Essential services

Everyone has the right to water, sanitation & clean energy

Water and sanitation

Even in the tropical Top End, but especially in Central Australia, many Aboriginal people lack reliable access to clean drinking water.

The NT Government provides water to the four urban centres and 73 remote communities. For community living areas and homelands, there is usually a bore, which may be run on mains power, solar or a diesel generator. Some of these more remote places also have rainwater tanks.


Energy security is a major issue for Aboriginal Territorians, especially in solar hotspots such as the Barkly, and especially given global warming.

In public housing, there is no program to convert electricity systems to solar, or to include rooftop solar panels as part of a standard new build.

Original Power is working hard in the Territory to demonstrate the possibilities of clean energy in homelands, townships and in public housing. The below video is a beautiful example, focused on the Borroloola solar communities project.

In 2022, with the help of Origin Mob’s rooftop solar trial, Tennant Creek resident Norman Frank Jupurrurla found his way through tricky political and regulatory terrain to become the first public housing tenant in the NT to get rooftop solar power. He also proved that it can work with a prepaid meter system.

In 2023 as part of the Alice Springs Future Grid project, 15 public houses will get rooftop solar. The engineering company doing the work has a long association with renewable energy in the Northern Territory. It is the wholly-owned subsidiary of the Centre for Appropriate Technology (CfAT).

Energy enables

Between 2002 and 2013 CfAT ran the hugely successful Bushlight program.

The Australian Government is developing a First Nations Clean Energy Strategy, so right now there’s an opportunity to influence energy systems for Aboriginal housing in the Territory.

Readings related to water, sanitation and power

Image credit: Map showing prospective bores on Bathurst Island. National Archives of Australia: F1, 1968/1110, p27

This is Aboriginal land

We work with deep respect for country and its rightful owners, ancestors and elders, past and present.
Please be aware that our site includes names and images of people who have passed.

Scroll to Top