Darwin region future water supply


A Community Reference Group for the Darwin Region Water Supply Infrastructure Program has been established. Learn more about the Community Reference Group.

Water, it’s one of our most precious resources.

As the Territory grows, water security is critical - for people, agriculture and industry.

The Northern Territory (NT) Government is committed to delivering secure, reliable and cost-effective drinking water for Territorians, now and into the future.

In the greater Darwin region, the majority of our water supply, around 85%, comes from the Darwin River Dam, which is operating at or above its sustainable supply level. The remaining 15% of the greater Darwin region water supply is provided through groundwater resources. In other words, the current supply is operating at capacity.

Funded by the Australian Government’s National Water Grid Fund, and in partnership with the Power and Water Corporation, the NT Government has completed the Adelaide River Off-stream Water Storage (AROWS) Detailed Business Case.

For an alternative version of the reports, contact the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade.

The recommended infrastructure solution

After a comprehensive assessment, the detailed business case identified Manton Dam Return to Service and the AROWS project as the recommended infrastructure solution, to be developed in two stages:

  • Stage 1: Manton Dam Return To Service - short term water supply with a development timeframe of 3 to 4 years, and
  • Stage 2: AROWS - long term water supply, with a development timeframe of 7 to 10 years.

Watch the video to learn more about the recommended infrastructure solution.

Read the transcript for the Adelaide River Off-stream Water Storage detailed business case video.

Water for economic growth

A strong Territory economy benefits all Territorians and water is a critical enabler of economic growth.

The Territory Government has an ambitious target to achieve a $40 billion economy by 2030. The Territory Economic Reconstruction Commission final report (November 2020) identified that a step change in the Territory’s approach to water is needed to support the Territory’s plans for increased private investment and economic growth of the region.

The recommended infrastructure solution will deliver this step change.

The detailed business case found that the Manton Dam RTS and AROWS project has a positive benefit cost ratio, demonstrating that this is an economically viable project and providing a robust justification for investment.

Growing our water supply will present ongoing benefits to Territorians, unlocking economic opportunities, improving living standards and creating jobs.

Next steps

The NT Government has accepted the findings of the detailed business case and will continue to work in partnership with the Australian Government and the Power and Water Corporation to accelerate project development for both Manton Dam RTS and AROWS.

For Manton Dam, this includes detailed design of the infrastructure components, further stakeholder engagement and assessment of the environmental and social impacts of the project.

For the AROWS project, this includes commencement of a range of activities that will support development of the project, including:

  • a water allocation plan for the Adelaide River catchment
  • an environment impact assessment
  • stakeholder engagement and community consultation.

Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade

The Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade was established by the Northern Territory Government in September 2020.

The department supports industry development through globally competitive strategy, policy and promotion and delivers a regulatory framework that enables responsible growth, market access and stakeholder certainty.

Australian Government | National Water GridNorthern Territory GovernmentPower and Water

Back to top