Bore numbering

Due to the historical development of the various bore databases, bore numbering has proven to be quite challenging. 

Historical context

Parish and bore number system (1884 - c.1990)

From the late 19th Century to the late 20th Century, the Parish in which a bore was drilled was used as the primary identifier for the bores. In the Boring Records, bores are listed by their Parish and then the sequential number in which they were drilled.  Because the very first bores were identified by their project, and because parish boundaries changed through time, some of the very early bores were subsequently renumbered to comply with the system. These have been identified in the Boring Index

When electronic databases were introduced, the Parish - bore number was encoded into a 10-digit bore number that comprised:

  • a single digit for the State (Victoria = 3)
  • a four digit Parish code
  • a five digit sequential number within each parish, where numbers:
    • 00001 to 07999 were Government bores numbered in the sequence that they were constructed
    • 08000 to 09999 were private groundwater bores drilled before the Groundwater Act 1969
    • 10000 to 14999 were private groundwater bores drilled after the Groundwater Act 1969
    • 15000 onward were private groundwater bores drilled after the Water Act 1989

Bore identifier system (c.1990 - 2011)

With the introduction of digital databases after around 1990, the Parish - bore number system was abandoned and each bore was assigned a unique Bore Identifier. Initially the Bore ID was a sequential number, not related to its previous Parish number. Over time the unique Bore ID changed to include alpha-numeric identifiers, particularly when data was merged from several databases. When the salinity monitoring bores from the FFSR database were included in the GMS (now migrated to WMIS), they were assigned a prefix of GMS, as their Bore ID numbers had already been used in the larger database. Bores drilled from around 2003 onwards were assigned a unique identifier related to their Bore Construction Licence and carried a prefix of G (for Goulburn-Murray Water) or S (for Southern Rural Water).

Current system (WRK numbers)

The current system requires that all groundwater bore construction licences are generated through the Water Register.  This procedure automatically assigns a Bore ID with a WRK prefix (WRK is the Work ID).  

GMS to WMIS migration (2013)

In 2013, the Bore ID numbers of 42,000 bores were replaced by new WRK Bore ID numbers. This was due to the changeover of databases from the GMS to the WMIS. Within the WMIS, the database standard did not allow certain characters ( / - | + . ") within Bore IDs. This change was made in consultation with stakeholders and a block of WRK numbers commencing at 950000 was allocated for this purpose.

These new WRK numbers have been adopted within the VVG portal therefore a Bore ID search will need this new number. DEPI have created a bore finder spreadsheet to assist people in finding the new allocated WRK numbers ( Use the custom search box within this spreadsheet to find the new WRK number for Bore IDs with special characters. This spreadsheet also allows users to search any other alias Bore IDs and find the current Bore ID that is used to search WMIS bores within the VVG portal.


The remaining limitations with assigning Bore IDs is that there is currently no consistent system for including historic bores (e.g. old stock and domestic bores), groundwater related bores that are exempt from a bore construction licence (e.g. geotechnical bores or bores <3m depth), or bores that have been constructed outside of the licence conditions (e.g. nested piezometers drilled under a single bore licence).  As a temporary measure, some of these bores have been included in the FedUni Spatial database and assigned local names.

Project funded by the State Government of Victoria - Broadband Enabled Innovation Program