Submission: NT Strategic Water Plan

Submission: NT Strategic Water Plan Hearing

  • Author(s): Grealy, L
  • Published: 2022
  • Publisher: The University of Sydney

Abstract: I welcome the opportunity to make a submission in response to the Northern Territory Government’s ‘NT Strategic Water Plan – Directions Paper’. I note that the Housing for Health Incubator made a submission to the former ‘Northern Territory Water Regulatory Reform’ process on 30 March 2019. That submission, which I co-authored with Dr Kirsty Howey, made the following recommendations. 1. Securing a safe and potable public water supply for all residents of the NT should be an explicit and primary aim of the proposed reforms 2. The NTG should legislate for uniform minimum water quality standards and water utility service provision across the NT 3. The NTG should amend the Water Act to include a power to specifically reserve water for future drinking water supply security and to ensure it is of adequate quality 4. The NTG should legislate for a right to potable and adequate drinking water for all residents The above recommendations remain relevant and necessary in 2022. Since that time, Dr Howey and I have published peer reviewed research on water law and governance regimes in the Northern Territory. Rather than describe in detail the findings of that research, I have attached the following publications as appendices to this submission, noting key pages: • Housing for Health Incubator. 2020. ‘Safe drinking water in the Northern Territory – Fact Sheet, November 2020.’ • Grealy, Liam and Howey, Kirsty. 2020. ‘Securing Supply: Governing drinking water in the Northern Territory.’ Australian Geographer. 51(3): 341-360. (Especially pages 343-349) • Howey, Kirsty and Grealy, Liam. 2021. ‘Drinking water security: The neglected dimension of Australian water reform.’ Australasian Journal of Water Resources. 25(2): 111-120. (Especially pages 116-119) In terms of the proposed directions for water security listed within the current Directions Paper, this research is most directly relevant to: 1. Water governance is contemporary and coordinated, and 2. Drinking water is safe. It is important that the consultation exercise initiated by this Directions Paper leads to significant reform in Northern Territory water governance. This must involve meaningful collaboration with Traditional Owners and their representative institutions. In order to ensure that NT residents’ water security is guaranteed, I consider it necessary that the following actions are pursued: 1. Legislate a Safe Drinking Water Act 2. Establish an independent water regulator 3. Develop a pricing regime for commercial water use

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Grealy, L, 2022, Submission: NT Strategic Water Plan, Hearing, viewed 24 July 2024,

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