BY OLIVIA DILLON
Hunter Water is one step closer to uncovering a new water source for the region.
Testing undertaken in 2020 revealed the presence of water beneath the Tomago Sandbeds, in what is now being called the Hunter Palaeochannel.
The gravel and sand aquifer is said to lie up to 80 metres below the surface, and extends from Morpeth to the Pacific Ocean.
The testing also revealed the water within the channel has not been exposed to the atmosphere for between 15,000 and 25,000 years.
Managing Director Darren Cleary said Hunter Water will now work with industry experts to determine how the palaeochannel aquifer recharges and how the source may be used moving forward.
“We hope that it could be used as a sustainable water supply for the region,” he said.
Mr Cleary also said that early work sinking bores into the channel yielded “promising signs”.
“We are exploring it by sinking bores and measuring how the aquifer responds when we pump water out of it. That will tell us how much water we may be able to sustainably extract from the aquifer.”
“We will also will be monitoring aquifers around the Tomago area to ensure we are not having any unforeseen impacts there,” Mr Cleary said.
The project has formed part of Hunter Water’s draft Lower Hunter Water Security Plan, which is due for release in the coming months.