Page 1




ISSN 0310- 0367

Official Journal

FEDERAL PRESIDENT A. Lloyd , G.H. & D., G.P.O. Box 668,


Vol. 13, No. 4, December 1986

Brisbane 4001 .

FEDERAL SECRETARY G. Dooley, Box A232 P.O. Sydney Sth ., 2001.



J . D. Mo lloy , Cl- M.M.B.W. 625 Lt . Collin s St. , Melbourne, 3000.

BRANCH SECRETARIES Canberra , A.C .T. M. Sharpin , Willing & Part. , P.O. Box 170, Curtin , A.C.T. 2605. (062) 815 811

New South Wales M. Hannon , P.W.D. Sewerage Branch , 74 Phillip St ., Sydney, 2000. (02) 270 4488

Victoria J . Park , Water Training Centre ,

P.O. Box 409, Werribee, 3030. (741 5844)

Queensland D. Mackay, P.O. Box 412, West End 4101 . (07 44 3766)

South Australia A. Glatz, State Water Laboratories, E. & W.S. Private Mail Bag , Salisbury, 5108. (259 0319)

Western Australia Dr B. Kavanagh , Water Auth. of W.A., P.O. Box 100, Leedervi ll e 6007 (09) 420 2452

Viewpoint-Fred Finch, Member of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly. Past Chairman, Northern Territory Branch A WWA .................................. .


Association News, Views and Comments ............ . . . ......... .


IA WPRC News .............................................. .


Calendar ..... ..... ........ .. . .............................. .


Protecting Alice Springs' Water Supply -S. Hancock, T. Fricke, J. Crockett, R. Freyling, A. Bowden .....


Water for Leisure J. Lawrence ............................................ .


Rum Jungle Rehabilitation Project - Update Department of Mines and Energy .............

t . ........... .


Water Resources of the Northern Territory Management at the Cross-roads H. Watson ..... .. ........ ... ...... . .......... . ... . ...... .


Preliminary Strategic Plan, 1987 to 1991 ....... . ........ .


Book Reviews ............................................... .


AWWA Convention, Adelaide 1987 .............................. .


Water and Sewerage Administration in the Northern Territory -A WWA Submission to the N. T. Government ... . ....... .... .


Products-Plant-Equipment ... ........... ............ . ...... .



Tasmania G. Nolan, G.P.O. Box 78A , Hobart 7001 (022) 44 0600

Northern Territory M. Burgess , P.O. Bo x 37283 Winnellie, N.T. 5789.

EDITOR IAL & SUBSCRIPTION CORRESPONDENCE G. R. Gollin , 7 M ossman Dr., Eaglemont 3084 03 459 4346

COVER PICTURE Rehabilitated Acid Dam at the Rum Jungle Rehabilitation Project in the Northern Territory. Prior to rehabilitation this area was heavily polluted with no vegetation or wildlife. The area now supports a variety of fishlife, birds and animals. Cover photograph by courtesy of the Water Resources Division of the Department of Mines and Energy.

The statemen ts made or opinions expressed in 'Water ' do not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Water and Wastewater Association, its Council or committees.

Protecting Alice Springs' Water Supply S. Hancock, T. Fricke, J. Crockett, R. Frey ling and A. Bowden ABSTRACT Alice Springs, located in the ar id centre of Australia , currently has a population of 25 000 and is growing at 3% p .a. The town is totally dependent on groundwater from the Mereenie aquifer. The long term quality and Gjuantity of this water supply is of vital concern. Most current and expected future development is within the broader catchment of the acquifer and therefore all wastewater discharges are a potential threat. Current water abstraction averages 47 ML/ d containing some 600 mg/ L of total dissolved salts. Salinity is increasing grad ually and the water table is also dropping at the present Roe Creek ¡ Borefield. In future, a new borefield will be developed but this may also be affected by development in the catchment. The studies reported in this paper looked at the geology, surface and gro undwater hydrology, pollutant lo ads from developments and existing and likely future water quality. The conclusions were that increase in salinity due to recycling and importat ion of salts and potential contamination with other pollutants can be slowed or stopped by carefu l control of stormwater and wastewater including evaporation basins, piping out of the catchment and provision of barriers between potential transport spill sites and the aquifer.

INTRODUCTION Alice Springs is a large town with a population of about 25 000 people . Water consumption is high, reaching 2.6 kL per capita on peak days . The town's growth rate is substantial , in excess of 3% p.a., and as a result planning for a doubling of the population is an immediate concern. The expansion of the town is dependent upon the continuing availability of an economical water suppl y of adequate quality and quantity. Between 1983 and 1985 a team of water

S. Hancock

T. Fricke

Stephen Hancock is Chairman of Directors of Australian Groundwater Consultants and directed th e hydrogeological investigation outlined in this paper. Tom Fricke is a Principal of Gutteridge Haskin s and Davey, Consult in g Engineers, and is responsible for surface water hydrology in that firm and for the hydrology work reported in this paper. Jonathan Crockett is an Associate of Gutteridge Haskins and Davey and specialises in water quality and treatment investigations and designs. Ron Freyling is the Regional Engineer in Alice Springs for the Water Resources engineers and hydro logists from Australian Groundwater Consultants (AGC) and Gutteridge Haskins and Davey Pty. Ltd. (GHD) were commissioned by the Northern Territory Government to undertake a detailed study of the threats to Alice Spring's water supply and management strategies available to protect it. This work involved extensive reviews of existing data and gathering of hydrological, chemical and hydrogeological data from the areas south of Alice Springs and around White Gums, an area proposed for major urban development (see Figure I) . The whole study was undertaken as a project team effort with the consultants working closely with the Northern Territory Department of Transport and Works, now the Water Resources Division of the Department of Mines and Energy.

J. Crockett

R. Freyling

Division of the Nort hern Territory Department of Mines and Energy and was responsible for liaison and review of this paper. Adrian Bowden is an A. Bowden Associate with Australian Groundwater Consultants and directed the hydrological investigations reported in this paper.

BACKGROUND Alice Springs developed on the water supplies in the alluvial aquifers which underlie the town (Town Basin) and the area immediatel y downstream of Heavitree Gap (Inner and Outer Farm Basins, Figure I). These aquifers, although recl1arged at least in part from flows in the Todd River, suffer continuous overdraft with progressively declining water tables and, after 1974, deteriorating water quality, especially in respect of salinity. They are now no longer used. In the early sixties, government drilling exploration located a major water supply in Palaeozoic sedimentary aquifers of which the most important formation was the Mereenie Sandstone. This sandstone is underlain by associated sandstone and limestone sequences (Pacoota sandstone and Jay Creek limestone). Together these formations comprise the Mereenie Aquifer System. They occur as southdipping (30°) strata which are part of the Amadeus Basin . This basin extends south and west of Alice Springs. The Mereenie aquifer system is currently pumped at an average of 47 ML / d from 20 production bores. The bores are drilled to depths between 200 and 300 m in the Roe Creek borefield located some 10 km south of the town (Figure I) . Extraction varies from 13 ML/d to 50 ML/d. The water level is at present approximately 125 m below gro und level and is falling 1.5 to 2 m per annum (Figure 2) largely in response to increasing demands on the acquifers. A new well field in the same aquifer system (the Rock y Hill Borefield, Figure I) will be developed in the future.

Figure 1. Locality _plan WATER December, 1986


from which there is little if any llil outf l ow. The C groundwater I456 IIC hydrology is not ~ s u fficiently C 455 understood at this ~ stage to be able to ..l 454 estimate the flushri ing out of the catchment but as 8000 consumption of 7000 water in Al ice ti 6000 Springs increases .J ::E 5000 any outflow which w 4000 occurs at present C, may reduce . It is C 3000 0. easy to overlook J)QO the importance of 10 flu s hing flow through a catch0 1 64 I 65 I 66 I 67 I 68 I 69 I 70 I 71 I 72 I 73 I 74 I 75 I 76 I 77 I ment which prevents a continuous Figure 2. Mereenie Aquifer pumpage and draw-down at the build-up in Roe Creek Borefield dissolved sa lts; without a flushing flow through a catchHYDROLOGY ment there is no limit on salt build-up . Permeability in the Mereenie Aquifer System derives in part from intergranular WATER QUALITY porosity in the sandstones, and in part from fracturing in the sandstones and Water quality in the Roe Creek solution cavities in the limestones. Borefield is good, with total dissolved Recharge to the aquifer (Figure 3) solids between 500 and 600 mg/ L, derives from infiltration of waters along although it has 250 mg/ L total hardness the strike valleys during infrequent (as CaCO3). Turbidity and colour are periods of rain and particularly by innegligible. Study of the hydrochemistry filtration from stream flows when these and variation of the water salinity inoccur especially from Roe Creek. In the dicates that the salinity may increase slowinterim, supply is maintained by drawing ly towards 800 mg/ L TDS. on storage within the aquifer and from The importation of this water into Alice underflow occurring both / parallel to Springs introduces about 7000 tonnes of strike and from some water passing across salt per annum into the town area. The the bedding plane stratification from only discharge of water from Alice Sprunderling and adjacent aquifers. ings and the Town Basin are respectively the sewage flow of I0ML/d and groundThe situation of Alice Springs is unwater underflow which is now occurring common in that it is located within the at Heavitree Gap. broader catchment of its present and A recommendation of the first study future underground water supply source (the Pollution Protection Study) LAURA CREE~ RECHARGE was that analyses I of ground water ..ROE CREEKI RECHARGE TODD..RIVER RUNOFF for a wide range of I & SHALLOW ALLUVIAL I AQUIFIER FLOW organic and inI JAY CREEK;LIMESTONE organic constiI tuents should be GO'lDER..EORMATION I I out to procarried P.ACOOTA !ANDSTONE ROE CREEK j vide a baseline. RECHARGE Five samples were SOUTHERLY T.ERTIARY FLOW BASIN analysed and the ACROSS BEDDING results are set out in Table I . The samples were colMEREENIE AOUIFIER UNDERFLOW UNDERFLOW (ROE CREEK lected from three FROM EAST FROM WEST BOREFIELD) bores along the Todd River, one NORTHERLY I FLOW CZero to bore in the Roe j ACROSS very minor) Creek Borefield !BEDDING a nd dne bore ERMANNSBURG SANDSTONE upstream of the UNDANDITA MEMBER BREWER CONGLOMERATE Roe Creek Borefi e ld . Bore location s are GROUNDWATER FLOW COMPONENTS shown on Figure I. BREWER PLAIN RUNOFF It is encouragOR WASTE DISCHARGE ing that all of the c on s tituent s of Figure 3. Inflows to the Mereenie Aquifer System











WATER D ecember, 1986


potential health effect were either safely below drinking water guideline va lues or at least were not detectable at the detection limits of the analytical methods used . The samples from bores along the Todd River close to Heavitree Gap show hi gh salinity, elevated TKN (and in one case elevated nitrate), ele vated phosphate, elevated iron, lead, manganese and zinc and elevated dissolved organic carbon . Levels of these constituents are far higher than in the Roe Creek Borefield sample, clearly showing some pollution of basin and its outfl ow. The sample upstream of the Roe Creek Borefeld shows elevated phosphorus , TKN an dissolved organic carbon but th is is a shallow bore. Biological and physical/chemical attenuation of pollutants is probably taking place, although the extent of this attenuation is uncertain. An ongoing programme of sampling was recommended . Such broad monitoring for a wide range of parameters is expensive, at least $ 1000 per sample, but desirable. A point of interest about the Roe Creek Borefield is the high proportion of dissolved solids which is made up of carbonate hardness. Removal of most of the carbonate hardness should be cost effective and would reduce the salini ty of the Mereenie Aquifer System water by around 40%, without resultin g in an unsatisfactory sodium absorption ratio . However this does not mean that an increase in salini ty of the Mereenie Aquifer System wou ld be acceptable , si nce the major part of such an increase would be due to additional sodium chloride and sulphate as shown by the samples from the bores along the Todd River .



Pollutants present in the urban drainage wi ll be removed in the alluvium overlying the Mereenie Aqu ifer by several mechanisms. Nitrogen a nd phosphorus will be taken up by the roots of plants and organi c and ammonia nitrogen will be converted by bacteria to nitrogen gas. Bacteria will convert part of the TOC to carbon dioxide . Phosphorus may be adso rbed to clays as may TOC. Ammonia might be removed by ion exchange. The extent and effect of th ese mechanisms are impossible to predict a nd soil colo ur tests have been proposed. Three fa ctors suggest removal of all components will be limited. Firstly the relati ve ly hi gh permea bility of the alluvium will limit the time in which th ese processes can take place . Secondl y, the low frequen cy a lternate drying/ wetting of the allu vium is not conducive to maintenance of an active micro bial popula tion. Thirdl y, the limited amounts of clay limit phosphorus and TOC adsorption. Some contaminants in urban runoff, es pecially solvents, are resistant to microbiological degradation and also tend to be very mobile in soil (Figure 4). These will tend to be transported to the aquifer without chan ge. The health effects of such

Table 1. Mereenie Aquifer System Water Quality A


13 LN 10 7. 3 5 560 3 720 2 1. 7 192 89 030 10. 0 0 647 812 210 0. 98 0 .34 5. 08 51 63 54 LN 0. 005 LN 0.005 LN 0. 005 0.080 LN 0. 005 0.019 LN 0. 005 0. 69 846 530 316 479 366 530 52 o. 69 15. 4 990 72 .J - 0. 04

Radioact ivity (a counts , mBEC/L) Radioactivitj (b counts , mBEC/L) pH(pHUnits Conductivity (uS/cm) Di ssolved Salt s By Calculation Co lour (Tr ue) at 395 nm (Hazen) Turbidity (NTU) Calc ium Magnesium

Sodium Potassium

Carbonate Bicarbonate Sulphate Chloride Fluoride TKN as Nitrogen Nitrate and Nitrite as N

Phosphate-So 1ub 1e as Phosphorus ( u9/L) Phosphate- Tota 1 as Phosphorus ( u9/L) Sil i ca-Reacti ve Ar senic- Inorganic Ch romium- Tota 1 Copper-T otal Iron-Tota 1 Lead-Total Manganese- Tota 1 Selenium-Total Zi nc-Tota 1 Total Ha r dness as CaC02 Ca r bo nate Hardness as aC 03 Noncarbonate Ha rdness as CaC03 Calcium Hardness as CaC03 Magnesium Hardness as CaC03 Alkalinity as Calcium Ca r bonate Fr ee Car bo n Dioxide

Langelier Index Sodium Adsorptio n Rat io Total Chlorides as NaCl Sodium/Total Cations Ra ti o(%) Ion Balance ( %) Vol Chlorinated Hydrocarbons (a) ( ug /l) Organochlo ri ne & Organo-P Pest icides Polychlorinated Biphenyls (c) Hyd r ocarbons ( d) Disso lv ed Organic Carbon Phenol Detergent


NO NO LN 0. 01 0. 14

33 LN 10 7. 4 2 620 1 610 1 11 106 29 428 15. 6 0 342 310 533 0.2 3 0.42 LN 0.01 52 117 21 LN 0. 005 LN 0.005 LN 0. 005 1.55 o. 009 0. 100 LN 0. 005 0.012 384 280 104 265 119 280 22 0.2 8 9. 50 878 69 . 8 -0. 76 NO NO NO NO 2. 1 LN O. 01 o. 12

2B LN 10 LN 7. 1 2 910 1 830 1 8 208 34 380 16 . 4 0 330 380 613 0.29 0.30 LN 0. 01 17 56 40 LN 0. 005 LN 0.005 LN 0. 005 0.550 0. 018 0. 100 LN 0 . 005 0.018 659 270 389 519 140 270 42 0.2 5 6. 44 010 54. 9 - 0. 81 NO ND

NO NO 3. 1 LN 0. 01 0. 10


78 282 7.o 484 290 1 0 .23 29 13 55 4 .2 0 194 25 41 0. 24 0.34 1. 54 43 52 26 0. 005 LN 0.005 LN 0. 005 0.009 LN 0. 005 LN 0.005 LN 0. 005 0.02 1 126 126 0 72 54 159 31 -0. 86 2. 13 68 4 7. 7 0.4 5 NO NO NO NO 3. 0 LN 0. 01 0.04

116 467 7.0 806 517 1 0 .32 77 28 72 5. 4 0 360 78 55 0.2 4 LN 0.05 3. 14 25 29 22 0.001 LN 0. 005 LN 0, 005 0.050 0.016 LN 0.005 0.01 0. 10 308 295 13 192 115 295 57 -0. 19 1. 79 91 33 .J 0. 60 NO NO NO ND o. 7 LN 0. 01 0.04

NO= Not Detected all units mg/ L unless stated othe rwi se

LN • Less Than



materials are uncertain but man y are potential or act ual ca r c ino ge n s, with no clearly identified threshold concentration below which no ill-effect can be gua ranteed . Whilst exposure to such materials may occur at high concentrations in the home and work place, their presence in domesti c water suppl y is undesirable.





Ph os phates


Heavy Metals



(trivalent chromium) Radionuclldes





(hexavalent chromium) Chloride a





Synthetic Organic Chemicals

Pesti c ides




F igure 4. Relati ve mobility of certain contaminants in soil

Alice S pring s discharges

The co mbination of the cessation of pumping of the Town Basin aq uifer, periodic river recharge and the importation of water into th e Town Basin has caused water levels to rise in the aquifers. This has remob ili zed sa lts

previously fi xed by evapotranspiration in the unsaturated zo ne and the waters in the southern (lower) end of the basin have increased in salinity by a factor of six. This has resulted in saline underflow passing south through Heavitree Gap to pollute the Inner Farm Bas in . Sewage discharges are lagooned south of Heavitree Gap and evaporation raises salt concentration. The effluent has in the past been used to irrigate Redgums (ÂŁ. Cameldu!ensis). This has caused soil saturation which has mobilized salt and produced extremely saline discharges into the edge of the Inner Farm Basin. Further irrigation with this effluent was proposed locall y, but these proposals are now not being implemented . The Jong term impact of this saline discharge may be to increase the water levels in Tertiary alluvial aquifers whic h in-fill a deep (600 m) valley adjacent to the Mereenie Aquifer System (Figure I) . While the time of passage of the saline water from the Inner Farm Basin to the Mereenie Aquifer System is Jong, the potential for displace ment of brackish waters fro m the alluvial aquifers laterally to the Mereenie Aquifer cannot be ruled out, since the area of drawdown influence of the Roe Creek Borefield extends out far enough for this to occur. Insufficient data exists on the Tertiary aquifers to be sure of the reality of this threat, but it has been accepted as potentially serious. In order to ensure that the risk of saline contamination is avoided, the Northern Territory Government is considering piping of the sewage effluent and the Town Basin saline underflow 17 km south to the Noxious Industries Area (Figure I). A t this location the water would serve as a source of se!ond-grade industrial water, thus redu cing the fresh water demands at the site. Effluent could then be disposed of by evaporative concentration on the Brewer Conglomerates. T his sequence has been established to be of very low permeability by deep drilling (250 m) and hydraulic testing. Also the hydraulic gradient within the formation slopes to the south such that it would carry any effluent away from the Mereenie Aquifer. White Gums U rban Development Proposal

In early 1985 the Northern Territory Planning Authority received a planning app lication relating to a proposal to develo p I 2 square km of the Roe Creek catchment upstream of the Mereenie borefield for residential purposes. Th e development was proposed to consist of 6500 to 20 000 people occupying 2000 to 6000 detached dwellings together with associated shopping, recreational and school fac ilities. It was estimated that some 34% of the total area would be impervious roofs, carparks, roads etc . Currentl y the area proposed for development contains only a few rural holdings plus unpaved roads and tracks. The Water Resources Division of the Department of Mines and Energy in its role as th e responsible water resource authority was required to in vestigated and report on the imp.lication of the development for the WATER D ecember, 1986


Alice Springs groundwater supply. The Department in turn requested AGC . and GHD to carry o ut the hydrogeological and hydrological aspects of the investigation. Whilst the ability of the borefield to meet the increased water demand for the new development was in need of evaluation, by far the greatest concern was the ultimate destination of drainage water from the proposed development which is not only in the catchment area which contributes to recharge of the Mereenie Aquifer, but is only 5 km upstream of the nearest point of major stream bed infiltration. Salinity was used as the indicator of pollution from the developments drainage stream although other pollutants were also considered. In order to assess the significance of rainfall runoff, a hydrographic model of 390 km 2 of the 560 km 2 Roe Creek catchment (except Laura Creek) was established and calibrated to past flood levels. Local observations indicated that the creek flowed on the average once or twice per year and that flood events attenuated as they progressed downstream from the White Gums area due to infiltration through the creek bed, bank and flood plain . After calibration of the model it was then modified to include the proposed development in order to simulate the combined rural and urban flood hydrographs. Comparative resu lts were as follows: Return Period Flood Volume (kL) (Partial Series) Rural Urban 0.5 9.2 X 105 2.0 X 105 I 2.3 X 106 3.4 X 105 2.5 7.9 X 106 8.6 X 105 4.5 1.3 X 10' 1.3 X 106 By passing both the rual and urban flows down three identifiable reaches of Roe Creek between the development and the borefield, and from a knowledge of the transmissivity and conductivity of the creek alluvium, it was possible to predict the proportions of runoff infiltrating / evaporating in the various reaches. It was found that there would be five to six flood events per year but that for four of them the urban runoff wou ld infiltrate entirely into the two most upstream reaches of alluvium and be subsequently evaporated. Only the remaining one to two events per year would infiltrate the (most downstream) reach directly connected to the aqu ifer recharge system. Salinity modelling based on the Roe Creek water chemistry and soil watersolubility extract analysis showed that nearly 6000 t of salts would be introduced into the White Gums area annually with the water supply and that around 4000 t would leave the area annually in urban runoff (Figure 5). In addition garden watering would remobilize substantial loads of salt present naturally in the soils of the area and add a further 2000 t of salt into the discharge from the area. Integrating the salinity, groundwater and surface water models showed that on average, approximately 110 ML of urban stormwater would infiltrate into the Mereenie Aquifer System in the Roe Creek Barefield Catchment annually. 18

WATER December, 1986'





" ~"' E

~ 0




! "':

R[JH 2



jj I


ROE CR£t:I( 8OREFIEL0 112.1~1)







(:::::·:,.s;'J Figure 5. Schematic representation of sa lt s cycling through White Gums

This water would carry approximately 300 t of salt introduced into the catchment with the water supply and 150 t deriving from leaching of soil salts. The rema ini ng salt load introduced into the urban area and mobilized by garden watering was found to be either lost with infiltration into reaches of the stream upstream of the Mereenie aquifer system and Roe Creek Barefield recharge area or was carried in the floodout beyond the recharge area. As a result of this salt loading and because of recycling, further modelling showed that as the water supply to the area expanded the salinity of the total water suppl y to Alice Springs and White Gums wou ld increase from 600 mg/ L to over 1400 mg / L within 20 years. Studies of other water borne components capable of affecting quality showed that most wou ld not traverse the interface between urban areas and the aquifer. However, the total organic carbon content and nitrates are persistent and could be of some concern. If the White Gums development were to proceed, it is clear that careful management of urban runoff would be essential to ensure that its salt load is not released above the borefield recharge areas. Selective retention of saline flood waters in retarding basins could ameliorate salinity increases, but if no action were taken desalination of the water supply would become necessary.

SAFEGUARDS PROPOSED Based on the studies carried out by the Department a number of safeguards are under consideration to ensure the long term protection of Alice Springs' water supply. Firstly all new developments, which for social and economic reasons will largely occur within the broader catchment, will be designed in such a way that storm water runoff is disposed of either by evaporation or outside the catchment. The location of the new industrial area. which will include an oil distillery, was carefully chosen to be an almost impermeable formation from which travel of contaminants

into the future Rocky Hill Barefield is most unlikel y. The sewage disposal area is under consideration for relocation to the same Brewer Formation, even though there is no direct evidence at the moment that salts and other contaminants from the present irrigation area are reaching the Mereenie aquifer system. A major concern is the fact that road and rail access to Alice Springs cuts across the Mereenie aquifer immediately adjacent to the Roe Creek borefield . Clearly relocation of these routes is impractical and therefore careful design of the road drainage system is essential. Full curb and channel treatment has been proposed plus the setting up '°f an emergency response procedure in the event of a tanker spill.

CONCLUSIONS The st udies un dertaken have highlighted a number of important aspects in relation to water supply management and arid zone hydrology in particular. These are that: (i) at present water quality in the Alice Springs supply is excellent. (ii) where the water supply aquifer is also the local sump for all drainage flows it is essential to have sufficient information on the conduits and mechanisms by which water and pollutants enter that sump so that potentially polluting developments can be identified and managed to prevent risk to the long term water supply quality. (iii) where a wholly or partly closed water supply system exists the potential for concentration of contaminants is very great. (iv) in arid zone hydrology the groundwater systems may accept high pollutant loadings without transmitting them to the main water supply aquifers due to evaporation and evapotranspiration of infiltrated water. (v) urban development has the potential to mobilize very substantial salt loads and these can be transported qui ckly in urban runoff to a downstream water supply aquifer during periodic storm flows. A significant find ing of the study is that because initially the water supply and CONTINUED ON PAGE 22

WATER FOR LEISURE J. R. Lawrence ABSTRACT Three investigations for single-use recreational lakes illustrate the extremes of climate experienced in the Northern Territory. Low, irregular, an nual rainfall poses constraints on potential lake usage in Alice Springs and Tennant Creek, due to water level fluctuations, whereas in the Darwin area high rainfall and low variability combine to produce much less variable lake levels. Investigations for a potential recreational lake at Alice Springs represents an interesting case stud y showing the full range of issues relevant to planning for recreational lakes.

INTRODUCTION Opportunities for water-based recreation in the Territory are very limited. It is not that the Territory is short of water. The rivers of the Territory, which occupies 17% of the national land mass , carry 23% of the national average annual stream flow. The problem is of course that the streamflow is not uniformly distributed over the Territory. Gutteridge Haskins & Davey (GHD) has carried out investigations for single purpose recreation lakes at Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and Darwin over the last few years. The results of these investigations highlight the climatic extremes across Territory and also illustrate the range of iss ues which must be addressed in planning for recreational lakes. The study for Alice Springs, in particular, provides a good case study of these issues. Some key hydrologic indicators of the water cycle are shown in Figure I . As rainfall decreases from north to south the variability increases. Some of the highest pan evaporation readings in Australia are recorded in the southern half of the Territory, where annual runoff only exceeds 10 mm in the MacDonnell Ranges north of Alice Springs.

John Lawrence, B.Sc . , M.B.A ., Dip.H.E.(De/ft), M.I.E. Aust., M.I.C.E., is Principal Engineer/ Hydrologist in the Brisbane office of Gutteridge Haskins & Davey, Consulting Engineers. He has been responsible for a wide range of water resources investigations throughout Queensland and Northern Territory over the last few years. Prior to that he worked on water related projects for international consultants in England and Canada, which took him to many parts of the world.

John Lawrence

,.aoo r----eoo




! f'\ l \ lo



Y4LI • SP~NGS I 200


L---------- _j



ALICE SPRINGS As one of a number of options, a site Emily Creek 12 km east of Alice Springs was selected for a preliminary study to determine its potential as a viable recreation area (Figure 2) . The site would be readily accessible to the rapidly growing local population at Alice Springs and its increasing number of tourists. This preliminary study involved hydrology, sedimentology, geology, geotech nical , planning and environmental considerations. However, the main emphasis was on determining whether a waterbody could be sustained by a 62 km 2 catchment area to form a viable lake . The climatic statistics for Alice Springs indicate the significant evaporation losses which could be expected. With a mean annual rainfall of only 300 mm and an estimated mean annual evaporation from the lake surface of approximately J 900 mm, (based on Class 'A' pan evaporation records), a mean annual loss of J.6 m from the water surface is indicated. The variability of rainfall is high and there can be several years of rainfall below the mean value. It was necessary to carry out a reservoir behaviour analysis to determine the extent of lake level fluctuations. Too large a fluctuation in water levels, and hence surface area, could be unfortunate in a recreational lake, as large areas of silt-covered lake margin would significantly detract from the aesthetic appeal, and make the provision of swimming beaches and boat access difficult and expensive . There were no flow records at the site, therefore a synthetic 25 year monthly flow record was generated by correlation with records on the nearby Todd River catchment. A mass-balance computer model was used to estimate lake levels and water area for each month, based on inflow , rainfall, evaporation, and allowance for dam leakage at a range of full supply levels. A frequency analysis of the resu lts showed the percentage of time various levels were exceeded, as shown in Figure 3. Clearly the greater the initial full supply level the greater the fluctuation. Although level fluctuations are not ideal for the purposes of a recreational lake, as climatic factors would provide similar constraints on other sites in the area it was considered that Emily Creek would provide an acceptable site . On the basis of these


Cl 200

V0°°{~ v..eQ) ~ l



,~J 4000


Figure 1. Key hydrologic indicators in the Northern Territory. Source: Northern Territory Department of Mines and Energy, Water Resources Division.

results a full supply level of 593 m AHO was chosen as a compromise between providing as large an area as possible whilst limiting level fluctuations . This lake would provide 97 ha when full, be above 68 ha for 500Jo of the time and above 40 ha for 25% of the time. The estimated lake level performance over the 25 yea r period is shown in Figure 4. These water surface areas can support a range of recreational activities. It is worth noting that smaller areas than this can be quite adequate. Tennant Creek has similar climatic constraints to Alice Springs and in 1978, GHD prepared a report on a recreational lake which showed that with a maximum lake area of 17 ha, for 50% of the time, the lake area would be less than 8 ha. However, despite these limitations the lake, since constructed, is popular with both residents and tourists. There is a sailing club and an annual regatta . Once the lake elevation for Emily Creek had been established a concept plan was then drawn up to accommodate a wide range of recreational activities. (Figure 5) . WATER December, 1986




P,c11c Aro, N••orill ArtU

R(t_R[AllqNAL fA(!ll_!![<





........ ,"9 O,n~t.yu, ,ng


(-,ng f. ~bow~•"'il


- - - 11011:1,J. 1t,uu, Pr•,,-..;A,us




K,0,1,. l IM••prtt,~ CtMrt



o 01









"t.<f,f,i1 (j~ '> \'~







~..t _



\ :::E

' . . .,.1......-)w



',_,, ,......,__ ' - /






Figure 5. Emily Creek -

proposed recreational reserve.

Figure 2. Possible recreational lake site near Alice Springs.




590 z j:::

< 588 >




584-+---+---+--+---+---i---f---t---+---+--~ 582....._--+---+---+---+--'----+---+---+---+-20 40 60 80 100 PERCENT OF TIME EXCEEDED

Figure 3. Emily Creek -

elevation, frequency curves.



7.0 -

,. "



; 588

2.0 0








588 ._68--0-0-.-,--••--.-.--.-8----,.--,-.--,.- -,-.-.,.-80- -82- -I YEAR

Figure 4. Emily Creek -

WATER December, 1986


< >

0 .0 w


lake level variations.

The main features of the plan are; picnic areas on the foreshore close to points of access, with provision for access for swimming and boat launching, and natural areas adjacent to the foreshore at the upper end of the lake with access for walking trai ls and horse riding. A hinterland is provided, extending 200 to 1000 m from the lake, with a buffer zone beyond the visual range to maintain the lake's natural environmental setting . There is sufficient space to cater for swimming, dinghy sailing, canoeing and sailboarding. Power boating , water skiing and use of off-road vehicles were judged to be incompatible with the other uses. The problem of sediment transport and deposition received some attention, Although the li fe of the reservoir would be expected to be in excess of JOO years, the nature of sediment deposition is such as to have a disproportionate effect on lake area. By forming a delta at the lake entrance, the sediment could, qu ite early on in the li fe of the reservoir, reduce the area by a significant 20



"'a: ...,




i--ii1 km

Fu I Sup ~ly Le .-e,


W 593



Figure 6. Possible recreation lake site near Darwin. 8.0


.s u < u.

0 SCALE ....---j

- 2.0 - 4.0 20






Figure 7. Elizabeth River -

elevation, frequency curves.

amount. Estimates were made based on correlation with the results of sediment sampling and analysis on the Todd River taking into account Emil y Creek catchment and strea m bed characteristics. A sand trap is proposed at the upper end of the lake, estimated to trap 4000 to nnes of sand per annum on average, altho ugh subject to large variations year by year. This sand wo uld be cleared out as required and would supply part of th e local building requiremen ts. It wou ld not be possible to prevent silt sized sediments being deposited in the reservoir. CONTINUED ON PA GE 33

RUM JUNGLE REHABILITATION PROJECT -UPDATEDepartment of Mines and Energy, Water Resources Division INTRODUCTION Work on the Rum Jungle Rehabilitation Proj ect was commenced about the time of th e 1983 a nnual conference of the A WWA in Darw in . Many of the conferenc e delegates took th e opportunity of a tour of the mine site to inspect Rum Jungle. Only a relatively min or amount of the rehabilitation programme was then completed. Three years later, the programme is now essentiall y complete, although monitoring and maintenance is planned to continue for a furth er two years unti l 1988. It is now appropriate to review the work carried out since the Darwin conference in 1983.

POLLUTION AT RUM JUNGLE The poll ution at Rum Jungle and its effect on th e environment and the Finiss River system has been recognized sin ce the mine closed in 1971. The main causes of pollution were: (i) Three large overburden heaps (Whites, Intermediate and Dysons) and one smaller heap (Whites No rth) were undergoing bacteriologicall y catalysed pyritic oxidation , which re leased disso lved heavy metals and acids to the environment. (ii) T wo open cut pits (Whites an d Intermediate) which were allowed to fill with water once th e ore bodies were mined out , had become polluted with heavy metals and acid. (iii) A copper heap leach pile, constructed as an experiment to remove copper from low grade oxide and sulphide ore, continued to oxidize , re leasing acids and heavy metals to th e environm ent. (iv) Erosion of tailings from the Old Tailings Dam was re leasing un-neutralized wastes and low levels of radioactivity to the river system. (v) Various areas of the site, including the old treatment plant site, th e ore sto ck pile area, the Acid and Sweetwater dams, as well as the outwash areas around the overburden heaps had become denuded of vegetatio n .

water contained in th e Whites and Intermediate Open Cut pits. - aesthetic impro vements including promotion of vegetation . These objectives were to be achieved either by removing the source of pollution (for example th e removal of the Copper Hea p Leach Pile) or by inhibiting th e tra nsport of the pollutants to the environment. The rehabilitation programme comprised the following works:

Old Tailings Dam and the copper heap leach pile

Overburden heaps (a) The overburd en hea ps were reshaped to form stable slopes and the top surface of each heap was graded towards the centre of the heap. A multi -layered low permeabi lity cover system was installed over th e hea ps. Drainage was constructed on the heaps and the heaps were revegetated.

REHABILITATION STRATEGY The Rum Jun gle Reha bilitatio n Project was esta blished in 1982 as a Commonwealth fund ed project, managed by the Northern Territory Government. The rehabilitati on programme was aimed at signifi cantly red ucing the environ mental poll ution at the mine site. The project had th e following four objectives: - to reduce the po llutio n load carried by th e East Branch of the Finniss River , including red ucing the levels of copper, manganese and zinc by 70%, 56% and 70% respectively. - to red uce th e public health hazards at th e site, particularly the levels of rad ioactivity , to set Australian standards. - to reduce the level of pollution in the

was established at the site for this purpose.

Site plan prior to rehabilitation .

(b) The majority of Whites North Heap was moved to the toe of Whites Heap. The remainder of this heap was res haped and treated as in (a) above. (c) Both the Intermedi ate Overburd en Heap and the remnants of Whites North Overburden Hea p were treated with lime prior to covering to provide a buffer aga inst soil acidity.

and revegatated. (e) In the area previously occupied by the copper heap leach pile, rubb le drains were in stalled and the area was covered with a gro und cover system incorporating an anticapillary layer and revege tated . (f) The completed Dysons Open Cut was covered with a multi- layer cover system incorporating extensive subsoil drainage, drained and revegetated.

Open cut pits T he water in Whites Open Cut Pit and the In termed iate Open Cut Pit was treated with lime to correct the pH and floccu lant to aid settlement. A water treatment plant

East Branch of the Finniss River After the treatment of the water contained in Whites and Intermediate Open Cut Pits, th e East Branch of the Finniss WATER December, 1986


River was partially rediverted through open cut pits. Low flows and flood flows are diverted aro und the pits by a diversion channel.

Other areas (a) The old treatment plant area was regraded, treated with lime and covered with a low permeability cover system, incorporating an ant icap ill iary layer. Drainage was constructed and the area was revegatated. (b) The old stockpile areas was regraded, treated with lime, covered with a combination of single and double layer covers, drained and revegetated. (c) The remnants of the old Acid and Sweetwater dam wall were removed . (d) Areas previously denuded of vegetation were revegatated.

CONSTRUCTION Earthworks The earthworks phase included the rehabilitation of the overburden heaps, the removal of the tailings and low grade copper ore, the red iversion of the East Branch of the Finniss River and the rehabilitation of the other areas of the site. The phase was divided in to four stages which progressed sequentially. These stages were as follows:

Stage 1 - April 1983 to June 1983 • the removal of Whites North Overburden Heap

Stage 2 - August 1983 to December 1984 • The rehabilitation of Whites Overburden Heap

Stage 3 - June 1984 to December 1984 • the rehabilitation of the Old Tailings Dam • the removal of the copper heap leach pile and associated soils • the removal of contaminated material from Copper Creek and Old Tailings Creek • the rehab ilitatio n of Dysons Open Cut

Stage 4 - May 1985 to June 1986 •· the rehabilitation of the old treatment plant area and old stockpile area • the covering an d revegetation of the copper heap leach pile area • the rehabilitation of Dysons Overburden Heap and Intermediate Overburden Heap • the rediversion of the East Branch of the Finniss River • minor clean up works.

Water treatment Whites Open Cut The treatment of the contaminated water in Whites Open Cut utili zed the difference in density between the untreated contaminated water and the treated water. Untreated water was drawn from the lo wer levels of the contaminated water body in the pit. It was then treated wit h lim e and the h eavy metals were 22

WATER December. 1986

precipitated out at the water treatment plant. The treated water was then returned to the upper levels of the pit. Because the treated water was less dense then the untreated , separation between the two bodies of water was maintained . The process continued until the in terface between the treated and untreated water reached a depth of approximately 22 metres. T he density difference is such that it is not anticipated that significant short term mixing will take place . The East Branch of the Finniss River has been re-diverted through the pit wh ich wi ll ensure that a continuous supply of lower densit y water is always available to flush the upper level of the Open Cut and that the concentrations in the water disc harged from the Cut are below the adopted water qual ity objectives. Flushing is regulated by control structures which di vert flood flows and low flows around the cut. T he treatment of W hites Open Cut commenced in September 1984 and was completed in September I 985.

CONCLUSION The Rum Jungle uranium mine project created a serious pollution and public health problem, which was exacerbated by the monsoonal climate and the dispersed nature of the site. The rehabilitation works successfully reduced the en vironmental pollution and transformed and beautified the original stark landscape. The project serves as a model for the management and rehabilitation of other mine sites in this climate. In recognition of work carried out , the project was awarded a High Commendation by the Institution of Engineers Australian Northern Territory Division for the 1986 Engineering Excellence A ward.

Intermediate Open Cut In the treatment of the Intermediate Open Cut, the approach was varied because of the lower estimated density different ial between the treated and un treated water. It was considered that there wo uld be insufficient density differential to maintain the required separation between the layers. Chemical treatment was adopted. The water was aerated from a compressed air manifold anchored to the floor of the pit ; a hydrated lime slurry was then introduced into the rising air plume and the resulting precipitates allowed to settle to the floor of the pit. These heavy metal precipitates were then pumped from the Open Cut and dewatered in the water treatment plant. T he treatment of the Intermediate Open Cut commenced in October 1985 and was completed in December 1985 .

MONITORING PROGRAMME A detailed environmental monitoring programme was established before the commencement of rehabilitation. This programme includes the fo llowing: • detailed water quality monitoring of the East Branch of the Finniss River and the Finniss River • water level and quality monitoring of the groundwater sytems • monitoring of the chemical activity and the water balance of Whites Overburden Heap • monitoring of the estab lishment and condition of vegetation on the revegetation area (including borrow pits) • monitoring of erosion around the site. To date, this monitoring programme has shown that the Rehabilitation Project has been successfu l in achieving all of the original objectives. Mon itoring will continue until at least Jun e 1988 to check that the site remains stab le with time and that water qualit y continues to improve.


Continued from page 18 pollutant sump was the Town Basin beneath Alice Springs this delayed the development and emergence of problems in relation to the present wellfield at Roe Creek. Even now the threat presented by contaminant discharges from Alice Springs to the Roe Creek Barefield is smaller than the threat which wou ld have app lied had the White Gums urban development proceeded witl10ut proper runoff management. The mechanisms for contam inant transport determined for W hite Gums have significance for A lice Springs in re lation to the proposed Ro cky Hills Borefield, since this lies downstream of Alice Springs on the Todd River flood-out area and may be a recipient of periodic salt loadings deriving from that area. Further modelling studies and field evaluations will be necessary in order to ensure that the wellfield has not already suffered salt loadings from Alice Springs.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The autho rs wis h to acknow ledge the assistance given throughout the project by the staff of Northern Territory Water Resources Division especiall y Mr. J. Vanhoeven and Mr. D . Paige.

REFERENCES AUSTRALIAN GROUNDWATER CONSU LT ANTS and GUTTERIDGE HASK INS AND DA VEY ( 1983), for Northern Territory Department of Transport and Work s, Alice Springs Water Suppl y Po ll ution Protection Stud y - Final Report. AUSTRALIAN GROUNDWATER CONSULTANTS and GUTTERIDGE HASKINS AND DA VEY ( 1985) , for Nort hern Territory Department of Mines a nd Energy, Water Resou rces Di vision Sa lini ty and Pollution Eva luations for the Proposed W hi te Gums Urban Development Stage I Report.

Water Resources in _the Northern Territory Management at the Cross-roads N. Watson ABSTRACT The public sector component of the water industry in the Northern Territory is in a state of flu x, and , along with public authorities elsewhere in Australia is reorienting to cope with chaning needs of the industry, apparent for man y years, and clearly foc used in WATER 2000. The gradual redirection from a development to management bias is equally valid in the Territory. This must however be balanced against the shorter term assess ment and development needs of an underdeveloped but resource rich part of the continent. This reordering of priorities and addressing of longer term planning objectives as well as promoting and meeting short term development within a total management framework, is being undertaken in an environment of organisational change, severe budgetry constraints, and withdrawal of Commonwealth finan cial support.

No rm Watson is Director of Water Resources and is responsible for all water resource management matters across th e No rthern Territory, including th e assessment, in vestigation and planning of development, regulation, and assistance to industry under the Water Supplies Development Act. A Civil Engineer, No rm has worked in the water industry since 1960 with the Victorian State Rivers and Water Supply Commission and then th e Soil Co nservation N . Watson A uthority for eight years. Since 1973 he has worked as a water reso urce manager in the N. T. with the exception of four years with an Adelaide engineering consultant. His private sector experience included land development, hydrology and drainage, and involved nearly two years in lndon esia and th e Philippines on slum rehabilitation and infrastructure planning and design.

INTRODUCTION Restructuring of water industry fun ctions within the Public Sector has been well documented in recent years . Whilst acceleratio n of organisation and institutional change has been apparent for JO, perhaps 15 years, the more recent Commonwealth stud y, WATER 2000, did much to focus on the major issues relevant to the industry and consequently the roles of Government at Commonwealth , State, and local levels in meeting the challenges ahead. T he Norther Territory possesses a rich share of the nations groundwater and surface water resources . With less than 1OJo of the population and about I 7% of the total land mass, the Northern Territory has approximately 25% of the average annual surface water stream flow and up to 40% of the fresh groundwater reso urces of the nation . Although resource development in the Nor thern Territory has been minimal to date, issues such as flooding and erosion have always been with us; others related to reso urce allocation, quality protection , and gro undwater management are now emerging. The responsibility for ensuring appropriate development and ongoing manage ment and long term protection of water resources, rests with the Water Resources Division (WRD) of the Department of Mines and Energy (DME). Effectiveness in this role needs close consultation and cooperatio n with the public, with industry, and particularly with other areas of the public sector involved in land and natural reso urce development. There is also a need for continued understanding and commitment by Government to the importance of water resources management in the development of the Territory. T his paper outlines the management role of the WRD and its predecessors and the adjustment of its modus-operandi to meet al}d continue to meet the changing needs and expectations of its customers, public sector organisation changes, and philosophies and policies of Government.


Using the knowledge acquired by assessment, planning makes predictions about the way in which water might best be used in the years ahead . When using water for one set of needs we will usually have to give up opportunities for other uses. Planning compares the options for using water and recommends the requirements for developing and where appropriate regulating the resource . Development

Development of water resources occurs when we change them in some way. Some change is necessary for a lmost all economic development. This change can involve by extraction from or input to a surface or gro undwater body. Regulation

Regulation sets limits upon the ways in which we use water. At its primary level, regulation is concerned with conversion of natural water systems so that we might retain the greatest flexibility on options for use in the future . The second level is concerned with the efficient development of water resources from social and economic viewpoints, and includes choosing between alternative works which will meet our needs for water, and for controlling the long term operation of engineered water systems. Policy

The principal responsibility for managing natural water resources rests with the Government . This res ponsibility is exercised through policies which give balanced direction to overall economic development and conservation. P lanning, regu lation and assessment of water resources arise out of and support these policy directions.

MANAGEMENT Before discussing past, present, and future resources management it is appropriate to define what is meant by management. Water resources management is achieved through the applicatio n of Gove rnment policy evolvi ng fr om a range of technical evaluations and interactive decision maki ng. T he main inputs to management decision maki ng can be considered as follows. Assessment

T his involves the gathering of raw data and its interpretatio n so that we can better understand the resource . Assessment provides basic knowledge of the total reso urce base. Ideally it tells us how much water is available, and how much is being used in both quantitative and quali tative terms . It is the fund amental source of informatio n for sensib le development , planning and regulation of water resources. 24

WATER December, 1986

THE PAST Collection of surface water data in the Territory commenced in the early 1950s and over the last 30 years a streamflow measurment network has been developed . Water quality information has also been systematically obtained . Apart from drilling for domestic, industrial or stock needs there has been little done to evaluate broad scale groundwater resources. Assessmen t of surface and gro undwater resources has not yet been attacked in a comprehensive way across the Territory , instead , work has been directed towards specific development needs, either locally or in some instances, regionally. Similarly planning and regulation of the water resources has also been carried out in an ad-hoc manner and on a highly localised basis. For most of the past 30 years, responsibility for the management of water resources, has been shared by several Government

agencies. From 1957 until 1978 assessment was carried out by the Water Resources Branch , of the Commonwealth Department of the Northern Territory. The Branch was active in the investigation and evaluation of gro un dwater supplies for remote communi ties, it expanded the stream flo w recording network and also monitored the quality of wate r supplies to protect public health. In addi tion, Branch conducted feasibility studies into resource deve lopments for agricul ture, industry , and domestic needs. An adviso ry service fo r rural water supplies was established in the early 1970s. The regulation of water resources for the pur pose of conservation and environmental protection also fe ll within the Branch's responsibility. Urban water supply and disposal of waste waters was the respo nsibility of the public Utilities Branch, of the Department of the Northern Territory . Construction, operation, and design of water supply and wastewater systems at major towns was undertaken by the Commonwealth Department of Works. With self-government in mid-1978, water resource management became focussed within a single Auth ority, The Water Division of the Department of Transport and Works which performed all of the functions of water resources management, and operated water and wastewater services, utilising the Department' s Public Works . Division for design and construction needs. In December I 984, further administrative changes were made . Plan ning, development, and operation of major public water and was tewater services remained with the Water Divison . Full managerial responsibilities for the nat ural water reso urce base and a co-ordinating and advisory role in minor public water services, was transferred to the Department of Mines and Ene rgy.

THE PRESENT C urrently, the bodies responsib le for water resource management and their responsib ili ties are as follows:

Water Resources Division - Department of Mines & Energy Management of the Territory's natural water resources to promote orderly development , including resource assessment, planning, regulatory surveillance, laboratory and adv isory services, mi nor water supply development and policy adv ice.

Water Division - Department of Transport and Works Forward plan ning, programming, operation and maintenance of town water sup ply and wastewater systems, including coordination of private development and minor works, billing for reticulated water supplies and wastewater services.

Public Works Division - Department of Transport & Works Design and construction for town water supply and wastewater systems.

Aboriginal Development Division - Department of Community Development Plann ing, design, construction , operation and billing for abor iginal community water suppl y and wastewater systems .

Building Branch - Department of Lands House connections, plumbing inspectorate and Plumbers and Drainers Licensing. T he NT public service is a young service which has undergone considerab le change in the eight years since Self Government . Wit h the comparatively dynamic state of development in the Territory and the rapidly changing needs in the industry during this period, the organisation of public sector water functions has been continually under consideration. A further review, just recently completed, has resu lted in a decision to recommend transfer of the Water Division and Public Works Division responsibilities to a new Water A uthority. The distribution of responsibilities poses the real challenge to the industry in the years ahead. Effective communication thro ughout the industry is necessary for appropriate and consistent advice to Governmen t and policy formulation to achieve soun d and orderly management of the Territory's water resources. The needs of the industry itself have also been undergoing rapid change . The industry has changed in the last decade or so from a

development to a management bias. With astly increased cost of capital developments, and increased public awareness and expectations in relation to social and environmental iss ues, the engineering approach of years ago must now be supplemented by'other skills. Authorities have recognised the need for more efficient use of existing sources and for greater understanding and provision for a wider range of legitimate water users. Strategic planning is essential to ensure the most appropriate utili sation and protection of resources for long term community benefit. T he Water Resources Division has recognised this and, implemented a major internal organisation change in 1985 to this end. The Territory is re latively underdeveloped in comparison with the States and a lthough it has ample water resources they are highly variable in quality and quantity. Appropriate levels of understanding of these resources and careful judgement in their allocation, wjll be most important in making correct development decisions which will support sustained economic development in the Territory. Already competition for available resources is apparent for the major towns in the Territory and work is proceeding to formu late long term policies for development and regu lation. The conseq uent increased complexity in management has to be achieved in an environment of reducing physical and financia l resources. The Northern Territory Public Service is currently operating under a virtual recruitment freeze with the inevitable res ult of reduction in manpower. Local budget restraint has also been exacerbated by the recent Commonwealth decision to withdraw financia l assistance under the Federal Water Resources Assistance Program for data inventory activities. Assistance amounting to approximately 15% of the total budget for water reso urces activities has been withdrawn with a loss to the Terri to ry of about $ 1.6 million, resu lting in the need to redeplo y 30 staff.

THE FUTURE The development potential of the Territory is almost limitless and the impact of existing development and the needs of further development in the tourism, mining, and the primary production sectors have major implications for water resources managemen t. With the current diversification of water functions it is imperative that existing formal and informal communication links remain in place and are enhanced 1wherever possible. This approach, together with a more co nscious effort to promote and seek publicity for the water management function in general, and specific achievements in particular , is integral to the strategy to be adopted for the future. It is probab ly correct to say that water resources management in the Territory is entering a new phase . Changes in the industry itself and internal reorganisation of the WRD to meet the accompanying challenges have already been referred to. One aspect of this reorganisation was to recognise the resultant need and provide organisationally for strategic planning. Prior to self government, the major emphasis of water resources management in the Territory was upon data collection and development. Recent years have seen a perod of reorientatio n , both locally and nationally, to the more complex needs and ongoing role of water resources management. The future will require a much more planned approach to ensure that shrinking resources are utilised on the basis of real priorities in a more complex and competitive environment. With the announcement of the Commonwealth 'WATER 2000' study, it was recognised that there would be considerable involvement and input required from the Territory and it was decided that a parallel study would be undertaken to assess the Territory's future situation in developing and managing its own water reso urces. The resu lts of this work wou ld be in a document titled ' WATER - NORTHERN TERRITORY' consisting of two volumes for public distribution. Volume 1 - An inventory of Terri tory Water Resource. Now completed, published, and distributed . Volume 2 - An evaluation of the problems and issues for Territory water resources with policy commitment for action. In publication. Following Volume 2 a third document will be prod uced 'WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT STRATEGY' (not for public distribution), which will in fact be a blueprint for action to address the problems and implement the recommendations WATER December, 1986


Australian Water & Wastewater Association Preliminary Strategic Plan - 1987 to 1991 1. THE AIM OF THE STRATEGIC PLAN The aim of the Strategic plan is to provide a guide to Federal Council and Branch Committees so that there is a common understanding of the purpose of the Association and the direction in which it is heading. This should lead to a more integrated and cohesive style of management than might otherwise be the case . The Strategic Plan is not a static document and will be reviewed annually by the Federal Council and revised as necessary .

2. THE ROLE OF THE A.W.W.A. The A.W .W.A. is a vehicle for communication and exchange of information and ideas on the water industry relevant to the needs of the membership . It is an educational organisation. · To date the information exchanged has dealt generally with issues related to urban water supply and wastewater and has largely been confined to technical matters . When the A.W .W.A. was formed in 1962 the industry was still in an expansionary phase and the founders of the Association were conscious of the growing public awareness and concern for environmental issues; the increasing pressures on water sources and receiving waters brought about by rapidly increasing urbanisation and the need to address the emerging complex technical issues on a multi-disciplinary basis. At its inception the A. W. W .A . filled a need. This need still exists . However times change and new issues arise. The re-politicisation of the public sector, the increasing maturity of the industry and the downturn of the economy are factors which cannot be ignored. If A . W . W .A . is to remain relevant it must sense the new issues of concern to the members, as the issues emerge and organise and lead the debate on them.

- planning, demand forecasting and pricing policies for water and wastewater. The goals of the Association remain substantially as they were when the organisation was founded. There are however a large number of participants involved in the management of water resources now and these are drawn from a wider array of disciplines. The need for greater understanding across and between disciplines was never more pressing. It is the immediate aim of the Association to improve its service to members by widening the scope of debate in its forums with a view to bringing greater understanding of current issues in the water industry to the wide body of participants. The goals must therefore be achieved by the strategies proposed later .

5. PERFORMANCE MEASURES It is difficult to establish precise measures for efficiency and effectiveness for organisations such as A . W . W .A. Two such could be that the fee structure is not excessive and that the Association is seen as a good one to belong to . The Federal Council has therefore established the following performance targets: (a) Fees to ordinary members should not increase to a rate greater than C.P.I. (b) Membership in the various grades should increase by 5% in the first year of the plan, a further 10% in the second year and have doubled in five years. The increase in membership and therefore income will assist in acheivement of strategies, which lead to improved performance of the A.W.W .A. Target?



3. MISSION STATEMENT The Association's mission should be: • Provision of improved services to membership • Advance fundamental and practical knowledge in the technology and management of the water industry • Promote public understanding and advise Governments, industry and the media on Water and environmental matters impartially and independently • Encourage education, training and research • Enhance technological knowledge from international links

I 30001--------- - -- -- ---'r- - - - - - - ~ - ' - - - l I


I / /



4. OBJECTIVES The objectives of the A. W . W .A. have not changed and are in line with the Mission Statement. They are as follows : • Provide a forum in Australia for interchange of multidisciplinary knowledge and skills in the field of water and wastewater. • Recognise, declare, promote and disseminate advances in engineering science and public health as applied to : - the management of water resources; - collection, treatment and distribution of surface and underground water; - collection, treatment, reuse and disposal of wastewater; - design, operation and management of water and wastewater systems; - determination and assessment of water and wastewater quality . • Promote the publication of technological information in the fields of water and wastewater, including the publication of the journal Water. • Arrange or sponsor meetings , conferences and symposia on subjects consistent with the objectives of the Association. • Liaise and establish affi1iations with related organisations, both within Australia and overseas. • Inform and advise the public and Government on matters concerned with water and wastewater technology. • Encourage education, training and research: - protection of the environment; 26 WATER D ecember, 1986


1·!9""62,------1--=9... 70-------,--'9-so---,-9... 86--1-9... 90--'-1..... 992

Growth of membership

6. MEMBERSHIP OF A.W.W.A. The A.W.W .A. exists to provide the range of services that the members want and are prepared to pay for. The membership falls into the following broad categories: • Individual Members • Sustaining Members The individual Membership may be categorised in a number of ways. On a geographical basis they could be classed as follows: • Those who can regularly attend Branch meetings • Those who cannot On an occupational basis they could be classed as follows: • Executive • Management • Technical - managerial • Technical Specialists • Marketing, Sales , Purchasing • Student

The Sustainin g Members fa ll broadly into the following catego ries: • Public Authorities • Consulta nts • Suppliers to the industry The Federal Council belie ves that the standard of service offered to each class of member should be reviewed and improved.

Each class of the membership is to be rev iewed separately - their needs assessed and strategies developed to servi ce those needs. A hi gh priority is to be given to add ressing the needs of Sustaining Me mbers. As a n ini tial step the Associat ion will publish a Directory listing the names of a ll S ustaining Members together wit h a resume of the services each pro vid es to the indu stry. It is proposed to publish the first edition of the Directory in 1987.






The A. W. W .A. will provide a better service to its members if it recognises the ex istence, needs an d aspirations of the other stak eholders in the water industry. These include: · • Governments • The general public • Cons um ers The Federa l Council reco gnises that the A. W. W .A . mu st be a good corporate citizen in the water indu stry and seek to operate in the public interest rather than act for narrow sec tional interests. If the A. W. W .A. is to act in thi s wide role is needs to be in a posi-

tio n to place the knowledge of its membership - whi ch is the Associations stoc k in trade - at the communit y's service. The A. W. W .A. is not a political organi sation an d do es no t seek to develop policies on political issues. The A. W. W .A. ex ists to provide a forum where those with the best knowledge can air their views an d have them tes ted in debate. No mechanism exists for the A.W.W.A. itse lf to disti l the ' Right ' view an d to pronounce up on it. What the A. W. W .A. can do is to raise the stand ard of debate on a n iss ue by bri nging knowledgeable people togeth er to focus on it. The A. W. W .A. should hope to be consu lted when expert panels a re being esta bli shed by Gove rnm ents - this has to be earned by imp roved performance and enh anced rep utation . This

suggests that the A. W. W.A. may need to be much more active in the future in sensing issues as they emerge and in organising and leading the debate. T he A. W . W .A. will set in place mechanisms to bring this about. These wi ll in clud e settin g up a panel or panels of specialists / experts to provide to the Exec utive in formed op inion on pub lic iss ues. 7.1 Issues to be add ressed

Pending a review by the speciali st panel the following a re iss ues considered by the Association to have particular significance: • How the water industry might best be organised • Productivity in the water indu stry • How managers are tra ined in the ind ustry • Managing with less • Demand Management • Asset Management • Land Use Planning • Proposed Legislation • Technological adva nces • Research needs Federal Counci l will consider commissioning pos1t10n papers on specific topics or a llocating topics to Branches which will be the subject of seminars or workshops . .

8. PROVISION OF SERVICES Service is provided by A. W. W .A. by the following me_a ns: • Through the Journal - which goes to all members and has the potential to reach non-members • Through Branch news letters - goes to all members in a Branch • Through Branch meetings - generall y avai lab le only to mem bers who live in a cap ita l city o r Newcastle • Through the Federal Conference - the flag f.hip, but attended by less than 250Jo of the membership • T hro ugh the summer schoo ls • Through Seminars and workshops

8.1 The Journal

T he o bj ectives of the A. W. W .A. in publishing Water a re to provide a qualit y journal for the publication of original works in the sp heres of the Associa tion 's interest, to pro vide a cha nnel of communication and of info rma tion to the mem bership covering developments a nd ha ppenings within Australia and elsew here of interest to members and to serve as an in for med so urce of information to th e water and wastewater industry a nd to industry interested in water and wastewater. The current distribution of Water approac hes 3000 copies per iss ue to all grades of membership of the Association, to subscribers through Australia a nd on a rotati ng basis to Water an d Sewerage Autho rities, Municipal Councils, Universities, relevant Governm ent Departments a nd major Libraries. T here is also a small but signi ficant distribution to overseas members and subscribers a nd the contents of Water are indexed in Water/it a nd Aqualin e computer services. T he Federal Co un cil believes that a prime goal of the Association should be to increase the impact of the journal by increasing its coverage, circul ation a nd frequency of publication. This will require the co mmitment of fund s which the Association does not currentl y possess and therefore cannot be a short term goal. Federal Co uncil believes that as a first step the frequency of publication should be increased to six issues per year within three years. In the meantime the Federa l Council believes that there is a need for a monthly N ational Newsletter and it is proposed that

publication of this newsletter will begin in 1987. When the frequency of publication of the Journal reaches a satisfactory level the Newsletter will be incorporated in it. 8.2 Conferences

The major conference of the Association is the Federal Conve ntion held every two years. This meeting which is organised by a State Branch o n a rotational bas is attracts several hundred delegates. The conference scene is becoming increas ingly crowded and conferences are increasingly expensive to run . It now costs of the order of $300 000 to stage a major co nference. The Federal Council pro vides th e finan cial bac king for th e Federal Convention and believes that $50 000 should be held in reserve for this purpose. The hi gh cost of running co nfere nce1f'raises questions on the ability a nd willingness of delegates to pay the high registration fees now required . It cannot be ass um ed that because the Ass.ociation has never held a conference which has bee n a financial fa ilure that this will automatically always be the case. Federal Council proposes to continue to hold the Federal Conve ntion every two years as is now the practice. However as quality, relevance to delegates and sponsors needs and value for money in a n increasingly competitive market are vital concerns to th e Association as a whole it is necessary for Federal Council to exercise a degree of control over such matters as the theme of the conference, the quality of the papers, the timing, key note speakers, streaming etc. It is the intention of Federal Council that in future the Federal Council itself ass isted by its standing committees will determin e these matters while the Conference Organising Committee will be responsible for the logistics of the conference. T he Vice-P resident of the Association will be responsible for ensuring, during his term of office, that all conferences seminars and works hops organised by the Associatio n Co nform to Association policy and objectives. 8.3 Ongoing Education

The A.W.W.A. organises Summer Schools a nd these have generally been held every two yea rs si nce 1973. The Summer Schools concentrate on particular aspects of water or wastewater technology and provide a n opportunity for members to acqu ire or update their specialist knowledge throu gh lectures a nd works hops which incl ud e national and international speakers. The recent N.S.W. Seminar 'Forum 86' on O & M point the way to short duration met hods of upgradin g tec hnology a nd disemminating it to the water industry (both indi vid ual and sustaining members). The Federal Co un cil sees a much expanded role for A .W.W.A. in the education field both in a forma l and info rma l manner. For example there wo uld a ppear to be a ma rk et for the training of the staff of the Public Aut horities to appreciate the roles of the various disciplines in vo lved in th e water industry and methods of WATER December, 1986


building mul ti-disciplina ry teams. A. W. W .A. co uld in conjunction with a suitable training orga nisation develop the needed courses. Until recently edu cation has been di rected largely to scientific and engineering to pics but the Seminar on 'Management in the Water Industry' (Adela ide I 984) pointed to the need for education/ training in other disciplines. 8.4 Affi liati o ns

T he Association has two major affi liations. T he Water Pollution Contro l Federation o f America and the International Association on Water Po llution Research and Control. T he Association has info rmal lin ks with many national and intern ational organisations concerned with various aspects of water. T hese include the New Zealand Water Supply and Disposal Association , the Ameri can Waterworks Associatio n, the Institute of Water Pollu tio n Cont ro l, the Institution of Engineers Australia, the Intern ational Water Supply Association , the Water Research Foundation of Australia, the Australian Academy of Technical Scientists, the Australian Water Resources Coun cil a nd the Australasian Insti tute of Mining and Metallu rgy . T he Association maintains these a ffili ations for a number of reaso ns. T hese include the desire to foster a climate conducive to mu tuall y benefi cial co-operation rather than destru ctive competition and the desire to speed the flow of information to members. The association will continue to actively pursue these goals.

posed that in th e interest of maintaining th e purpose and direction of th ese co mmittees th e Presid e nt o f th e Association as the leader of the orga nisation will be res ponsible for maintaining an active planning effort throu ghout his term of office. T he P resident will be res ponsibl e fo r th e appointment of the chairmen of all Standing Committees. Managing the a ffa irs of the Association at this critical time and bringing about the required changes will place a n increased work load on th e President and the Exec uti ve . For this reason and also to provide greater continuity in the administration of the Association it is proposed to appoint an Executi ve Director and to include on a n expanded Executi ve Committee, one or more chairmen of Standing Committees as necessary to implement strategies. Federal Coun cil proposes that in futur e all Standing Committees will report to Federal Council th rough the Exec utives who will be responsible for co-ordinating the work of the committees and directing them in Figure 1. As outlined above the President and Vice President will have specific res ponsibility in relation to some of the Standing Committees. FEDERA L COUNC IL


9. THE STRENGTHS AND THE WEAKNESSES OF THE ASSOCIATION When fo rmulating a strategic plan it is necessary to consider both the strengths and the weak nesses of the Association with a view to buildi ng on the fo rmer and eliminating the latter. The strengths of the Association are considered to be as fo llows: • A n industry based organisation with a rnul ti-d . iplin ary membership • The knowledge of its members • The strong technical base of the Association • T he skill and ded ication o f a core o f the membershi p who give their time to the Associatio n on a voluntary basis - th ey ma ke it happen • T he J ournal • T he repu tation o f the Associatio n - judged on the qua lity of the papers presented at meetings and confere nces and / or publ ished in the Jou rnal • T he federal structure of the Association - there is a power base in each state • T he Standi ng Commi ttee whic h tie the Federal and Branch structu res together T he wea knesses of the Association are co nsidered to be as fo llows: • It is not fin anciall y very strong. T he Association does not have the reso urce to service all its members as it wo uld wis h and is too depe ndent on one or two large organisations • The membershi p is scattered and may not be aware of the activ ities of Federal Council nor the reasons behind them nor may they be aware of the activities of Branches other than their own . There may therefore not be a strong sense of purpose The membersh ip of A. W. W .A. is not representative of all facets o f the water ind ustry. (Small members hi p and a narrow fie ld of interest may not in themselves be weaknesses as they may reinforce quality. Dilution of the mem bership will need to be handled carefull y or some of the existing strengt hs may be lost.)





WATER December, 1986


Figure 1. Orga nisation Chart

' 11 . FINANCE T he Association is a federation of State Branches with each Branch having res ponsibility for its ()W O finan cial accounting and aud iting. T he Federal Council undertakes a co-ordinating role, determines the annual membership fees and takes ultimate finan cial responsibility for Federal Conve ntions, Summer Schools and the Jo urnal. A nnua l mem bership subscriptions provide the major source o f income fo r the Associa tion, whilst profits on conventions and summer schools and interest on assets have been substantial in recent years. TOTAL ACCUMULTED FUNDS AS AT 30/ 6/86


10. ORGANISATION T he Federal Co uncil is comm itted to retain ing the present strengths of the Association and on th is base bu il ding a stro nger organisatio n . Federal Council sees its role as a po licy setting body - determi ni ng goals and giving a sense of direction and purpose to the Association. The A.W.W.A. works t hro ugh its Branch and committee structure . Federal Council sees the role of the standing Committees as vital to the execution of the Strategic Plan and because of this purposes that as a first step in the implementation of the Plan it will carry out a complete and thorough review of all facets of the operation of the Standing Committees - their terms of refere nce, their constitution , performance etc . .It is further pro-


Federal ACT NSW NT Qld

SA Tas Vic













107 430 930 19 186 4 288 18 674 11 656 1 468 15 496 4 35 1 183 479

58.6 0.5 10.4 2.3 10.2 6.4 0.8 8.4 2.4 100.0


Fina ncial and administrative support is received from the vario us major water a uthorities in Aust ralia a nd this has, in conjunctio n with a run of successfu l conventio ns, ena bled membership fees to be kept a t relatively low levels. The In ternational Associatio n o n Water Po ll ution Research and Control has also provided financia l support for the journ al in recent years. If the Associatio n is to ex pa nd its acti vities a lo ng the lines proposed in the precedin g paragraphs, expendi tures will have to rise . As Federal Co un cil pro poses to keep membershi p fees a t current levels in real term s the increase in expend iture can o nly be met by: (a) use of reserves; (b) increased spo nsors hi p; (c) growth in th e mem bers hip; (d) new commercial initiatives. Increased spo nsors hip is the last desirable so urce of fund s. P rud ence suggests tha t in times of eco no mic restrai nt the A. W . W .A. sho ul d no t depend on hand outs from o ne or two organisatio ns for its continuing viabi lity . The Associat ion needs to be fi na ncia lly independent. In the sho rt term new in itia tives will have to be funded from inte rn al rese rves. Federal Co un cil believes that beca use it carries . ultim a te fin a ncial res po nsibili ty for the Federal Conventions, Summer Schoo ls a nd the J o urna l it sho uld kee p at least $50 000 in reserve fo r these pur poses. As approx imate ly half of the Associatio n's reserves are held by the branches, the fund ing of new initi atives will requ ire these funds as well as Federa l fu nds to be draw n upon. It is proposed to do this on a do lla r for do llar bas is with fund ing of ap pro ved projects being shared eq ually betwee n Federal Co uncil and the State Bra nches. Unde r this arrangeme nt, it is envisaged that approximately $60 000 co uld be made avai la ble over the next o ne, two or three years to fund such projects as: • the Natio nal Newsletter • th e Directory of Services provided by Sustaining Mem bers • upgrade membership services • rend er adv ice to A W RC Tech nical Com mi ttees and A WRAC • upgrade services in the educational field both for employee and employers (S ustain ing Members) • develop a members hi p dr ive, which will be fue lled by the strategies im proving services to mem bers a nd sustaining members. In th e Jo ng term the required funds must come fro m membership fees. Increases in fund ing must therefo re co me fro m growth of th e mem bers hip. For thi s reason the Assoc iation wi ll undertake a n act ive membership drive during 1987 .

12. THE STRATEGY 12. 1 Federal Co un cil ad opt a preli minary Strategic P la n Nov 86 12.2 Circ ul ate P lan for comment by Branches, publis h in Decem ber '86 Jo urna l and see k respo nse from Branches and mem bers 12.3 Appoint part-time Executive Directo r Nov 86 12.4 T he Executive review Standing Committees a nd repo rt to Federal Co un cil by Ma r 87 12.5 T he Jo urna l Commi ttee, ass isted by the Federal Treas urer, prepa re a plan for the J o urna l by Mar 87 12.6 The Committee on Membersh ip Services report on upgrading services to members by Mar 87 12. 7 T he Executive present proposals fo r broadening the membership base by Ma r 87

12.8 T he Exec utive reco mmended issues to be addressed in Ma r 87 1987-88 12.9 T he Executive co mmission papers on improved services to sustaini ng members - report by Mar 87 12. 10 The Executive explore met hods of rendering adv ice to Government and the media includi ng as the fi rst step, advice to A WRC and A WRAC by prov isio n of speciali sts from A WWA membe rshi p by Mar 87 12 .1 1 T he Exec utive explore proposals to upgrade services in th e edu cational fie ld, report by Ma r 87 12. 12 Federal Council adopts rev ised Strategic P lan, which will give tasks and mi lestones for I 987 to 1989 a nd o utline to 199 I. A Financial P lan will be deve loped in parallel with the Strategic Plan Nov 87 12. 13 Im plement the Strategic P lan a nd r.ev iew a nnu all y, with acheive ments being meas ured .

13. THE EMERGING STRATEGY In plan nin g its activities the A. W . W .A. will ad here to the fo llowing broad st ra tegy: • T he A. W. W .A. wi ll adapt to th e cha ngi ng needs of the water ind ustry. • The A.W.W.A. will constantly rev iew the services it provides to members with a view to improving these services and adding to them. • T he A.W.W.A . will reorga nise the Federal Executive and the Sta nd ing Commi ttees with a view to strengt hening the coordin atio n of the Associatio n 's activities. • T he A.W.W.A. wi ll endeavour to provide all interested parties with the best possible informa tion on current and emerging issues in the water industry and to lead the debate on these issues. • T he A. W. W.A. wi ll publish a Directory of services provided by Sustai ning Me mbers in 1987. • T he A.W.W.A. wi ll commence to publish a monthl y National Newsletter in 1987. • T he A. W. W .A. wi ll progressively increase the coverage and frequency of the Journa l with a review to hav ing a month ly publication with a circu latio n of 10 000 copies by 1990 . • T he A. W. W .A. wi ll direct its efforts to imp rov ing Water Research in Austra lia by edu catio n a nd advice to Gove rnm ent a nd the med ia; a nd develop ment of j)erceived research needs for A.W .R.C. a nd A.W.R.A.C. • The A.W.W.A. will become more active in the ongoing educational fie ld and will seek to joint ly sponsor short courses with selected ed ucational bodies starting in 1987. T he em phasis will be on releva nce, q uality a nd pri ce. • T he A. W. W .A. will ho ld ordin ary members hi p fees constant m rea l terms . • T he A.W.W.A. wi ll review the free structure app licable to Sustaining Members with a view to putting it on a fair and rational basis related to the standard of service being offered. • T he A.W.W.A. will do uble its membership in the next five yea rs. • T he A.W.W.A. will set up special purpose funds to finance its expanded programme and is prepared to draw down its reserves by $60 000 over the next three years. The programme beyond that wi ll be financed by increased revenue generated by increasing membership numbers.

WATER FOR LEISURE Continued from page 20 presented in Vo lume 2. T he 'STRATEGY' will nominate priorities and within a definite time frame, document proposed action not only for assessment, development, and regu latory needs, but also to identify constraints to overcome these constraints, which may req uire changes to legisla ti o n, Government policy, or organ izational or insti tutio nal arrangements T he commitment of the Territory Government to development wi ll increase the population a nd lift the economic base of the Territory . Water Resources managers must support government objectives by providing, in a timely and cost effective manner, the assessment in fo rmation and evaluation of options to enable the making of appropriate development decisions. There is a correspondi ng duty to advise not o nly o n the availabi li ty of water bu t also the longer term impacts of water use (q uantitatively and/ or qualitatively) upon all existing and potential future uses. This can only be achieved effectively if, in consultation with potential users, we look to the future a nd concentrate WRD's activities towards assessment and regulatory

control related to the real development potential of the Northern Territory The Water Resource Strategy is seen as a dynamic working tool, compiled with the widest possible input, and endo rsed by Government, a too l which will direct the activities of the WRD as managers of the Territory water reso urces in years to come. In summary then, the challenge for water resources managers is to promote a high level of awareness by decision makers of the importance of water resource management to the sustained development of the N.T., and through increased emphasis on forward planning, ensure that today's actio ns represent the most appropriate use of limited reso urces to meet the needs of tomorrow .


A perspecti ve on Au stralia' s Water Resources lo the year 2000

A.G.P .S. 1983. WATER December, 1986


BOOK REVIEWS The books reviewed hereunder are published by the Water Studies Centre, Chisholm Institute of Technology, and are available from the Institute, 900 Dandenong Road, Caulfield East, Vic. 3145. Price, including mailing is $20 each volume, within Australia; $25 elsewhere.

THE ROLE OF PARTICULATE MATTER IN THE TRANSPORT AND FATE OF POLLUTANTS Ed. B. Hart. 200 pages. The publication cont~ins the proceedings of a symposium held in November 1983. Dr. Rod. A. Allan, Chief En;ironmental Contaminants Divi-sion ~f the Canadian National Water Research Institute presented the keynote address which concentrated on organic contaminants in Niagara River - Lake Ontario and mercury/ methyl mercury in the English / Wabigoon ¡ River system. Although these case studies involve _Ca nadian rivers the background and rev iew of past work is of relevance to the Australian situation. In chapter two Dr Allan discusses how toxic heavy metal and organic chemicals continue to be found at the highest trophic levels. The bio-availability, bi~accumulation and the methods of analysis and the physical and biological effects of disturbance are examined. ¡ The production, transport rate and deposition processes of particulate mat_ter are discussed in chapter three. Sampling methods and intensity of measurements to allow for temporal and spatial variation as well as a range of samplers are also examined. Chapter four examines samplin g techniques, chemical composition. size and variations due to catchment, chmate and seasonal effects of suspended matter. Chapter five concentrates on the transport of nutrient materials <;>n suspended matter using Lake Burley Griffin and Crackenback River as examples of a phosphorus transport system. The effects of organic materials derived from small streams in undisturbed catchments and inorganic particulates and their action on biological communities are investigated in chapter six . In chapter seven a study of the usefulness of fresh water mussels as a biomonitor of heavy metals is made. The variation in body heavy metal contamination is also investigated. The final chapter includes papers on the availability of particulate associated heavy metal to algae; case studies on dams ~nd their effect on algae and the bioavailability of particulate associated nutrients. The print size tends to be small and overprinting does occur. There are numerous diagrams, graphs and tables which are helpful in explanation of points made in the papers. Each chapter contains a substantial list of references for those interested in gaining further information . In general a worthwhile reference work for those interested in the increasing problems 30

WATER December, 1986

due to organic and inorganic pollutants on aquatic ecosystems. R.TOZER *



STREAM PROTECTION - THE MANAGEMENT OF RIVERS FOR INSTREAM USES Ed. I. C. Campbell . 249 pages. The central thesis of this book concerns the need for the development and implementation of instream flow methodologies based on so und understanding of the way in which stream ecosystems function and of the lin ks between them and terrestrial ecosystems. The book is comprehensive in its treatment of the central topic of stream protection and presents 13 papers from a r~cent symposium on the management of rivers for instream uses including contributions from both Australian and overseas experts. The book initially di sc usses the management implications of our increased understanding of stream ecosystems and stresses the view that stream management should serve ecological goals. The need for upgrading the hydrologic data base in Australia is discussed , in particular, the requirement for lo w-flow data from Australian streams. The importance of the riparian zone in maintaining high quality stream ecosystems is conside_red along with the impact of forestry practices on this relationship. A second theme reviews the progress in developing management techniques to protect instream uses and con~iders such topics as, the use of buffer strips in controlling agricultural runoff; approaches to determining flow and habitat requirements for freshwater native fish; the evaluation of instream flow methodologies for freshwater fish, and the effects of interference with fi sh passage. The book concludes with a discussion on the identification of the unique features of Australian streams which may reducr the effectiveness of manage ment techniques developed overseas. Four instream flow methodologies for freshwater fish are compared and contrasted and a review of suitable scientific/ ecological criteria for evaluating streams for protection is presented. Each chapter is accompanied by a comprehensive bibliography and the text includes some useful and descriptive tables and diagrams. The book is recommended to all managers in the water industry and to students of water scien ce. G. L. BENNISON *



FRESHWATER ECOTOXICITY IN AUSTRALIA Ed. B. T. Hart, 140 pages. A collection of papers is presented which indicates the state of freshwater ecotoxicity research in Australia, and the

direction that future research should take. Several authors emphasize that ecotoxicity is a relatively new field in this country and an additional prob lem to be faced is the difference between Australian environments and those of most other Western indu strialized countries. Unknown' variables include the behaviour of chem ical toxicants in local ecosystems, the tolerance of Australian species to toxicants and the validity of app lying overseas data to Australian conditions. The book discusses processes suitable to evaluate toxicant effects. These include (i) choosing suitable s~ nsitive species (ii) selecting a range of species and life stages (iii) acute and chronic laboratory testing, possibly using microcosms_ for greate_r ~ccuracy where applicable (1v) determining acceptable concentrations, which ideally would be the 'no-adverse-effect' concentration (v) validation of lab ?ratory work with field stud ies and biological monitoring (vi) preparation of criteria to protect ecosystems and provide an early warning of toxic effects. Short term tests such as microtox, enzyme inhibition and mutagenicity usi ng bacteria give qui ck answers but are of limited application. There is a common theme that laboratory bioassays are most valuable when used in conjunction with physico-chemical and biological monitoring in the field . P .A. HORNE

AWWA & IAWPRC Joint Conference Water Quality and Management for Recreation and Tourism Griffith University, Queensland July 10th to 15th, 1987 The Australian Water and Wastewater Association and the International Association on Water Pollution Research and Control are jointl y spo nsoring this international co nference to be held in Brisbane. Coverage will include all aspects of the topic , viz. Analytical Chemistry, Microbiology, Ecotoxicology, Planning and Management. The meeting will address the field from the standpoints of setting criteria for recreational activities upon such . Anticipated attendance will appro~ im ate 300 participants from Australia and overseas. Further information: R. Sadler, Conference Secretary, P.O. Box 388, North Quay , Brisbane 4000 , Australia

WATER AND SEWERAGE ADMINISTRATION IN THE NORTHERN TERRITORY A submission to the N.T. Government This submission from the Northern Territory Branch of the Association, on the consideration being given to transfer of water and sewerage functions lo /he N. T. Electricity Comm ission, was forwarded in July last to all Territory Parliamentarians to alert the Government to the real issues and problems facing the Territory water administration. A brief report on this subject and outlining the current situation appeared on page 8 of th e September issue of Water.

combin ing common function s in order to max1m1 ze personnel resource uti lization ; to decentralize manage ment so that decisions are made close to consumer/ client interfaces; to amalga mate smaller entities into regional bodies; to develop 'user pays' principles; to develop performance indicators for efficiency comparisons and budgetary objectives . It is submitted that the water and sewerage adm inistration in the Territory is bad ly in need of co nsolidation to achieve the principal objectives of accountability, efficiency and awareness of consumer/ client needs.

The Australian Water and Wastewater Association: (a) represents a membership of engineers, scientists, techn icians, consultants, contractors, supp liers and others in the water in dustry; (b) is concerned about the present fragmentation of water related ,dministration in the Territory which is preventing the industry from operating effectively, efficiently and at minimum cost; (c) is aware that following the Water Authority stud y conducted over the past yea r that the Government is giving consideration to transferring water and sewerage functions to NTEC; (d) recommends that in effecting any such transfer that all water resource, water suppl y and sewerage functions be included within the one organization; and (e) has the following order of preference in re lation to water and sewerage administration: (I) An independent authority. (2) Incorporation within Water Division in the Department of Transport and Works, or within NTEC. In support of the above statement the Association su bmits the following points:


1. WATER INDUSTRY The water industry employs over 600 people in the Territory in the public and private sector and involves an ann ual expenditure of some $60 to $70 million on administration, resource assessment, planning, capital works, operation, maintenance and revenue collection. It is therefore one of the Territory's major industries.

2. WATER ADMINISTRATION OBJECTIVES Water is a limited, invaluable natural resource requirin g a ho listic manageme nt approach. Water resource utilization and supp ly systems together with wastewater collection , treatment and environmentally sa fe disposal are critical components of the hydrologic cycle. These closely interrelated phases require a coordinated management approach if cost effective results are to be attained. Such management should be on a long term resource based development plan for the overall benefit of the Territory. The Association has been at the forefront of investigating and highlighting th e financial problems facing the water industry in Australia. It strongly supports the commercialization of water supply and sewerage with emphasis on maximizing the reco very of public funds as a necessary Government objective. It is submitted that this goal, together with resource management, can best be achieved through a unified body charged with the complete responsibility for administration, developm ent and manageme nt of the water resource water supply and sewerage functions in the Territory.

3. RESTRUCTURING Over the last decade the water and sewerage administration in most States has undergone major restructuring. The reorganizations have been carried out principally to make authorities more accountable to both Government and consumers. The thrust has been to produce simp lified structures by 32

WATER December, 1986

Water and sewerage fun ctions are at present distributed among five discrete Divisions in four Departments as fo llows: Department/ Division Water Resources Division Department of Mines and Energy

Function • Water resource assess ment, development, planning and control • 1.,aboratories • Po ll ution control Water Division • Main urban (Darwin, Department of Transport Tennant Creek etc.) water and Works and sewerage planning • Systems operation and maintenance • Revenue collection Public Works Division • Main urban water a nd Department of Transport sewerage design and Works • Constru~tion • Public building plumbing approvals Planning and Building • Main urban water and Department of Lands sewerage plumbin g approvals Division of Local • Aborigi nal commun it y water Government and Com munity and sewerage planning, Affairs design , construction, Department of Community operation, maintena nce, Development and plumbing approvals. All the above functions were originally the responsibility of Water Division within the Department of Transport and Works. However, in the eight years since self govern ment there have been a number of organizational changes and progressive devo lution leading to the present fragmentation. The current review represents an opportunity to st ru cture the overall water administration in a coordinated format appropriate to the long term needs of the Territory. With the present fragmentation, accurate and co nvincing presentations to the Grants Comm ission rega rdin g th e true costs of water an d sewerage function s would appear impossible. This is considered a major disadvantage to the Territory.

5. WATER AUTHORITY The Association considers a separate Water Authority to be a desirab le objective because of the importance of water as a vital natural reso urce. However, the Association believes that, as well as the advantages of consolidation in the long term interests of the Territory, matters of economy should be a major factor in arriving at such a decision. In this regard it is submitted that a separate Water Authority, give n appropr iate financia l objectives and the option of fle xibility in carrying out its tasks, would not attempt to estab lish independent offices and depots in the smaller main centres, but rather wou ld look . towards utilising and sharing existing goverment , semi-government and private infrastructure and resources.

6. NORTHER TERRITORY ELECTRICITY COMMISION Wh ilst not havi ng a preference for transfer of function s to NTEC, if it were to happen the Association recommends the transfer of all function s . The Association further requests that in such eve nt the Government ensures that water a nd sewerage admin istration do es not beco me a poor relation within the NTEC struct ure. The principal co ncerns are that the membership of th e Board be changed co nsistent with the additional water and sewerage respo nsibility, the General Manager of water related functions wou ld need to have the same status as the General Manager of electricity functions, and management of the water re lated functions be undertaken by persons ex perienced in such matters. Equality of statu s of the water fun ctio n is important not just for staff morale but to ensure that the admi nistration retains and attracts the dedicated and speciali st staff necessary for efficiency and effectiveness. In considering the viability of transfer, in addition to the alleged short term financial gai ns, the long term implications need to be assessed, particu lar ly the effect on th ose components which may not be transferred. The size of the water related function is large enough, with so me 500 staff, to have its own efficient antonomous administrative infrast ructure . In amalgamating with NTEC it would appea r that the on ly realistic savings would be in the meter reading and billing areas invo lving relativel y few staff. It is sub mitted that the same savings cou ld be ac hi eved with out transfer by NTEC undertaking these fun ctions on an agency basis.

7. ABORIGINAL COMMUNITIES The Association expressed its co ncern in a report to the Water Authorit y Stud y in October 1985 regardin g the lack of an appropriate adminstration for water a nd sewe rage to remote Aboriginal communities involved in the transfer of the function to the Department of Community Development last year. It is submitted that, on the basis of technical reso urces and economies of scale, these functions can be more economically handled by a Water Authority. Such an Author it y with its commercia l expe ri ence wo uld a lso be the more appropriate means of recovering costs on ' user pays' principles. It is furt her considered that from the quality control and health

safety aspects the divesting of responsibilitf to a large number of small inadequately experienced communities is risky . It is co nsidered th at ultimate respo nsibility will still be with Government. It is a lso submitted that the training of Aboriginals to const ruct , and safely operate and maintain their own water supply a nd sewerage systems can only be effectively done by people with appropriate experience and qualifications in these matters.

8. PLUMBING APPROVALS P lu mbing regu lations with associated aspects such as trade waste facilities, illegal connections, unsafe fi xt ures, and cross connection contamination control come under the provisions of the Water Supply and Sewerage Act and should logicall y be administered by a Water Authority for reaso ns of public safety and the protection of co nsum ers . The notion of a 'one stop shop' for the pub lic for building approvals is suppo rted by the Association . However, the present arrangement of Plumbing Inspectors being employed by Lands Department poses some difficu lties relating to staff being responsib le to two authorities, unclear responsibilit y boundaries, omissions a nd overlaps of work, and difficult ies of commun ication of iss ues critical to cons um ers. It is submitted that the function should be within the water administration with appropriate outposting of personnel in the Building Branch Office to facilitate public access in a similar way that the N.T. Fire Service operates.

9. LEGISLATION Governments require strong water legislation to conserve, protect and equitably allocate Australia's limited water resources. The Association is concerned that the Territory's water legislation is badly in need of development in the areas of resource uti lization , water suppl y and sewerage, rig hts to water, and water pollution . It is awa re that comprehensive legislatio n covering the above areas has been under consideration for some three years. However, with responsibility fragmented under four Ministerial portfolios the resu lting legislation, if ever finalized, will be fragmented a nd confusi ng to administer. This will lead to areas of overlap and om ission whi ch will put the Territory years behind other states and seriously hamper the,.order ly development of the Territory's water resources.

WATER RESOURCES OF THE NORTHERN TERRITORY Con tinued from page 25 The RORB run off-ro uting model was used to ge nerate a range of floods up to the probable maximum , to test a range of options for dams a nd spill ways for co nceptual designs. A 25 m dam would be req ui red for the proposed scheme with 900 m of primary and secondary spillways and saddle dams. There are no environmental concerns which cou ld not be adequately dealt wit h under a management plan wh ich, in any event, wo uld be a prerequisite for the successful operation of the recreational reserve. Vario us options for a recreational lake near A lice Springs are still under co nsideration by the Northern Territory Government.

DARWIN The E lizabet h River empties in to Darwin Harbour to the so uth of Palmerston , a rap idly developing satellite town. T he est uary of the Eliza bet h River is being co nsidered for a recreatio na l lake site, and wou ld be dammed at a low level to exclude tidal flow (Figure 6). Continued flu shing of the reservoir by fresh water inflow wo uld event ually produce a fresh water lake . The lake would be readily accessible to the local population of 70 000 in the Darwin a rea. The preli minary in vest igation carried out for this lake in 1985 was solely to evaluate the hydro logical viabi li ty of a lake in th is location for a range of fu ll supply levels and dam locations. These options provided a range of catchment areas from 200 to 270 ha and lake areas ranging from 200 to 1600 ha. Hydrographic surveys were cond ucted at cross sections through the length of the proposed reservo ir to prepare elevatio n-storage a nd storage surface area curves. A 15 year monthly flow record at each of the proposed dam sites was generated based on recorded va lues at an upstream ga uging station. Ana lys is of the data was sim ilar to that carried out for Emi ly

Creek, for each of the options. An example of the resu lts is shown in Figure 7. The difference in lake var iat ions between Emily Creek and the Elizabeth River is immediately apparent from a comparison between Figures 3 and 7. Although the larger catchment area on th e Elizabet h River explains part of the difference, the major reason is the much higher rainfall in Darwin (1600 mm) and its low variabili ty. T he maximum flu ctuation in water level for any option is 1. 5 m and the storage would be full for at least 70% of the time. C learly conditions for a recreational lake are quite favourable. The Northern Territory Government is now conducting wide-ranging further investigations, including environmental aspects.

CONCLUSIONS The prov1s10n of water for leisure activities in the Northern Territory has been receiving some attention over the last few years. Investigations for three recreational lakes in the Territory emp hasise the cli matic variations across the Territory. A case study for Al ice Springs shows the range of issues which must be addressed in planning for recreational lakes. To the far north , in Darwin, the higher rainfall and its low variability makes the planning task considerably easier.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Thanks are due to the Northern Territory Departm ent of Mines and Energy (Water Resources Division) and Department of Lands for permission to use the res ults of studies carried out for the Departments, Any conclusions expressed in this paper, are however, the responsibility of the author. WATER December, 1986


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Water Journal December 1986  

Water Journal December 1986