The Northern Territory Government has shortlisted two infrastructure options to increase water security in the Darwin Region, as part of the development of a Northern Territory Strategic Water Plan.

The Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade (DITT), in collaboration with the Federal Government and Power and Water Corporation (Power and Water), are developing a detailed business case to assess the two shortlisted infrastructure options to meet the Darwin region’s future water supply needs.

Supported by a $2 million Federal Government investment, the business case forms part of a nationwide commitment for water infrastructure projects.

The Preliminary Assessment (Part A) was released in February 2021, outlining the two infrastructure options being considered. 

The Preliminary Assessment highlights that the current water supply system in Darwin will need to be increased in the future to meet forecasted social and economic growth.

This means that over the long term, investment in new water supply infrastructure is crucial.

The same report also looked at potential solutions and identified two shortlisted options for further consideration:

  • Option 1: Adelaide River Off-stream Water Storage (AROWS) and Manton Dam Return to Service (RTS) which can provide water for a range of use over the next 50+ years
  • Option 2: Desalination and recycled water which can enable industry development in the short term (up to ten years) at the proposed Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct

Now, the Detailed Business Case (Part B), is being prepared by independent consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers, and will investigate and evaluate in depth these two options to respond to the expected forecast urban, industrial and agricultural demand.

Shaun Drabsch, CEO Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade, said, “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.

“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.”

Like all major infrastructure projects, if one of the options is progressed in the future, rigorous approval processes would be followed, including the need to meet all legislated requirements such as environmental impact assessment.

No decisions have been made and community input is essential to inform future decisions made by government.

To have your say visit

The Detailed 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.

The survey closes at 8am on Monday 26 July 2021.

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

For more information on Darwin region future water supply, please visit

For more information on the Federal Government’s water infrastructure investments, please visit

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