Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Underground water supply in Playford

Though the Virginia-Angle Vale region is highly productive, a serious problem exists with the water supply form the underground bores, which threatens the economic future of the area. When the first market gardeners came to Virginia they found they had ready access to subterranean water by putting down bores into the deep limestone acquifers and simply pumping up what they needed for irrigation. However, as early as 1956 a brochure issued by the S.A. Department of Mines pointed out the dangers of overpumping and that the limits of safe development of the groundwaters had been virtually reached. Two years later the continued heavy pumping led to the main part of the water table falling below sea level for the first time, a condition which steadily worsened during the 1960s until there was a widespread fear that the decline of the water table would lead to the swamping of the underground acquifers with salt water from the sea.  Another side effect of the lowering of the water table meant that bores had to be drilled to ever increasing depths and by 1966 the average bore was between 300 and 400 feet deep.

The water crisis led to the stage government imposing restrictions on the quantity of water pumped by growers in the Virginia area and also to the time at which they could use their equipment. This led to a considerable amount of inconvenience and discontent and also to the search of an alternative source of water – the most immediate candidate being the nearby Bolivar Sewerage Treatment Works.

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