Innovation and engagement focus for remote water

17 October 2018

An emphasis on innovation and community engagement has helped deliver improved quality of drinking water for one of the most remote northern Australian townships.

The new $6.4 million Borroloola water treatment plant was officially opened yesterday with a strong recognition for the local community leaders, businesses and school children who all played a part in the delivery of the new facility.

The innovative solution consisted of delivering the new water treatment plant through a unique modularised solution. The ‘plug and produce’ system provided rapid installation with only minimal disruption to the operations of the existing water supply system and allowed us to remove any uncertainty and risks associated with the remote location of Borroloola.

The design phase was managed entirely through a 3D modelling representation and all components were assembled, connected and pre-tested in Darwin in a controlled environment before being dispatched to Borroloola for final integration and commissioning.

Power and Water chief executive Michael Thomson said the project had gained national industry attention because of the way it has been delivered with various levels of complexity as well as the logistical and geographical challenges of building critical infrastructure in remote communities.

“In previous years we would have built a conventional water treatment plant on site but we came up with a better solution to deliver improved services for our customers,” Mr Thomson said.

“Creativity and innovation are core values of our industry. They unlock the door to better services for the people we serve and our employees who do the work and it is the future of how we deliver improved services in remote areas going forward.”

Borroloola's only water supply is drawn from the Abner Sandstone Aquifer through five bores. Prior to the project upgrade, limited water treatment was used on three bores to improve water quality. The remaining two bores underwent no water treatment, aside from routine chlorine treatment.

While the previous water supply met Australian Drinking Water Guidelines, the potable water had corrosive tendencies, which can contribute to deterioration of pipes, pumps and tanks. The new treatment plant improves the overall mineral balance and enhances disinfection of water before it goes to local homes and businesses.The new treatment plant has been designed to fulfil the town’s future water needs for the next 30 years.

“Power and Water takes seriously the incredibly important role we have to play in helping our regions and towns prosper,” Mr Thomson said. “We’ve looked forward and planned for providing water services for Borroloola as the region grows to be able to maintain a healthy, liveable environment and community.”

Mr Thomson said the project delivery had focused on strong collaboration with the Borroloola community with local businesses involved in construction and services, and youth and artists developing artwork for the facility that builds community pride and is a proven strategy to reduce vandalism.

“Power and Water is considering our customers at the heart of everything we do in the community and how we fulfill our social investment in our towns and cities,” Mr Thomson said.


Top left: Borroloola residents and school children at the opening

Top right: Children lining up for a drink of water

Middle left: A student receives a certificate of thanks for contributing to the art work on display at the treatment plant

Middle right: Some of the artwork created by the Borroloola School students

Bottom left: Proud students with the artwork they created

Bottom right: Chief Executive Michael Thomson and Project Manager Eric Vanweydeveld at the new treatment plant

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