 2010–11 dollars.
At least 5,201 (23%) bores have exceeded their estimated effective asset life and are due for replacement now or in the very near future (assuming that these bores do not suffer failure in the meantime). The immediate replacement and decommissioning of these bores represents a cost of $318 million.
Forecasted costs rise rapidly if no asset management is undertaken in the near future. Yet, in many cases jurisdictions undertake bore replacement or refurbishment only when necessary.
These findings indicate that bore replacement and refurbishment should be prioritised on the basis of risk and proactively managed prior to bore failure.
The report also assesses broader groundwater planning and management activities performed by each jurisdiction and reports on the expenditure currently required to perform these activities. Findings indicate that current level of state and territory expenditure is insufficient to maintain the monitoring network.
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