Project Gilghi, Australia

Aurecon has partnered with Ampcontrol to create a world-first solar-powered water purifying system for use in remote Indigenous communities

Project Gilghi is the result of three years of development, with the first operational system installed in early 2019 at the Gillen Bore outstation approximately 75 km from Alice Springs, for client Ingkerreke Resource Services.

The solution is a self-contained, self-sufficient (off-grid), reverse osmosis water treatment plant housed within a shipping container. It is a synthesis of Aurecon’s process and hydrology expertise and Ampcontrol’s electrical systems design and manufacturing capability. 

Features of the Gilghi system include:

  • production of up to 250 kL of potable water, per day (enough for 500 people)
  • integrated solar PV plant and power backup (supplied from grid or diesel generator) to charge batteries when there is insufficient solar energy, and
  • a modular system that can readily be expanded to meet additional future requirements

It is estimated that more than 48,000 Indigenous Australians in 694 locations nationwide rely on groundwater for their water supply. Often, the groundwater in arid areas contains high concentrations of minerals, damaging hot water systems, air conditioners, toilet cisterns and other household technologies designed for “softer” waters. In many cases, remote communities rely on potable water transported by truck – a highly costly and inefficient exercise. 

Ordinarily, water treatment systems run continuously, but Gilghi is designed to make smart use of available solar power during the day. At night, the town’s reticulation system picks up the stored, treated water and distributes it. When the sun rises the next day, the system begins purifying water again.

Gilghi means “small natural water hole” in the Barkindji Indigenous language. The system is designed to be maintained and operated by the community utilising it. The Gillen Bore system features a special art work from a local artist, titled Honey Ant Dreaming, mounted on one side.

Gilghi represents a revolutionary “turnkey” modular system capable of producing off-grid potable water at a reasonable cost.

The project was recognised by Australian Water Association – NSW Water Awards in the Infrastructure Project Innovation Category.

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