Limited water resources exist in numerous remote indigenous settlements around Australia. Indigenous people in these communities are still living in rudimentary conditions while their urban counterparts have full amenities, large scale water supplies and behavioral practices which may not be appropriate for an arid continent but are supported by extensive infrastructure in higher rainfall coastal areas. As remote indigenous communities continue to develop, their water use will increase, and in some cases, costly solutions may have to be implemented to augment supplies. Water harvesting techniques have been applied in settlements on a small scale for domestic and municipal purposes, and in the large, broadacre farm setting for productive use of the water. The techniques discussed include swales, infiltration basins, infiltration trenches and sand dam’ basins. This paper reviews the applications of water harvesting relevant to small communities for land rehabilitation, landscaping and flood control. Landscaping is important in these communities as it provides shelter from the sun and wind, reduces soil erosion and hence reduced airborne dust, and in some cases provides food and nutrition. Case studies of water harvesting systems applied in the Pilbara Region, Western Australia for landscaping around single dwellings in Jigalong and Cheeditha, in a permaculture garden in Wittenoon and at a college and carpark in Karratha are described.
In 1997, a “Greening Cheeditha Project” developed a water harvesting plan for six residential lots. This included the construction of earth banks and swales [open, vegetated channels that reduce runoff velocity, promote infiltration, remove sediments and can be used to increase available water to plants] along natural topo- graphic lines to direct yard runoff into a number of depressions which were then planted with juvenile trees, shrubs and groundcover. Species included Carobs, Albizias, fruit trees (Mangoes, Figs, Oranges, Lemons, Grapefruits, Guavas), shrubs such as Wattles, Daturas, Cotton, Saltbushes, Basil, Gooseberry and groundcover including Herbs, Grasses, Creepers (eg Lippia/Spinifex).
|Climate change impacts||Effect of Nbs on CCI||Effect measures|
|Freshwater flooding||Positive||For both impacts: Qualitative/anecdotal statements that projects met the objectives of reducing the impact|
|Soil erosion||Positive||For both impacts: Qualitative/anecdotal statements that projects met the objectives of reducing the impact|
Cheeditha, an Aboriginal community on the out- skirts of Roeburn, 30 km from Karratha