The Northern Territory Government has announced $28 million for tailored projects in ten Indigenous Australian communities to improve water quality and supply infrastructure, prioritising areas of critical need.

The funding, $7 million per year for four years, will support initiatives to manage immediate problems and a long-term plan to tackle complex water supply issues. These include new bores, network upgrades, improved water disinfection systems, and the installation of meters to monitor and reduce water usage.

The identified projects, tailored to address community-specific issues, will begin in Laramba, Engawala, Yuendumu, Epenarra, Imanpa, Atitjere, Warruwi and Numbulwar in the first year of the program; with works in Angurugu and Beswick to follow.

Projects include:

  • Drilling and equipping of new bores to increase availability of water in seven communities
  • Improvements to drinking water quality at Laramba, with an initial pilot trial of a water treatment plant to be followed by development of new water supply infrastructure
  • Reducing the risk of waterborne disease through improvements to reliability of drinking water treatment systems in various communities
  • Upgrading the Warruwi water supply system to overcome water shortages, location of additional water resources, a bore drilling program and water supply infrastructure upgrade
  • Upgrading water supply infrastructure at Yuendumu with current options including a new water treatment plant
  • Installation of water metres in eight communities to identify water leakage losses

Further reviews of water quality in high-risk communities will help to determine priority projects in additional communities.

Northern Territory Minister for Indigenous Essential Services, Chansey Paech, said, “The Territory Labor Government is committed to improving water security across the NT.

“This water quality and supply program targets communities with the most critical need and complements ongoing work to support infrastructure upgrades, research and development in our remote communities.

“Reliable supply of quality water is the cornerstone of good health and better lives and that’s why we are laying foundations to unlock opportunities, such as housing construction, that will enable the Territory’s remote communities to thrive.

“I am proud to be part of a Government that is walking-the-walk when it comes to improving the well-being and living conditions of our most vulnerable Territorians.”

Northern Territory Minister for Water Security, Eva Lawler, said, “The Territory Labor Government has delivered significant reforms to the allocation and use of water in the Territory. 

“We understand that water is crucial for social, cultural, environmental and economic life and that’s why we are delivering plans that make sure Territorians continue to have water for drinking, for growing, and for making valuable products.

“We are also developing a comprehensive, long-term Strategic Water Plan. 

“This work is underway and the community will be asked to have a say on what is important. Water is a critical issue for the Territory’s future and Territorians will have the opportunity to have their views heard.”

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