ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University

Securing Safe Domestic Water (SSDW) for Regional Australia (2016 - on going)


CSU/ILWS, $50,000 (2016); CSU/ILWS, $25,000 (2017); Murray Darling Basin Authority, $4500; ILWS, $3500 (2018)


Rural and Regional Communities


Professor Max Finlayson (Project leader CSU Team), Adjunct Professor Peter Waterman (Project Coordinator), Michael Kitzelmann (CEO Etheridge Shire Council and Challenge Champion),  Kate Charters (Chair Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia (SEGRA) Foundation)


This collaborate research project came out of a SEGRA Challenge for 2015-2016 “Securing Adequate Safe Domestic Water for Rural and Regional Australia” whereby participants at the SEGRA Conference, held at CSU's Bathurst campus in November 2015, identified the need for adequate and pathogen free domestic water for rural and remote regional Australia where residents are not protected by any environmental health regulations.

The project commenced in 2016 (after securing $50,000 internal funding from CSU/ILWS) as a collaborative project with a number of partners including the SEGRA Foundation, Murray Darling Association, the Queensland Department of Health, Etheridge Shire Council, the Queensland Murray Darling Committee and Conservation Volunteers (Australia).

The project was initially focused on the Gulf Region of Far North Queensland (Etheridge Shire) with water quality sampling in the Etheridge Shire done in parallel with the shire’s dog baiting program in May, 2016.  One hundred and seventy five water samples and 89 questionnaires were collected from 152 properties throughout the shire which covers 40,000 sq kms with a population of under a 1000. It was then expanded to include the Darling Basin in Southern Queensland  where sampling was done by Queensland Health and the analysis by Adjunct Professor Peter Waterman.

In 2017 an additional $25,000 in internal funding enabled the project to expand and include the Central and Lower Darling Region in NSW where Professor Waterman undertook a community engagement program with the support of the Broken Hill City Council, the Pastoralists Association of West Darling and the Darling River Action Group.

As well, in 2017, the project secured additional funding from the Murray Darling Basin Authority (Secure Safe Domestic Water (SSDW) in the Central Darling Region: Regional stakeholder engagement action events. Finlayson, M. (2017) MDBA, $4546) which supported community consultation activities in the Central and Lower Darling.

In 2018, the project received a further $3500 in internal funding which was used to embed SSDW within the emerging sustainable regional development agenda of the Balranald Shire Council.

The engagement activities in 2017-2018 have confirmed that the lack of adequate and safe domestic water on rural and remote properties was of serious concern in the Central and Lower Darling Region.


Waterman, P. (2018) Safe Water Australia: securing adequate safe domestic water for rural, remote and regional Australia. Presented at the 22nd annual SEGRA conference, October 22-25, Mackay.

Waterman, P. (2018) Secure Safe Domestic Water for the Central and Lower Darling Region. Post-Activity Report to MDBA


Expected outcomes  of this project are:

  • Measureable improvement in the quality of water being used for domestic purposes
  • Better informed community conversations on domestic water supply provision
  • Less sickness from the consumption of unsafe water
  • LGAs are better resourced to meet their statutory requirements in the provision of domestic water supplies
  • Increased investment in sustainable technology that ensures safe domestic water supplies


Adjunct Professor Peter Waterman

Mobile: 0418 628431

March 2019