Monday, May 27, 2024

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HomeIssue 19$1m from Feds to deal with Central Desert water issues

$1m from Feds to deal with Central Desert water issues


Yuendumu and Engawala on Alcoota Station are “communities under threat,” according to Diane Hood (pictured), the CEO of the Central Desert Regional Council.

She says it will receive $1m under the Federal Government’s drought relief program.
“Both communities need to find water. They are both constrained in growth. No new housing will be built,” says Ms Hood.
“The supply is know to run out in possibly months.
“Engawala is in the most die straits, a small community but a very important community.
“Our understanding is Power and Water are looking for new bore sites. We have no further information about that.”
Ms Hood says the Federal grant will be used for “community resilience” programs, for economic development as well as water security.
“We have a number of projects on the books already which we didn’t know how to fund,” she says.
One project is to develop meeting spaces for each community, “not something that’s council owned or government owned but solely the community’s space.
“That has been proven to help with feeling of empowerment and ownership on the community.”
Adding some more water points in community areas is also under consideration, like bubblers at sporting fields and parks.


  1. One day rainwater, grey water recycling and road catchment might fill the gap. Always seemed there are so many overlooked opportunities in the communities.

  2. I really don’t see how building a meeting space is going to solve their water problems. Sounds more like a feel good project rather than an essential service.

  3. How is it that Singapore once imported its water from the mainland but now gets 50% of it from recycling?
    How is it that Israel (IED Technologies) has transportable desalination / purification units the size of a shipping container, chemical free and environmentally friendly, using reverse osmosis and biofilters, and is producing potable water at 57 cents per cubic metre?
    They are heading for 50% of household water to come from desalinated / recycled water.
    Now IED is owned by Delek group which opened the world’s largest desalination plant in Haldera in 2011.
    Hutchinson Water in Hong Kong is in the same position.
    Many years ago, I was a shareholder in Memtech, which developed membranes here to do the same thing. They were commandeered by the US defence and used in the Iraqi war, while we stood watching.
    Now all this is being usurped by graphene and nano tube technology and clever chemistry at Monash University School of Chemistry.
    Once more we have been living in the past as all this has been in the pipeline for at least eight years while, like the old Roman games, governments have been busy entertaining the people and arguing amongst themselves.

  4. @ Michael Dean: Thanks for your interest.
    Sustainable communities need resilience and concepts like community controlled meeting spaces play an important role in developing this, providing space to make important decisions about the issues that affect the communities.
    We have been strong in our advocacy re lack of and quality of water sources in the communities we service, lobbying Power and Water and the NT Government for new water sources for Engawala and Yuendumu in particular.
    Power and Water are looking for new sources but we haven’t been advised any further information at this stage.
    Our Regional Plan, under Goal 3: Liveability, objective 5 states: “Water is available in community areas; such as ceremony areas, sorry camps and playgrounds by 30 June 2022”.
    At present no new water infrastructure, i.e. taps, etc are being permitted in Engawala or Yuendumu, so in the meantime our local authorities are looking at buying 2,000 litre mobile water tanks that can be used for sporting events or sorry camps, etc. as needed.
    Council is looking to see how we can supplement this local initiative.


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