Water wasting could jeopardise safe water supply

BOYS ARE BACK: The leak checkers found 400 potential leaks but only 77 propoerties have taken up the $200 leak find and fix rebate.
BOYS ARE BACK: The leak checkers found 400 potential leaks but only 77 propoerties have taken up the $200 leak find and fix rebate.

Power and Water have sent leak checkers back to Katherine this week to check on water leaks identified in August.

The leak checkers found 400 potential leaks but only 77 propoerties have taken up the $200 leak find and fix rebate. 

A spokeswoman from Power and Water said water demand had increased and reminded residents to reduce water use so the use of PFAS affected bore water is kept to an absolute minimum.

“These measures are necessary to help safeguard the town’s water supply,” the spokeswoman said. 

Emergency water restrictions began in Katherine in August to help to reduce the use of contaminated groundwater and maintain a safe drinking water supply.

“Reducing the amount of water Katherine residents use will improve the ability for Power and Water to manage the quality of the town’s drinking water to help ensure the levels of Poly – Fluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) stay within the Health Based Guidance Values,” health minister Natasha Fyles said earlier this year.

Katherine Town Council alderman Toni Tapp-Coutts said Katherine residents need to continue to band together to reduce water use.

“Power and Water’s demand management program is a very good exercise for Katherine residents to be mindful about how they use water and how water is easily wasted,” alderman Tapp-Coutts said. 

“I encourage the community to continue to band together and work with the Living Water Smart leak checkers to reduce demand so we can secure our water supply.”

The Chief Minister has said his government had not discussed the provision of any other emergency water supplies for Katherine if contamination levels rose.

A water treatment plant arrived in town last week but will not be operational until the end of October. 

Even when the plant is up and running it will only treat one tenth of the town’s daily water supply. 

Power and Water’s Client Services senior manager Jacqui O’Neill said she was pleased the Katherine community had become more water efficient, but is also concerned about the amount of water still being wasted through leaks.

“In August we found more leaks than expected. Around one in four homes had a leak, with the average leak being 230,000 litres per year - the same as tipping 958 wheelie bins of water down the drain,” Ms O’Neill said. 

“We have also noticed that on some days in the last few weeks water demand in Katherine has increased, so it is important that leaks are fixed as soon as possible.

“Thank you to the Katherine community who have already shown their commitment to save water. We all need to continue work together, as the more water we save, the less stress there is on our water supply,” she said. 

If leaks are still found at properties, leak checkers will leave a reminder card in the mailbox and details about the $200 rebate available through local plumbers registered with the program.

The team will also be visit larger businesses and organisations where leaks were identified.

For a list of registered plumbers and their contact details or to find out more about the Community Leak Program go to www.livingwatersmart.com.au/katherine.

If you are a plumber based in the Katherine region and would like to find out more or register with Living Water Smart call (08) 8995 5861 or email info@livingwatersmart.com.au.