Vintage drop - our oldest water found

13 Nov, 2012 10:37 AM
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SCIENTISTS have uncovered water in Australia that is thought to be more than 1,000,000 years old.

The water, found in a region of the Great Artesian Basin in northern South Australia, was dated at 1,100,000 years, according to deputy director of the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT) Professor Peter Cook.

He said the age of the water offered insight into how long it would take for groundwater reserves to be replenished if they were ever depleted.

Typically, water in the southern part of the Great Artesian Basic was aged from 100,000 to more than a million years, indicating it was not likely to be recharged any time soon – and must therefore be extracted and used with care, he said.

“Dating groundwater is becoming a vital took in managing the nation’s water supply,” Professor Cook explains.

“Some water in the lower Murray Basin has been dated to around 200,000 years.

"Many of our best wine-growing regions are using groundwater, yet we have only a sketchy understanding of its age and sustainability – which are important for the future of the wine industry.”

Since groundwater comprises around 90 per cent of the nation’s reserves of fresh water this knowledge is becoming increasingly vital, he adds – especially in cases where there is competition for its use, as is the case between coal-seam gas developers and farmers in some states.

“Unfortunately, there are still a lot of blank spots on the map of Australia’s water ages.

"Very often we tap a supply of groundwater without knowing how old it is or how long it takes to recharge.

"From now on it is important to know this before we develop new resources – and to manage existing ones better."

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READER COMMENTS

Ian Mott
13/11/2012 2:13:54 PM

Gosh, a competent scientist might actually conclude that the water in our oceans is, in fact, a few billion years old. And while some of it may have had the odd time-out as cloud, steam or ice, it is still very much the same combination of hydrogen and oxygen it was when planet earth was just a kid. The good news is that water that has layed idol for over a million years is now back in a useful job. It is being absorbed by plants roots, enhancing growth of vegetation, being transpired and even cooling someone's brow as the breeze whispers by. Welcome back, prodigal water.
Ian Mott
13/11/2012 2:21:32 PM

PS. Get ready for some eco-tosser to start bunging on about "old growth water". The fact that the water may have sat in an aquifer for a million years does not mean it took a million years to get there. And it certainly doesn't mean it will take the same time to replace it. The fact that one can fill a bottle with water, seal it, and then bury it for a hundred years does not mean it will take another hundred years to fill it up again once you have tipped it out. It is so simple that even a green moron could understand it. An empty bottle fills quickly, a full one just sits there.
JayDin
14/11/2012 8:15:12 AM

When it comes to "aged" things scientists start with the view that the earth is billions of years old and make guesses from there. The fact is we can't get weather predictions perfect within one day. SOME scientists say dinosaurs have been extinct for millions of years. Yet engraved pictures of a dinosaurs have been found on temples/ buildings say 800 years old, one fascinating one of a dinosaur attacking a horse. Meaning? They were drawing what they were seeing then. Anyway, now that you think I'm troppo, the world is only 7000 or so years so the water can't be that old.

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