Katherine water conservation measures to remain in place

17 April 2018

Katherine residents must continue to use sprinklers only three times a week after the Government decided current water conservation measures will remain in place until a permanent water supply solution is found.

Power and Water’s Executive General Manager of Water Services Rob Brito said the water conservation measures, which help manage the quality of the town’s drinking water supply, allow residents to continue using sprinklers three times a week using the odd and even house numbers system already in place.

Mr Brito said the Northern Territory Government and Power and Water had jointly reviewed all the relevant information on water use and long-term forecasts before making the decision to continue the existing water conservation measures.

He said the help of the Katherine community was needed as water usage has risen significantly in the past two weeks as the Dry season approaches.

“This is about getting the balance right between ensuring the quality of safe drinking water for Katherine while still allowing residents to use water how they want to,” Mr Brito said.

Prior to August 2017, Katherine’s water use was twice the national average.

Results of constant regular testing for PFAS continue to confirm that drinking water is safe for consumption, however the water conservation measures are an additional precautionary measure.

Mr Brito said Power and Water is continuing to put into action a strategic water management plan to ensure safe tap water is provided for Katherine residents and businesses.

“The Katherine community did a terrific job when the conservation measures were first introduced, which saw demand down by 20 per cent, about 2,000,000 litres per day, since September last year. However, the past fortnight has seen a significant rise in demand and we all need to work together to be water smart to maintain a safe drinking water supply.

“Power and Water is actively working towards delivering a permanent solution. The development of a new safe source of water for Katherine includes staged progression of a new borefield on the northern side of the Katherine River and/or expanded advanced treatment of groundwater sources. Given the complexity of establishing and delivering this major project, it may take 18 months to two years for the project to be completed.”

A new pilot water treatment plant supplied by Defence to remove PFAS from Katherine’s ground-water supply has been successfully operating since October treating up to 1,000,000 litres of water a day.

“While we work with the Department of Defence and the Northern Territory Government on a long term solution, it’s vital that we work together with the community to help reduce overall demand and allow us to keep the use of ground water to a minimum," Mr Brito said.

The compulsory water conservation measures include:

  • Odd numbered properties are permitted to irrigate Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from 6pm – 8am
  • Even numbered properties are permitted to irrigate Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday from 6pm – 8am
  • No watering of hard surfaces
  • Hand held watering via a bucket or watering can is permitted at any time.

Power and Water is undertaking regular sampling of drinking water under the current testing regime and will continue to work closely with all agencies and the community to provide safe drinking water.

For the essential facts about drinking water quality and operations go to powerwater.com.au/Katherine or call 1800 245 092.

Contact: Media unit

Phone: 0401 117 599