Locals slam bore plans
Rural Darwin residents have voiced concerns about Northern Territory Government plans to monitor private water bores.
Several hundred people gathered for a community meeting in Humpty Doo to grill the NT Government, which has been spruiking bore monitoring as part of efforts to conserve water in the wake of two poor wet seasons.
Several residents said the government was going about conservation entirely wrong.
“Are you guys actually doing anything about long-term sustainment for the water in the Darwin region … or are you just worried about the next election and your next promotion,” one asked.
“How many of you are qualified as water people, as hydrologists or whatever you want to call yourselves?” another wondered.
“When you can see that our water is starting to run out, why weren't those bores capped and Darwin put on water restrictions?” the same person added.
A spokesperson for the Department of Environment and National Resources said most of Darwin’s rural water use was unregulated, pumped by unlicensed users.
The department also said water monitors would only be installed at properties of over 5,000 square metres.
Independent Member for Goyder Kezia Purick said rural residents were worried the monitors will be the first step towards charging for water use.
“There is a strong level of distrust in government, and I mean government in the broad sense, that there won't be something down the line where we're charged for water, given that a rural person pays for all their own infrastructure to get their water,” Ms Purick told the ABC.
She said the Government estimated the monitors would cost $300 to $400, but claimed that figure would not include installation costs, which she says would put them around $5,000.
The NT Government says it has no intention to introduce volumetric charging for water.
“This is really about us increasing the proportion of licensed users in a very large and competitive water control area, to make sure we have good figures about water use so we can manage it sustainably,” a spokesperson said.