Developing and supporting drinking water management plans in remote communities

Purpose
In line with CAT’s risk management approach to water supplies in remote Indigenous communities, we are working to help communities develop and implement drinking water supply management plans using water planning tools developed by CAT with the support of the National Water Commission and Water Quality Research Australia.

To provide operators of small supplies with best practice information and management tools to keep a small water supply safe and working, and know what to do when something goes wrong.

Context
The majority of remote Indigenous communities have a population of less than 50 people. Many of these communities have limited service provision compared with larger communities, with no formal resident manager of the supply, or no service provider at all. When something goes wrong, local people may not know how to respond correctly, and may have to wait some time before the remote service provider is able to come and assist.

Many of the causes of water supply emergencies are preventable, and they are often able to be addressed by local people. Having local people that know what to look out for, how to keep things going and what to do when something goes wrong is the most effective way of managing a water supply – the same process that even the largest utilities in Australia use to manage their supplies.

Scope
As part of its capacity to respond to requests for technical advice, CAT is helping communities develop and implement drinking water supply management plans. The process builds the capacity of community members to identify hazards to their water supplies, manage risks and respond appropriately when things go wrong.

CAT is able to meet with people on-site, learn more about the supply by talking with them and sharing information from other parties, and working with the community to develop appropriate strategies.

Outcomes
Drinking water supply management plans have begun to be developed and implemented in communities in the Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia.

CAT’s regional presence is able to provide technical support during the development and continuing implementation of plans, as well as supporting annual reviews and updates of plans. Where works are required to be undertaken, CAT can also assist with project management.

 

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