Bore water

Bore water is groundwater that has been accessed by drilling a bore into underground water storages called aquifers.

The way you can use bore water depends on its quality, which relates to the salt levels in the water. The quality of bore water in Victoria varies, from drinking water supplies to water that can only be used for irrigation, gardens, livestock and industry.

It is essential to test bore water to determine if it is appropriate to use.

Bore water licences and permissions

You must obtain a bore construction licence from your local or rural water authority before constructing or altering a groundwater bore more than three metres in depth.

Additional licences may be required depending on the area and the intended use of the water.

For more information, visit the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning's webpage on Accessing groundwater.

Drinking water

A reticulated water system supplied by a water authority must be used for human consumption, food preparation, food utensil washing and personal hygiene.

You must take care to protect drinking water supplies when using bore water in conjunction with any reticulated drinking water or private drinking water supply. An appropriate backflow prevention device must be installed to protect the drinking water supply from the bore water.

A licensed or registered plumber needs to install any connection of the drinking water supply to the bore water supply.

Bore location and quality

Good bore location and construction is very important to ensure quality water supply.

To avoid the possibility of contaminating the water supply, new bores should always be sited as far as possible away from potential contamination sources, such as drainage lines, feedlots and septic tanks.

Other steps include:

  • protecting the bore from livestock access by erecting fencing, allowing at least a 50 metre clear zone around the bore
  • sealing the bore to prevent surface water or shallow ground water from contaminating the ground water
  • protecting the groundwater once it is pumped to the surface through the use of properly maintained, enclosed water systems and storage tanks
  • use of backflow prevention devices
  • having a bore on high ground will also prevent surface runoff and other material entering the supply.

You should keep detailed records of your bore, its construction and performance to monitor its efficiency and to determine reasons for any problems that may occur.