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10th International Rainwater Catchment Systems Conference
"Rainwater International 2001"
Mannheim, Germany - September 2001

Section 3: Rainwater: Quality Issues

Paper 3.1

Microbiological Quality of Rainwater in Selected Indigenous Communities in Central Australia

Aleksandra Plazinska
Land & Water Sciences Division
Bureau of Rural Sciences
P O Box E 11
Kingston 2604


Environmental factors, such as the poor quality of drinking water, are considered to be one of the major causes of poor health in remote Aboriginal communities (Hearn et al. 1993). The provision of safe drinking water supplies in those communities is therefore of great importance.

The Anangu Pitjantjatjara Lands covers 160,000 square kilometres in the north-western corner of South Australia and contains approximately 3000 people in nine major communities and about 70 homelands. It is an arid region, and the communities rely heavily on groundwater. High salinity, together with the concentrations of nitrate, fluoride, boron and other elements frequently exceed the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (Fitzgerald et al., 2000). The region receives on average approximately 270 mm/yr of rainfall although it is highly variable and ranges from 50 to 739 mm/yr. Even though almost all houses have rainwater tanks, most tanks are not large enough to reliably serve as the sole drinking water supply, however they represent a valuable additional water source of superior chemical quality.

PDF of full document (4pp, 21kb)

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