A small central Queensland state school now has a secure drinking water supply, after six years of dry taps and plastic bottles.
 
Australia’s most trusted rural charity, Rural Aid, has facilitated the installation of a SOURCE Hydropanel array at Valkyrie State School and believes that this technology could help facilitate drinking water security for other struggling schools.
 
SOURCE Hydropanels utilise advanced materials and renewable energy to create high-quality drinking water using only air and sunlight.
 
Rural Aid delivered more than 10 million litres of drinking water to farming families during the drought. The Valkyrie Hydropanel installation is Rural Aid’s third water-delivery project at a Queensland school.
 
Valkyrie P&C President Kristen Michelmore said the Hydropanels have given the community a huge amount of peace of mind since their installation late last month.
 
Ms Michelmore said prior to the Hydropanels’ installation, students had taken it upon themselves to monitor how much water they drank during the day.
 
“School needs to be a safe place where kids can learn and not have to worry about turning on a tap,” Ms Michelmore said.
 
“Regional school children should be treated the same as those in the cities and provided the same basic services. Through my work with the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association it is clear this is not just a problem for Valkyrie – many other schools across regional and remote Australia have issues with drinking water quality and access, so it would be great to see more projects like this supported by the Government and Education Department.”
 
“A huge thanks to Rural Aid, Stanmore Resources, the Central Queensland Mining Rehabilitation Group and SOURCE for providing potable water to our school.”
 
Rural Aid CEO John Warlters said the technology will better the students’ quality of life. 

“Droughts are difficult for kids to process, so to not have safe drinking water at school, on top of dry taps at home, is an appalling situation,” Mr Warlters said.
 
“Rural Aid acted quickly to offer the Valkyrie school community a sustainable and drought-proof alternative to trucked-in water. We’re hoping that this installation will serve as the benchmark for providing water across more schools in Queensland that face issues of scarcity and contamination.”

“Rural Aid is proud to have provided a solution to this rural community’s drinking water woes,” Mr Warlters said.
 
SOURCE Global’s Director of Market Development, Alex Polson, said that the innovative technology will shore up supplies and provide much needed resilience for students, parents, and teachers within the Valkyrie community. 
 
“No parent or teacher should have to worry about where they’re going to get drinking water from for their children and students, so we’re glad that SOURCE Hydropanels can ensure a consistent, drought-proof supply of water here in Valkyrie” he said.
 
Rural Aid, SOURCE Global, the Central Queensland Mining Rehabilitation Group and Stanmore Resources have covered the majority of the panels’ costs with some local funding also helping to finalise the project.
 
With the school previously reliant on plastic bottled water and donations, SOURCE also highlighted the environmental benefit of the Hydropanels, with the Hydropanel array able to offset more than 800,000 plastic bottles over its 15-year lifetime. 
 
“The use of decentralised, renewable technologies like SOURCE Hydropanels give regional and remote parts of Australia the ability to become healthier and more climate resilient, while avoiding the cost, waste, and inconvenience of single use plastic bottles,” Mr Polson said. 
 
 
For more information or interviews, contact Rural Aid media on media@ruralaid.org.au or 0447 116 757; or to find out more information about SOURCE Hydropanels please contact, Alex Polson on alex.polson@source.co or 0405 367 020
 
 
About Rural Aid
Rural Aid is Australia’s most trusted rural charity. We stand with our farmers when they need us most. Rural Aid provides critical support to farmers affected by natural disaster through financial, wellbeing and fodder assistance. Rural Aid’s community programs help create more sustainable communities by building stronger futures for all Australian farmers. Find out more at www.ruralaid.org.au
 
About SOURCE  
A Public Benefit Corporation, SOURCE Global, PBC’s mission is to make drinking water an unlimited resource. The company’s SOURCE® Hydropanels create drinking water using sunlight and air as the only inputs, and can put the power of safe, sustainable drinking water in the hands of every person in nearly every climate and corner of the world. SOURCE is on Fast Company’s 2020 list of most innovative social good companies. The company is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, and operates in 48 countries and on six continents. SOURCE is a registered trademark of SOURCE Global, PBC. For more information, visit www.source.co and follow us on FacebookLinkedInTwitter and Instagram
 

 
Background
Valkyrie State School, southwest of Mackay, completely ran out of water in June 2021. Students and staff had to rely on store-brought plastic bottled water, with a high economic and environmental cost.
The school unfortunately missed out on funding from the QLD 2021 State Budget to access alternative supplies of water, and the Queensland Government even blocked their ability to accept charitable donations of bottled water.
Through a coalition of supporters, including Rural Aid, technology partner SOURCE Global, mining company Stanmore Resources, and the Central Queensland Mining Rehabilitation Group, the school was able to install 15 Hydropanels which supply a drought resilient drinking water supply, independent of any infrastructure.
SOURCE has also collaborated with the Department of Education in NSW to supply drinking water to ten remote and regional schools, which has been well received by students and teachers alike. Through collaborations with Patty Mills they have also been able to support remote Indigenous schools including Cunnamulla in Queensland, and Oodnadatta in South Australia.
They were also able to supply water during the March Queensland/New South Wales floods, transporting water from their 600-panel water farm in Queensland to a school in Lismore that was serving as an evacuation point. As a result of the floods drinking water in the area became contaminated and undrinkable.
Other schools in Queensland have also experienced supply challenges or run out of water completely, including Tamborine Mountain State School which ran dry in 2019. Clarke Creek State School also relies on a nearby creek for non-potable water, while Mistake Creek State School, and Woodstock State School both rely on bore water [comments RE schools via Burdekin MP Dale Last in ABC News article].
 
Article References: ABC Tropical North: Valkyrie State School trucks in water, bans students from playing on hard, unsafe oval ABC Tropical North: Valkyrie State School parents, students getting more frustrated as water crisis continues CQ News/Courier Mail: Govt bans ‘school with no water’ from accepting help CQ News/Courier Mail: Valkyrie State School water crisis continues after missing out on funding CQ News/Courier Mail: Education Minister Weighs in on Valkyrie State School CQ News/Courier Mail: Valkyrie State School water crisis continues with further delay The Guardian: Queensland school [Mt Tamborine] runs out of water as commercial bottlers harvest local supply  
 
​Rural Aid secures drinking water for students after Valkyrie State School ran dry
A small central Queensland state school now has a secure drinking water supply, after six years of dry taps and plastic bottles.
 
Australia’s most trusted rural charity, Rural Aid, has facilitated the installation of a SOURCE Hydropanel array at Valkyrie State School and believes that this technology could help facilitate drinking water security for other struggling schools.
 
SOURCE Hydropanels utilise advanced materials and renewable energy to create high-quality drinking water using only air and sunlight.
 
Rural Aid delivered more than 10 million litres of drinking water to farming families during the drought. The Valkyrie Hydropanel installation is Rural Aid’s third water-delivery project at a Queensland school.
 
Valkyrie P&C President Kristen Michelmore said the Hydropanels have given the community a huge amount of peace of mind since their installation late last month.
 
Ms Michelmore said prior to the Hydropanels’ installation, students had taken it upon themselves to monitor how much water they drank during the day.
 
“School needs to be a safe place where kids can learn and not have to worry about turning on a tap,” Ms Michelmore said.
 
“Regional school children should be treated the same as those in the cities and provided the same basic services. Through my work with the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association it is clear this is not just a problem for Valkyrie – many other schools across regional and remote Australia have issues with drinking water quality and access, so it would be great to see more projects like this supported by the Government and Education Department.”
 
“A huge thanks to Rural Aid, Stanmore Resources, the Central Queensland Mining Rehabilitation Group and SOURCE for providing potable water to our school.”
 
Rural Aid CEO John Warlters said the technology will better the students’ quality of life. 

“Droughts are difficult for kids to process, so to not have safe drinking water at school, on top of dry taps at home, is an appalling situation,” Mr Warlters said.
 
“Rural Aid acted quickly to offer the Valkyrie school community a sustainable and drought-proof alternative to trucked-in water. We’re hoping that this installation will serve as the benchmark for providing water across more schools in Queensland that face issues of scarcity and contamination.”

“Rural Aid is proud to have provided a solution to this rural community’s drinking water woes,” Mr Warlters said.
 
SOURCE Global’s Director of Market Development, Alex Polson, said that the innovative technology will shore up supplies and provide much needed resilience for students, parents, and teachers within the Valkyrie community. 
 
“No parent or teacher should have to worry about where they’re going to get drinking water from for their children and students, so we’re glad that SOURCE Hydropanels can ensure a consistent, drought-proof supply of water here in Valkyrie” he said.
 
Rural Aid, SOURCE Global, the Central Queensland Mining Rehabilitation Group and Stanmore Resources have covered the majority of the panels’ costs with some local funding also helping to finalise the project.
 
With the school previously reliant on plastic bottled water and donations, SOURCE also highlighted the environmental benefit of the Hydropanels, with the Hydropanel array able to offset more than 800,000 plastic bottles over its 15-year lifetime. 
 
“The use of decentralised, renewable technologies like SOURCE Hydropanels give regional and remote parts of Australia the ability to become healthier and more climate resilient, while avoiding the cost, waste, and inconvenience of single use plastic bottles,” Mr Polson said. 
 
 
For more information or interviews, contact Rural Aid media on media@ruralaid.org.au or 0447 116 757; or to find out more information about SOURCE Hydropanels please contact, Alex Polson on alex.polson@source.co or 0405 367 020
 
 
About Rural Aid
Rural Aid is Australia’s most trusted rural charity. We stand with our farmers when they need us most. Rural Aid provides critical support to farmers affected by natural disaster through financial, wellbeing and fodder assistance. Rural Aid’s community programs help create more sustainable communities by building stronger futures for all Australian farmers. Find out more at www.ruralaid.org.au
 
About SOURCE  
A Public Benefit Corporation, SOURCE Global, PBC’s mission is to make drinking water an unlimited resource. The company’s SOURCE® Hydropanels create drinking water using sunlight and air as the only inputs, and can put the power of safe, sustainable drinking water in the hands of every person in nearly every climate and corner of the world. SOURCE is on Fast Company’s 2020 list of most innovative social good companies. The company is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, and operates in 48 countries and on six continents. SOURCE is a registered trademark of SOURCE Global, PBC. For more information, visit www.source.co and follow us on FacebookLinkedInTwitter and Instagram
 

 
Background
Valkyrie State School, southwest of Mackay, completely ran out of water in June 2021. Students and staff had to rely on store-brought plastic bottled water, with a high economic and environmental cost.
The school unfortunately missed out on funding from the QLD 2021 State Budget to access alternative supplies of water, and the Queensland Government even blocked their ability to accept charitable donations of bottled water.
Through a coalition of supporters, including Rural Aid, technology partner SOURCE Global, mining company Stanmore Resources, and the Central Queensland Mining Rehabilitation Group, the school was able to install 15 Hydropanels which supply a drought resilient drinking water supply, independent of any infrastructure.
SOURCE has also collaborated with the Department of Education in NSW to supply drinking water to ten remote and regional schools, which has been well received by students and teachers alike. Through collaborations with Patty Mills they have also been able to support remote Indigenous schools including Cunnamulla in Queensland, and Oodnadatta in South Australia.
They were also able to supply water during the March Queensland/New South Wales floods, transporting water from their 600-panel water farm in Queensland to a school in Lismore that was serving as an evacuation point. As a result of the floods drinking water in the area became contaminated and undrinkable.
Other schools in Queensland have also experienced supply challenges or run out of water completely, including Tamborine Mountain State School which ran dry in 2019. Clarke Creek State School also relies on a nearby creek for non-potable water, while Mistake Creek State School, and Woodstock State School both rely on bore water [comments RE schools via Burdekin MP Dale Last in ABC News article].
 
Article References: ABC Tropical North: Valkyrie State School trucks in water, bans students from playing on hard, unsafe oval ABC Tropical North: Valkyrie State School parents, students getting more frustrated as water crisis continues CQ News/Courier Mail: Govt bans ‘school with no water’ from accepting help CQ News/Courier Mail: Valkyrie State School water crisis continues after missing out on funding CQ News/Courier Mail: Education Minister Weighs in on Valkyrie State School CQ News/Courier Mail: Valkyrie State School water crisis continues with further delay The Guardian: Queensland school [Mt Tamborine] runs out of water as commercial bottlers harvest local supply  
 
Australia’s littlest livestock, its precious European honey bees, are under siege from the hive-destroying Varroa mite. 
The parasite was first detected in hives at the Port of Newcastle but has quickly spread to multiple locations across New South Wales.  
Rural Aid, the nation’s most trusted rural charity, is today launching a fundraising campaign in support of our impacted beekeepers. The Buy a Bee campaign has the unequivocal support of the industry’s peak body; the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC). 
Rural Aid CEO John Warlters said the situation is volatile and distressing for beekeepers across the country.  
“Beekeepers are in an awful state right now as they anxiously wait for news on how far the Varroa destructor mite has spread,” Mr Warlters said.   
Rural Aid is offering beekeepers and their families free counselling through its nation-wide team of qualified counsellors. 
“The DPI has identified mental health strain as the biggest issue currently facing these primary producers. Rural Aid is proud to be able to offer beekeepers immediate assistance in this area,” Mr Warlters said. 
Australian Honey Bee Industry Council chairman Stephen Targett said, “The contribution of honey bees to agriculture in Australia through pollination services is estimated at up to $20 billion, and the start of the pollination season is just weeks away, which demonstrates what an enormous threat this crisis poses to our industry. 
“Without urgent support, some of our beekeepers will struggle to survive financially. We are calling on the public to back our beekeepers now, not just for their sake, but for the sake of Australia’s entire agricultural and food production industries.” 
Rural Aid is also supporting its affected beekeepers with financial assistance in the form of $500 pre-paid Visa cards.  
“The public is encouraged to show their support for Australia’s littlest livestock by donating to Rural Aid’s Buy a Bee initiative,” Mr Warlters said.  
“Rural Aid has been supporting beekeepers for years, through its HiveAid program, created during the Black Summer bushfires in partnership with AHBIC and Hive + Wellness, the nation’s largest honey packer, best known for its Capilano branded honey. The new Buy a Bee campaign, under the HiveAid umbrella, will assist these same beekeepers as they take on the Varroa mite. 
“We thank every Australian who will dig deep to support our beekeepers in their moment of need,” Mr Warlters finished.  
Donations can be made here: https://www.ruralaid.org.au/hiveaid/  
Beekeepers who aren’t already registered with Rural Aid are encouraged to do so now using this link: https://faa.ruralaid.org.au/  
 
About Rural Aid 
Rural Aid is Australia’s most trusted rural charity. We stand with our farmers when they need us most. Rural Aid provides critical support to farmers affected by natural disaster through financial, wellbeing and fodder assistance. Rural Aid’s community programs help create more sustainable communities by building stronger futures for all Australian farmers. Find out more at www.ruralaid.org.au 
 
For more information or interviews, contact Rural Aid media on media@ruralaid.org.au or 0447 116 757. 


 
 
 Farmers in the Hawkesbury and Nepean regions are being offered financial and counselling assistance in the wake of the recent flooding crisis. 

Australia’s most trusted rural charity, Rural Aid, is providing a new round of financial assistance for farming families in the impacted local government areas. 

Flood-affected primary producers are now able to apply for a $400 pre-paid Visa card.  Rural Aid CEO John Warlters said the latest assistance follows the distribution of $1 million to flooded farmers earlier this year.

“Our growers and graziers have endured up to four floods in 15 months,” Mr Warlters said. 

“They are demoralized and heartbroken. Rural Aid is making life a little easier as they wrap their heads around another huge recovery.” 

Farmers, their families and employees, are also able to access Rural Aid’s free counselling service. 

“These extreme weather events have really knocked the wind from our farmers’ sails. Morale and motivation are understandably low,” Mr Warlters said.  

“Rural Aid’s counselling team will travel to the region once it’s safe to do so, in order to provide a listening ear. Our counsellors are embedded in these communities and will continue to support their farmers in the long months ahead,” Mr Warlters finished.  

Primary producers are being encouraged to register with Rural Aid here: https://faa.ruralaid.org.au/   Donations to Rural Aid can be made here:  https://www.ruralaid.org.au/donate 

About Rural Aid 

Rural Aid is Australia’s most trusted rural charity. We stand with our farmers when they need us most. Rural Aid provides critical support to farmers affected by natural disaster through financial, wellbeing and fodder assistance. Rural Aid’s community programs help create more sustainable communities by building stronger futures for all Australian farmers. Find out more at www.ruralaid.org.au
 
For more information or interviews, contact Rural Aid media on media@ruralaid.org.au or 0447 116 757. 
 
Australia’s most trusted rural charity has congratulated the twelve winners of its Spirit of the Bush photography competition.  
More than 1100 photographic entries were received from farms right across the country, a record for the Spirt of the Bush competition.  
Rural Aid CEO John Warlters said it was heartening to see so many quality captures.  
“The Spirit of the Bush competition attracts photos from every corner of the country and reflects every part of life on the land,” Mr Warlters said.  
“It’s mesmerizing to see the highs and lows of farm life reflected in action shots, sweeping horizons and moments of quiet reflection. 
“It’s great to see a theme of hope emerge from our images this year. The winning photos tell a story of both work and play. Events like harvest and planting are featured, as well as moments of rest, relaxation, and recreation. 
“It’s fantastic to see so many jaw-dropping entries from West Australia in particular. Queensland and New South Wales’ snappers also feature heavily in the winner’s circle. 
“A huge congratulations to our talented winners who will now have their photos used in Rural Aid’s 2023 calendar,” Mr Warlters said.  
The winners of the 2022 Spirit of the Bush competition are: 

 

Mr Warlters also reflected on the huge jump in entries from last year. 
“It gets harder to pick the winners every year!” Mr Warlters said.  
“Last year, Rural Aid received 720 entries. This year, more than 1100 were submitted!” 
The Rural Aid 2023 calendar will be available for purchase and pre-order later this year. Supporters are encouraged to keep an eye on the Rural Aid social media pages for more information.  
Proceeds will directly support Rural Aid’s range of programs to help farmers and their families.  
 
*This photo was taken in Warwick, Qld 
^This photo was taken in Scaddan, WA 
 
About Rural Aid 
Rural Aid is Australia’s most trusted rural charity. We stand with our farmers when they need us most. Rural Aid provides critical support to farmers affected by natural disaster through financial, wellbeing and fodder assistance. Rural Aid’s community programs help create more sustainable communities by building stronger futures for all Australian farmers. Find out more at www.ruralaid.org.au  
The competition’s terms and conditions can be found here: https://www.ruralaid.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/SOTB2022-TCs.pdf  
 
For more information or interviews, contact Rural Aid media on media@ruralaid.org.au or 0447 116 757. 

Australia’s most trusted rural charity, Rural Aid, has received more than $1million dollars in flood funding from generous donors and corporate supporters.  

Rural Aid CEO John Warlters said the charity has distributed the funds to primary producers in a quick, efficient manner. 
“In the past three months, Rural Aid has distributed the vast majority of its donated flood funds to our flood-affected farmers,” Mr Warlters said.  

“This has enabled our farmers to take another step towards their recovery goals, while many wait for government assistance to hit their accounts.”  “At least 500 payments have been made to Rural Aid’s farmers in New South Wales and Queensland since the flood crisis, thanks to the outstanding level of donations from the public, and the backing and generosity of our many corporate supporters,” Mr Warlters said.

Mooball fruit grower Peter Brils said financial assistance was the most effective way for him to start his flood recovery process.   The Tweed Shire farmer lost a portion of his fruit and trees in the recent flood events.   “The rain impacts our harvest really intensely. We lost a lot of crop, there is devastation,” Mr Brils said.   He is now working to change the destructive way water flows across his property.   “I’m happy with financial help so I can get things done. I don’t have bobcats, I don’t have machinery. In my case, I need machinery and that costs money.”  Mr Warlters said the charity will continue to support flood-affected farmers as they take on long-term projects.  

“Rural Aid offers our registered farmers a range of assistance measures; from free counselling, to fodder drops and water deliveries,” Mr Warlters said.   “Rural Aid is also proud to be supporting our farmers with additional assistance from Multikraft Probiotic Solutions. More than 30 producers have received aerial applications of their MicroBalance solution that turns rotting flood waste into a healthy by-product.  “Thanks to Rural Aid’s unwavering supporters, we can continue to help our farmers into the future,” Mr Warlters finished.    

About Rural Aid 

Rural Aid is Australia’s most trusted rural charity. We stand with our farmers when they need us most. Rural Aid provides critical support to farmers affected by natural disaster through financial, wellbeing and fodder assistance. Rural Aid’s community programs help create more sustainable communities by building stronger futures for all Australian farmers. Find out more at www.ruralaid.org.au 

For more information or interviews, contact Rural Aid media on media@ruralaid.org.au or 0447 116 757.