A new agreement between the Federal and New South Wales Governments is aimed at ensuring more water savings for the state’s Great Artesian Basin - one of the largest underground water reservoirs in the world.

The new deal should allow New South Wales to receive a share of almost $16 million, for landholders to rehabilitate the remaining free flowing bores.

It marks a breakthrough in negotiations to get the Great Artesian Basin Sustainability Initiative (GABSI) back up and running.

“Uncontrolled flow from bores and open earth bore drains in the Basin threatens the health of important groundwater-dependant ecosystems and access to artesian water by property owners,” says Federal Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment Bob Baldwin.

“As a government, we’re committed to creating more sustainable communities and the GABSI agreement reduces water wastage.

“I thank the local member Mark Coulton for his work to ensure that this important program continues to deliver results for his communities.”

New South Wales Minister for Lands and Water Niall Blair said the State had now committed to Phase 4 of the program so that capping of remaining uncontrolled bores and piping of open bore drains could commence.

“This program is one of the most vital water saving initiatives in Australia... it is essential for improving drought tolerance in communities right across the state,” Mr Blair said.

“The NSW Government is working hand-in-hand with the Commonwealth Government to deliver this important program, which delivers economic, agricultural and environmental benefits to Great Artesian Basin landholders and communities in NSW.”

Mr Blair said that New South Wales would soon be putting forward a list of proposed projects to commence work on some of the 238 bores across the State still to be controlled.