Dubbo Regional Council is being asked to "spread the load" when it moves to extract its full entitlement of groundwater from the Upper Macquarie alluvial aquifer so as not to damage it.
In response to the request from the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE), the council will test its existing bores to understand their full capacity and possibly look to drill new bores on parcels of Crown land between Dubbo and Geurie,
Consultant and council's water for the future coordinator Chris Devitt said the council would have to seek permission to drill the bores and complete an "interference assessment".
"We need to make sure we don't adversely impact on other users and if that comes out okay we need to make sure that the bores we put down are able to take a reasonable load," Mr Devitt said.
"Whether these bores will actually be bores to spread the load or for additional purchased water depends on how the others perform."
Bores used by irrigators dot the landscape between Dubbo and Geurie. They tap into the Upper Macquarie alluvial aquifer where groundwater is owned by the Crown and managed by DPIE.
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The DPIE has asked the council to "spread the load" as it looks to use its 14 existing bores in the city to boost groundwater use from 2 gigalitres (GL) to its entitlement of about 4.3 GL, in the knowledge that Burrendong Dam may run dry by May.
The council is also set to launch an expression-of-interest process to buy about 2.2 GL of groundwater to meet the city's need of 6.5 GL a year under level four restrictions, starting November 1.
"We've had some discussions with irrigator groups and others," Mr Devitt said.
"There's certainly interest out there. Water trading happens all the time."
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The council is conscious of the aquifer's 20GL "safe extraction" annual limit.
Mr Devitt said currently the council was using about half of its groundwater entitlement with other users "taking the rest".