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.

Think road salt won’t reach your drinking water? Ask Madison

When we toss down the road salt that’s ubiquitous with icy, snowy winters in the North, the salt doesn’t just disappear after it clears up the roads and sidewalks. In fact, it’s starting to get into drinking water in places across the Midwest and New England — posing an emerging threat to water supplies and a health risk for people on sodium-restricted diets or with high blood pressure. “The salt doesn’t just evaporate, it doesn’t break down. Once it’s applied in the environment, it’s got nowhere to go. It goes into the soil, or it goes into the lakes. It doesn’t just disappear,” said Joe Grande, the water-quality manager in Madison, Wis. • Road salt is polluting our water: Here’s what we can do to fix it Madison is one of the more notable cases of drinking water contamination by sodium chloride. Other instances have been reported in places like Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and parts of New Jersey — including one extreme case in the city of Brick, chlorides damaged lead water pipes, causing the toxic metal to leach into drinking water. Most people start tasting salt in water once it reaches concentrations of 250 milligrams per liter. Even before that point, though, water can start to taste off. Off-tasting water, and no good way off salt Faith Fitzpatrick lives in Madison’s Spring Harbor neighborhood. Her well has been among the hardest hit by road salt pollution. Some of her neighbors with low-salt diets have installed filtering systems in their homes….