Power and Water distributes electricity and provides water and sewerage services across the vast distances of the Northern Territory, from arid Central Australia to the monsoon tropics.
We operate in a sparsely settled and undeveloped environment, with relatively undisturbed ecosystems. We recognise that our activities have the potential to affect these ecosystems and landscapes.
We deliver a consistent level of services in small remote communities and major urban centres. Within this context, we are committed to being a clean and green provider of sustainable power, water and sewerage services. We recognise that, no matter where we are in the Territory, we are in our own back yard and have a responsibility to keep it clean.
Our intent is to manage risks to an acceptable level within the bounds of technical and economic feasibility. More detail is provided in the following sections.
Ambient levels of pollutants in the Territory are among the lowest in the world. The one exception is due to airborne particles from bush fire smoke in the Top End during the dry season, and occasionally in Central Australia after good seasons, when levels may exceed recommended standards on some days.
So that we can keep our air clean, Power and Water will manage our emissions to ensure that there are minimal impacts on the air quality of the Northern Territory's recognised airsheds. We will meet our obligations to minimise emissions of gases that contribute to the global enhanced greenhouse effect, and those controlled substances that deplete the ozone layer.
Protecting the Northern Territory's water resources is important to ensure that people, ecosystems, plants and animals continue to have their needs met now and in the future. We are fortunate to have access to unspoiled water bodies such as estuaries, rivers, wetlands and aquifers.
We work towards ensuring that providing sustainable power, water and sewerage services does not impact on the environmental values of these water bodies. The National Water Quality Management Guidelines define environmental values for a number of "beneficial uses" of water bodies. Our discharges to declared water bodies need to be licensed under the NT's Water Act to protect these beneficial uses.
The waste discharge licences (WDLs) can be accessed below:
The Northern Territory does not have a history of heavy industry activities that can cause pollution, and contaminated sites are rare.
We have environmental management measures to safeguard against land contamination arising from our activities, to ensure there are no onsite or offsite threats to human health or the environment and that future uses of land are not compromised.
The Territory is rich in natural resources and biodiversity values, with 20 terrestrial biogeographic regions and three marine biogeographic regions. In particular, we have a responsibility to ensure that the biodiversity values of areas under our direct management are protected and enhanced where possible.
We use a mix of fossil fuels and renewable energy to generate electricity for customers in remote Territory communities. Diesel is the mainstay of the smaller communities without access to natural gas. Solar and wind power are small but growing renewable energy sources.
Most potable water supplies across the Territory come from groundwater. In the Top End, surface water storages such as Darwin River Dam and Katherine's Donkey Camp Pool are additional important sources. For example, Darwin's water supply is sourced from Darwin River Dam and the Howard East Borefield and blended to produce optimal quality for human consumption. It is important that we protect our sources to ensure continuity of a quality supply to customers.
Reusing treated waste water and biosolids generated by sewage treatment is a chance to conserve resources. There are also opportunities to reuse or recycle other wastes generated by Power and Water activities. We focus on using fuels efficiently reusing and recycling wastes, and encouraging our customers to use electricity and water efficiently.