National risk assessment - water services in remote Indigenous communities

Project details

Objective:

To undertake a national risk assessment to identify key opportunities for improving drinking water management in remote Indigenous communities.

Funding:

Up to $600 000 plus applicable GST from the Australian Government under the Raising National Water Standards program towards the costs associated with supporting the work program. In-kind contributions are expected from a number of state and territory governments, utilities, and other organisations.

Jurisdiction:

National

Commenced: September 2007
Completed: August 2010

About the project

This project undertook a national risk assessment to identify key opportunities for improving drinking water management in remote Indigenous communities. Aspects covered include water quality, water demand, system infrastructure, the capacity of communities to engage in planning and management, and governance arrangements and responsibilities.

The project delieverd a web-based tool. The tool is a companion to the NHMRC Community Water Planner covering chemical, physical and radiological risks to drinking water supplies.

A steering committee, including representatives from Indigenous organisations, state and territory governments, and other organisations, was formed to help ensure the project delivers an up-to-date and practical information package and to ensure that learning from the project is shared Australia-wide.

Project benefits

This project provides Indigenous communities, governments, and service providers with better access to relevant and up-to-date information to help in the preparation of drinking water management plans. This information will enable planners, including community members, governments, and service providers, to better prioritise the issues that need to be managed. It complements the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines and the NHMRC Community Water Planner to provide a comprehensive suite of tools for assessing risks to drinking water supplies in all Indigenous communities.

Progress

A Risk Assessment was conducted where physical, chemical and radiological risks to drinking water supply in remote communities were assessed in accordance with AS/NZS 4360:2004 Risk Management Guidelines.

From the outcomes of the risk assessment, and following extensive consultation, a tool to extend the Community Water Planner to capture chemical, physical and radiological risks has been developed and trialled in more than 20 communities throughout Australia.