From the CEO
Welcome to the Summer 2016 edition of Water Matters. As is always the case when I put together the CEOs report I am confronted with the fact that time’s march is relentless, but that equally so is the sectors energy and capacity to plan and manage for resilient water systems that meet Victorian customers current and future needs.
The VicWater Board welcomed two new members in December 2015. Lucia Cade, Chair of South East Water and Jo Plummer, Chair of Barwon Water. Lucia and Jo will fill casual vacancy positions on the VicWater Board until this year’s elections.
I am pleased to announce and congratulate the recipient of the 2016 VicWater Emerging Leader Award, Danny Ivanoski from Yarra Valley Water. Danny was formally presented the award at the AWA Victorian Water Awards in December. Danny has opted to complete his work placement with Thames Water and we are confident that he will benefit enormously from this opportunity and that what he learns and experiences will benefit him, Yarra Valley Water and the broader sector.
In a very rare “scoop” my Water Matters CEOs report can herald some news ahead of any other VicWater communication. We are pleased to announce that the Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water, The Hon Lisa Neville has agreed to attend the main Conference dinner at our VicWater Conference on 8th September. She has further agreed to participate in the VicWater and TCV industry dinners with Victorian water industry Chairs and Managing Directors. With the support of TCV, we have also been able to secure a date for a dinner with The Treasurer in October. Details on these dinners will be shared in due course.
Due to the high number of industry events that are being run in the first half of 2016 VicWater has decided to postpone two of our regular and successful events. Firstly, the extremely popular Innovation Conference; which is now likely to be run in July 2016. Secondly, the Audit & Risk Committee Chairs discussion; which has been deferred to 25 May 2016, the day before the Finance Conference (26 & 27 May 2016).
The suite of VicWater and DELWP 2-day Water Industry Director Development Programs are now underway with the first run on 15 & 16 February. There is one remaining event being run in March and two in April – click here for program and registration information.
One of our main annual events, the 2016 Finance Conference has been themed “Social Fabric Accountability”. The event will include a number of aspects of water corporations’ role in addressing the social impacts of water on communities. It will also include case studies on community engagement for social fabric and accounting for and considering the value of financial and non-financial outcomes. A very clear priority in the State Government’s Draft Water Plan is for the water industry to be a significant contributor to improving the social fabric of water in our communities.
In terms of papers recently released by VicWater, in December 2015 we released the updated Legal Compliance Manual, a set of supporting guidance documents to support water corporations through the upcoming asset valuation process and a submission to the EPA review of Scheduled Premises Regulations. All of these can be accessed from our website.
There are also a significant number of initiatives and policy areas that VicWater is currently contributing to on behalf of or in tandem with the Victorian water industry. The main being:
- Our involvement in the development of the draft Water Plan which is scheduled to be released for public consultation in the 2nd quarter of 2016;
- Review of the SePP (Wov);
- ESC Price Review;
- EPA Review;
- The water carting tender initiative;
- Development of a state-wide perspective on the Our Catchments, Our Future strategy;
- Ongoing work to simplify the burden linked to the DTF requirement for water corporations to include an asset management “attestation” in their annual report;
- Continuing involvement in the work linked to the recycled water cross connections that have been discovered in Victorian schools;
- Facilitating an event where EPA and the industry can discuss the scoring system linked to the EPAs licenced operator risk assessment;
- Developing industry supply chain strategies for key categories;
- Supporting the Intelligent Water Networks project; and
- Assisting in the delivery of IWA events.
Finally, in terms of VicWater planning, we are undertaking member consultation through a number of facilitated sessions with Victorian water industry Chairs, Managing Directors and our Board. These sessions will assist VicWater in its planning to ensure our strategies and priorities are delivering the greatest amount of value to our members.
2016 is shaping up to be another active and vibrant year and on a personal note I am excited by the opportunity that VicWater has to work with our members and stakeholders to assist water corporations to achieve extraordinary results for their customers in 2016.< PreviousNext >
Jo Plummer - New VicWater Director
I am Chairman of Barwon Water and Executive Director – Business in Heels International.
I was a ‘ten pound pom’ in 1974 emigrating with my parents and sister and have lived in Geelong and its surrounding suburbs ever since. I have be fortunate enough to travel widely both professionally and personally and know we have an amazing country with huge potential.
I have a very good humoured husband whom I have been married to for over 25 years and two sons 11 & 14 who are soccer (football) nuts!
I love being part of the boys sport and as such, have been coaching soccer for the past 8 years. We also play social soccer as a family every week…..albeit not with the same skill or ferocity as I used to!
I also enjoy bushwalking, gardening and socialising with family and friends.
I also have an extremely loveable but often unsociable Aussie Bull Dog whose name is Teddy B………Note to self, don’t name the dog until he is at least a year old!
- Strategy & Business Planning – Private & public sector, large and small enterprises
- Non-Executive Directorship – Government and NFP
- Professional networking & online marketing– connecting women with resource, opportunity and choice
- Corporate retail – Senior Management, Buying, Planning, Strategic Design, On-line
Water industry experience – how long you have worked in the industry and any previous experience in the industry?
I had worked in the Water industry for 18 months as a consultant before becoming a Non-Executive Director with Central Highlands Water for four years (2011-2015). During this time, I served on the Sustainability and Audit & Risk Committees as well as chairing the Customer and Community Partnerships Committee.
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?
There are a number of opportunities to re-prioritise & strengthen our focus on key areas affecting our Community, Barwon Water and indeed, the Water Industry as a whole.
Whilst most of these issues are not new, (climate change, diversity, value & affordability of our services, understanding and working with our Aboriginal communities, jobs & the economy, liveable communities, community engagement, healthy waterways & catchments) we have a mandate and responsibility to plan and deliver effective, efficient and sustainable solutions that are integrated with existing and future strategies across Victoria.
As with most circumstances of change, ‘rallying the troops’ across our community, organisation and sector to understand, agree and deliver in consistent and coordinated ways to achieve such solutions will be the top issue effecting us all. This is followed very closely by the ability to keep it simple……….At the end of it all we must continue to provide our essential community products and services in a safe, efficient and sustainable way.
I am both honoured & delighted to serve on the Board of VicWater. It is terrific opportunity for me to learn and contribute further to such a dedicated and collegiate industry.
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VicWater Finance Conference - Social Fabric Accountability
The VicWater Finance Conference will be held on 26 – 27 May 2016 in Melbourne.
The conference theme is Social Fabric Accountability and will be held at Rydges on Swanston, 701 Swanston Street, Carlton.
We are currently working on the program and aim to have the it finalised and on our website with online registrations open by mid-April.< PreviousNext >
Biggest Ever Laurie Gleeson Dinner - Save the Date
This year’s Biggest Ever Laurie Gleeson Dinner will be held on Thursday, 23 June at Eithad Stadium’s Medallion Club.
Western Water MD and Chair of the organising committee Neil Brennan said this year’s event would be on the national water industry calendar with WSAA joining VicWater, WIOA and IWA to become official supporters of the Dinner. More than 500 people are expected to attend.
“We have secured Sam Kekovich again for the night as well as Dr Bernie Crimmins. We’re also negotiating with other ‘stars’ to help make the night an even bigger success than our 2015 inaugural event.
Neil urged water businesses to purchase at least two tables for the dinner and consider becoming one of the event sponsors. Sponsorships range in value from $3000 to $10,000.
Tickets will be on sale shortly via VIcWater and an early bird table rate of $1950 for a table of 10 applies until 12 May. Post this date tables will cost $2100.
“We’re also encouraging businesses to source auction items from their service area for the night. These contributions last year helped us raise $70,000. This year our goal is $100,000 so every auction item provided will help us reach that fundraising goal as well as showcasing local businesses.”
All profits from the night will go to the Australian Prostate Cancer Foundation.
Click here for Sponsorship Opportunities
For further information please contact Lauren Vines who is available Wednesday to Friday via email or Wednesday and Thursday on 9639 8868.
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Innovative land use for Melbourne – Our Space. Your Place
Melbourne Water owned land is now available for projects which will benefit the wider community. Big or small, short or long-term, we are interested in a wide variety of projects which can benefit the local community and enhance liveability.
Some of the project concepts we have approved in the past are:
- playgrounds and parks
- shared pathways
- community gardens
- vegetation plantings
- and more!
To make the process easier, we have developed a new online map-based application called Our Space. Your Place. which gives you details of the availability, size and potential use of Melbourne Water’s many hectares of land. The available land is colour coded making it easy to find and understand how it can be used.
There is a great opportunity for councils, businesses or communities to explore the options and bring the spaces to life! Here’s how it’s done:
- Have an idea for a place
- Find a space that matches
- Express interest through Melbourne Water
- Bring it to life!
It’s as easy as that!
Check out the Melbourne Water website for more information and to access the map.
If you would like to use our land for a private or commercial project please see our information on Land lease and license agreements.< PreviousNext >
Students tap into Coliban Water Summer Vacation Program
Coliban Water’s summer vacation program is helping kick start the professional careers of 12 students from Bendigo, to as far afield as Jakarta and Vancouver.
The program, now in its fifth year, offers opportunities in a wide range of career options across the organisation, with a strong focus in engineering.
Students join the business for 12 weeks over their summer vacation period in a range of teams including Assets and Operations, Contracts, Water Supply, Concept Development, Infrastructure Delivery, People and Development and Corporate Communications.
Coliban Water General Manager Corporate Services Andrew Cooney has overseen the program and supported its development over the years.
“Our vacation program is a great opportunity for students to gain invaluable experience in the workplace. Many of the engineering students have gained employment with Coliban Water or within the industry at the completion of their studies. It is great for them, for Coliban Water and the water industry,” he said.
Water Operations Engineer Carl Oliver started his career at Coliban Water in the vacation program. He went on to complete the graduate program, gaining experience in different areas of the Service Delivery and Infrastructure Team, and is now in Assets and Operations assisting with the treatment and supply of drinking water to 45 towns.
Mr Oliver said “I didn’t anticipate that the program would lead me to a graduate position, let alone full-time employment. I was happy enough to be getting the experience.”
This year’s group of vacation students includes four Bendigo locals and students from Cobram, Melbourne, Brisbane, Vancouver and Jakarta.
Elijah Slatter was raised in Bendigo and said making the decision to study at La Trobe University and stay local was an easy one.
“There’s something about living, studying and working in Bendigo that doesn’t compare to the bigger cities,” he said.
Alexandra Harden is from Vancouver and studying at the University of Wollongong. Ms Harden said “Coming to Bendigo to be part of the vacation program wasn’t a difficult decision. It has offered so much more than an insight into the water industry.
“Working at Coliban Water has developed my appreciation of regional business, how it differs from bigger cities, like Vancouver, and the challenges associated with that,” Miss Harden said.
The Coliban Water Vacation Program runs for 12 weeks from November to February.
For further information see our Vacation Program page in the Careers section on our website.
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Building a Better Water Sector Through Collaboration
Yarra Valley Water and Lower Murray Water have entered into a shared services partnership aimed at strengthening workplace culture in the water sector.
The shared services collaboration will see Yarra Valley Water provide strategic human resources services and support to Lower Murray Water over a three year period.
The collaboration will deliver new efficiencies and enhance knowledge sharing to deliver better outcomes for the community.
Philip Endley, Managing Director Lower Murray Water said that the arrangement focused on achieving better outcomes for the community.
“This arrangement allows Lower Murray Water to leverage a decade of Yarra Valley’s renowned culture development knowledge and experience, with a flow on effect for our staff, customers and stakeholders.
“Culture really all comes down to creating an open and productive workplace. The shared services with Yarra Valley Water will further assist us to build on our existing knowledge base and culture,” Mr Endley said.
Pat McCafferty, Managing Director Yarra Valley Water said that the Boards and Management of Lower Murray Water and Yarra Valley Water are committed to a collaborative approach.
“We are pleased to be involved in an initiative that will benefit both organisations and potentially provide a model which could be adopted across other metropolitan and regional water businesses.
“We are committed to working with others to build a truly collaborative sector that is well equipped to meet the challenges of the future.
“Both organisations will benefit from the exchange of ideas which will build resilience in the sector, to deliver the best outcomes for all Victorians, “said Mr McCafferty.
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Major Upgrade for Sunbury Plant
Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water Lisa Neville has officially announced Western Water’s $53 million upgrade of the Sunbury Recycled Water Plant.
The contract for the project – the biggest in Western Water’s 20-year history – has been awarded to Downer Utility Services.
Western Water’s Managing Director, Neil Brennan, says the upgrade will increase the plant’s treatment capacity from 5.9 to 9.2 million litres a day.
“This increase will accommodate the rapid population growth in the Sunbury region, which is one of the fastest-growing in the state,” Mr Brennan says.
“Despite this significant increase in treatment capacity, Downer’s innovative design means the upgrade will remain within the footprint of the existing plant.
“It increase efficiency, with less energy consumed per megalitre of effluent treated, and improve the quality of recycled water produced.”
The upgrade will involve new treatment process units as well as utilisation and upgrade of some of the existing plant. This includes:
- New inlet structures
- Multi-stage biological nutrient removal (BNR) and membrane filtration treatment processes
- both UV (creek discharge) and chlorine (service water and recycled water) disinfection
- sludge treatment and dewatering
- odour management
- upgraded site facilities including buildings, roads and capacity for visitors such as school and/or industry groups.
The plant will also have the capacity to produce Class A recycled water in the future, which will further expand the market for this important resource.
Downer will operate the existing plant until the upgrade is constructed and commissioned in late 2018, then continue to manage and operate the upgraded plant until 2026.< PreviousNext >
Diving specialists install mixers at the Bendigo Water Reclamation Plant
Diving specialists are being used to replace submersible mixers at the Bendigo Water Reclamation Plant in Epsom.
Coliban Water Manager Infrastructure Delivery Corey Bourne said divers are employed to install the mixers so the plant can remain in operation.
“The mixers enable the biological treatment of the wastewater to take place and control the flow of the wastewater to the next stage of the process.
“Our plant treats wastewater from around 40,000 customers in the Bendigo area. On an average day it treats around 19 million litres of wastewater. The tanks and mixers are in constant use so taking the plant offline to empty the tanks is not an option.
“The divers have specialist training and work in zero visibility to remove the old mixers and install a guide bar system. The new mixers can be raised on to the guide bar, which enables flexibility in positioning and easy access for inspection and service.
“The original mixers were installed in 1990 when the plant was built and are approaching the end of their functional working life. We are replacing 20 mixers in 10 treatment tanks.
“The new mixers are more reliable and energy efficient, which will improve plant efficiency and reduce the plant’s operating costs,” said Mr Bourne.
Works started in January. Divers are used early in the project for the removal of the old mixers and installing the guide bars. The project is due for completion in June 2016 and will cost $800,000.
Xylem was awarded the contract to supply and install the Flygt mixers.
For further information see our Bendigo Water Reclamation Plant – Submersible Mixers Upgrade page in the Projects section on our website.< PreviousNext >
Vision Super CEO Protecting Members’ Interests
You might have seen Vision Super’s CEO, Stephen Rowe in the news lately.
He’s been standing up for superannuation and the living standards of Australian retirees.
As read in the Sydney Morning Herald in January, Rowe was “staggered” at the report that found more than one-third of Australian pensioners are living below the poverty line.
The OECD report, Pensions at a Glance, was published in December and found that Australian pensioners’ incomes are just 67.7 per cent of the national average.
Out of the 33 assessed countries, Australia ranked 2nd lowest, only better than Korea.
“Are we generous enough with the pension? I don’t think so” he was quoted.
He said that retiring Australians are struggling with a high cost of living and have not received the full benefit of compulsory super contributions that were introduced in 1992.
A study of 2000 Australians by MLC in, found that one in two working Australians have unrealistic expectations of their financial needs in retirement and the majority of those in the study don’t believe a nest egg of $1 million dollars in retirement makes them rich.
Contrary to the perceptions in MLC study, a 2015 report by the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees said that the current median superannuation balance for an Australian approaching retirement is around $100,000.
With so many different figures coming from everywhere, it is easy to see why so many Australians don’t know how much money they’ll need to lead their preferred lifestyles.
To get an estimate, members of Vision Super can find calculators on our website, where they can also book an appointment with a financial adviser to discuss options that may help their super stretch further, such as an income stream.
Rowe has also hit out at the Federal government for its proposed changes to superannuation and for using superannuation as part of its anti-union agenda.
“The government is trying to fix a problem that doesn’t exist in the industry superannuation sector,” he said in an interview with the Australian.
If you and your employees are with Vision Super, rest assured you’re with a company that is looking out for industry superannuation and your comfortable retirement.< PreviousNext >
TechnologyOne - Using a holistic approach to get the most out of your assets
One of the largest expenses of running a business is the cost of providing and maintaining facilities. In order to deliver the best business outcomes, facilities management needs to shift from a ‘condition’ approach to a ‘level of service’ approach. This evolves from simply assessing facilities maintenance based on the condition of the asset, to evaluating a number of parameters including capacity, fit-for-purpose, condition and frequency of use.
This is a strategic approach, requiring high-level asset management plans that consider the current condition and functionality of the asset, asset degradation, and the treatments required to deliver its service potential.
To get the most out of their facilities, businesses need to develop a holistic, enterprise approach to facilities management that considers the strategic, tactical and operational lifecycle of assets. This can be challenging in an environment where facilities management and its systems are siloed from the rest of the business. The typical building has various “islands” of data scattered throughout the organisation with no cohesive strategy for data management.
There are generally a number of stakeholders throughout the business invested in the operational and financial management of its facilities. However, both the facilities manager and associated information management systems are not always integrated with the entire business.
If you are operating with disparate systems for financials, building management and contract management, it is very difficult to improve outcomes and long-term planning. Similarly, you will have trouble managing buildings and assets from acquisition or capital construction, right through the operating life.
Using one integrated information system for all stakeholders offers a single source of truth and transparency across the entire business. It ensures the CFO has full visibility of facilities maintenance costs, utilisation measurements and operational costs.
A true enterprise facilities management system will allow a business to improve visibility and gain compliance, by ensuring all the components are operating cohesively, not in isolation. It will allow entire lifecycle management of the facilities – from capital project management to long-term strategic planning.
We’ve observed that customers who embrace a holistic approach are achieving improved facilities utilisation, resulting in reduced operation and maintenance costs and enhanced customer satisfaction.
For best practice, you need to consider more than just the day-to-day management of buildings. To get the most out of your facilities, you need to be able to determine for the next twenty years, what you need to spend, on what assets and when. This allows for a more accurate and scientific assessment of long-term capital planning, with the confidence that money will be spent on the right assets at the right time.< PreviousNext >
Veolia - Sydney Water Contract Extension
Veolia has signed a 15 year contract extension with Sydney Water for operations and maintenance of the Wyuna Water facilities.
Wyuna Water is a Special Purpose Vehicle owned jointly by IFM Investors and Veolia. Wyuna Water outsources the Operations & Maintenance requirements to Veolia under a long term agreement. Under the contract extension, worth in excess of A$400m, Veolia will continue to operate and maintain the Illawarra and Woronora Water Treatment Plants, which supply high quality drinking water to more than 500,000 people across the Sydney and Illawarra region.
The contract extension comes after 20 years of successful operations, which has seen the plants perform safely, efficiently and reliably not just in relation to water quality but also ISO health, safety, environment and quality certifications.
Commenting on the partnership, Veolia’s Managing Director, Doug Dean AM, said, “This long-term partnership with Sydney Water is a testament to the high level of operational performance Veolia has been able to achieve.
“By integrating our best-practice solutions, we have been able to deliver sustainable outcomes which protect the environment, while delivering efficiency and value to Sydney Water.”
A key element of the Wyuna Water BOOT contract with Sydney Water is the Wyuna Science and Technology Agreement, which supports opportunities for joint research and development, as well as a fellowship program. The Agreement has played a significant role in fostering the sharing of information and technology as well as transferrable skills between Veolia and Sydney Water.
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