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Rural townships and remote Indigenous communities have been exempted from new government guidelines to guarantee pure drinking water.
The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has concluded that testing for contamination could cost too much in some remote areas.
'For small supplies, it may not be economically feasible or practical to carry out all the recommendations of the . . . guidelines,' the 1126 page document states. 'One of the major difficulties for small communities, particularly those in remote areas, is the implementation of regular monitoring programs, both in terms of cost and the practicalities of transporting samples to testing laboratories.'
The NHMRC document says authorities responsible for 'small water supplies' - those serving fewer than 1000 people - should follow the national guidelines 'as far as possible'.
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