The Daly region

Overview of the 2012–13 year

The Daly region is highly groundwater dependent, and is one of the few perennial river systems in Northern Australia. As such, these rivers are very important for environmental, cultural and recreational reasons. Water in the region is currently abstracted for a variety of agricultural and industrial purposes. With the region identified for potential increased development, it is important that water allocation plans incorporate the environmental, cultural and recreational values of the region.

Water supply in the Daly region is primarily sourced from groundwater aquifers with some sourced directly from rivers. This includes water supply to the region's largest urban centre of Katherine. Copperfield Dam is the only surface water storage in the region that has been quantified in the account. There are several other smaller surface water storages in the region, however there is insufficient data to report on these storages. Copperfield Dam is located near the township of Pine Creek and is used for urban water supply. The capacity of the dam is 413 ML, which is 87 ML less than 500 ML which was reported in the 2011–12 year. The reduction in volume is due to updated survey information.

Total closing net water assets in the Daly region was -68,045 ML at the end of the 2012–13 year; this is similar to the 2011–12 year. This value represents the net groundwater liabilities of the region and represents less than 1% of the total rainfall that falls on the entire region. As the groundwater assets are not able to be quantified accurately, the negative value does not reflect a shortage of water in the region. For more information on the region's water assets refer to Water accounting statements.

The key water account information for the Daly region during the 2012–13 year is presented in the following table. Information on the uncertainty associated with the volumes presented in the table is provided in the relevant sections of the account.


Key water account information for the Daly region during the 2012–13 year

Contextual information: Climate overview
Climate Overview 2012–13 2011–12 Long–term average
Rainfall: 1,068 mm Rainfall: 1,127 mm Rainfall: 1,034 mm
Evapotranspiration: 927 mm Evapotranspiration: 904 mm Evapotranspiration: 809 mm
For more detail on the Daly climate refer to Climate overview.


Contextual information: Water overview
Water overview Daly River Katherine River Lower Daly River
average flows below average flows The wet season was typically dry until a monsoonal burst in late March caused some flooding in the lower Daly River in April.
For more detail on streamflow in the Daly region refer to Water overview.


Water accounting statements
Accounting statements 2012–13 2011–12
Total water assets (as at 30 June) 413 500
Total water liabilities (as at 30 June) 68,458 67,738
Change in net water assets (807) 666
Closing net water assets (68,045) (67,238)
For more detail on water assets and water liabilities refer to Water accounting statements.



Notes: Water resources and systems


Surface water storage
Surface water 30 June 2013 30 June 2012
Total capacity Volume % of capacity Volume % of capacity
413 ML 413 ML 500 ML
For more detail on surface water in the Daly region refer to Surface water.


Water abstractions
Groundwater Total water abstracted  
2012–13 2011–12 Recent activity
Surface water: 7,537 ML Surface water: 7,255 ML Most of the water abstractions are to individual users.
Groundwater: 16,978 ML Groundwater: 20,684 ML
For more detail on water abstraction in the Daly region refer to Surface water and Groundwater.


Urban water supply
Urban water supply Total water supplied  
2012–13 2011–12 Recent activity
Surface water: 2,454 ML Surface water: 2,355 ML All urban water supply is to the towns of Katherine and Pine Creek.
Groundwater: 740 ML Groundwater: 757 ML
For more detail on the urban water system in the Daly region refer to Surface water and Groundwater.