A Northern Territory water utility has been awarded the Australian Water Association (AWA) Program Innovation award for the Darwin Community Leak Program.

Power and Water’s Living Water Smart program was launched in response to a finding that leaks contribute to about 12 per cent of water use in Darwin homes, with around one in eight homes having an average leak of 500,000 litres, or $1000 per year.

Since its inception in early 2017, leak checkers conducted leak checks at just over 30,000 residential water meters. Over 3000 leaks were found and to date residents have fixed around 65 per cent of leaks, saving one billion litres of leaking water per year. The program has also been extended to the Katherine region.

Power and Water’s Senior Manager for Client Services, Jacqui O’Neill, said she and her team were very honoured to receive the coveted Program Innovation Award.

“It is wonderful to be acknowledged by the Australian Water Association for the innovation of our Community Leak Program. The program has made a positive impact on the community, encouraging sustainable water use. Our dedicated team has been raising awareness about checking for and fixing leaks, and encouraging long-term behavioural change to help preserve our precious water resource,” Ms O’Neill said.

Ms O’Neill said the $200 Leak Find and Fix rebate has helped to fuel the change in homes and businesses.

“The rebate has also helped generate business for plumbers who are registered with the program, in helping residents locate and repair their leaks. Nineteen Darwin plumbers are registered with the program and almost 2,500 rebates have been issued.”

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