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The largest major water infrastructure project in the Northern Territory’s history has been given another boost.

The Territory Government is pumping an additional $3.95 million over the next three years to progress the Adelaide River Off-stream Water Storage project, otherwise known as AROWS, bringing the total investment for the project to $21 million since inception.

The Territory Government and the Power and Water Corporation engaged PricewaterhouseCoopers to investigate a range of options to increase water supply in the Darwin region.

This assessment identified the Darwin Region Water Supply Infrastructure Program as the best solution to create a secure and reliable water network and enable growth in the Darwin region.

The program will be delivered in two stages:

Stage one: returning Manton Dam to service as a short-term solution with a development timeframe of three to four years, and preconstruction works for the AROWS project.

Stage two: AROWS as the long-term water supply. About 85 percent of the water supply in the Darwin region comes from the Darwin River Dam, which is operating at capacity.

The remaining 15 per cent comes from groundwater resources, which is also in limited supply.

AROWS, which will be carried out over seven-10 years, will not have any dam infrastructure built across the Adelaide River that will impede its flow.

The project, north of Lake Bennett, will take advantage of a naturally occurring basin next to Adelaide River created by a ridge formation that can hold water.

Two main containment barriers will be constructed at low points of the basin so that water can be stored within the basin.

Adelaide River will supply AROWS with water via a controlled pump system during Darwin’s wettest months. Water will then be pumped from the AROWS basin, stored, and then piped to the proposed Strauss Water Treatment Plant.

A new pipeline will be installed adjacent to Stuart Highway to transfer water.

AROWS will have a capacity of 255 gigalitres and will be able to supply an additional 60.2 GL of water per year to the Darwin region.

The project will be a key enabler for urban, industrial and agricultural growth in the Darwin region, creating long-term water security.

AROWS will cost an estimated total of $1.5 billion and is the largest infrastructure project in the Territory since the completion of the Adelaideto- Darwin railway 20 years ago.

Work for the program is underway, including designs for the Manton Dam refurbishment of the intake tower, a new pumping station, and the construction of the Strauss water treatment plant.

Environmental studies, including species habitat surveys, and a heritage management plan for the Manton Dam’s original infrastructure have also begun.

These works, as well as the planning and approvals for AROWS, are being delivered as part of the first stage of the Program.

Environmental assessment work for the AROWS project is also underway, with the Territory Government awarding a $2.4 million tender to GHD to undertake scientific, stakeholder and regulatory processes needed to deliver the project’s Environmental Impact Statement.

The Darwin Region Water Supply Infrastructure Program – Stage 1 is jointly funded by the Australian and Northern Territory governments, delivered in partnership with Power and Water Corporation.

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