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Water usage in Indigenous communities in the Central Deserts, Australia

Yuen, E., Ho, G.ORCID: 0000-0001-9190-8812, Anda, M.ORCID: 0000-0001-7398-4192, Clarkson, K. and Day, D. (2004) Water usage in Indigenous communities in the Central Deserts, Australia. In: Proceedings of the 29th WEDC Conference, 22 - 26 September 2003, Abuja, Nigeria

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Water supply management options for communities with elevated levels of uranium are being investigated. Three remote Indigenous communities in the Central Deserts region of the Northern Territory were assessed for non-potable water usage patterns and drinking water intake. The uranium guideline in the Australian Drinking Water Quality Guidelines (NHMRC and ARMCANZ, 1996) assumes a daily water intake of 2 litres per person. The estimated 95 percentile tap water intake was found to be approximately 2 litres. However, high water intake in some individuals, particularly during physical activity, high temperatures, and amongst those who cook using water or do not purchase bottled beverages could result in the acceptable average daily intake being exceeded.

Drinking water has been observed to be obtained from the most convenient source irrespective of water quality or palatability. This creates a problem in the design of dual supply systems, where users are required to obtain drinking water from a designated potable supply water point, usually the kitchen sink In the communities visited, the outdoor tap is commonly used for cooking and drinking, but is also used for yard watering and temperature control. Yard watering and cooling both use substantial amounts of water leaving the problem of where to provide the potable supply water points most efficiently. Water intake, and potable supply requirements are quantified in this paper and water usage patterns are briefly discussed.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental Science
Notes: In: Harvey, P. (ed) Towards the Millennium Development Goals - Actions for water and environmental sanitation: Proceedings of the 29th WEDC Conference, Abuja, Nigeria, 2003
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