More than 1300 kilometres northwest of Adelaide, in the middle of a vast red and brown landscape, an unexpectedly green oasis was officially opened in early November for the local football league and wider community to enjoy.
The newly grassed Amata Oval is located in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands, near the South Australia/Northern Territory border, and is irrigated using recycled water from SA Water’s nearby wastewater treatment plant. SA Water manages water supplies and/or wastewater disposal systems in 13 Aboriginal communities and government facilities in the APY Lands, including 53 bores (nine of which are solar-powered), four state-of-the-art desalination plants and one wastewater treatment plant.
The concept of greening Amata Oval was spawned by SA Water’s Remote Communities team in 2016 following an analysis of potential reuse options for excess wastewater collected from the local network. A contract for civil construction work was awarded in November 2017, with grassing starting in October 2018.
SA Water’s Remote Communities team manager Simon Wurst says the project’s objective was to provide Amata with a functional open space that could be maintained in an environmentally sustainable way.
“Each day, around 70,000 litres of wastewater is treated at the plant and pumped to an underground irrigation system at the oval,” says Wurst. “It’s a massive feat to have not only recycled water infrastructure in such an isolated location, but also green grass. We met this challenge through innovative solutions like special durable materials and remote monitoring and operation technology.
“Building relationships between the local community and SA Water has been essential to ensuring our infrastructure delivers the fundamental public health outcomes, and through initiatives such as our greening project, we’re supporting greater liveability for the people we serve in Amata.”
Australian Turfgrass Management wishes to thank Clare Hesketh and Julian Mittiga from SA Water for their assistance in putting this article together.
Photos by SA Water.
This article was orginally published in Volume 21.6 (Nov - Dec 2019) of the ATM.