A $3 million upgrade to Namatjira’s raw water supply is now complete, ensuring the community has a reliable water supply for all outdoor purposes. The upgrades, which will increase the community’s water capacity by over 18%, include 2 new raw water tanks, 5 pumps, a pumphouse with control room and supporting infrastructure.
The upgrade was led and funded by the department and collaboratively supported by Dareton Local Aboriginal Land Council, Wentworth Shire Council, NSW Public Works and contractors. The new tanks have been painted with an Aboriginal art mural, designed by Namatjira community member John Mitchell. John worked with talented creatives, Andi Mether, Jenny McCraken, Lorraine Mitchell and Leo Uribe to bring the mural to life.
In 2021, a new river intake was constructed for Jubullum to provide cleaner and safer drinking water for the Aboriginal community. The upgrade replaced a failing infiltration gallery with an ultrafiltration plant that assists with filtering solids such as bacteria, blue green algae toxins and unpleasant organic materials from the river water.
With the assistance of a community liaison member, the program also implemented a demand management campaign to conduct house-by-house audits of leaks and encourage residents to report leaks and protect water scarcity.
Elder Uncle Lewis Walker yarned with children in the community about the cultural value of water and swam in the river. The children then painted artworks from their experiences which were enlarged and attached to the new water treatment plant.
A new chlorine dosing system has been installed to boost the chlorine residual at Summervale, ensuring the community receives quality water that consistently meets Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. The department worked with the Summervale LALC, Walcha Shire Council and contractors to deliver this project.
Upgrades to the treatment plant and the stabilisation of the eroding Clarence riverbank were both completed for Malabugilmah in 2020.
A disc filter, ultrafiltration membranes, activated carbon filtration and improved control systems were added to the treatment plant. The river embankment was also stabilised with 530 geotextile sandbags and 40 cubic metres of rock.
As a result, the reliability of the community’s water supply increased as the river water quality no longer dictates when water can be extracted from the river. Water supply security has also improved, with the riverbank stabilisation works significantly reducing the risk of intake structure failure.
Input from the Jana Ngalee LALC, Clarence Valley Council and contractors assisted the department with the development and delivery of the project.