Delivering on a Reconciliation Action Plan initiative and at the request of local communities, SA Water has expanded its popular DIY plumbing course to more remote and regional Aboriginal communities and homelands around South Australia, including on the West Coast and Yorke Peninsula.
The course – which uses a compact travelling workbench to teach basic plumbing skills – has been run at various communities in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands since 2018, with the support of the APY Trade Training Centre in Umuwa.
SA Water’s General Manager of Strategy, Engagement and Innovation Anna Jackson said while the initial focus was to share practical plumbing knowledge with adults, a combined team of technical and education specialists is now also bringing the sessions to young students.
“Earlier this year, we visited schools at Oak Valley, Yalata, Koonibba, Port Augusta and Maitland, where around 100 primary school-aged students learned how to fix a leaky tap as well as the importance of being water efficient, and later this month, we will be travelling back out to the APY Lands,” Anna said.
“Students use a purpose-built rig designed by our people, which is fitted with eight stations of taps, pipes and tubes that can be manipulated to leak at various points, creating a hands-on experience.
“KESAB environmental solutions also support us in this activity with educational resources in language, which provide information on the journey of water from source to tap.
“For the participants, the sessions provide the practical benefit of reducing water loss in their home, which is very valuable in remote areas, when a plumber isn’t simply a phone call away.
“Our crews and contractors are responsible for maintaining infrastructure like treatment plants and large underground pipes which supply our local customers in areas like the APY Land and West Coast, but understanding your own internal plumbing and how to safely fix it is useful information for everyone.
“This simple but innovative idea also enables our people to play an active role in building meaningful relationships with Aboriginal communities, and expand their skills and cultural knowledge, which can ultimately lead to a greater understanding and better decision-making for more inclusive and sustainable outcomes.
“Reflecting on the theme of this year’s National Reconciliation Week – More than words. Reconciliation takes action – the way we’ve been able to work with communities to implement the DIY plumbing course is a true example of Reconciliation in action.”
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