Concern over NT bores
Low groundwater levels in rural Northern Territory have left some residents fearing they will have to truck in water.
Bores connected to the Berry Springs and Howard Springs groundwater systems have been flagged as critical, and experts say they could run dry as soon as October.
The issue has emerged after the driest Territory wet season in decades, and the next rain not expected until December.
Locals say it could them cost up to $400 per week to replace supplies if critically low bores run dry.
Litchfield councillor Doug Barden says community growth is being held back by water availability.
“This area is earmarked for residential [development], schools, just like Humpty Doo activity centre is,” he told reporters.
“We have a lot of potential here.”
Southport is only about 10 kilometres from the Darwin River, but the Territory Government is not planning to change its water supply.
“I honestly feel, as a resident of Southport, the Government would like to see us go away and they don't want us here,” he said.
“They say they haven't got the money but the infrastructure's partly there.”
NT Department of Environment and Natural Resources hydro-geologist Steven Tickell says low groundwater levels come from a series of dry wet seasons, and from a lack of maintenance on some private bores.
“Perhaps it's very old and the pipes are corroded, often it's not related to the water level, it's a pre-existing problem,” Mr Tickell told the ABC.
Some residents are concerned that onshore fracking could affect groundwater levels in residential areas.
Mr Tickell said that the NT Government is investigating the impacts of onshore fracking in an independent scientific inquiry, and may consider new dams to support water supply.