Wannon Water donates hay bales to to the Rotary Club of Warrnambool for overseas water project

Gift: Wannon Water's John Harris, Warrnambool Rotary Club president Steve Giddens and international committee director Tony Austin.
Gift: Wannon Water's John Harris, Warrnambool Rotary Club president Steve Giddens and international committee director Tony Austin.

Wannon Water has donated hay to support a Rotary International relief project supplying clean water to a remote village in Papua New Guinea.

More than 30 round bales of hay were harvested from Wannon Water land near Port Fairy and donated to the Rotary Club of Warrnambool for the second successive year.

The club will use the funds from the sale of the bales to support the Sariri Village Project which is helping to rebuild a community devastated by a cyclone in 2007 and severe flooding in 2009.

Branch corporate services manager Les Johnson said the long-term project linked to Wannon Water’s corporate vision of going “beyond water for strong communities”.

“Wannon Water is once again proud to support Rotary in its work to help the Sarari village re-establish and become self-sustaining with projects including timber milling, construction of safer housing and a school and the installation of a running water supply,” Mr Johnson said.

“Watching a video of village children playing in running water for the first time was heartwarming.”

Wannon Water’s social committee has also supported the project, providing money raised from last year’s employee Christmas quiz towards a solar water pump.

The Rotary Club of Warrnambool’s international services director Tony Austin said Sarari was a Rotary Australia World Community Service project first initiated by the Rotary Club of Geelong and later supported by the Warrnambool Rotary clubs.

“Much has been achieved and the lives of the villagers have significantly improved as a consequence,” Mr Austin said. “It is an example of the convergence of traditional ways and modern technologies making life better in an extremely harsh and primitive environment.”

He said villages such as Sariri received little or no financial support. “Most villages have absolutely nothing except what they grow and cut from the jungle and everything has to be carried by hand.

“In the past, women and children had to walk three kilometres to the river each day to fetch and carry all their water needs. With Rotary’s support, they’ve dug a well, sunk a bore and set a solar powered submersible pump on it, set up a solar battery array to provide a limited electricity supply and installed water tanks, pipes and taps to service much of the village.”

Mr Austin said it was hoped the Sariri project could become a model replicated by other communities in the Oro Province, which is on PNG’s north eastern coast.