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Water Science & Technology Vol 23 No 10-12 pp 1825–1833 © IWA Publishing 1990

The Effectiveness of Evapotranspiration Systems in Disposing of Wastewater in Remote Aboriginal Communities in Northwest Australia

D. R. McGrath, G. E. Ho and K. Mathew

Remote Area Developments Group, Environmental Science, Murdoch University, Western Australia, 6150, Australia


The potential usage of Evapotranspiration (ET) systems in remote Aboriginal communities was investigated. ET system sizing requirements were determined from the water balance equation. Water loss from lysimeters planted with trees (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) or lawn grass and from bare soil and gravel was monitored over several months and compared to pan evaporation measured during the same period. It was found that ET from bare soil and grass followed similar trends to pan evaporation, ranging from 30-60% of pan evaporation for soil and from 60-80% of pan evaporation for grass. ET rates increased in the tanks planted with trees as the plants grew and exceeded pan evaporation rates. Evaporation from gravel-filled lysimeters was low, being as little as 10% of pan evaporation.

Keywords: Evapotranspiration; greywater disposal; sewage disposal; appropriate technology; remote communities.

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