From the CEO
After what has felt like a long winter, especially for a Collingwood supporter, it is a pleasant change to start to feel the days warming up. In addition, as always at this time of year, the weeks are beginning to slide by more and more quickly with Christmas just over the horizon.
Taking a moment to reflect means first and foremost welcoming VicWater’s newest Board members Mr Peter Vogel, GWMWater and Ms Dana Hlavacek, Melbourne Water. They join the re-elected directors Ms Joan Liley, East Gippsland Water and Mr Doug Shirrefs, South East Water who was also re-appointed as the Board Chair. Other members of the VicWater Board include Mr Terry Burgi, Southern Rural Water and Mr Peter Quinn, Goulburn Valley Water.
VicWater would like to congratulate Mr Michael Wandmaker who was recently appointed as Managing Director of Melbourne Water. Michael has extensive leadership experience in a number of industries, including some time with Sydney Water.
In respect to the major VicWater activities for the past and coming months they are many and quite varied.
In terms of policy we have been busy preparing for the review of the State Environment Protection Policy (Waters of Victoria). This is a critical policy for the Victorian water sector and we look forward to working with the government during its review in 2015/16.
From the Fairer Water Bills process there is a strong emphasis on driving further efficiency from shared procurement and services. Coupled with this is the development of performance measures to identify improvement opportunities and to prove performance. VicWater is working with the water industry to develop category based industry strategies.
We are very pleased to announce another innovation event for 2015. This is following the great success of the inaugural innovation event we ran in 2013. Vision Super has agreed to support the day, which will help us keep the event at a very low cost to our members. In 2013 the event was fully booked and included 27 presentations from water corporation representatives sharing their innovative projects with the broader industry. Our market research following the event shows that there was considerable follow-up between water corporations on the ideas presented.
The nominations for the VicWater Leadership Development Award closed recently and we are very excited by the number and quality of nominations. The winner receives the opportunity to gain international work experience to develop their leadership skills. This will be the third year we have offered this award and already it is being recognised for the unique development opportunity it provides. Past winners Sarah Johnston and Jon Theobald continue to step up into leadership roles in the Victorian water sector and speak very highly of the experience. In my role I am privileged to see the quality of the next generation of emerging leaders in the water industry and what I see gives me great confidence in our ability to continue to excel in the future.
I would like to thank the AWA for working with us to enable VicWater to present the Leadership Development Award at their Award Ceremony in December and Vision Super for sponsoring the Award this year.
VicWater is currently working to develop more formal relationships with a number of water industry associations. In a time where water corporations are exploring efficiencies in a number of different areas, it is both timely and appropriate that water industry associations do likewise. I see it as an important step to ensure that the associations that exist to support the Victorian water industry do not duplicate initiatives and that we work closely together as and when appropriate.
In closing I would like to drop in an early Christmas wish to you and your families, may it be both safe and festive. I look forward to working with you in 2015.< PreviousNext >
Melbourne Water Appoints New Managing Director
Melbourne Water’s board has appointed Mr Michael Wandmaker to the position of Managing Director, and he commenced on 6 October 2014.
Michael has extensive senior leadership experience across several industries, both in Australia and internationally, including electrical and mechanical engineering, energy, oil, gas, mining and water, having worked at Sydney Water in the mid-2000s
He was previously CEO of Silcar Maintenance Services, Vice President at Siemens Canada Ltd; General Manager at Tyco Services and held various executive positions at Transfield Holdings Pty Ltd. Most recently, Michael was Group President of UGL Limited’s engineering, construction and maintenance division.
Michael has the balance of industry experience, business acumen, strategic ability and customer focus to lead the organisation through the change program already underway.
The Melbourne Water Board thanked Paul Pretto, for the great work he has done as Acting Managing Director since February. Paul has steered Melbourne Water through an extraordinarily busy time. We have restructured the business, worked on our new business model and delivered on the Fairer Water Bills challenge. Paul will now assume the role of Executive General Manager Service Delivery.< PreviousNext >
Goulburn Murray Water announced as Victorian State Winner in national customer service awards
Goulburn-Murray Water’s (GMW) customer service has been recognised with the water corporation announced as the Victorian State Winner of a 2014 Australian Service Excellence Award.
The Australian Service Excellence Awards showcase the highest achievement in customer service right across Australia
GMW General Manager Customer Operations Charlotte Bartrum-Terrill said the whole GMW team was “extremely proud” of its achievement.
“We’re so excited the Customer Service Institute of Australia judges, who visited Tatura as part of the Award assessment process understood and shared our vision about customer service,” she said.
“Our customers are our number one priority at GMW.
“Our goal is to work in partnership with our customers to ensure we’re doing all we can to help them continue producing international quality produce. We’re proud of our customers and what they do and I’m proud of our staff’s commitment to them.”
Other winners of the Australian National Service Excellence Awards include Melbourne Airport, NAB and Optus.
< PreviousNext >
Western Water - New faces helping steer new strategic course
Responding to major changes in the Victorian water sector, Western Water has embraced a new strategic direction with some new faces in key roles.
Managing Director Neil Brennan has just marked two years in the role, coinciding with an unprecedented period of change in the industry.
“One of the most important aspects of rising to the challenges we face is ensuring we have the right people in place,” Mr Brennan says.
“I’m confident that this team will bring innovation and a culture of excellence to putting our strategic plan into action.”
The leadership team now in place at Western Water comprises:
Rob Franklin, General Manager, Sustainable Water Solutions, responsible for capital works, asset management and water systems.
Penny Dent, General Manager, Strategy and Planning, responsible for business strategy and services, planning, IT, whole-of-water-cycle management and Intelligent Water Networks.
Graham Holt, General Manager, Customer and Community Relations, responsible for customer services, communications, community engagement and network operations.
Julie Williams, General Manager, Business Services, responsible for finance, regulation, governance and risk.
Libby Hasler, General Manager, People and Culture, responsible for organisational development, employee relations, occupational health and safety and other human resource functions.
Western Water’s 2014-24 Strategic Plan sets out the challenges and opportunities arising from regional population growth, the Victorian Government’s Living Victoria strategy and Fairer Water Bills initiative.
The plan covers climate variability, asset integrity, a changing workforce, business operations and customer needs.
“Our plan is to make the most efficient and innovative use of our local water, capital, systems, processes and people,” Mr Brennan says.
More about the leadership team, and Western Water’s plans for the future, can be found at www.westernwater.com.au.
< PreviousNext >
Peter Vogel - New VicWater Board Director
Peter joined the VicWater Board in October. He is also the current Chairman of GWMWater.
I live in Watcham, where my family have farmed for 130 years. I am married and have 2 adult children and 3 grandchildren.
I have been an self-employed primary producer for 45 years.
Water industry experience – how long you have worked in the industry and any previous experience in the industry?
30 years ago I was Chairman of a Customer Consultative Group of the Rural Water Corporation, representing approximately 30 small urban communities in the Wimmera and Mallee, and have been involved in the water industry ever since.
I became a board member of Grampians Water 20 years ago and Chairman of GWMWater 3 years ago.
From your perspective what is the top issue affecting you in your current role; and/or your business; and/or the water industry at the moment?
- the continued dry conditions after the past 15 years and how it will affect crop production.
- less run off affects security of supply to our customers
< PreviousNext >
2014 VicWater Annual Conference
“Enabling Change” was the theme for the 2014 VicWater Conference, and assisting delegates to develop their thinking around how they can contribute to enabling change is what the Conference program delivered. Presenters consistently challenged and encouraged those in attendance to explore the drivers and opportunities for change from a business perspective, whilst also reinforcing the need for each of us to build a psychology that enables change within ourselves.
In addition to the more traditional presentation format that our members have become familiar with, this year we introduced an innovation to the conference program; a facilitated scenario planning session which was conducted with all delegates simultaneously. Facilitating a 2 hour session with over 200 delegates was indeed a challenging task but we would like to thank Dr Robert Kay, Executive Director and Co-Founder from Incept Labs for his work on the day, in the lead up as well as his post event work. An output from this session has been made available to the industry.
As always, our presenters were generous and frank in the information they shared with the delegates, which was very much appreciated by VicWater and the delegates. We would also like to thank the presenters for their efforts in the lead up to the event in researching and preparing.
The most highly ranked presentation was delivered on day 2 of the program by Mr Piers Clark. Piers had recently resigned from his position as Commercial Director at Thames Water and was yet to start his new position at The Blackstone Group; a premier UK global investment and advisory firm, Piers is also the Chair of Isle Utilities. Piers provided an engaging, enlightening, entertaining and insightful presentation that looked at the future opportunities for the Victorian water industry and how it might position itself to embrace them.
The key note address was delivered by Sam Cawthorn, a professional speaker and coach whose research and message that “bouncing back” from difficult times is not terribly useful in the long term. Sam suggests that we should endeavour to “bounce forward” through difficult times. Sam was an inspirational speaker and reminded our delegates that investing in self is an instrumental part of enabling change. You cannot deliver change in a business sense without first being a devotee of change within yourself.
Another aspect of the conference worth noting is the consistently high calibre of young water professionals that we are proud to showcase at this event. This included:
- Jon Theobald from South East Water and also the current VicWater Leadership Development Award recipient. Jon presented his learnings from the 3-mth placement at Thames Water that he undertook earlier in the year.
- Gwyneth Elsum from Melbourne and also the last VicWater Sustainability Award recipient. Gwyneth presented on the findings of the research she undertook into “innovating for a sustainable future”.
- Vanessa Lenihan from iota (part of South East Water) presented on a number of innovative products and services that iota have developed and made available to the broader industry.
- Maarten De Beurs from Yarra Valley Water presented on a project they are undertaking to treat liquid organic waste with a long term goal to incorporate this into the regular suite of services provided at Yarra Valley Water.
- Penny Dent from Western Water presented with Martin Bradley from the IBM Smarter Cities program on their businesses partnership on a predictive and intelligent water portal.
We were happy to again welcome the Minister for Water, The Hon Peter Walsh to join us at the main Conference dinner. The Minister took time to address the audience, providing an excellent opportunity for them to hear about the government’s priorities.
Aside from the new thinking provided at the Conference, the other enormous benefit of this annual event is, as always, the networking, bringing together individuals from the top levels of all Victorian water corporations, key stakeholders, government departments and water industry supporters. This is often the one event on the calendar that allows for this level of networking.
We also thank the generous support of our sponsors (see below) and all those from the industry who provided their support by attending. Without the ongoing support from our sponsors it would not be possible to deliver this event at the level that we do each year and without the continued support from the industry in attending, of course there would be no event!
|Dinner & Technology Sponsor||Lunch Sponsor|
National Water Week - 19 to 25 October 2014
As part of this year’s National Water Week celebrations, fourteen of the nineteen Victorian water corporations have again run the Victorian primary school poster competition, receiving an impressive number of poster submissions from kids across the state.
The remaining water corporations ran other, or in some cases, many other activities and events throughout the week and even in the lead up to National Water Week.
National Water Week was started in 1993 by Melbourne Water; by 1995 the coordinated primary school poster competition that we know today commenced and continues to go from strength to strength. The competition is open to all students in Victorian primary schools and is an activity that many water corporations use to ensure that water is put in the forefront of children’s minds whilst allowing them to explore the issue on their terms in a creative way.
The competition offers both regional and state prizes in four categories; Prep, Grade 1 & 2, Grade 3 & 4 and Grade 5 & 6. The competition is an excellent way for water educators to see what messages are getting across to the young people in Victoria.
Water businesses promote and coordinate the competition to schools within their area, judge regional winners, organise prizes and presentations, often with local media exposure. State level winners and runners up are then selected from the regional winners.
2014 NWW - 1st place Victorian primary school posters
The state level winners this year received a prize pack containing, an iPad mini, a Methven Satinjet showerhead, a $30 iTunes card, an Ollie’s World CD-Rom game (a fun way to learn about recycle, reuse and reduce), a jigsaw puzzle (custom made from their winning poster entry), the Frozen video, lollies and a certificate of achievement. These prize packs were valued at nearly $600. The 2nd place getters also received a prize pack valued at nearly $200.
The continued success of the poster competition in many ways is attributed to the efforts of the dedicated Education Officers within the Victorian water businesses. The education of Victorian students on water related issues continues to have an important place in providing long term behavioural and attitudinal changes within the community.
Another integral factor in the continued success of Victoria’s National Water Weeks activities are our sponsors, without their continued support the prize packs would not be as jam-packed full of goodies as they are.
< PreviousNext >
VicWater/DEPI Dams Seminar
In September the VicWater Dams Working Group held a 2 Day Seminar at the Metropole Hotel in Fitzroy. The event was sponsored by DEPI and was attended by around 40 participants from most of the VicWater member organisations.
It was intended that the presentations be of interest to both dam engineers and operators.
The Keynote Speaker was Phil Cummins who presented on the lessons to be learned from the Queensland experience with the 2011 release of water from Wivenhoe Dam and the subsequent flooding in Ipswich and Brisbane. Phil had been closely involved in the Royal Commission around the incident.
The Seminar also featured a presentation on a proposed Benchmarking Project for dam owners in Victoria which will offer individual participant organisations the opportunity to benchmark their dam safety management processes with like organisations across the State.
Occupational Health and Safety was the focus of a series of presentations in the morning of the 2nd day which closed with a well-appreciated presentation by the VicWater CEO, Tony Wright on challenges facing the Victorian water industry. A Meeting of the Dams Working Group followed in the afternoon.< PreviousNext >
Cosgrove pipeline construction launch
Water Minister Peter Walsh joined the Cosgrove Advisory Group, Cosgrove area landowners and GMW staff on October 2 to celebrate the start of construction of the Cosgrove Stock and Domestic Pipeline.
The work involves upgrading the Tungamah pump station and replacing the current 120-year-old open channel system with a pipeline. The pipeline will replace 130 kilometres of open channels with a pressurised pipeline giving farmers access to a reliable and efficient water supply year round.
The Cosgrove Stock and Domestic Pipeline will source water from the Goulburn system through an extension of the existing Tungamah piped water district, and is expected to be completed and commissioned in December< PreviousNext >
Its sewerage Jim, but not as we know it!
In a project which sounds out of this world, Yarra Valley Water is using probes as part of an innovative new trial aiming to deliver sewerage services the Park Orchards community.
Similar to the probes referred to in science fiction, these water quality monitoring probes will gather local data; however they will be placed firmly in the ground on properties of willing participants. This environmental monitoring will happen periodically for the next 4 years inside a trial area of 100 properties, including Park Orchards Primary School and the main local shops.
According to David Diaz, Project Manager the probes will help monitor the health of the local environment, to assess whether containing all treated sewage from septic tanks on each property is an environmentally sound sewerage solution.
“The findings from this trial project will be of huge significance in understanding how water can be reused within a community. All rural areas in Victoria and Australia will be watching this project with interest. The local community participation rate is currently 96% from trial residents and we are very grateful to the residents who have agreed to take part in what could be a truly ground breaking trial” said Mr Diaz.
“The aim of the project is to provide a fit for purpose sewerage system, to do this we need to look at various options. The trial will help us to assess the best sewerage service solution for the area at the lowest community cost.
“Sewerage servicing options have continually evolved and septic tank technology has improved and dropped in cost. Providing that the tank is maintained and appropriately designed, this option is now worth considering again. Ongoing discussions with the local community have also highlighted an interest in maintaining the liveability of the area particularly during dry spells, and the possibility of retaining water for irrigation and amenity purposes.
“We will monitor the local environment before, during and after upgrades to septic tanks are completed. Monitoring will involve collecting information about septic discharge quality, local stormwater quality, local weather and ground water conditions. We are liaising with EPA Victoria, Department of Primary Industries, Manningham City Council and the Department of Health to ensure their requirements are met” said Mr Diaz.
< PreviousNext >
Locals dig in to make community planting day a success
Coliban Water held a community planting day at Malmsbury and Lauriston reservoirs in October for local schools and residents.
For the schools activity, students from Taradale and Malmsbury primary schools visited Malmsbury Reservoir to learn more about Coliban Water’s Pine Safety Removal project and participate in the revegetation stage.
The project will see the removal of 27 hectares of pine trees at Coliban Water’s three catchment storages, Malmsbury, Lauriston and Upper Coliban, and the revegetation of the areas with native species suited to the local soil and climate conditions.
Nine pine plantations were established more than 70 years ago and had become prone to wind damage. The areas were closed to the public for safety reasons in 2011.
Earlier this year the first pines were removed from the recreation areas at Lauriston and Malmsbury, and walkways and garden beds constructed in preparation for planting.
Local schools were invited to take part in the community planting day. Students learned about the impacts of introduced fauna and flora on the environment, as well as hearing about the history and workings of the reservoir.
Students learned that species used for the revegetation, such as wattle, banksia and gum trees, will provide good nesting locations and vital food sources for native animals and birds.
Taradale Primary School is a small country school seven kilometres north of Malmsbury Reservoir. The school is on three acres and has a strong focus on sustainability.
Taradale Primary School Principal Christopher Burgess said: “Our school was opened in 1855, 22 years before Malmsbury Reservoir was completed. Some students live close to the reservoirs and use them for fishing and recreation.
“The students knew why the pines trees were being removed before the visit but on the day they learned more about the effects of introduced species.
“There was also a big interest from students in visiting the place where their water comes from and learning about the history and engineering aspect of the reservoirs.
“They loved getting their hands dirty with the planting and were aware they were contributing to an area they will see grow and enjoy for years to come.”
As well as the schools activity, local residents were invited to take part in the planting day and a free community barbeque was held in the evening.
General Manager Stakeholder Services Ms Roslyn Wai said: “The community planting day was a great way to involve local schools and residents in the project.
“We understand the pines have been part of the landscape for more than 70 years but they had become unsafe which prevented people from enjoying the recreation areas.
“We get a lot of visitors to our reservoirs and the local community appreciates living so close to such a beautiful part of the region. We wanted to create an opportunity for them to be involved in the next stage of their history.
“The return to native flora and fauna will also improve the biodiversity of the area and the quality of water running off the land into our catchments.”
< PreviousNext >
Gippsland MoU focuses on Customers
Gippsland’s four water corporations, East Gippsland Water, Gippsland Water, South Gippsland Water and Westernport Water have joined forces to undertake residential customer surveys. By combining forces the businesses have saved tens of thousands of dollars for their customers.
Speaking on behalf of the four corporations, General Manager of Customer Services and Communications at Gippsland Water Paul Clark said the surveys are an important factor in helping plan for the future.
“All of the Gippsland water corporations are very keen to hear what customers have to say on a variety of issues ranging from value to customer service and future planning priorities. The feedback we get from these telephone surveys allows each corporation to better understand and respond to community needs and concerns and plan for the years ahead.”
The surveys, which were conducted throughout October, are strategically aligned to provide the businesses the added benefit of benchmarking and the opportunity to identify future collaborative opportunities.
“This is the first time that all four local water corporations have come together to do this type of work,” said Paul Clark.
Our ability to cooperate on projects like this means that we are saving money, continuing to put downward pressure on prices for customers, while also gaining a deeper insight into to what matters most for customers,” added Mr Clark.
The Gippsland water corporations signed a Memorandum of Understanding in November 2013 to work more closely together in an effort to identify efficiencies and save money.
“By working collaboratively on this project alone we have been able to source a more competitive price and found savings which can be passed onto our customers,” concluded Paul Clark.
The Memorandum of Understanding is also being used to find efficiencies in procurement and a range of back office operations that each of the corporations is engaged in.
< PreviousNext >
Innovative solutions for customers impacted by sewage odours
Melbourne Water is in the early stages of designing and trialling a number of innovative, low-cost solutions to address odour from its sewerage transfer system, in an example of how the organisation is striving to be more responsive to customer issues.
Melbourne Water receives about 15 verified odour complaints a year, many of which stem from vents operating as normal. Even brief emissions of hydrogen sulphide gas at very low concentrations (e.g. 0.005 parts per million) can generate odour complaints, which are typically localised issues.
Unfortunately, a lack of affordable or effective solutions has historically made it difficult to resolve this issue. Plugging the vents can increase sewer corrosion, reducing the life of the asset which then costs millions of dollars to repair. On the other hand, constructing an air treatment facility costs between $400,000 and $15 million and is not possible in many locations.
Thankfully, the low gas levels and airflow of localised odour issues provide an opportunity to develop innovative and low-cost solutions that can be implemented quickly. One-way valves, vent top filters and odour neutralisers are just three innovative options being trialled by Melbourne Water.
Melbourne Water is working with partners to explore the feasibility of a lightweight one-way valve that prevents foul air from leaving the sewer system, but allows fresh air in to help manage corrosion.
A prototype of the valve has been constructed using 3D printing technology, and further design work is needed before testing begins – the challenge is to produce a valve that reliably manages corrosive sewage gasses at very low differential pressures.
Vent top filters
Vent top filters are essentially carbon canisters which remove odorants before air is released.
Melbourne Water has been trialling the filter for about two years, and early testing indicates they reduce odour. However, they may obstruct airflow, increasing the risk of sewer corrosion and even blocking vents. Melbourne Water is working with the supplier to trial different densities of media within the filter.
The Ecosorb TM 606 odour neutraliser is a blend of essential oils, food-grade surfactants and purified water, which is sprayed into foul air before it is released.
The results of in-field testing, including feedback from customers affected by odours, will be available later in the year.
Although not all of these solutions are expected to be successful in all situations, they represent a more innovative and nimble approach to a long-standing issue.< PreviousNext >
Students give pump station a colourful facelift
National Water Week got off to a colourful start with a vibrant makeover for Wannon Water’s Lyndoch sewer pump station.
Wannon Water’s third community mural, installed on the exterior of the pump station, was officially launched beside Warrnambool’s Hopkins River by Chairman John Vogels.
The mural was designed and painted by 42 Grade 2 and Grade 3 students from Merrivale Primary School and depicts a water tower, rainwater tank, the Hopkins River, fish and whales.
Mr Vogels said the mural was a great way for local students to get involved in National Water Week (which ran from 19-25 October).
“The project really got the young artists thinking about how Wannon Water’s services are a part of their everyday lives and the importance of using the right water for the job to protect our tap water supplies,” Mr Vogels said.
“The mural gives the pump station’s 1950s exterior a welcome makeover and is a colourful addition to the riverside area at Lyndoch.
“The theme of this year’s National Water Week was “Water sources: there’s more than you think” and the students displayed a real awareness of where our water comes from and how to protect our environment.
“It’s about making greater use of all our water sources, including rainwater, stormwater and recycled water for non-drinking purposes.”
Merrivale Primary School teacher Nicole Cuzens welcomed the opportunity for the students to work on the collaborative community project under the guidance of local artist Bronwyn Ferguson.
“All 42 students had the opportunity to be involved in the project from planning and designing to sketching and painting,” Ms Cuzens said.
“We are delighted that our work will be on display and enjoyed by the community for many years to come.”
The students were congratulated for their efforts by Mr Vogels before participating in a series of water education activities with the residents of Lyndoch Living.
The artwork is Wannon Water’s third community mural, with previous examples installed at the Pertobe Road sewer pump station in Warrnambool and the James Street sewer pump station in Port Fairy.
Further information about the community murals is available by calling 1300 926 666.< PreviousNext >
Prizes on the menu for Water It, Grow It, Cook It winners
Grade 5 students from Timboon P-12 have cooked up a winning entry to take out first prize in Wannon Water’s 2014 Water It, Grow It, Cook It competition.
Featuring parsley, leek and pumpkin handpicked from their kitchen garden and using eggs from the chickens and ducks raised by the school, the students’ Pumpkin and Leek Ravioli with Parsley Pesto was given top marks by the judges.
The culinary creation has earned the school over $1,000 worth of Bunnings gardening products and a session with a horticulturalist to keep their kitchen garden thriving over Summer.
Second place was awarded to Casterton Secondary College for its herb-inspired Pond to Platter rainbow trout recipe, winning the school $500 worth of gardening equipment.
Third place and $300 worth of garden products was claimed by Dunkeld Consolidated School for their Peperonata recipe.
An individual $50 cash prize was also awarded to Zane Taylor from Warrnambool Special Developmental School for his Apple and Cinnamon Cake.
Wannon Water Managing Director Grant Green said the response to the Water It, Grow It, Cook It competition in 2014 was outstanding.
“Wannon Water was very impressed with the number of innovative recipes the students had put together,” Mr Green said.
“The schools have combined water efficiency, healthy living and creative cooking to get the most out of their kitchen gardens and I congratulate all of those who entered the competition.”
To enter, students were required to create a recipe using produce grown in their school kitchen garden, cook it and submit photos of the completed dish and the produce growing in the garden.
The recipes were judged on their creativity, nutritious value and use of local produce by Sally Grinblat from Warrnambool’s Pronto Fine Food Merchants and Jenni Grigg and Viv Porter from Bunnings Warrnambool.< PreviousNext >
Laverton Recreation Reserve Stormwater Harvesting to provide stormwater to local parks and sports ovals
City West Water has been working closely with local councils in their service area to provide fit for purpose alternative water to irrigate parklands and sports ovals.
One such project is newly established Laverton Recreational Reserve Stormwater Harvesting Project.
The project, a partnership between City West Water and Hobson’s Bay City Council, involves harvesting stormwater from Laverton Creek, treating it through a wetland system and then pumping it to nearby ovals and open spaces for irrigation.
Laverton Recreational Reserve has five sports ovals, with three more sports ovals in development, and the stormwater system is expected to supply 88 million litres of water to keep the ovals green all year round.
Previously Laverton Creek was considered to be a degraded waterway with many introduced species of flora suffocating the native species. As a part of the project, Laverton Creek was realigned, exotic flora was removed and natural flora reinstated. The creation of a natural wetland has vastly improved the visual appeal of the local area and created habitat for native species of flora and fauna.
< PreviousNext >
Recycled Water Use in Evaporative Coolers
City West Water has identified a significant opportunity to substitute drinking water with a more sustainable alternative water source for use in evaporative coolers.
City West Water identified that new housing developments in Wyndham Vale and Werribee have a large number of evaporative cooling units installed on their roofs – up to 50 per cent of houses in some estates. Residential evaporative cooling systems can use as much as 50 litres per hour on hot days.
City West Water will soon be delivering salt reduced recycled water to these new residential developments in one of the largest residential recycled water projects in Melbourne.
To date, the use of Class A recycled water has not been approved for use in evaporative air coolers due to the uncertainty over the health risks associated with potential aerosol formation. City West Water will carry out a risk analysis study to gain a better understanding of the risks associated with the use of recycled water in residential evaporative coolers.
The study will also identify possible control measures that could allow the safe use of recycled water within the units.
< PreviousNext >
OLV Funding for Stormwater Projects
City West Water has been successful in securing over $1.1 million in external funding from the Victorian State and Federal Governments.
The funding will see the design and implementation of two stormwater projects within City West Water’s service area.
The stormwater projects will save valuable drinking water by diverting stormwater from local stormwater drains for use in irrigation.
$399,000 will be allocated to the design and construction of a recycled water scheme for irrigation at Carranballac College, Point Cook and $705,000 will be allocated for the irrigation of public open spaces as part of the Lake Caroline Stormwater Harvesting project.
City West Water continues to work closely with local councils on innovative stormwater projects, with over half a dozen projects now online.< PreviousNext >
Research supports biosolids reuse
A recently-signed contract between Melbourne Water and an earthworks company will see 400,000 tonnes of clay-rich biosolids beneficially reused, drawing on years of research analysing this sewage treatment by-product.
The first truckloads left Melbourne Water’s Eastern Treatment Plant in late October, headed for a landfill site being remediated in nearby Springvale South. Over the next three years this will free up 15 hectares of land at the plant, which is faced with a growing issue as it continues to stockpile 28,000 dry tonnes of biosolids each year.
Senior Engineer Philip Wilkie and Senior Project Scientist Bill Pemberton said extensive tests conducted provided the technical detail to support this type of reuse – the first time the water authority has used biosolids to cap a landfill site.
“Over eight years of research we have assessed the risk and tested for a total of 4,000 chemicals, pathogens and physical properties of biosolids. This understanding of the risks and potential reuse applications means we know our clay-rich biosolids can be safely reused for this purpose,” said Mr Wilkie.
“This knowledge allowed us to seize this new opportunity, which reuses significantly more biosolids and is more cost-effective than established alternatives such as road embankment fill,” said Mr Pemberton.
The landfill site is only 14 kilometres from the Eastern Treatment Plant, minimising financial and environmental costs associated with transport. Given the nature of the site, stringent EPA conditions are already in place meaning there is little risk to the community or environment.
As well as opening up much-needed space, the outcome will benefit Melbourne Water by improving the efficiency of the Eastern Treatment Plant’s operations, as greater airflow increases evaporation at the sludge drying pans.
While the accumulation of biosolids is a particularly pressing issue for Melbourne Water, the research that enabled this type of reuse could potentially benefit others in the industry – whether as a basis for further investigation or input into key decisions.< PreviousNext >
Investing in Victoria
Vision Super has a history of significant investment in Australia and the State of Victoria. At present approximately 55% of the fund’s assets are invested in Australia. Whilst some of these investments such as government bonds and shares are less tangible, we do invest in physical assets and ‘bricks and mortar’. Here are some examples of how our investments provide a benefit to the community whilst meeting our overriding objective of growing our members superannuation benefits:
Vision Super is the largest investor in the Warakirri Dairy Industry Trusts. Warakirri Dairies operates 11 farms with a milking herd of over 8000 cows. 9 of the 11 farms are located in Victoria. The farms are predominantly in South Western Victoria, with two farms in Gippsland and one on the Murray in Northern Victoria.
Warakirri Dairies is one of the largest producers of milk in Australia and employs approximately 100 staff in regional Victoria. Warakirri Dairies have made significant investments in pasture production, irrigation and dairy infrastructure to maximise production and efficiency.
Ongoing investment in irrigation infrastructure underpins their drive to continue to improve water use efficiency across the business. This includes investment in infrastructure which is used to collect and reuse waste water and nutrients on the paddocks.
On average members who have their super invested in the Balanced Growth (our MySuper default option) investment option with Vision Super have a 9% exposure to core Australian property investments. A significant portion of the property allocation comprises investment in large regional, super-regional and sub-regional shopping centres and CBD Office Buildings.
Vision Super has been invested in the QIC Shopping Centre Fund over the last 11 years. This Fund invests generally in large regional and super regional shopping centres located in population growth centres in Australian Cities. A significant feature of the shopping centres held by the Fund is that they generally grow as the community around them grows. Over the past 11 years the Fund has witnessed growth in these shopping centres, which has generated superior returns for Vision Super’s members.
In Victoria, the QIC Shopping Centre Fund owns three shopping Centres. They are Watergardens in Taylors Lakes, Woodgrove Shopping Centre in Melton and Eastland Shopping Centre in Ringwood.
Eastland Shopping Centre
Eastland Shopping Centre is located in Ringwood Victoria. Over 677,000 people live within fifteen minutes’ drive of the Centre¹, that lies in the gateway to the Yarra Valley which has over 3.7million day trip visitors each year².
Currently QIC is undertaking a significant development at Eastland Shopping Centre by adding approximately 50,000 m2 to the Centre. Post-development the Centre is expected to be one of the top ten shopping centres in Australia.
Importantly this development significantly adds to the community as it incorporates an authentic town centre which integrates a library, community services and council offices, as well as a revitalised transport interchange.
Questions about Vision Super investments can be directed to the Vision Super Member Services team on 03 9911 3222 or 1300 300 820 if you are calling from a regional area.
¹ Marcoplan Dimasi Report to QIC, September 2013.
² Tourism Victoria, Yarra Valley market profile 2012
Two Views on the Fear of Tech-led Redundancy
It’s been 10 years since the dawn of the National Water Initiative, and in that time the industry has seen some remarkable change. But as with any change in any industry, some are more inclined to accept it than others. Such is the case with web-based technologies, which are making their presence felt within the procurement function of the water industry. But given the inherent benefits, why does something with such an ability to improve procurement outcomes still have its doubters? Could it simply come down to a fear that machines will eventually render us surplus to requirements?
The capacity for technologically-led redundancy is without question. Recent history is littered with examples. Streaming media trumps stored media and electronic tollway tags beat toll booths; the list grows by the day, and the fear of human redundancy grows with it.
That anxiety can be felt in the water industry. As with any organisation operating within any competitive industry, the search for efficiencies appears to be a default setting. And this process can strike fear into those who may be affected by the seemingly unstoppable march of technology.
But ultimately, technology doesn’t have an agenda. Its aim is not to replace us but, wherever possible, deliver efficiencies.
The next time you’re on public transport, take a look around you: guaranteed you’ll see people using smartphones or tablets. For every person engaged in social media (which in itself is a pretty efficient way of keeping in touch), there’ll be others using their device to delve into emails before they get to the office, or working on the draft of the report that needs to be completed before COB that day.
This is just one example of technology making our employment easier, rather than ending it. But that reality hasn’t assisted in quelling the redundancy fears in most industries, and people will most likely continue to look over their shoulders.
In many ways this fear is understandable, but ultimately it is unfounded.
Why? Because the most important contributions in any industry are still made by humans. Thankfully, the technology tail hasn’t yet got to a point where it’s wagging the dog.
And the same holds for those working within procurement within the water industry, or any other. Ensuring the best outcome for a procurement project is central to the success of the procurement function, and as yet, while technology can assist with this process, it can’t replace it. After all, technology itself isn’t responsible for the growth in the water market in the past decade; human insight, creativity, decision-making and initiative are.
Technology is merely there to do the legwork—to free us up so that we may focus on delivering the unique things that only we are capable of. Ultimately, resistance to technological change is understandable, but it’s here to stay. And those who embrace it give themselves more opportunity to demonstrate their unique human expertise.
Rob Cook, Marketing Manager, TenderLink
< PreviousNext >