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Temporary desalination system to conclude operations

Following much-needed rain on Norfolk Island, the Army water purification and desalination system which has been providing water supplies for the past month will conclude operations by 13 March.

I personally would like to acknowledge and thank the Australian Defence Force (ADF) for its quick response to the need of the Norfolk Island community for a short-term alternative water source. This assistance was offered in the face of water scarcity and drought conditions which saw a number of properties and businesses run out of water. Action was undertaken in line with Assistant Minister Nola Marino's announcement in December 2019 that portable desalination would be available for water shortages over summer while work to establish a longer term solution to water security continues.

Since the system arrived on island on 7 February and was set up the following day at Cascade Pier, more than 250 properties and business have received much needed water supplies. The tanks at community locations including the Norfolk Island Central School, Norfolk Island Health and Residential Aged Care Service, Norfolk Island Police Force and Norfolk Island Regional Council have also been replenished. The delivery of this water would not have been possible without the commercial water carters assisting in the delivery of this water across the island seven days a week.

Following the 48.8mm of rain received on 1 March and early morning of 2 March, and the predictions of further rainfall in the next fortnight, the demand has reduced and the ADF will retrieve the system by 13 March.

As well as producing the water supplies, the ADF team has also been enthusiastic participants in Norfolk Island life and community events during their time on island, which has been great to see. The Government acknowledges the generosity of the community in welcoming and supporting the ADF on Norfolk Island.

Eric Hutchinson
Administrator of Norfolk Island

5 March 2020