Friday, June 28, 2013


New ‘leak detective’ skills and equipment have arrived in Alice Springs to help businesses and homes save water.

The leak detection initiative is the result of a partnership between Alice Water Smart and a local plumber.

The local ‘detective’ and plumber, Jordi Chalmers has already detected ‘mysterious’ leaks in several businesses, saving thousands of dollars going down the drain.

“Just recently I found a leak that was losing $13,700 worth of water (7.9 million litres) per year” said Jordi Chalmers.
“Water bills and a water audit can identify that there is a leak, but they are often difficult to find, particularly if they are underground.”

Of the 50 businesses and organisations that Alice Water Smart has worked with, 42 have been found to have a leak.

When Alice Water Smart was looking to the plumbing industry for help to detect some of the more difficult, unexplained leaks in buildings and gardens, Mr Chalmers visited Queensland to complete specialist training and invest in a state of the art acoustic leak detective device.

“It’s part technology, part experience and it works a bit like a bat’s sonar!”

“We use the acoustic listening device to sound out the leaks. Leaking pipes have a different ‘pitch’ to pipes that aren’t leaking.”
Large organisations are on average leaking up to 16.5 kilolitres (kL) per day, equating to just over $10,000 worth of water per year off their bottom line.

Small businesses are on average losing 25% of their water use to leaks, at a cost of $3,362 a year.

“The total volume of water lost by businesses audited by Alice Water Smart is on average 5,300 litres a day - that’s more than one average backyard swimming pool (30,000L) per week”, says Alice Water Smart Homes and Business project manager Liz Locksley.

“That’s around 22% of water that is metered and paid but leaking away unused on their premises.”

Alice Water Smart is supported by the Australian Government's Water for the Future initiative.

Developer responds to local housing affordability pressures

Locals looking for affordable land in Darwin may have had their prayers answered after property developer Urbex released its latest land.

The company, which is developing the communities of Johnston Ridge and stage one of Zuccoli in Palmerston, has new house and land packages starting at $540 000 and lots available for less than $290 000.

Urbex General Manager Wayne Rex said the company had listened to local buyers and provided living solutions to meet with both their affordability and living demands.

“We want every Territorian to have the opportunity to fulfil their dream of home ownership,” Mr Rex said.
“We’ve listened to the people of Darwin and worked really hard to price a range of products to suit both their budget and living needs.”

Mr Rex said Urbex conducts regular market research with its buyers to determine their lifestyle requirements and levels of affordability.

“We try to talk with all purchasers and potential buyers who have registered their interest with us to know exactly what they’re looking for and what their budget is,” Mr Rex said.

“First home buyers want to spend less than $600 000 on a new home to be eligible for the First Home Owners Grant of $25 000, while low to middle income earners are looking for more affordable options to be eligible for the Home Build Access loan options.”

This year alone Urbex has sold 19 affordable house and land packages to low to middle income earners under the Northern Territory Government’s Home Build Access buyer initiative. The latest successful family being Cedric Hoarau and Li Wing.

“Our team has worked diligently with government and local builders to deliver a range of quality house and land packages that provide options for all Territory buyers,” Mr Rex said.

“We’ve also held First Home Buyer Information Sessions to educate the community on the steps to buying a home or vacant land, the subsidies available to them and generally assist them on their journey to home ownership.”

Residents who want to take advantage of Urbex’s new house and land packages or vacant land under $290 000 should visit the Urbex Realty, Sales and Information Centre at 18 Cavenagh Street, Darwin or contact Janzey Pratt on 1300 556 950.

For more information visit,

Mt Todd EIS available for public comment

The draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Mt Todd Gold Project will be submitted to the Northern Territory Environmental Protection Authority today.

Vista Gold General Manager Brent Murdoch Mr Murdoch said he welcomed the opportunity to clarify environmental aspects of the project through the EIS process.

“We are looking forward to working together with the Government and the community to take this project forward,” Mr Murdoch said.

“We are encouraged by the potential of the project and have consulted with a wide range of representatives from community, non-government groups and key organisations since January 2011 to ensure that we have a full appreciation of the range of factors involved.

“The EIS identifies potential environmental, social, transport, cultural and economic impacts associated with reopening and operating the Mt Todd Gold Mine.

“Community input is an important part of the EIS process. It will help the project team understand what issues are important to the community. It will also allow the project team to identify ways to avoid, mitigate or manage some of the negative impacts and maximise positive ones.”

Vista Gold proposes to re-establish, operate and rehabilitate the Mt Todd Gold Mine approximately 55km north-west of Katherine and 250km south of Darwin.

The draft EIS has been prepared by independent consultants GHD Pty Ltd to support key Commonwealth and Northern Territory Government approvals under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and the Northern Territory Environmental Assessment Act 1982.

The document is available on the NTEPA and Mt Todd websites and will be on public display from today until 12 August 2013. A full list of where it is displayed can be accessed from our website.

Interested parties wishing to comment on the draft EIS are invited to make written submissions on or before 12 August.

For more information on how to comment on the draft EIS visit the NT EPA website: or