Darwin region water supply infrastructure upgrades

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Darwin region water supply infrastructure upgrades

Darwin water supply security
Potential investment options (Stage 2)
Darwin, NT
Smaller cities and regional centres
Access to Water
Problem/Opportunity timeframe
Medium term (5-10 years)
Proposed By
NT Government
Date added to the IPL
17 February 2016


Population growth and industrial development is driving increases in  demand for water in the Darwin region.

The 2015 Northern Australia Audit found that an additional water source for Darwin is essential to support further growth of the city. At the same time, climate change is forecast to impact on supply by increasing evaporation and transpiration, which will lead to reduced inflows to reservoirs and decreasing yields.

Failure to expand Darwin’s water supply will increasingly constrain population and economic growth. It is also likely to impact on business and investor confidence.

Potential options

The proposal is to supply water for growing population and industrial demands in Darwin. The Darwin Region Water Supply Strategy details the Northern Territory Government’s plan to balance demand for water with supply capacity over time. In the near to medium term (0–10 years), the Strategy identifies the return to service of Manton Dam as an operational source of drinking water for the Darwin region water supply. In the subsequent period (10–20 years), the Adelaide River off-stream storage scheme will be developed to meet future growth.

This proposal should be considered as part of the National Water Reform Plan recommended in the 2016 Australian Infrastructure Plan. It is indicative of the requirement to ensure secure water supply to support further urban, industrial and/or agricultural development in some parts of the country – including in response to increasing water demand associated with population and economic growth, and increasing variability in water supply.

In February 2021, the next steps for this proposal were updated following a Stage 2 submission from the NT Government. 

Next steps

Proponent to complete business case development (Stage 3 of Infrastructure Australia’s Assessment Framework).