Water extracted from underground provides more drinking water worldwide than surface water.

Barwon Water has the capacity to provide our customers in greater Geelong with additional water from our groundwater resources if and when required.

Drilling at the Anglesea borefield, our newest water source.


What is groundwater?

There is over 400 times more groundwater on earth than all the surface water in lakes, reservoirs, and rivers combined.

Groundwater is contained in vast underground reserves known as aquifers.

Groundwater is often harvested via bores: pipes drilled into the ground to tap into the aquifers.

Groundwater sources vary widely in their quality and mineral composition. Some sources are so pure they are bottled at the source and sold as spring water or mineral water. Others are so high in dissolved salts that they are unsuitable for consumption.

Groundwater may be hundreds or even thousands of years old, but must be recharged over time by rainfall.

Many cities and countries around the world depend on groundwater, or incorporate it as part of an integrated water management system. Rivers, creeks and ecosystems also rely on groundwater.

Like all water sources, groundwater must be monitored to ensure it is used sustainably.



Groundwater in our region

Groundwater exploration begun in the late 1960s following prolonged drought, but it was not until 1983 that groundwater first flowed into our supply system.


Barwon Downs

The Barwon Downs borefield, completed in 1986, consists of 6 bores that pump groundwater from 300-630 metres below ground. The Barwon Downs borefield has since been used to supplement our integrated water supply system periodically through times of drought.



Investigation into harnessing water from the Anglesea borefield began in 2007. The borefield began operation in 2010 and consists of 7 production bores that tap into a deep aquifer some 350-700 metres underground. The Anglesea borefield can supply around 20% of Geelong's current demand.

  More on the Anglesea borefield



Groundwater in Australia

Groundwater provides about 22% of Australia's annual water consumption.

Groundwater underpins a range of agricultural and mining industries, and is the main water supply for Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

The Great Artesian Basin (GAB) is the largest and deepest aquifer in the world, covering approximately 1.7 million square kilometres, or around one fifth of the continent. The GAB is estimated to contain around 8.7 million gigalitres*, and is the only source of fresh water for much of Australia's arid interior.

* A gigalitre is 1,000,000,000 litres.



Groundwater around the world

Groundwater is used extensively in many cities and countries across the world.

Parts of Asia and the Middle East, such as Iran, Saudia Arabia, and northern China, are more reliant on groundwater than surface water.

Up to 80% of drinking water across Europe and Russia comes from underground.

Around 46% of US residents rely on groundwater as their primary source of fresh water.

Some countries, including Australia, are beginning to explore the possibility of recharging aquifers with surface water.



Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR)

Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) is a method of injecting water into underground aquifers for storage and possible future use.

Barwon Water is investigating ASR as a method of diversifying its water resources into the future .

This research is at the cutting edge of integrated water management and could revolutionise our future water storage capabilities.

  More on the Aquifer Storage and Recovery research project