Technology for outback
By Angela Matheson
The Remote Area Developments Group, from Murdoch University's Institute for Environmental Science, is installing technologically innovative laundry, toilet and hot water facilities in Aboriginal camps in the north-west of Western Australia.
The technology has been developed in response to appalling health standards in Aboriginal communities but is regarded as a model which meets the needs of rural communities generally.
Members of RADG have battled heat and monsoons to install ablution blocks, hand-operated washing machines and special non-flush toilets known as "Kurivilla Krappers". Marin Anda, who designed the portable solar hot water heater for the project, says, "All is going well at this stage, and a growing number of fringe-dwellers are now showering and excreting in strange new devices".
Ablution blocks have been installed at Halls Creek and Kalgoorlie. RADG plans to help Aboriginal communities establish a cooperative to produce the technology. A basic facility can be installed for about $12,000, and in kit form costs half the price.
The designs are also environmentally friendly. An evapotranspiration waste water disposal system has been developed as an alternative to leach drains. The system relies upon and promotes the growth of trees. n