From the CEO
Welcome to the Summer 2015 edition of Water Matters. 2015 yet again looks to be a vibrant and active one for the Victorian water industry and in turn VicWater.
On behalf of the VicWater Board, staff and myself I would like to congratulate the Hon. Lisa Neville on her appointment to the position of Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water. VicWater looks forward to working with her, her office and the department to ensure customers continue to benefit from the essential services our members provide.
It might be only February but VicWater has already hosted a number of industry forums and the support from our members and representatives from Government in being available to attend these forums and provide briefings has been fantastic.
On the 28 and 29 May we are running the VicWater Finance Conference, which is one of our main events for the year. This year’s theme is “Pushing the efficiency envelope” which is going to be an opportunity for the water industry to learn from some fantastic speakers about how water and other industries have continued to improve sustainable performance. We are very excited about the program we have been able to develop with the Financial Issues Steering Committee and whilst Financial Executives as the target of the Conference, the program will appeal to anyone with an interest in improving performance and strategy development.
In March we are running the second VicWater Innovation Conference, the first conference was very successful and we had 94 people attend, which was the capacity of the venue. In seven days since releasing the program, we have already received 62 registrations. The venue we have for this year’s event can accommodate up to 300, so there should be plenty of space for any water corporation personnel who wish to attend. The event is provided free to members thanks to the generous support from National Australia Bank and Vision Super.
We would like to acknowledge Gavin Hanlon’s contribution to the Victorian water sector and congratulate him on his appointment as the Deputy Director General (Water) at the NSW Department of Primary Industries. Gavin was MD of Goulburn-Murray Water for 3.5 years; prior to that Gavin was MD of Coliban Water and CEO of North Central CMA. We would like to wish Gavin all the best in his new role.
On a sadder note Laurie Gleeson recently passed away after a long battle with cancer. Laurie was the former MD of Goulburn Valley Water, a prominent character and leader in both the Victorian water industry and his local community of Shepparton and a staunch campaigner on issues relating to Prostate Cancer and community well-being. Laurie was recognised for his service to the water industry in 2015 when he was awarded the Order of Australia. The Victorian water industry will host a “Biggest Ever Dinner” in June to acknowledge Laurie Gleeson’s legacy and to raise all-important funds to support Prostate Cancer research.
The recipient of the 2015 VicWater Leadership Development Award was formally announced at the AWA Victorian Water Awards in December and we would like to congratulate Nathan Epp from Goulburn Valley Water. We are confident that Nathan will benefit enormously from the opportunity to work in the UK this year and that what he learns and experiences will benefit him, Goulburn Valley Water and the broader sector.
Lastly, 2015/16 is a year of opportunity for the Victorian water sector, we have the opportunity to work with a new government, the opportunity to participate in the review of the SEPP (WOV), the opportunity to further demonstrate we can work collaboratively to drive improved performance and we have the opportunity to contribute and lead debate on emerging water policy and future directions.
I have great faith in the Victorian water sector’s ability to deliver and VicWater will be doing its best to work with the industry to achieve some fantastic outcomes in 2015.< PreviousNext >
VicWater Leadership Development Award
The VicWater Board and staff would like to congratulate this year’s recipient of the VicWater Leadership Development Award; Nathan Epp, Senior Engineer – Energy & Commercial Projects from Goulburn Valley Water. Nathan impressed the VicWater Board with his broad vision for the industry and his entrepreneurial attitude to inspire and motivate others to think differently about how to create opportunities and solve problems.
The VicWater Board again commented on the high calibre of nominees that were put forward from across the sector, surmising that this strong interest from the industry not only supports the continued running of the award but also its focus on offering an international placement opportunity to the successful nominee.
Nathan was formally presented with the award at the AWA Victorian Water Awards in December 2014. Preparations have since been underway to finalise the itinerary for Nathan’s exciting international placement. We can confirm that Nathan will be spending around three months with Scottish Water Horizons in Cumbernauld, Scotland, United Kingdom. There Nathan will be provided with a range of exciting and vibrant learning opportunities within Scottish Water’s Commercial department. This will be followed by a short but exciting visit to Abu Dhabi that has been organised with the assistance of Dale Jackson, formerly from Marsden Jacob Associates and Central Highlands Water who is now Director of Performance and Evaluation at National Ambulance in UAE. This part of Nathan’s trip will include a private tour of the Masdar City, one of the world’s most sustainable cities and future home of the United Nations International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), as well as a number of other water related sites of interest including the Al Ain Oasis which is well known for its underground irrigation system.
When Nathan returns from this fantastic learning experience he will deliver a presentation to the sector at the VicWater Conference in September. We look forward to hearing from him on what he learns during his time overseas. VicWater’s intention in providing this opportunity is to allow Nathan to explore how he can broaden and develop his natural leadership skills within Goulburn Valley Water and the wider industry. We are also confident that Nathan will be a stellar ambassador for the Victorian water industry.
Finally, and importantly we would like to thank Vision Super for their sponsorship of the award this year. Without Vision Super’s support we would not be able to provide such an exciting opportunity for an emerging leader in the water industry, an opportunity that serves as an investment in a sustainable, vibrant and successful water sector. Vision Super are also a sponsor of the VicWater Innovation Conference in March.
Proudly sponsored by:< PreviousNext >
2014 Rural Water Awards
The Rural Water Awards were developed to recognise and reward Victorian rural water customers who are demonstrating new and innovative thinking on their farms. Victorian water corporations that participated in the 2014 awards included; Southern Rural Water, Lower Murray Water, Goulburn-Murray Water, Melbourne Water, Coliban Water and GWMWater. They were further supported by VicWater, Victorian Farmers Federation and DELWP.
With four categories available within the Awards (irrigation district water users, groundwater users, surface water users and community and education) there were plenty of opportunities for rural water customers to nominate. Upon closing, the awards had attracted 20 nominations from across the state and from that number the participating water corporations selected 9 regional winners.
The awards then culminated in a gala presentation lunch which took place at the RACV Club on the 5 December. All 9 regional winners attended in the hope that they would receive the state level cash and prizes up for grabs.
We would like to congratulate and acknowledge the below 2014 state winners of the Rural Water Awards. More information on the winning projects can be found on our website:
- Mackenzie Craig from Llanreath Agricultural Enterprises won the Irrigation district water user category. Mackenzie is a rural water customer of Goulburn-Murray Water;
- Ronnie Hibma won the Groundwater user category. Ronnie is a rural water customer of Southern Rural Water;
- Calum Peace from Garacama Pty Ltd won the Surface water user category. Calum is a rural water customer of Lower Murray Water; and
- Irymple South Primary School who won the Community & Education category. This primary school is a rural water customer of Lower Murray Water.
We would also like to acknowledge and congratulate the state level finalists JR & CJ Bermingham in the Irrigation category, The Big Berry in the surface water category, DV & VL Toohill in the groundwater category and the Ballarat Fish Acclimatisation Society in the Community and Education category.
Finally, and importantly we would like to acknowledge the support of our sponsors in the running of this year’s awards; RMCG, Rubicon Water, RPS and GHD. Their contribution and support enabled and enhanced our capacity to deliver these awards.
These Awards are planned to run every two years. We would like to encourage water corporations with rural customers to support the awards which in turn support the great work being implemented on farms across the state.
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The Biggest Ever Laurie Gleeson Dinner
Water industry stalwart Laurie Gleeson passed away recently after a battle with prostate cancer.
His many years of water industry management included:
- Managing Director of Goulburn Valley Region Water Corporation from 2007 to 2008
- Chief Executive Goulburn Valley Region Water Authority from 1994 to 2007
- General Manager, Shepparton Regional Water Board from 1984 to 1994
- Secretary, Shepparton Urban Waterworks Trust from 1980 to 1984
- President, Institute of Water Administration, 1987-1988, and 1997-1998; Treasurer, 1984-1985, and 1985-1986; Executive Council Member, 1982-2008; and Honorary Life Member, since 2008
- Non-Executive Director, Water Services Association of Australia from 2007
After his diagnosis with prostate cancer, Laurie worked tirelessly to lobby the Federal Government to include the life-extending cancer drug Zytiga on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. This goal was achieved in July 2013.
During his career Laurie was known for his strong focus on industry reform, customer service and efficiency and was a champion of the food industry in the Goulburn Valley. He was also strongly involved in the Goulburn Valley community.
He passed away on 15 January 2015, aged 66.
Laurie was posthumously awarded an Order of Australia Medal for his services to the water industry on Australia Day 2015.
The Biggest Ever Laurie Gleeson Dinner
Laurie was a founding committee member of Shepparton’s Biggest Ever Blokes Lunch, a fund-raising event for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.
The idea for the Biggest Ever Laurie Gleeson Dinner came from his water industry colleagues who wished to honour his memory and contribution to our community.
The IWA, with the endorsement of the Australian Prostate Cancer Foundation, has initiated this fund raiser dinner as a way for the Water Industry to assist the Australian Prostate Cancer Foundation men’s health awareness campaign in relation to Prostate cancer. The dinner is supported by the Victorian Water Industry Association (VicWater), the Australian Water Association (AWA) and the Essendon Football Club (EFC).
All profits from this event, to be held during Men’s Health Week, will go to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.
THREE FACTS ABOUT PROSTATE CANCER in Australia:
- Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men.
- More than 3,000 men die of prostate cancer in Australia every year.
- Prostate cancer effects all including partners, workmates, friends and the wider community.
Who is running the event?
This event is being coordinated by a Committee of Management, made up of representatives from the water industry as well as Essendon Football Club. Event Chairman is Western Water MD Neil Brennan.
How can I get involved?
We’re seeking donations from water authorities and extended networks for the raffle and silent auction. Now is the time to call on those local stakeholders and businesses to help with this good cause!
Information about the volunteer opportunities will be released closer to the time but if you’d like to put your hand up now to help or if you have items to be offered on the night please email Ben Brennan.
Location and time
The event is planned for the Medallion Club at Etihad Stadium on Thursday 25 June 2015 at 6.30pm. Partners, industry colleagues, friends and family will be invited to join the night.
Tickets will be sold in tables of 10 for $1900 per table. In addition, an auction and raffle will be held during the night. To purchase tickets please contact Ben Brennan via phone on 0430 139 969 or by email.
There will be a range of guest speakers from diverse backgrounds, both male & female including Sam Kekovich, David Parkin, Terry Daniher and Dr Bernie Crimmins, an auction and numerous raffles with plenty of fun and activity on the night. More information will be circulated in coming weeks.
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Yarra Valley Water MD Recognised for Environmental Leadership
Valley Water Managing Director and Mitcham resident, Pat McCafferty, has been recognised for environmental Leadership in WME Environmental Business Magazine’s 2014 Leaders List for developing the innovative Choose Tap program.
The annual WME Awards acknowledge people who have provided extraordinary environment leadership in business, the environmental services sector, and government and non-government organisations.
Managing Director, Pat McCafferty, explained that Choose Tap is a grass roots campaign encouraging the community to choose tap water as a healthy, cheaper, and more environmentally friendly alternative to expensive bottled water and packaged drinks.
‘Tap water is so much better for the community in terms of affordability, environment and health — we have to make a stand,’ said Mr McCafferty.
‘Choose Tap was launched in 2011, starting small and partnering with local councils to roll out refill stations in the community where water could be accessed for free. It has now gained enormous momentum and expanded to include a coalition with 11 other water authorities, as well as 30 other organisations across emergency services, education, health, and sport,’
‘The water dispensed from the 75 Choose Tap Water Refill Stations alone has potentially saved over 2.1 million disposable plastic water bottles from hitting landfill. This is just the tip of the iceberg — our Choose Tap App has helped thousands of people locate other existing public drinking fountains – around 6000 fountains are now registered on the App,’ said Mr McCafferty.
In announcing the Award, WME Managing Editor, Richard Collins said, ‘Yarra Valley Water has broken the mould with the world’s first fully integrated, grassroots campaign to shift the way people view tap water, running hard against a marketing tsunami from multinational bottled water brands.’
To find out more about Choose Tap visit www.yvw.com.au/choosetap< PreviousNext >
Biosolids Plant Wins Banksia Award
Barwon Water’s biosolids drying project at Black Rock won the Sustainable Water Management category at the 2014 Banksia Sustainability Awards.
The award recognises “leadership and innovation in assuring continued environment and community access to quality freshwater resources and vibrant marine environments”.
The facility, which is operated by Plenary Environment and Water Infrastructure Group as a public-private partnership, is located adjacent to Barwon Water’s Black Rock water reclamation plant and converts biosolids – a by-product of the sewage treatment process – into nutrient-rich farm fertiliser.
The Black Rock water reclamation plant is the Geelong region’s largest sewage treatment and water recycling facility and produces almost 140 tonnes of biosolids every day. Before the drying facility, biosolids were transported in closed trucks to large drying bays in Werribee to dry in the sun and wind before being transported for use as fertiliser.
The plant can treat 60,000 tonnes of biosolids a year from the Black Rock water reclamation plant and several other smaller regional plants operated by Barwon Water.
The Banksia Foundation is a well-established not-for-profit organisation dedicated to working with industry and community to focus attention on environmental excellence and sustainability.
The project also won the Environmental Protection category at the 2014 Premier’s Sustainability Awards.< PreviousNext >
Delivering more than Water at Western Water Plant
Two Western Water staff members more accustomed to delivering drinking water have helped with a surprise delivery of a baby.
Baby Angus was safely delivered on the side of the road outside Merrimu Water Filtration Plant after parents Brooke and Ben pulled over around 7.30am, realising they were not going to make it to the hospital.
The Sunbury couple were relieved that Wester Water’s water treatment team member Colin Clarke was there to call an ambulance, with water quality officer Fiona Robertson arriving shortly afterwards.
While Colin relayed instructions from triple-0, Fiona helped make Brooke slightly more comfortable, while Ben delivered the baby onto a picnic blanket, wrapping him in towels from the back of the car.
The ambulance arrived soon afterwards at the plant, near Bacchus Marsh in Melbourne’s outer west. The trio were quickly relayed to Bacchus Marsh Hospital.
Dad Ben, speaking from the hospital later that day, said mother and baby were doing well.
“She’s fine, the baby’s fine – it worked out well,” he said. “We are so grateful Colin and Fiona were there.”
Fiona and Colin were pleased to have been able to help, with Fiona describing it as a “fantastic experience”.
“The whole saga was 15 minutes long, but it felt like an hour – time stood still,” Fiona said.
Western Water General Manager, Customer and Community Relations, Graham Holt said the whole organisation was thrilled to hear the news.
“It’s not our usual type of customer service, but nonetheless, we are very proud of Fiona and Colin, and wishing Ben and Brooke all the best,” he said.
The episode has attracted plenty of attention, with national television coverage on Sunrise and Melbourne’s Channel 7 News.< PreviousNext >
Greening the West Wins Important Health Award
The Greening the West initiative, which aims to improve health through increased urban greening in Melbourne’s western metropolitan area, has been recognised at the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation Awards.
Greening the West, a partnership program involving 21 organisations including local government, community and stakeholder groups and state government agencies, won the ‘Research into Action’ category for research into two key public health challenges; physical inactivity and heat stress.
The award recognises achievement in creating and using knowledge through research and evaluation to build public health research capacity and health intelligence to drive new approaches to illness prevention and health promotion.
Mayor of Hobsons Bay Cr Colleen Gates said she was thrilled to see the work of Greening the West recognised as an important initiative aimed at improving the health of the community.
“We’re pleased to be part of Greening the West, an important initiative to improve the overall health of communities across Melbourne’s west,” said Cr Gates.
“One of the challenges for the west will be maintaining healthy, liveable spaces while managing the impacts of population growth and development.
“This award recognises the importance that research can play, and its role to plan and support action that will carry us through to a healthy and sustainable future.”
The Greening the West initiative is the first partnership of its kind in Victoria to bring together local government and water authorities including City West Water, state government agencies and industry and community representatives. While each agency plays a different role in affecting urban greening, all are united by a singular purpose to enable sustainable, liveable and healthy communities in Melbourne’s west.
The Victorian Health Promotion Foundation Awards are designed to highlight important health promotion projects and programs working in Victoria over the last year. The awards consisted of nine categories, with 128 entries overall.< PreviousNext >
Nathan Epp - VicWater 2015 Leadership Award Winner
My title is Senior Engineer – Energy and Commercial Projects for Goulburn Valley Water (GVW). I’m based in Shepparton Victoria and work from GVW’s head office in Shepparton, although I get out on-site at least once a week.
I work in the Business Innovation and Efficiency team and my role primarily involves managing the Corporation’s energy portfolio by optimising the energy contracts and procurement, developing strategies for energy efficiency and tracking/reporting/managing Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions. As a secondary function I operate as a business/commercial specialist to analyse and create opportunities using the Corporation’s leverage (that’s buzzword speak for resident entrepreneur).
Married, no kids. Currently living in Shepparton but spend most weekends away camping or visiting friends and family. My hobby is old Mercedes-Benz, mostly Diesels, mostly with over half-a-million kilometres; the older, rougher and slower the better – my wife’s daily driver is a yellow 1981 300D with over 400,000 km on the clock.
I did my undergraduate studies at CSU in Wagga Wagga and worked as an Engineer for Visy for eight years, operating their renewable energy and chemical recovery facility in Tumut NSW; I also looked after the site’s utilities which included raw water treatment (including MF, RO and electrodeionisation for demineralised boiler feedwater) and wastewater treatment (a small SBR plant).
During my time with Visy I completed some post-graduate studies in power engineering – not a very common or well recognised qualification here in Australia but has provided me with an extremely versatile skillset that can be applied to just about any industry.
After leaving Visy, we moved to London UK where I worked for Thames Water as the Site Manager at Beckton Sewage Treatment Works, the largest wastewater treatment facility in Europe. While there I managed the operations of the Sludge Powered Generator and worked on the Advanced Digestion project (Cambi thermal hydrolysis).
With ten years in operations I was presented with the opportunity to return to Australia and take up a more strategic role in energy efficiency with GVW in their Asset Performance team. Amidst the backdrop of Fairer Water Bills (given the majority of our materials cost is energy…) I was drafted into the newly formed Business Innovation and Efficiency team and was able to use my experience to review and implement efficiencies across the business.
Water Industry Experience:
At Visy we treated our own water and wastewater; while this gave me excellent technical experience, it was hard to gain an insight into the fundamental strategic elements that drive the water industry – I was simply not exposed to issues like managing the revenue stream, customer service and asset management cycles at that level.
Managing operations at Thames Water was very different – while I sold myself to them as a technical expert, much of my time was spent managing HR and administrative issues while balancing budgets and engaging with some pretty major projects; all in the context of a highly regulated environment. The major difference for me switching to the water industry was the attitude – we’re supplying a service that benefits people (a service that people can and should take for granted) rather than producing a product to be sold at a profit. I have found profound job satisfaction in working in an industry that is so fundamental to public welfare.
I have found the Victorian water industry different again; the level of collaboration and comradery across all corporations I have experienced is unique to the industry. We may not have the vast infrastructure challenges found in other areas of the world, but our job is no less important and our customers still rely on our performance.
The main issue that I face is balancing competing demands. Issues such as we want to be energy efficient and we want to reduce our carbon footprint, however there are immediate short-term issues that either preclude or defer investment in efficient technologies. Similarly, finding the right compromises that fit with operations, asset management and finance can be impossible.
Goulburn Valley Water pride themselves on providing the cheapest water bills for their customers, however we’re just as effected as everyone else when it comes to the cost-price squeeze. A further layer of complication is our ambition to foster an environment that is conducive to the growth and expansion of our commercial customers’ businesses – ensuring that we can provide the infrastructure to meet their needs cost-effectively. Given the number and size of the food processing facilities in our service area and their proportionate load compared to our domestic customers, this is not something that can always follow conventional asset planning methodology for progressive growth.
As an industry we need to stay sharp, we need to be relevant. We must continue to challenge ourselves and innovate and drive cost down. Regulation has tightened and will continue to tighten; therefore we need to stay ahead of the curve and lead the change, not react to it. The benchmark should be our best practice – not the private sector, not overseas utility companies. The benchmark should be our best practice because our practices are the best. To achieve this, I think we need to utilise our relationships with education, innovation and research institutes more fully; I think we need to engage a higher level of risk in non-core service areas while exploiting our commercial leverage.
Throughout my career I’ve had guidance and support from my professional network; it’s certainly something that I have benefited from, hence I always look for opportunities to provide similar help to others.
I also don’t see myself as an ambitious person in terms of my career or progression – I take on the mantra that if you enjoy what you do and have fun, the rest will follow. For me, it’s not about the career, it’s about the job.< PreviousNext >
Sariri Village Project
Flat pack kitchens are nothing new, but a team from the Rotary Club of Geelong, Barwon Water and Geelong Technical Education Centre (GTEC) has taken the concept and applied it to the humble loo to assist a small Papua New Guinean village.
A prototype toilet that can be built in sections and put into a flat pack was designed by Barwon Water engineers and fabricated by GTEC. It will be shipped to Sariri village in March and erected by a team led by Rotary’s Sariri Project Co-ordinator Anton Van Doornik.
Located 200km east of the Kokoda trail, the village was wiped out by Cyclone Guba in 2007. The rebuild is well underway, with a portable sawmill provided, cyclone-proof houses designed and built, a primary school with solar power constructed last year and a basic water supply switched on.
Barwon Water General Manager Infrastructure Services Paul Northey said the Rotary Club of Geelong approached the corporation last year to seek advice on developing a sewerage system.
“A team of employees volunteered to develop a program to deliver a sanitation solution as well as information and solutions for safety and construction techniques,” Mr Northey said.
“Should the prototype prove successful, it will be replicated in each home in the village,” he said.
Rotary Club of Geelong President Barry White said the club had had a long involvement in Papua New Guinea and, in particular, the rebuilding of Sariri village.
“The aim is to provide assistance to help re-establish this village so that it would ultimately be self-sustainable,” Mr White said.
“One of the members of the village was sponsored to come to Australia under a Rotary scholarship to learn about agriculture, timber, sawmilling, business and sustainability.
“The sanitation system has to be simple, effective, environmentally sustainable and possible for the villagers to build themselves.
“This was a real challenge and would not have been possible without the partnership with Barwon Water and GTEC. The end product has great potential for use in remote areas of Papua New Guinea and in other developing countries,” he said.
GTEC Enterprise Manager Gavin Reynolds said the organisation had enjoyed working with Barwon Water and Rotary from early design to the finished product.
“It only takes half an hour to erect the building and offers our students a great opportunity to assemble and disassemble the structure grasping the concept of pre-fabricated structures. We hope to build a few more while improving design elements,” Mr Reynolds said.< PreviousNext >
Coliban Water Trials Thermal Imaging for Leak Detection
Coliban Water in association with the Intelligent Water Network (IWN) Program has trialled aerial thermal imaging as a way of detecting water loss in its urban and rural systems and improving network efficiency.
The trial was carried out over the water corporation’s urban water system in Boort and Dingee in north-central Victoria, and a section of the open channel system near Bendigo, which is used to move water for both urban and rural customers.
Carl Oliver, a water operations engineer with Coliban Water, said: “The aim of the trial was to discover if changes in surface temperature caused by water loss can be identified by airborne thermal imaging equipment.
“Thermal imaging cameras record variations in temperature and are used extensively by the fire service to assist them in pinpointing hot spots in fires. The technology has now been applied to water loss.
“The Coliban Water region covers 16,550sqkm. If thermal imaging can cost effectively detect water loss across large areas it would enable us to improve network efficiency by saving water and operational costs,” said Mr Oliver.
The thermal imaging trial was funded through the IWN Program as part of a series of pilot technology trials in leak detection and pipe integrity.
The IWN Program is a partnership between the Victorian water corporations, the Victorian Government and VicWater. It addresses key challenges facing the water sector and tests emerging technologies to improve water service delivery.
A video documenting the thermal imagery trial has been produced and will be shown as part of the IWN Roadshows taking place across the Victorian water corporations in February and March.
Look out for details at your water corporation of when the IWN team is coming to you.
The thermal imaging video can be viewed below:< PreviousNext >
Branching out into New Technology
Yarra Valley Water is trialling a new technology to help preserve as many trees as possible when carrying out pipe maintenance.
Managing Director Pat McCafferty said that the water utility is keen to find an environmentally friendly option to preserve as many tree roots as possible growing in the vicinity of Yarra Valley Water pipes.
“Trees really add to the look and character of an area, and they are also great for the environment, so we want to find a solution where we can work around the trees while still providing the best possible service to our customers” said Mr McCafferty.
Hydro-excavation technology uses water pressure to remove the dirt around the tree roots causing minimum disturbance to the roots. By using water pressure the structural integrity of the tree is more likely to be maintained, reducing the risk of possible tree removal.
“In the past we have actually built pipes around large trees, but this can impact water pressure and is also a costly exercise. By using hydro-excavation where possible we are saving around $4,000 each time, whilst maintaining the service we offer to our customers.
“While the local council is ultimately responsible for deciding how they would like to manage any issues associated with trees, we have been working in close partnership with council arborists in our area to trial the hydro-excavation technology.
“By embracing new ideas and techniques we hope to achieve the best outcome for the community by preserving the local environment wherever possible. We are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to improve the way we do things for the benefit of our customers” said Mr McCafferty.
To find out more about the work being done by Yarra Valley Water to work in harmony with the environment visit www.yvw.com.au< PreviousNext >
South East Water Partners with Industry and Chisholm to Provide Development Opportunities
A new partnership between South East Water, the Victorian plumbing industry and Chisholm Institute Frankston is delivering specialised training for plumbers in Melbourne’s south-east.
The training aims to build knowledge and develop skills around plumbing work with water corporation assets and foster closer working relationships between the plumbing and building industries.
“South East Water is committed to delivering valuable support and specialist training for our industry and fostering development opportunities for plumbing professionals,” said South East Water General Manager Asset Creation Charlie Littlefair.
“It is important that members of our industry continue to develop their skills and be aware of regulatory requirements to provide the best service we can to our customers. The training will provide invaluable specialist skills and knowledge,” said Mr Littlefair.
Managing Director of Blue Ribbon Plumbing Service Tim Backholer said these kind of training and development courses added value for plumbers and businesses in the sector.
“We encourage our employees to further their knowledge and skills by participating in non-compulsory courses as it will broaden their skill set making them a more competent tradesperson and in turn a greater asset to the company,” said Mr Backholer.
“The training module was very informative. In comparison to other courses I have attended, I found it to be well structured and very thorough with ample time allocated for queries and questions at the end of the session.”< PreviousNext >
Vision Super – partnering with the water industry to improve financial literacy and workplace productivity
Vision Super is dedicated to helping you increase your employees’ financial literacy, so they can make better decisions about their super, feel more secure about their finances and be more productive in the workplace.
Research suggests that financially stressed employees spend as much as 20 hours of work time each month on their own finances [¹]. That’s over 12% of productivity lost. Workplace financial education can address this issue, by making employees feel more secure about their financial decisions and the subsequent impact on their future.
Vision Super is proud to partner with water authorities to help educate employees and has heightened its commitment in 2015 with a host of new educational tools and resources, designed to empower, inform and improve on financial literacy and super performance.
An informative new induction video has been launched, adding to the range of Vision Super material already available to employers. This video is the perfect introduction to Vision Super, highlighting its member services and benefits. You can preview the video here and also view the full range of educational material available. If you would like to add these to your intranet, please call Vision Super’s Employer Hotline on 1300 304 947.
In addition to the intranet material, Vision Super will also be offering more open days and seminars than ever before, to help employees get the most out of their super. Due to popular demand, evening sessions have also been added for selected events. The calendar of events will be available to view on the Vision Super website shortly.
Vision Super provides dedicated Account Managers to look after each employer’s needs. Your Account Manager can help you with queries on products and services like Employer Online, SuperStream, Defined Benefit Plans, employer reports and clearing house solutions. If your HR Department needs any assistance, please call the Employer Hotline on 1300 304 947.
[¹] Dr. E. Thomas Garman,“The Importance of Workplace Financial Education to Employers”, in the American Express Guide to Workplace Financial Education and Advice, 2004.
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TenderLink - Finding efficiencies never more important than now
If you are to believe everything you read, the Australian economy has seen better days. Unemployment is up, the stock exchange is struggling, the budget won’t be back to surplus anytime soon and we may even have to pay to see the doctor.
But amidst all this negative press, it’s great to see signs that the water industry appears resilient. Projects in this industry continue to flow, especially in Victoria. In the past five years it’s been one of the more consistent industries in Australia in terms of project notices published:
Sure, the total number of project notices issued last year were down slightly from 2013 – but not significantly so. And based on historical precedence, 2015 looks like it will be much like last year. January 2014 saw nine public notices published for water and sewage work in Victoria. And January 2015 has maintained that batting average with an identical number being published.
It seems that the flow of work in the water industry is as consistent as sunrises. But consistency of work does not mean procurement professionals in the water sector should relax. Within the current economic climate, any infrastructure project dependent on investment from State or Federal Government coffers will come under a tighter scrutiny, and it’s up to each organisation to show just how the public’s purse will be put to best use.
In fact, it could be said that any gains in operational efficiency within the competitive water industry will become almost as precious as water itself.
It’s not a surprise then that more and more organisations in the water sector are turning to companies such as TenderLink to publish and manage their procurement opportunities. To date, 12 such water organisations use the TenderLink e-Procurement solution, with more inquiring about what it can bring to the table in terms of operational efficiency.
But aside from simply streamlining process and enabling procurement efficiencies, the TenderLink solution has a huge supplier base to which it advertises tenders, thereby ensuring that the net is cast as wide as possible to the largest and most diverse pool of prospective suppliers. In turn, this brings better solutions and more competitive pricing.
With projects as large as those in the water industry, each and every efficiency percentage point accrues to better outcomes. Procurement professionals know this. It’s second nature for them to hunt efficiency in order to achieve the best outcomes. And as the demand for cost savings increases across all organisations, it’s the perfect opportunity for procurement professionals to lead the way.< PreviousNext >