Uranium in water at three times the safe level: Claim




Drinking water containing uranium at the rate of up to three times the safe level is used in several Central Australian communities, according to the environmental group, Friends of the Earth Australia.


It is conducting a national campaign to draw attention to the problem, and is calling on Chief Minister Michael Gunner to act.


Kidney, thyroid and liver complaints can result from drinking and possibly showering in the water, according to spokesman Anthony Amis.


He says the 400 people of Laramba, north of Alice Springs, have at times consumed water with contamination three times worse than considered safe.


For Willowra the figure is 200%.


In Alice Springs a bore had to be shut down in 2007/08 and 2009/10 because they were at guideline maximum.


In an Australian capital city, the use of water so close to the danger point would have sparked an outrage, says Mr Amis.


More details can be found in an interactive map prepared by the group (click on the markers).


Long-time solutions include expensive treatment plants.


In the short term Friends of the Earth are encouraging the NT Government to cart clean water, at least for drinking.


The Alice Springs News has asked the government to comment.



  1. Clean drinking water is something that all people should have access to.
    Central Desert Regional Council has long advocated for clean and sustainable water sources for the communities it services, which include Laramba and Willowra.
    We are yet to hear of any new water sources from Power and Water or the NT Government, or if they are looking into other methods of procuring clean water (reverse osmosis filtering system, etc).

  2. For all it’s worth, a common misconception is that it is the radioactivity which makes uranium dangerous to people’s health. Uranium is a “heavy metal” and it is mainly this quality which has serious health implications.
    A moot point to ponder: To which extent is health harm caused by drinking uranium containing water offset by the health benefits of substituting sugar containing drinks with this water?
    Or the carbon footprint of plastic bottled water for that matter.

  3. Is this not the traditional homelands of these people.
    During the recent bushfire crisis we learned that First Nations people managed this land for thousands of years before the white an came along.
    We hear that their methods of controlling country are superior to white man’s, and we should turn to the Indigenous to learn how to control fires using their ancient methods.
    Can we not do the same here, and learn why this was never a problem or how the First Nations people managed this problem before the arrival of white man, because surely the radium has always been in the ground.


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