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Curtin water project wins UNESCO award

A group of Curtin University of Technology postgraduate Electrical Engineering students are the only Australian team to win the Mondialogo Engineering Award with a project that provides a solution to water shortages during the dry season.

The Western Australian team beat 3,200 participants from 89 countries to win €20,000 for their outstanding efforts in initiating and implementing their project.

The Curtin team proposed a solution where solar power generators pump water from underground reservoirs to hill tops to be used by farmers to irrigate their plots during the dry months. The winning project proposal is entitled Development of Sustainable Power and Water Supply for Remote Areas, Disaster Relief and Reconstruction in Indonesia.

Mr Ahmad Agus Setiawan is an Indonesian studying at Curtin’s Bentley campus and also the leader of the winning team. He pointed out the practical benefits of his team’s project and how it is sustainable for communities in a developing country like Indonesia.

“Promoting sustainable development by utilising available energy in rural areas in developing countries is our priority,” Mr Setiawan said.

“Utilising solar panels with a conventional diesel generator pumps the water out of the ground and ensures remote areas and disaster affected locations have continual access to water for daily and agricultural uses.”

The team’s next project stage is sourcing the panels, pipes and generators required at a price that is cost effective, and then installing these with the assistance of the Gadjah Mada University community service team. The first Indonesian team will be deployed in June 2008 for two months to work with the communities in the Yogyakarta region on Java.

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