On this page:
- Drinking water
- Australian Drinking Water Guidelines 2011 (ADWG)
- Guidelines for Private Water Supplies
- Recreational water
- Bore Construction
- Fact Sheets - Water Quality
Drinking Water is defined as water intended primarily for human consumption, either directly as delivered, or indirectly in beverages, ice or food prepared with water.
The Department's Environmental Health Program has a key role in setting goals for drinking water quality and monitoring compliance with those objectives in the interest of public health. The Environmental Health Program works closely on this issue with the Power and Water Corporation (PWC), which has the primary responsibility for providing suitable drinking water to most Northern Territory Communities.
This collaboration has resulted in the development and implementation of an agreed monitoring program between the Department and PWC for chemical, radiological and microbiological parameters in drinking water supplies. This program is based on recommendations made in the national '2004 Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG)' and also addresses the need for monitoring specific water quality characteristics that are problematic in the Northern Territory and not necessarily described in the ADWG in great detail. All sampling results from this monitoring program are reported to the Environmental Health Program for consideration and appropriate action.
Under the Water Supply and Sewerage Services Act 2000:
- the Minister of Health and Community Services may specify the minimum standards for drinking water quality that a licensee must meet in providing water supply to customers;
- a licensee is required to meet minimum standards for drinking water quality;
- the Chief Health Officer may in an emergency give directions to a licensee to achieve minimum standards.
- the Chief Health Officer may approve the methodology for monitoring compliance with minimum standards.
The Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG) have been developed by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) in collaboration with the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council (NRMMC). The ADWG are subject to a rolling revision process to ensure they represent the latest scientific evidence on good quality drinking water. The 2011 revision was released on the 28 October 2011.
The ADWG provide a framework for good management of drinking water supplies, and when implemented will assure safety of drinking water. The ADWG are not a mandatory standard, but provide the basis for determining the quality of water to be supplied to consumers in Australia.
The ADWG apply to any water intended for drinking, irrespective of the source or where it is consumed, with the exception of bottled and packaged water as it is covered under the national Food Standards Code.
The ADWG and supporting documents released by the NHMRC such as the consumer information guide 'Water Made Clear' and 'Community Water Planner' can be accessed on their website.
Throughout the Northern Territory there are many facilities that rely on small private water supplies. These supplies can include groundwater, surface water and rainwater.
The Guidelines for Private Water Supplies have been developed by the Department's Environmental Health Program to assist private water supply operators to comply with the requirements of the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (2004) in providing water that is safe to use.
Operators of businesses or facilities that provide drinking water have a responsibility to ensure that the water is safe to use. If the safety of the water cannot be guaranteed then consumers should be alerted. These guidelines provide detail on managing private water supplies using a risk management approach.
The guidelines for drinking water transport in the Northern Territory have been developed to assist carters of drinking water to meet their legal obligations under the Northern Territory Food Act, and their duty of care to their customers to ensure that the water they supply is both safe and suitable for drinking and food preparation. The guidelines provide practical advice on sourcing water, cleaning and sanitising requirements for the tank and fittings, as well as record keeping requirements.
The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) is Australia's leading expert body promoting the development and maintenance of public and individual health requirements.
In February 2008, the NHMRC Guidelines for Managing Risks in Recreational Water publication was endorsed by the CEO of the NHMRC on recommendations from Council.
The primary aim of these guidelines is to protect the health of humans from threats posed by the recreational use of coastal, estuarine and fresh waters. Threats may include natural hazards such as surf, rip currents and aquatic organisms, and those with an artificial aspect, such as discharges of wastewater.
These guidelines outline the "minimum" requirements to ensure that recreational water environments are managed as safely as possible so that as many people as possible can benefit from using the water.
The Chief Health Officer of the Northern Territory has adopted these NHMRC Guidelines under the Public and Environmental Health Act. The attached question and answer sheet has been prepared to inform the public of the changes to the current recreational water monitoring programs.
The Department of Health uses the attached guidance note to undertake a health risk assessment of results from the beach water monitoring program to ensure the protection of public health.
- Guidelines for Managing Risks in Recreational Water 2008
- Water Quality Guidelines FAQ
- Water Quality Guidance Notes 2011
In the Northern Territory any bore drilled within a Water Control District requires a bore construction permit from the Department of Natural Resources, Environment, The Arts and Sport (NRETAS), pursuant to section 57 of the Water Act. Water Control Districts cover the Darwin Rural Area, Gove Peninsula, Katherine, Tennant Creek, Ti Tree and Alice Springs Regions. For further information on NRETAS requirements and detailed maps of current Water Control Districts access the NRETAS website on http://www.nt.gov.au/nreta/water/index.html
A bore located outside a Water Control District does not require a construction permit from NRETAS under the Water Act, however it does require notification to the Department of Health and Families (DHF) pursuant to the Public Health Act and the Public Health (Night-Soil, Garbage, Cesspits, Wells and Water) Regulations.
This form must be completed and submitted by the applicant to the relevant Environmental Health Office prior to the commencement of bore construction.
|Disinfection of Water Tanks||Oct 2007||400|
|Interpretation of Results from Microbiological testing||Mar 2012||401|
|Interpretation of Metal Analysis Results in Drinking Water||Aug 2012||402|
|Interpretation of Results from Physical and Chemical testing and Analysis of Drinking Water||Aug 2012||403|
|Requirements for the Use of Rainwater Tanks||Aug 2006||404|
|Advice for Provision of Water at Mass Gatherings||Mar 2010||405|
|Nuisance Algal Blooms||Jul 2010||406|
|Legionnaires Disease||Aug 2011||407|
|Lead in Drinking Water||Aug 2012||408|
|Arsenic in Drinking Water||Aug 2012||409|
|Uranium in Drinking Water||Aug 2012||410|