Darwin region's water supply strategy
Our water supply is precious!
As the greater Darwin Region's population, economy and development continues to grow, so too does our awareness that our water supply is precious and not to be taken for granted.
Power and Water is responsible for supplying our water and safeguarding our supplies into the future, so we've developed a long term strategy to ensure that, together with the Darwin community, we can balance our water supply with growing demand up to 2030 and beyond.
Where does our water come from?
Most of our water (85 per cent) comes from the Darwin River Dam, located around 50km south of Darwin. The remaining 15 per cent comes from the McMinns and Howard East borefields, about 30km south-east of Darwin near Howard Springs.
Power and Water holds a licence to extract water from Manton Dam, however water is not currently drawn from the reservoir due to infrastructure constraints and water quality challenges.
Our water supply is strongly influenced by climate, especially the timing and variability of rainfall year-to-year. Factors that affect the Top End's Water supply include:
Read more information about surface water sources, ground water sources and how the water is stored, treated and travels to your tap.
How much water do we use?
The Darwin region water supply system provides drinking water to customers in six water supply zones: Stuart Park, Casuarina, Karama, Palmerston/Darwin rural, Channel Island/Humpty Doo and Noonamah.
About 118,500 people across over 50,000 properties (including residential, commercial, industrial and government) have access to drinking water at the turn of a tap.
Over half the water consumed in the Darwin region is used by the residential sector, followed by the commercial and government sectors.
Our residents and businesses use more than twice as much water in comparison to similar communities in other states, with about three-quarters being used outdoors on irrigation, garden watering, pools and ponds.
Water consumption in the Darwin region doubles between the wet and dry seasons, challenging our water supply and storage networks.
Do we have enough water?
While in the wetter months it seems that the Top End must have limitless water, with a growing population and industrial sector, we are using more water than ever, and just a few leaner years of rainfall call have drastic impacts.
If a series of poor wet seasons occurs (as they regularly do), combined with increased demand for water, water levels in Darwin River Dam could fall to unsustainable levels never seen before in the region.
If we unexpectedly lost supply from our main water source, Darwin River Dam, water supply to the Darwin region would be seriously impacted.
What's our water strategy for Darwin?
Power and Water strives to provide water supply services in the most cost-effective way that is also socially and environmentally acceptable to the community.
Securing water sources for our current and future needs is a fundamental part of Power and Water's service to the community.