The Northern Territory Government has announced that its Advanced Manufacturing Ecosystem Fund (AMEF) will fund a project to improve water quality testing in remote areas of the Territory.

Think Water, based in Coolalinga, is collaborating with environmental technology business, Eco Detection, and Darwin-based tank manufacturer, Terracorp Industries, to commercialise a water testing system which will address water testing issues, such as bacteria and heavy metals that collectively are present in more than 400 communities across Australia.

The collaboration will bring together Eco Detection’s Ion-Q+ monitor, a filtration system from Think Water, and a water storage tank manufactured by Terracorp Industries.

Three integrated prototype systems will then undergo six-month trials at three different remote locations to determine the effectiveness and suitability for remote regions.

The project has been awarded $485,000 in co-investment through the Northern Territory’s Advanced Manufacturing Ecosystem Fund, administered by the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC).

After successful commercialisation, 15 per cent (by value) of Melbourne-based Eco Detection’s Ion-Q+ electronic systems will be produced in the Territory, scaling up to 70 per cent assembly of the electronics in the Northern Territory in four years.

Think Water estimates the generation of revenue of $30 million and the creation of 45 jobs within five years of project completion.

It is anticipated that testing in the demanding climates of the Northern Territory will provide certainty for not only other domestic customers, but international prospects as well.

The Northern Territory Government says the AMEF has spurred manufacturing activity and investment that is expected to create over 160 new jobs and generate over $84 million for the Territory’s economy in its first five years.

Northern Territory Chief Minister, Eva Lawler, said “The Territory Labor Government is attracting new innovative projects which get the Territory working and develop our communities – this is exactly what Think Water accomplishes.

“Through this partnership, the Advanced Manufacturing Ecosystem Fund (AMEF) was established, in a bid to improve the Northern Territory’s advanced manufacturing capabilities and capacities.”

Think Water’s Darwin Managing Director, Adam Stockwell, said, “Clean drinking water is a fundamental requirement of life. What we aim to do with this project is develop a product suite that provides better visibility for residents and governments about the quality of the water they are being provided.

“In partnership with Eco Detect and Terracorp, we aim to take the guesswork out of water quality to improve the lives of thousands of Australians and potentially more abroad via an always on monitoring solution.”

Eco Detection’s CEO, Jefferson Harcourt, said, “We are excited to be making a real impact with our technology and help remote communities have access to safe water that is tested continuously for harmful nitrates and other pollutants.

“We will test every last drop and make this data available to the local community and the Department of Health. It’s an enormous issue – there are over 400 remote communities across the nation that don’t have access to safe drinking water right now.”

AMGC’s Northern Territory Director, Charmaine Phillips, said, “Intermittent water sampling is not perfect, but it becomes even less so if what’s being sampled is in a remote community, which is a considerable drive from the lab.

“This exciting project will automate testing, allow service providers to proactively monitor water quality, intervene earlier, and boost the creation of high-skilled manufacturing jobs in the NT. That’s wins all-around.”

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