Getting clean drinking water into remote Indigenous communities means overcoming city thinking

Many people in Australia do not have access to safe drinking water.
In our research and conversations with residents and water operators in remote Indigenous communities, we have been told that their water is not safe to drink, and that they have no reasonable or practical alternatives and no help.
Hearing from the locals One Indigenous custodian from Katherine, NT, told us that the levels of PFAS from fire-extinguisher foam were high in their soil and water.
Over in the Kimberley, WA, an traditional owner said, "our water is contaminated with nitrates … They say the level is … too high for babies under three months and pregnant women … now the whole community (150 people) cart water from this one tap for drinking and cooking.
Community representatives told us, "[We were told] we should not drink it, and then they said it was safe and that the high lead had come from our pipes and not the mine … a monitoring group said that our fish are toxic with lead from the mine, so we stopped fishing and started worrying … We can’t live with this contamination anymore.
Safe water for all Treating drinking water can be different and difficult in remote locations compared to cities.
Only now are government agencies and water utilities starting to realise that there are no "one size fits all" or simple technological fixes for treating water in remote areas.
Sometimes the simplest technologies are going to be longest-serving as they can be fixed, will not be damaged in cyclones, and can be operated by one person.
And they addressed the "technology factor" by upgrading the technology for water disinfection.
Innovation and attention is required to achieve the United Nations’ Resolution to provide safe, clean, accessible and affordable drinking water and sanitation for all – especially in our remote communities.

Learn More