All smiles at Murrurundi Public School


It was a win that excited the entire community, not to mention an outcome that benefitted the entire population of around 1000 people.

Murrurundi Public School was the winner of the NSW Tidy Town Environmental Award largely in recognition of an innovative water collection system they shared with the community.

Basically, the system uses solar panels to collect condensation and stores that water for consumption. The system has capacity to collect around 20 litres a day and while that may not seem a huge amount, when your town has no water at all, it is gold.

Adam Challak, Olivia Witchard, Gracie Kedwell, Ally Sevil and Conner Hyde are very proud of Murrurundi School’s NSW Tidy Town Environmental win last month.

The students remember having to time their showers to two minutes and not being able to enjoy the local pool as they had in the past.

Year six student Gracie Kedwell said it was really hard on the days she had to wash your hair to make sure she got all the shampoo out in time.

Acting school principal Christina Darlington said the level six water restrictions meant residents could only do two loads of washing a week, could not water at all outside, the pool was limited to reduced opening times and with no water in the river, there was no swimming there either.

Water was trucked into the town each day and consumption was limited to 70 litres per person each day and that was for everything from flushing the toilet to use in cooking.

The school’s vegetable garden went by the wayside and the school chickens had to find new homes.

When a café in Byron Bay heard of Murrurundi’s plight, they installed the solar-water condensation system that allowed the students to fill water bottles.  The community was also welcome to use the water and during the school holidays, a café across the road from the school held a key to the school’s front gate so people could continue to access the town’s most precious tap.

The announcement of the Tidy Towns Win has been celebrated across the entire township and the students are particularly proud.

The school’s motto ‘Pride in our Heritage, Confidence in our Future’ is a testament to the resilience the students have shown during the drought and these days, they appreciate the green grass in their playground that, not so long ago, was nothing more than a pile of dust.