Wurreranginy Aboriginal Water and Energy Investigation

 
 

Project Background

Wurreranginy, commonly known as Frog Hollow is located in the Shire of Halls Creek, 30 minutes South of Turkey Creek. In 1900 a cattle station was established and local people were encouraged to camp near the homestead and were given food to prevent the killing of cattle. In 1910 the homestead became a food depot as it was considered an outstation of Turkey Creek.

In the 1970’s local Aboriginal people were expelled from the land as a result of the Government Pastoral Award, and moved to Guda Guda near Wyndham.  Local Aboriginal people moved back to Frog Hollow in 1981 as they wanted to be on their home country and to establish a healthy place to raise their children.

Frog Hollow is a place of cultural significance for local Aboriginal people so a camp was established with basic housing and infrastructure. Frog Hollow has not received any Government support for housing in approximately 10 years. Municipal services are provided by Warmun Community. There are approximately 50 permanent residents at Frog Hollow and in the wet season the community swells with visitors from the surrounding communities.

Community members established a school Purnululu Aboriginal Independent Community School, which currently has 42 students, 15-20 are local children with the rest coming from Halls Creek and Warmun as the school is very successful and well run. There is a small crèche with 15 preschoolers, 8 local children and 7 children who come from Warmun.

Community Housing Limited (CHL) approached EWB on behalf of Wurreranginy Aboriginal Corporation. Community Housing Limited (CHL) approached EWB on behalf of Wurreranginy Aboriginal Corporation.Separately Utility 360 approached CHL to pilot a project that aims to provide functional, reliable and safe off-grid drinking water and electrical energy generation infrastructure. A project was then brokered between the Wurreranginy Aboriginal Corporation and Arup. .

Project Overview

CHL and Arup are working with the Wurreranginy Aboriginal Corporation and the local community to undertake a water and energy assessment.

Project Outcomes and Benefits

The water and energy assessment developed through this project will provide the community with an understanding of existing water and power supply and distribution systems. It will also provide the community with options for the provision of reliable and safe drinking water and electrical energy generation to meet their development needs.

Project partners

Wurreranginy Aboriginal Corporation

Wurreranginy Aboriginal Corporation represent the needs of community; supporting education, job training, health service, work, and housing for its members. Wurreranginy support the social and economic development of its members, and encourage its members to manage their affairs upon their lands and renew their traditional culture.

Community Housing Limited (CHL)

 CHL is a not-for-profit group which develops and provides affordable housing solutions for vulnerable and low to moderate income people. This includes the provision of both “social” and “affordable” housing. Since its formation in 1993, CHL has grown into the largest community housing provider in Australia with over 6,300 properties serviced by 31 offices, establishing CHL as the first national Community Housing Provider capable of leveraging scale and providing housing in all six Australian states.

CHL is a Tier 1 registered community housing provider under the National Regulatory System for Community Housing and a full Housing Pathways provider. CHL has been able to balance this growth with significant expansion with strong customer services. CHL provides quality affordable housing to a range of clients and communities.

CHL has a long and proud history of working with Indigenous communities to deliver housing in a culturally appropriate way. CHL is Australia’s second largest non-government manager of Aboriginal rental housing with 17% of its Australian properties, around 1,000 rental homes, tenanted by people with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background.

CHL is committed to community development with dedicated staff who focus on facilitating community development projects which have been generated and are led by community. CHL’s approach is based on identifying the strengths, knowledge, and capability within communities and developing innovative ideas to create sustainable, resilient, communities. CHL has adopted an Aboriginal Community Strategy, and a Community Development Framework to ensure best practice.

Arup

Arup is an independent firm of designers, planners, engineers, consultants and technical specialists, working across every aspect of today’s built environment. Arup has always recognised that great design includes a responsibility to the future. Our expertise in the built environment enables us to play a positive role in communities and support important social causes. Arup works in partnership with many leading organisations in the public and private sector, shaping the response to some of the world’s biggest challenges.

Arup’s partnership with EWB since 2009 is based on a mutual interest in sustainable development, environmental responsibility and social purpose. We connect communities in need, to the engineering skills and expertise they require, to improve their quality of life.

Utility360

Utility360 is a new social enterprise, established as a joint venture between EWB Australia and the Wise Foundation. It’s purpose is to provide integrated utilities such as potable water supply and renewable energy within a social business paradigm. Utility360 is currently undertaking a pilot project under the brand “Bee Lafaek” (Crocodile Water) in Timor Leste. Utility360 are planning a series of pilot projects in Northern Australia in small communities to test the innovative technology and develop the social business model, including local training and employment in the installation and maintenance of the systems.

Project Update

Jack Clarke and Simon Schutz from Arup undertook a site visit with CHL’s Community Development Manager, Rachel Lattimore, in March 2018 to undertake an asset condition assessment of water and power assets, meet the community and understand their development aspirations. The site visit was invaluable in developing an understanding of community needs and existing assets. The community shared challenges they faced such as contaminated water, experiencing multiple ‘boil water ’notices including one that lasted for seven weeks and the financial burden of having to purchase bottled water in the school.

While in Frog Hollow the Arup team ran an impromptu STEM session with students from year three through to year seven.  The activity involved undertaking a water filtration experiment using things found in community. The students were very engaged and became competitive, each trying to obtain the clearest water (filtered the same water multiple times, cheated by using tap water…). This provided Simon and Jack and opportunity to link the activity and students learning on water filtration back to their water supply.

A final report is being prepared