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CSIRO water security reports for Norfolk Island released

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I welcome the release of CSIRO’s findings from its Norfolk Island Water Resources Assessment (NIWRA) project, which will greatly assist us to better understand our water resources and manage water scarcity.

In 2019, the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (the Department) engaged the CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, to assess Norfolk Island’s surface and groundwater resources and assess options to increase water security, following on from Emergency Management Norfolk Island (EMNI)’s consideration of water scarcity as an emergency risk. 

The release of the findings is a great achievement for CSIRO and the NIWRA team, particularly with the impacts of COVID-19 restrictions and protracted dry periods.  

The team comprised CSIRO scientists and locally engaged project personnel, guided by the project’s Community Steering Committee. They were supported by the participation of land holders and contribution of local knowledge.

The findings of the NIWRA will assist EMNI to develop guidance for industry, government and the community on prevention and preparation for water scarcity.

With the science showing reductions in average annual rainfall and likely continuation of the decline in recharge of water systems, CSIRO has been able to quantify what this means for emergency management considerations now and in the future.

The full technical Final Report and Summary Report are now available online. Hard copies of these documents will be made available on-island in various locations including at Customer Care, the Public Library, and in the Office of the Administrator in the coming weeks.

The Department has also provided the Norfolk Island Regional Council with the funds for its Environmental Assessment (through Monash University) which will complement the CSIRO’s work on water and inform the Council’s work to deliver on the community’s sustainable population and resource management objectives.

The CSIRO will present the project findings to the Norfolk Island community in the coming months.

For further details on the NIWRA and to access the full technical Final Report and Summary Report please visit the NIWRA page.

Eric Hutchinson
Administrator of Norfolk Island
18 March 2021