Norfolk Island Water Resources Assessment project

In 2019, the department engaged the CSIRO to assess Norfolk Island's surface and groundwater resources and assess options to increase water security. The findings from the Norfolk Island Water Resources Assessment (NIWRA) are now available in the form of full technical Final Reports and a Summary Report on the CSIRO's website.

Links to the LiDAR data acquired as part of the NIWRA and a rainwater app developed by the CSIRO specifically for residents and businesses on Norfolk Island are also available on the CSIRO's website. The rainwater app enables users to evaluate the reliability of existing and proposed roof-harvested rainwater systems (catchment and storage).

Background to the NIWRA

On Norfolk Island, there is no reticulated water supply or public store or supply of water for domestic use. Water capture and storage is a private responsibility for home and business owners alike. However, Norfolk island's rainfall has been declining, with dry spells of greater duration with less frequent and more concentrated rainfall events. Groundwater has been increasingly relied upon by many, particularly the island's agricultural sector. Groundwater is also used by many as a back-up water supply when domestic rainwater stores are exhausted. Reductions in surface water and groundwater have been observed and reports of water stress have been increasing.

Norfolk Island is small, remote and isolated. Water security is a pressing issue for the island, its community and economy, particularly its agricultural and tourism sectors. Emergency Management Norfolk Island, a function of Norfolk Island Regional Council, has identified a water-related emergency as a risk.

The purpose of the NIWRA is to provide information to the Norfolk Island community that will assist residents and businesses take action to build water resilience, individually and collectively. It will also assist Emergency Management Norfolk Island to work with the community, guided by a local government emergency management framework and with assistance from the Australian Government, to put in place measures to respond to the risk of a water-related emergency.

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