Preparation work has begun in readiness for the delivery of Katherine's new $15m water treatment plant.
Funded by the Defence Department, the first of the major components are due to be delivered in December.
Unfortunately the new plant will not be operational in time to relieve residents now suffering from their third year of odds and evens water restrictions caused by PFAS contamination.
Water use in Katherine is being restricted to guarantee safe drinking water for residents after chemicals from the nearby Tindal RAAF Base was found to have contaminated groundwater supplies.
Katherine's new water treatment plant will be the first utility-scale plant of its kind using ion-exchange technology to treat a public water supply.
It will replace a smaller scale plant also constructed in the US, which only treats a small portion of the town's water supply today, hence the restrictions.
The new plant will treat all the town's water with the resin, which is also in use now at Tindal in a long-term effort trying to stop PFAS continuing to leak from the base.
Small beads (called resins) are made of hydrocarbons that work like magnets. The chemicals stick to the beads and are removed as the water passes through.
Power and Water said Katherine's water use has started to increase as expected with the arrival of the build up and a series of 40 degree days this week - especially in the garden.
Power and Water's Living Water Smart program manager, Jethro Laidlaw, says residents and businesses are doing a great job in mostly sticking to their allocated watering days and keeping average weekly water use under 10 million litres per day.
"However, people are still watering on Friday's, which is the one day each week we ask that no one uses water outside," he said.
"This enables us to save around five million litres of safe treated water each week, which can be stored in our tanks ready for use during the following week," he said.
More than half of average daily water use in Katherine is for irrigation.
Power and Water said this can be reduced significantly by following some simple water saving tips in and around the garden.
- Mulch your garden beds to maintain soil moisture.
- Re-pot potted plants or top them up with potting mix and mulch around the top - this will keep plant roots cool and damp.
- Core and top dress your lawn to ensure water gets to and stays where it's needed when watering.
- Water longer and less often to encourage hardy deep rooted plants more able to access moisture in the soil.
Finding and fixing leaks is another way of saving water.
"During our recent Community Leak Program where a team of leak checkers visited almost 2000 homes to check for signs of leaks, 276 leaks were found representing around 130 million litres of wasted water during one year," Mr Laidlaw said.
"Since then plumbers providing the Leak Find and Fix rebate have found another 75 leaks, bringing the total found to 351. Over 100 have been fixed saving approximately 39 million litres of water over a year - that's 164,000 wheelie bins," Mr Laidlaw said.
Take advantage of our $200 Leak Find and Fix rebateto confirm, find and help fix a leak using one of our registered plumbers. You can find a plumber at livingwatersmart.com.au/katherine.
"The Katherine community has been fantastic in their efforts to reduce water use throughout the town and we need you to keep up the great work.
"The toughest time is ahead through the 'build-up' months of October to December when water use historically increases," Mr Laidlaw said.
"Please continue to keep water use down so we can maintain minimal use of bore water. Only a small amount can be treated each day and it's important we work together to keep our water sources safe and reliable."
A scale model of the new treatment plant is on display at the Civic Centre offices.
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