Water Journal : Water Journal September 2011
small systems technical features 76 SEPTEMBER 2011 water The workshops are a medium to discuss and build understanding about successful and robust water management planning. Conclusion Adoption of the Field Guide can assist with protecting the public health of people living in remote areas through increasing water system reliability, reducing water system breakdowns, and improving response rates to water system failures or emergency events. This can also reduce the demand and costs to service providers by reducing call- outs. Approaching all-new water supply interventions with the view to engaging in shared water management will slow the whirlpool of crisis water supply management for service providers. The past mistakes of assuming that the issues surrounding small water supplies can be addressed through investing in high-capital cost programs, with little investment in understanding local community water needs and potential for contributions to management, can be avoided through investments in empowering and enabling communities to manage their water supplies. The benefits of small-community water planning by the health and water sectors have seen the production of resources such as the Field Guide to implement local management planning programs. The supporting 'train-the-trainer' workshops and ongoing advocacy assist to improve the approach to water management programming for remote Indigenous communities. There is a growing body of evidence that the residents in small communities and outstations are prepared to engage in sustainable water supply management solutions. For policy makers, the goal now is to shift the reliance on performance data from infrastructure audits and water quality testing to performance in management procedures, to measure the sustainability of programs and step- wise water supply performance. Acknowledgements Our work on the development of the Field Guide and the 'train-the-trainer' program was funded and supported by the National Water Commission. The Authors Robyn Grey-Gardner (email: robyngg@ ozemail.com.au) is an environmental and social scientist who has worked with small Indigenous communities on water supply management for more than 10 years. During the development of the Field Guide, Robyn was the project manager based at the Centre for Appropriate Technology. She is a consultant based in Alice Springs, NT. Ruth Elvin manages the Technical Resource Group at the Centre for Appropriate Technology (CAT). Her work with CAT has included overseeing the development of the National Indigenous Infrastructure Guide, as well as applied research projects in Indigenous community housing and infrastructure. Peter Taylor is CEO of the Centre for Appropriate Technology -- Australia's National Indigenous science and technology NGO. He has worked for over 20 years in the Indigenous sector in government and non-government roles and has extensive experience in remote community infrastructure program delivery and policy development. Dr Michele Akeroyd manages the Drinking Water R&D portfolio at Water Quality Research Australia. Her role includes ensuring that R&D investment is aligned with industry priorities and ensuring that the R&D outcomes have a pathway for communication and adoption. Michele also provides leadership in the development of corporate policies, strategy and stakeholder relations. References Australian Government, 2009: The Community Water Planner Field Guide, National Water Commission, Canberra. Australian Human Rights Commission, 2009: Native Title Report, Chapter 6, Indigenous Peoples and Water, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Sydney. http://www.hreoc.gov.au/social_ justice/nt_report/ntreport08/pdf/chap6.pdf (accessed 20 July 2010). ABS, 2007: Housing & Infrastructure in Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Communities: Australia, 2006 (Reissue), Publication No. 4710.0, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Government, Canberra. Residents at Buru in Queensland map their water supply.
Water Journal November 2011
Water Journal August 2011