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NT Chief 'happy' to drink contaminated water

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Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner says he's happy to drink Katherine's water 'any day, any time'.

"I can guarantee you, I was in Katherine the other day drinking the water and showering in it and cleaning my teeth in it. It's good water,' he said.

Katherine is the first entire town in Australia to have water restrictions imposed because of contamination from old toxic firefighting foams used at army bases.

Around 11,000 residents will be affected by at least two months of water conservation measures beginning August 21, at a time of peak demand during the NT dry season.

Health Minister Natasha Fyles says limiting irrigation times were an additional precautionary effort to keep the use of groundwater affected by decades-long use of poisonous chemicals at the nearby RAAF Tindal base to a minimum.

"I want to reassure residents that their drinking water is absolutely safe," she said.

Since November, pollutant levels have spiked above the recommended safe health limit four times, but the Gunner government won't reveal by how much.

© AAP 

IMAGE/Katherine Gorge AAP/Mary Evans/Ardea/Steffen & Alexandra Sailer