THE PORT ADELAIDE FOOTBALL CLUB has helped launch the newly upgraded oval at Amata on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands, near the South Australia/Northern Territory border.

Thanks to a new SA Water wastewater treatment plant, the oval is irrigated using recycled water.

Its newly grassed surface stands out like a green oasis against the vast red and brown desert landscape which surrounds it.

The oval, some 1300 kilometres north-west of Adelaide, was opened on Wednesday and will be used by the local football league and the wider community.

Port Adelaide used the opportunity to host a carnival for its WillPOWER program.

“WillPOWER is about encouraging students in the APY and Maralinga Lands to stay engaged with and complete their schooling,” said Port Adelaide Aboriginal Programs Director Paul Vandenbergh.

“We like to reward their school attendance with sporting carnivals, and while they’re usually at Alice Springs or Ernabella, we jumped at the opportunity to host this event at the newly grassed Amata Oval.

“The importance of having a facility like this can’t be underestimated for the local community and SA Water should be commended for helping make it happen.”

WillPOWER is a prelude to the club’s flagship Aboriginal education program the Aboriginal Power Cup, and is delivered to students in Years 5-9.

WillPOWER works with younger children to provide guidance and positive reasons to stay engaged in schooling and complete secondary education.

Joining in the oval’s opening celebrations were students from schools in the region and players from the two local football teams – including 2019 Premiers, the Amata Swans.

SA Water’s Manager of Remote Communities Simon Wurst said their objective was to provide Amata with a functional open space that can 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,” He said.

“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 our Remote Communities team has also been essential to ensuring the infrastructure delivers the fundamental public health outcomes as well as a liveability outcome for the people we’re serving.”

Alongside the oval launch today, SA Water and KESAB environmental solutions will be running education and basic plumbing training sessions with some of the local kids and community.

SA Water’s Manager of Community and Aboriginal Engagement Rachael Siddall said these workshops help to increase awareness of where drinking water comes from and the importance of water sustainability.

“Water is such a valuable resource – it’s essential for drinking and maintaining public health, as well as sustaining opportunities and development of the communities it’s supplied to,” Rachael said.

“Aboriginal people have been living sustainably on country for a long time, demonstrating traditional knowledge of land and protecting and maintaining sites of significance like waterholes.

“Our education sessions aim to combine this knowledge with modern learnings to encourage the kids to think more about the value of their water.”