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Northern Territory infrastructure plans explore region's water future

Two infrastructure options have been shortlisted to meet the Darwin region’s future water supply, with a detailed business case currently being developed in collaboration with Power and Water Corporation, the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade and the Australian Government.

As part of the development of a Northern Territory Strategic Water Plan, the Preliminary Assessment (Part A) was released this past February, which outlined the two infrastructure options. The local government is now seeking input from the community.

Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade CEO Shaun Drabsch told Utility investment in Darwin’s water supply infrastructure is a necessity for meeting future growth.

“Secure, reliable and cost-effective water supply for the Darwin region is integral to meet growing demand. Increasing supply will be critical if we are to achieve a $40 billion economy by 2030,” he said.

“We are pleased to be working with the Australian Government to investigate the feasibility of possible water infrastructure projects that support our region now and into the future.

“The Darwin region water supply is currently operating at, or above its sustainable supply level and cannot grow without an additional water supply.”

Paths for the future

The Preliminary Assessment has highlighted the need to increase the current water supply system in Darwin to meet forecasted social and economic growth.

The two options listed in the assessment include:

  • Investment in Adelaide River off-stream water storage — AROWS — and Manton Dam return to service, which will provide water for various uses over the next 50+ years; and
  • Investment in desalination and recycled water, which will enable industry development in the short term (about 10 years) at the proposed Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct.

The Detailed Business Case (Part B) is being prepared by independent consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers and will evaluate the options in depth to respond to forecasted urban, industrial and agricultural demand.

The business case is funded by the Federal Government through the National Water Grid Fund, a $3.5 billion investment program for water infrastructure projects to help secure Australia’s water future.

Drabsch said community input would be essential to inform future decisions made by the government.

“This ‘have your say’ process is an important part of developing solutions to these challenges, and I encourage Territorians to share their feedback,” he said.