Initial attempts to supplement Tenterfield's dwindling town water supply are underway with drilling of a test bore starting Monday at the archery grounds just off Scrub Road.
Council chief executive Terry Dodds said this is the preferred location, given its proximity to Tenterfield Dam and the little overland infrastructure needed to deliver the bore water to the town supply. Also the site is on council-controlled land, and next to an overhead power line.
Should this drill be successful, however, further drilling will be undertaken at other sites in an endeavour to have multiple bores to rely upon.
The test drill had penetrated only 15-20 metres Monday afternoon when it first struck water, but Mr Dodds said the site is the intersection of three underground water courses and it's the high-volume one on the bottom that they're aiming for.
Water Drilling Services (WDS) managing director Greg Brereton said a flow of 2-3 litres per second is considered a good bore, with the existing Shirley Park bore at 10 litres a second (when it's replenished) considered very good.
He's onsite running the exercise and said water is typically found at 30-40 metres, but they'll continue to 100 metres if necessary. While in some cases WDS sinks test bores only, here the site is being managed so that the test bore can be converted quickly to a production bore.
It will be a seven inch (177mm) bore, at this stage with only the top metre encased to prevent rubble falling into the hole.
Mr Brereton said this is the second job where WDS is drilling at a location identified by new geophysics technology using sonic ground investigations, which had great success at the driller's previous engagement with Moree Plains Shire Council.
Tenterfield's topography, however, is another story but he said every hole is different and provides more information for the next.
Mr Brereton received a call from a farmer last Boxing Day for bore drilling and there's been no let-up since. The crew works three weeks on and one off and are due to be off next week so they hope to tap a good bore at the archery field and the next location before then, although they expect to be here for some weeks.
"We'll find water somewhere, it just depends on how many holes we have to drill," Mr Brereton said.
"We're using the best science and best methods, so you can't do much more than that."