Warning: Images of deceased persons may appear. Yuwaalaraay / Gamilaraay pronunciation guide.

New water-efficient WAMS Community garden launch December 2020
UNSW Engineering staff and students from the ChallENG program collaborated with DEG and WAMS to develop irrigation solutions and shade for the WAMS community garden. The garden’s water efficient microfarm was launched in December 2020 and is providing ongoing access to healthy food for clients of WAMS’ chronic disease program.

Dry Barwon River - challenging food security
With collaborators from the UNSW Global Water Institute we are investigating the suitability of Walgett’s alluvial reservoir for providing water to other garden locations in the town. We are scoping a community meals initiative and through the School Reference Group advocated for daily free nutritious meals to be served in the Walgett Primary and High Schools - which in 2023 are being rolled out.

Walgett IGA fire 5 June 2019

Our food initiatives are working to provide sustainable long term food security to Walgett.
Our community is challenged from losing river foods from our local food options - due to bad water management in the Northern Murray Darling Basin. We learnt a lot when the only supermarket in town burnt down in June 2019, about how vulnerable our local food is and how food supply systems contribute to this vulnerability.

Walgett Gardener's Network
This part of the program is supporting Walgett gardeners to share resources and co-ordinate planting and harvesting of local foods. Compost and native grains are other initaitives being seeded in this initiative. We provide gardeners with the opportunity to meet and yarn productively, give them tips, gardening gloves, seeds & other gifts and encourage the strengthening of their networks.

The WAMS, DEG amd TGI team conducting an audit of the Walgett IGA supermarket

With WAMS staff and Walgett IGA we are producing a variety of healthy supermarket initiatives. The Meal of the Month and WAMS Choice promotes healthier choice items on the supermarket shelves. Meal of the Month promotes a healthy affordable meal and provides taste tests in Walgett IGA. Raffles give away the ingredients of the Meal of the Month, and contestants are asked to cook up the Meal of the Month and display if on Facebook for more prizes.

journalist Carly Williams and participants in her story on ABC 7.30 re Walgett's drinking water
Yuwaya Ngarra-li is continuing work to ensure safe drinking water for the Walgett community. While a reverse osmosis facility was installed in Walgett in May 2020, it was closed in September 2020 and there are ongoing concerns about the high sodium levels in Walgett’s drinking water. A Briefing Paper on Walgett’s drinking water management explains the issue. WAMS and DEG with Yuwaya Ngarrali partners Professor Jacqui Webster of The George Institute for Global Health UNSW and Professor Greg Leslie from the Global Water Institute UNSW trained up a research team and undertook a groundbreaking survey of food and water (in)security in Walgett in March 2022.

The DEG team and collaborators considering evidence
We are investigating the relevant laws, policies and guidelines for food and water security in Walgett including looking at the relevant legislation and government agencies responsible. We are also talking to key stakeholders to understand what we can learn from past Walgett food and water crises and how we can be better respond in the future. Once we have a better knowledge of the systems that cause Walgett's food and water insecurity, we will embark on programs of advocacy equipped with the evidence, knowledge and decisionmaking we need to influence and make change.