A little part of the Central Highlands might have played a quite a big part in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) last month.
Central Highlands Regional Council hosted 15 fellows from the International Water Centre’s Australian Award Fellowship program for Fiji on ‘Improving water security through resilient water and sanitation systems and governance’.
The UNDP has 17 Global Goals that are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. Goal 6 is to ensure universal access to safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030.
The visiting Fijians represented the three government departments and the Water Authority of Fiji who are working collaboratively to develop a policy that will govern how their country will meet its targets under sustainable development goal 6.
As part of their four-week Australian visit, the group spent four days in the Central Highlands specifically to find out how we deliver safe, clean water to remote communities.
They visited Emerald, Rolleston, Springsure, Blackwater, Capella and the Sapphire Gemfields during some unusually cool and overcast Central Queensland weather that apparently had them reaching for some warm clothing.
Apart from the excursions to the various water and sewerage treatment facilities, the Fijians enjoyed the Blackwater International Coal Museum, a tour of Fairbairn Dam and an underground experience of a sapphire mine.
Central Highlands Chief Executive Officer Scott Mason said he much appreciated the enthusiasm and commitment of General Manager Infrastructure and Water Utilities Gerhard Joubert and his team in ensuring the trip was such a success.
Assistant Engineer Nathan Litzow, who accompanied the Fijians around the region, said they were, ‘exuberant and entertaining in their reactions to what they experienced’.
‘They were very excited to see their first camel and thought the Fairbairn Dam was spectacular,’ he said.
‘Although we face a few challenges here in terms of water management, we are actually blessed with our infrastructure and we shouldn’t take clean water for granted.’
According to the International Water Centre Project Officer Edith Kamundi, the fellows voted their trip to Central Highlands the best during the month.