From the CEO
Welcome to the Winter 2017 edition of Water Matters. With the Association’s recent end of financial year activities almost behind us, I find myself in a reflective state and thought it might be timely to share some insights on the year that was for VicWater and what the Association delivered for the sector more broadly.
In order to achieve VicWater’s purpose of assisting its members to achieve extraordinary performance while helping to influence the future of the Victorian water industry we focussed our activities in 2016-17 on outcomes that were aligned with three key result areas:
- Influencing the Future of the water industry – The Governments’ Water for Victoria document provided a blue print for the future of the Victorian water industry. It encouraged the industry to be expansive in its view of how the industry works with communities to enhance their resilience and social fabric of the communities our members serve. VicWater worked with the Government and water corporations in the formation of the water plan and once released to influence the implementation.
- Enhancing Cross Industry Collaboration – Bringing our members together to develop a common voice, to learn from each other, work together, generate efficiencies from shared services and processes is an essential and fundamental function of VicWater. The water industry in Victoria has a strong history of collaboration and VicWater is in in a unique position to enhance and facilitate collaboration between members and stakeholders to achieve extraordinary outcomes.
- Supporting the Extraordinary Performance of Water Corporations – owners, stakeholders and customers of Victorian water corporations rightly expect that the Victorian water industry will be extraordinary performers. Working with our members and a range of partners VicWater seeks to leverage the collective intellect of the sector to provide the opportunity for shared learnings and evidence to highlight high performers.
In terms of the specific deliverables for the 2016-17 period VicWater:
- Produced 15 submissions and 3 industry guides
- Contributed to 34 policy and/or advocacy areas on behalf of the sector
- Coordinated 65 events, workshops and dinners, including a new event – the very successful “Future State of Electricity” conference.
- Hosted close to 2,700 attendees at the above events
- Facilitated sector steering committees, working groups, worked with the IWA SIGs and other industry group meetings with a membership of nearly 400 Victorian water corporation staff and directors
- Working with our members through the Supply Chain Excellence program the industry has achieved efficiencies of $31 million
- Chaired the State Environmental Protection Policy (SEPP) Waters of Victoria (WoV) Stakeholder Reference Group for Victorian Government
- Represented the industry on Workskills Victoria and represented Victoria at a National level
- Coordinated Asset Revaluation Model Accounts, Legal Compliance Manual, Deed of Access and review of streamlined reporting.
To provide context to the above VicWater produced more than one submission each month on behalf of the industry. Advocated and influenced industry policy every 10 days. Hosted more than one event each week. All of this was achieved with a staff of seven employees or 5.7 full time equivalents (FTE) employees and excellent support from our members through our working groups, steering committees and forums. This impressive work program could not have been achieved without the excellent support and engagement received from our members, stakeholders, sponsors and of course the efforts of the small but highly effective and dedicated VicWater team.
We have also been able to maintain a close control of our costs and deliver exceptional events which have result in a modest profile of $41,683 which is slightly above the anticipated profit.
As an interesting aside, through just two pieces of work delivered during the 2016-17 period VicWater has saved our members enough money to cover VicWater’s costs for the next 57 years. This does not include the additional value delivered in red tape reductions, collaboration facilitation, shared outcomes in model accounts or legal compliance manuals or asset revaluation methodologies, working with the IWA on events and SIG’s or the opportunity cost from policy influence and outcomes; or the benefits from sponsorship and support of the IWN project.
Other projects or activities that I would like to highlight further include:
- Victorian water industry Chairs collectively signed off on a Water Industry Diversity Strategy at the end of June 2016 with an objective of further improving the performance of the water industry by ensuring we have an equitable and representative workforce that reflects the diversity of the communities we serve. Work has been steadily progressing throughout the sector to create diverse and inclusive workplaces, become employers of choice for new graduates and entrants and provide motivating and satisfying careers paths that cater for employees whole of career requirements.
- Reducing water industry red tape, regulatory burden and compliance costs is a key focus for VicWater. As such VicWater worked on behalf of the sector, with relevant regulators and stakeholders with the objective of reducing red tape, lowering water corporation costs or preventing new forms of regulatory burden from being imposed on the water industry.
- As outlined above the Supply Chain Excellence program delivered savings in the order of $31 million which is made up of current savings of $21 million for chemicals and electricity and forward savings of $10 million for chemicals. A further $12 million in efficiencies were achieved by water corporations through demand management of electricity.
- Facilitated the delivery of the 2016 Rural Water Awards with Coliban Water, Goulburn-Murray Water, GWMWater, Lower Murray Water and Southern Rural Water.
- VicWater and IWA have a joint Events Coordinator on staff, situated within VicWater, who is dedicated to the delivery of VicWater and IWA events. So, in addition to the normal calendar of events VicWater provides services to the Institute of Water Administration (IWA) to assist in the delivery of their special interest group (SIG) meetings, conferences and dinners.
- The Intelligent Water Networks (IWN) project is a partnership between 18 Victorian water corporations, VicWater and DELWP. The project is committed to assisting the Victorian water industry to experiment and learn from shared challenges and opportunities. VicWater sponsors the project and provides banker and secretariat support for the project.
- VicWater and Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that outlined a commitment to work together in areas that are complimentary to maximise value to the respective memberships.
- VicWater developed an industry collaboration tool to support our industry working groups to develop and share collaborative materials for and with the sector.
This coming financial year will see VicWater continue to focus on the above-mentioned key result areas, some of the key projects for us will include:
- Gender equity, diversity and inclusion as a catalyst to drive stepped improvements in business performance and innovation
- Creating additional owner value through effective collaboration such as strategic sourcing and shared outcomes
- Climate change mitigation and adaptation
- Water for Victoria implementation
- Pricing submissions and economic regulation
- State Environment Protection Policy (SEPP) Water of Victoria (WoV)
- Understanding the future skills required to sustain a successful business
- Reduce or eliminate unnecessary red tape and costing red tape
- Governance and the increasing reliance on Attestations from regulators and government
- Keeping the sector informed on current issues and trends
Finally, I cannot close without acknowledging and thanking the directors of VicWater for their contributions to VicWater over the 2016-17 period. Their commitment to the sector continues to drive outstanding results for our members and ensures that the Victorian water sector continues to be recognised beyond our borders as leaders in the Australian water industry.< PreviousNext >
Michael Wootten, Chief Financial Officer, City West Water
Lived in Sunbury for the past 28 years, married with two adult children, involved in community sport including tennis, footy & cricket.
Michael’s professional background:
Bachelor degrees in Accounting and Computing, Master’s degree in Business. Fellow of both AICD and CPA Australia. Non-Executive Director and Audit Committee Chair at Children Australia Inc (T/A Ozchild), and independent Audit Committee member at Relationships Australia (Victoria).
Michael’s water industry experience
Recently returned to the industry after 16 years in Emergency Services and Local Government. I worked at both Western Water and Central Highlands Water in CFO capacities for seven years from 1994-2001.
What VicWater group(s) do you participate in?
Looking forward to engaging with groups that can assist my role and City West Water more broadly.
From your perspective what is the top issue affecting you in your current role / your business/ the water industry at the moment?
- Bringing a contemporary view to the provision of critical internal services that enable outward facing parts of City West Water to be successful
- The need to provide exceptional levels of service which put the customer first
- Getting the balance right from a sustainability perspective for customers, communities, and the environment
What do you think is unique about Australian leadership?
I think Australian leadership is characterised by a number of elements:
- Egalitarianism (ie. a fair go for all)
- Sense of humour
- Ability to listen to other views and to challenge constructively
- Pursuit of improvement
What do Australians want from their leaders?
Australians seek qualities from their leaders that include honesty, innovation, measured risk-taking, equity, clear communication, and a vision for a better future.
Please share a favourite story of a contemporary Australian leader you admire
Lisa Griffiths is the current CEO at Ozchild, where I serve on the Board. In just over three years, Lisa has completely revitalised this organisation, which provides critical services for children and young people in need.
Ozchild has led the implementation of evidenced-based service models in Victoria, and is now extending these services to NSW and the ACT. Lisa’s leadership style is authentic, humble, compassionate, and caring – all the qualities needed to succeed in this challenging yet rewarding sector.
Please share a favourite story of a contemporary leader you admire from within the Victorian water sector
I have known Neil Brennan since he gave me my first opportunity to join the Victorian water industry in 1994. I have always admired him for his willingness to back his people in, and support them through good and bad times.
Neil’s longevity in the industry is testament to his leadership qualities of persistence and determination, adaptability, good humour, strategic outlook and people development (the only real negative is his support of the Essendon Football Club !).
“We would like to thank The Australian Leadership Project which strives to celebrate, understand and improve Australian leadership”< PreviousNext >
VicWater Annual Conference - registrations open
The theme “Micro Solutions for Macro Problems” will explore the way that local, specific and targeted responses can provide a cumulative macro solution. It is all too easy to become daunted by the scale of some of these macro challenges, but the aggregated impact of micro solutions can be significant and by focusing on these micro solutions the macro problems don’t seem so big.
Opening the conference will be the Water Minister, The Hon. Lisa Neville.
Our Keynote speaker – Shara Evans is a globally acknowledged Keynote Speaker and widely regarded as one of the world’s Top Futurists. Shara provides the latest insights and thought provoking ideas on a broad spectrum of issues. Fusing an engineering background with an intuitive understanding of how society is likely to respond to new technologies.
David Lourdes, CEO and Founder of Evolving Human Potential will be speaking at the Annual Conference. David has presented at VicWater events in the past and has been ranked our highest rated presenter, exceeding expectations of 80% of delegates.
We recommend you register early to guarantee your accommodation booking at the Langham. We look forward to seeing you at the 2017 Annual Conference. For further information on this conference, please feel free to contact us – email@example.com or (03) 9639 8868.< PreviousNext >
Place-based IWM planning seminars
Are you interested in delivering whole-of-community outcomes by improving alignment between disciplines and organisations? Would you like to hear about leading integrated water management initiatives in your region? Hear from a team of experts from a wide range of fields – Mark Elliott, Hailey Cooperrider, Rob Skinner, Paul Cassidy, Jeremy Cheesman, and Ross Allen – to explore collaboration and place-based planning for water from many perspectives.
Clearwater are holding a series of integrated water management seminars to support the implementation of Water for Victoria. The seminars will focus on enhancing capacity for integrated water management planning within and between organisations, and will provide a platform for knowledge-sharing between local government, water corporations and the catchment management authority. The seminars precede and support the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) IWM Forums and will assist practitioners to inform and influence place-based IWM planning. IWM considerations to be explored through the seminars include: integration of water and urban planning for different urban development contexts, strengthening stakeholder collaboration, understanding local context, and delivering best-for-community outcomes.
As the seminars are directly related to the IWM Forums, they are therefore reserved for representatives from local government, water corporations and the catchment management authority.
- Maribyrnong & Werribee Catchments Seminar – Wednesday 30 August 2017
- Westernport & Dandenong Catchments Seminar – Tuesday 5 September 2017
- Yarra Catchment Seminar Wednesday – 13 September 2017
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IWA June 2017 Conference
The IWA June Conference, dinner and SIG meetings took place at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre on the 22 – 23 June 2017 and have been receiving a lot of positive feedback. With the theme doing business in a disrupted future #innovation, the conference followed a different format and showcased 19 innovation concepts from across the Victorian water corporations. It was really inspiring to see so much good work and ideas being generated from the industry. The top 5 rated presentations have been invited to present at the VicWater Annual Conference in September. The top 5 presenters are:
- Lighthouse volunteer program Vicki Scott, Goulburn Valley Water
- School-based apprenticeships John Day, North East Water
- Drone Technology Andrea Pogue, Goulburn Murray Water & Mick Hawtin, Lower Murray Water
- Cultural Innovation Mareena Corbett, Yarra Valley Water
- Septic tank management Jon Theobold, South East Water
Delegates also heard from a prominent Australian futurist, Peter Ellyard, who gave a very interesting and though provoking presentation to start off the day.
At the conference dinner guests were treated to entertainment by Australian comedian, Dave Thornton. To see copies of the presentations, please visit the IWA website.< PreviousNext >
Forging ahead with revegetation work to boost biodiversity
Work is well underway on a revegetation project designed to help rejuvenate the natural wetland and woodland environment at Forge Creek near Bairnsdale.
Funded by East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority and East Gippsland Water, this partnership initiative also involves: Romawi Landcare; Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation (GLaWAC), through their natural resource management crew; and, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP).
In addition to planting around 3,000 native wetland plants and installing some protective fencing, work involves removing sections of old fence likely to endanger wildlife, as well as constructing wildlife exclusion plots.
The project’s coordinator, Andy Booth, said, “Here is a great example of how a number of organisations can work very effectively together with the common goal of protecting and enhancing the biodiversity of the local area. This is particularly significant given that there are more than 30 animal species of conservation concern known to be living on or around Forge Creek, including birds and fish.”
Amongst resident species of conservation concern are glass eels, which undertake a massive migration all the way from Forge Creek to the Coral Sea to spawn.< PreviousNext >
Weeds become snacks for animals at Melbourne Zoo
Animals including Elephants, Giraffes and Tree Kangaroos have been given a very Melbourne snack in the form of foliage, tree limbs and branches removed as part of local weed removal works by Melbourne Water.
Green matter from 1.5km of the west bank of Merri Creek at Coburg was donated to Melbourne Zoo after it was identified that the material would be suitable for certain animals to snack on.
Melbourne Zoo has a specialised plantation at Werribee Zoo which consists of 16 tree species totalling 9000 trees. However, donations of tree branches still make up approximately 40 to 50 percent of annual ‘browsing’ food at the zoo.
Melbourne Zoo coordinates donations from Parks Victoria, local councils, a number of schools and Arbor companies. This is the first time Melbourne Water has donated to the program.
Regional Services Manager (West), Emily Phillips, said the initiative was the bright idea of a Melbourne Water team member.
“One of our staff identified that many of the weed and tree species we were removing had to the potential to be animal feed and this was confirmed by Melbourne Zoo,” she said.
“From there we arranged a 7 tonne excavator to load a Melbourne Zoo truck during downtime in our weed removal works, meaning fast and efficient load times which didn’t impact our other works. In total Melbourne Water provided 11 truckloads of donated woody materials for the animals.”
Woody feeding material must meet strict standards to ensure its suitability for the animals. This includes ensuring only correct trees of appropriate species and age are selected, monitoring how these plants are removed and stored, and confirming that no pesticides have been used on them.
Common plant species suitable for zoo animals include Poplar, Ash, Willow, Elm, Coprosma, Prunus, Apple, Bamboo and Acacia. Animals which are enjoying the woody weed snacks at the Zoo include Elephants, Giraffes, Tortoises, Bongo Tapirs, Orangutans, Gorillas, Lemurs, Baboons, Gibbons, Reptiles, Tree Kangaroos and Hippos.
The donation of this material also provides additional benefit to Victorian taxpayers, as it has saved Melbourne Water on disposal costs, machinery hire and labour.
“This project showcases what can be achieved when organisations work together. We’re very pleased to be able to provide this service to the Zoo and will be looking for further opportunities to contribute donations like this in the future.”< PreviousNext >
$100m investment to help build communities in Melbourne’s north
Yarra Valley Water today announced that construction of the Amaroo Sewer Main project is complete, symbolising a $100million investment to help support the growing communities in Melbourne’s north.
The Amaroo Main Sewer is the first stage of a $400m investment over the next few years in water and sewerage infrastructure which will service the growing population.
Managing Director Pat McCafferty said that the Amaroo Main Sewer is a critical part of future infrastructure which will serve proposed developments in Melbourne’s Northern Growth Corridor.
“The sewer which was completed six months ahead of schedule, stretches over 8kms long between Craigieburn and Donnybrook, providing the backbone of the new sewer network that will service over 100,000 new properties, equating to around 300,000 people and supporting around 90,000 jobs in the area. In line with Victorian Government’s water plan, Water for Victoria, this project is providing the services we need to deal with the challenges of population growth”.
Yarra Valley Water’s contractor, John Holland Pty Ltd, started construction works in June 2015. During construction, up to 70 people were working on site over the 24-month construction period. While the sewer is complete, it will carry flows from early 2018 upon completion of ancillary projects and connections to developments.
John Holland’s Project Manager Ken Muir stated that the team were proud of their achievements on the project.
“The project was delivered early with all the criteria of a successful job having been met notably; a satisfied Client and a community appreciative of the work having been undertaken. John Holland looks forward to continuing their relationship with Yarra Valley Water with their ongoing development plans”.
The project was a massive investment in the region but also of massive physical scale. For installation of the sewer, 20 vertical shafts were excavated with a total depth almost as deep as the Eiffel Tower is tall. The project also included the trenchless installation of four crossings of the Melbourne to Sydney Railway and crossings of the Merri Creek, Malcolm Creek and Hume Freeway.
Wannon Water commits to supporting a financially inclusive community
Wannon Water is one of 30 organisations across Australia committed to supporting those in need by developing a Financial Inclusion Action Plan (FIAP).
The FIAP program, led by Good Shepherd Microfinance on behalf of the Australian Government, was launched last November in partnership with the Centre for Social Impact (UNSW) and EY. Initially starting with 12 “trailblazer” organisations, the program has now expanded and Wannon Water is one of 18 new “trailblazers” to sign up.
Managing Director Andrew Jeffers said Wannon Water was proud to join other organisations that are working towards measurable actions to create a more financially inclusive community.
“Wannon Water’s involvement is significant given the size of our organisation and our location in a regional area. We’re joining other much larger trailblazers in the program such as the Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, ANZ, NAB, the Queensland Government, AGL, Energy Australia, Origin Energy and Swinburne University of Technology,” Mr Jeffers said.
“We’ve made this commitment because the FIAP program has important links to our corporate vision of going beyond water for strong communities.
“As a regional urban water corporation, we are proud of our strong business foundations, providing secure, safe and affordable water and sewerage services that are highly valued by our customers.
“In the past 12 months we have focussed beyond these core responsibilities to strategically partner with other organisations and consider the wellbeing and prosperity of our region as a whole,” Mr Jeffers said.
General Manager Corporate and Community Services Kellie King said Wannon Water recognised that financial stress and exclusion has many root causes and its impact can be profound.
“It places people and families at risk of poverty, vulnerability to predatory lending practices and poor social, emotional and health outcomes,” Ms King said.
In the 2015/16 financial year, Wannon Water financially supported more than 500 customers and provided allowances and rebates of more than $172,000 through programs such as the customer hardship program, flexible payment plans and financial assistance incentives.
Wannon Water’s FIAP will also have measures in place to assist its suppliers, employees and the broader community.
“Our commitment to the FIAP program is the next step in shaping new initiatives to support those who are disadvantaged and vulnerable. Our aim is to help them to transition to a more stable, safe and financially-secure status,” Ms King said.< PreviousNext >
It’s now a little easier being green
Central Highlands Water (CHW) recently turned on the taps for Wendouree Primary School and Ballarat Grammar to water their ovals all year round.
The Greening Schools initiative will relieve pressure on potable water supplies and enable students from both schools to enjoy green play spaces, where they once endured hard, dry surfaces during times of low rainfall.
The Greening Schools initiative has been realised through the Victorian State Government’s generous support of $1 Million and $25,000 from both CHW and Ballarat Grammar.
New infrastructure now delivers Class A recycled water from the Ballarat North Treatment plant, to the school ovals at Ballarat Grammar and Wendouree Primary School. The new infrastructure installed by CHW will transport approximately 25 million litres of Class A recycled water per annum to Ballarat Grammar, where it will be stored and then pumped to irrigate ovals at both schools. The green school ovals provide a wide range of benefits to students, including an enhanced learning environment and an increase in physical activity throughout the year.
Wendouree Primary School principal, Christine Branagh, said, “Aside from the wonderful benefits to students who use the oval for sporting activities, the educational value in terms of recycled water and sustainability are invaluable.”
The project also aims to encourage students to discuss and learn about recycled water, sustainability and our environment.
The project was launched on World Environment Day 2017, hosted by Wendouree Primary School with representatives from Ballarat Grammar, Central Highlands Water and DELWP.
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Yarra Valley Water makes debut on AON Hewitt Best Employer List
Yarra Valley Water has been recognised as one of Australia’s best employers in AON Hewitt’s recent announcement of the Best Employers for 2017. With employee engagement scores significantly above national averages, Yarra Valley Water is also the first Government enterprise to achieve this recognition in 10 years.
Managing Director Pat McCafferty and General Manager Anne Farquhar attended the announcement and were delighted to receive the award on behalf of the company.
“We are so pleased to share this news with the rest of the water industry. This is not solely a Yarra Valley Water success, it is an achievement for the entire industry, demonstrating the enormous work which is happening to make our organisations the best that they can be.
“We are all continually improving performance to achieve the best outcomes for our community, but more importantly attracting the right people to the right jobs and more closely representing the community we service. We are excited to share our success with the water industry, and to continue sharing our learnings both within and outside the industry.” says Mr McCafferty.
“This achievement has not happened for us overnight; our culture of transformation started many years ago. Everyone has contributed in different ways to build our constructive culture, with the underlying goal being to provide the very best outcomes for the community.”
With 87% of staff completing the survey in 2017 and an overall company engagement score of 83%, Yarra Valley Water is one of just 16 companies in Australia and New Zealand recognised for building a workplace that supports employees fulfilling their potential and achieving great results.
This recognition is a significant milestone for Yarra Valley Water, featuring for the first time on the AON Best Employer list.
“Businesses are increasingly operating under changing and complex circumstances, including shifting economic and political climates. Organisations have to deal with increased volatility, complexity, uncertainty, and ambiguity,” said Stephen Hickey, Partner and Head of Employee Engagement, Asia Pacific & Middle East, Aon.
“Aon Best Employers really take a strong hold on their approach to change management and recognise that they must adapt their employee engagement strategy and drivers to align with this changing landscape. This level of heightened awareness and adaptability is what is setting Aon Best Employers apart from the rest.”
“You can feel the pride our employees bring to work every day, but it is always very rewarding to have this externally benchmarked and validated. We are so proud of this achievement, however believe this is not the end of the journey for us. We will continue to build a workplace where people want to do their best work and are fulfilled in doing so” says Mr McCafferty.< PreviousNext >
New Barwon Water headquarters officially opened
Barwon Water’s refurbished Geelong head office has opened its doors.
The $32 million project saw the former building, last updated in 1977, gutted and refurbished. About 100 jobs, many of them local, were created during construction.
The refurbishment will nearly halve maintenance, operational and energy costs.
The project is price-neutral, with these savings and consolidation of surplus buildings funding the work. Barwon Water customer bills have not been affected.
The building has a 5-star Green Star rating, making it one of Geelong’s greenest businesses. Much of the building’s original concrete and steel building structure was retained, saving more than a million kilograms of CO2 emissions by minimising the use of new materials. Additionally, 80 per cent of material removed from the site was recycled.
The modern design features a glass-walled infill connecting the north and south sections, innovative sun-shading façade, stormwater-irrigated rain garden, roof-top terrace, community café and open-plan layout accommodating up to 350 staff.
The project has helped revitalise central Geelong, and provides a link from one of Geelong’s busiest streets to the arts and culture precinct of the city.
Barwon Water acknowledges the Wadawurrung people as the Traditional Owners and custodians of the land on which the new building stands. We pay respect to Elders, past and present.
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Upgraded biogas covers deliver more renewable power at WTP
Works are now complete on upgrades to biogas capture covers on a key holding lagoon at the Western Treatment Plant (WTP), lagoon 25W, which will see the total renewable energy generation from the plant increased.
After 20 months of work, the newly installed cover will now produce up to 65,000m3 of biogas per day and up to 7MW of electricity.
WTP has been harnessing biogas for more than 25 years. Lagoon covers collect methane-rich biogas from primary treatment lagoons for renewable energy generation and to manage odour.
Collecting the biogas for conversion to green energy is a huge benefit for the environment as it both eliminates the emission of methane, a damaging greenhouse gas, and reduces the plant’s demand for electricity.
Martin Bowles, Manager, Western Treatment Plant, said the investment in the new cover meant the plant could contribute even more power to Melbourne’s electricity grid.
“Prior to the new cover being installed, existing biogas capture efforts were already producing 95% of the power requirements of the plant,” he said.
“This upgrade means the plant is regularly producing more power than it consumes and we are able to supply power back to the local grid.”
The first biogas covers were installed at the plant in the early 1990s in order to reduce odour levels. The covers which were installed on the main sewage lagoon were very effective and also captured a large amount of biogas, and so the WTP biogas capture program was born.
Mr Bowles said the plant provided a unique source of energy for a growing Melbourne.
“Wastewater is a power source which is sustainable, renewable and reliable. We know there is even more we can do in terms of capturing this valuable energy at the plant and we are currently undertaking design works to maximise our biogas utilisation.”
Melbourne Water identified the need for the new cover for the 25W lagoon in 2015, as the existing covers were coming to the end of their service life. The new replacement cover is better designed to stand up to the harsh environmental conditions as well as providing operational efficiencies.
The gas collection cover measures 171 m x 450 m or 7.6 hectares (19 acres). It features an eastern and western section connected by a dual arched central panel. Each section of the cover operates independently, allowing for maintenance and cleaning of various segments to take place while other segments can continue to capture biogas and manage odour.
WTP is a world leader in technical and environmental innovation. The site treats half of Melbourne’s population’s wastewater and produces around 40 billion litres of recycled water every year. It is also one of Australia’s most important wetlands for waterbirds, and is listed under the international Ramsar Convention.
Melbourne Water delivers over 430 billion litres (114 billion gallons) of safe drinking water and treats over 300 billion litres (79 billion gallons) of sewage from across Melbourne.< PreviousNext >
Coliban Water celebrating its first Reconciliation Action Plan
Coliban Water staff are embracing a commitment to reconciliation through the organisation’s first ‘Reflect’ Reconciliation Action Plan.
Managing Director Jeff Rigby said the organisation’s ‘Reflect’ RAP was endorsed by Reconciliation Australia in early 2017 and formally and publicly confirms the organisation’s commitment to further developing relationships, respect and opportunities essential to reconciliation cultural awareness.
“Our first Reconciliation Action Plan is a roadmap that directs us towards achieving our goals of building relationships, nurturing respect and identifying opportunities to reduce social disadvantage,” Mr Rigby said.
A traditional smoking ceremony by Jida Gulpilil from Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation formally marked the launch for staff during National Reconciliation Week in July, and was followed by an afternoon tea created with native Australian flavours.
“We recognise that the region we service across Central and Northern Victoria has a human history that began with Aboriginal traditional custodians. It’s important that we acknowledge the unique connection and history the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities have to the land, water and country we share,” he said.
“We are linking the industry’s commitment to the Choose Tap program into our Reconciliation Action Plan by promoting the health benefits of choosing tap water in our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities,” Mr Rigby said.
“We are proud of our work to ensure that exploring opportunities to strengthen relationships and improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is supported across our organisation,” Mr Rigby said.
Mr Rigby said the development of the RAP was a collaborative effort by staff with insight from Reconciliation Australia and advice from some traditional owners within Coliban Water’s communities.< PreviousNext >
Restoring Western Port saltmarshes from the air
Western Port residents may have seen helicopters flying over saltmarshes at Bass, Lang Lang and Kooweerup over recent months as Melbourne Water used innovative aerial spraying techniques to eradicate introduced grass species.
Spartina is a weedy grass introduced from Europe in the 1920s as a means of managing erosion. The plant’s strong matt-like growth stabilises stand banks, but also outcompetes native saltmarsh plants.
Since its introduction Spartina has taken over several saltmarsh areas in the Western Port region, destroying native plants and driving out native animals.
In 2015 Melbourne Water accepted a recommendation from Ecology Australia to eradicate all Spartina grass from Westernport intertidal zones over the next decade. Intertidal areas occur where freshwater river channels meet ocean waters, creating a saltmarsh.
Melbourne Water Manager Regional Services (South-East) John Woodland said the innovative aerial spraying method was critical to delivering on this commitment.
“Spartina grows in salt marshes that are boggy and thick with mangroves, so getting in and out on foot is very inefficient,” he said.
“Doing this important work by helicopter saves significant time and money and will help us deliver our desired result of eradicating Spartina in Western Port by 2025.
“With the removal of Spartina we hope to see native saltmarsh plants begin to return. These also provide natural habitat and feeding grounds for native wildlife.
“Prior to Spartina, these saltmarshes provided feeding grounds for protected species such as the Orange Belly Parrot, which we hope will eventually return to Western Port.”
Mr Woodland said the Spartina grass had grown so rampant it was even impacting tidal flows.
“What we are now seeing is the artificial creation of unnaturally deep and narrow intertidal canals because the grass is holding back the banks so much. It is impacting the natural structure of the waterways themselves, so this work will help to return these channels to their normal state over time.”
The aerial spraying process involves a long snorkel being lowered from a helicopter into a salt marsh. The aerial crews pinpoint the Spartina and a spray nozzle coats the plant evenly while ensuring the spray does not enter the waterway.
The herbicide itself is a special composition that only targets Spartina grass and has no impact on native saltmarsh plants or animals.
Helicopter spraying is not active in the winter months but residents can expect to see helicopters at work again from mid-spring until mid-autumn each year until the Spartina is fully eradicated.< PreviousNext >
Securing Melbourne's water supply for the future
Melbourne Water recently released its strategy for water resource management in Melbourne over the next 50 years – the Melbourne Water System Strategy.
The Strategy presents a system-wide view of water resource management across Melbourne and the surrounding region until 2065 and has been developed in collaboration with the metropolitan and regional water businesses that are supplied from the Melbourne Water supply system.
The Strategy outlines Melbourne Water’s contribution to implementing relevant policy directions set by Water for Victoria, the Victorian Government’s water plan. Ultimately the strategy seeks to ensure Melbourne continues to have access to secure, affordable, world-class drinking water.
Melbourne Water manages our water supply system to ensure we have enough water in storage to maintain supply if Melbourne again faces a severe drought situation such as 10 years of below average rainfall.
Melbourne Water Manager, Water Resources, Bruce Rhodes, said the Melbourne Water System Strategy outlined a range of options for supporting our growing city.
“We are preparing for continuing population growth and climate change as we look toward 2065,” he said.
“This Strategy outlines an adaptive portfolio approach to supporting Melbourne’s water needs in collaboration with the metropolitan and regional water businesses.”
“We know that over the next 50 years the population of Melbourne and the surrounding region will continue to grow rapidly.
“Not only is our city growing significantly at its edges, it is also becoming increasingly dense within the metropolitan area and CBD.
“Having access to safe, affordable water – for households, businesses, and other users, and for keeping our open spaces green – is essential for Melbourne as a liveable and vibrant, growing city.
“To plan and manage Melbourne’s water resources we also need to better understand the relationship between climate and water availability from our assets.
“We live in a variable climate and we need to be prepared for droughts – potentially even droughts more significant than the Millennium Drought we observed between 1997 and 2009.”
The strategy outlines an adaptive portfolio approach with four key elements that may be used to manage the challenges ahead: making the most of the water supply system, using water efficiently, using diverse sources of water, and optimising the water grid and market.< PreviousNext >
Celebrating 70 super years
This August we celebrated our birthday, marking 70 years helping the water industry and local government employees save for retirement.
In our 70th year, we saw strong returns across our investment options and our Balanced growth option, which most of our members are invested in, returned 11.74% (year ending June 2016).
It was also a big year for us in our ongoing commitment to sustainable investment. The Asset Owners Disclosure Project (AODP) ranked us 19th out of the world’s 500 largest investors for our action on climate change in their 2017 Global Climate Index. We were awarded an AA rating, putting us in the top 6% of asset owners in the world when it comes to managing climate risk in our investment portfolio.
Thank you for choosing Vision Super. As your industry super fund, we’re committed to providing you with exceptional service, competitive returns and low fees. We look forward to serving you for many more years to come.< PreviousNext >
TechnologyOne sets sights on meaningful giving at VicWater Annual Conference
Long-term VicWater sponsor TechnologyOne plans to donate to charity in lieu of handing out paraphernalia at this year’s VicWater Annual Conference, highlighting the importance of social citizenship and underscoring its altruistic vision.
Just as the water sector campaigns to give every person on the planet access to basic human rights such as clean water and sanitation, TechnologyOne is on a multi-million-dollar mission to improve the lives of the world’s most vulnerable citizens: youth in poverty. The company is committed to making a difference to underprivileged and at-risk youth around the globe; it established the TechnologyOne Foundation to bring about change, pledging to donate 1% time, 1% profit and 1% product to support youth in need.
Initiatives of the TechnologyOne Foundation this year include entering a long-term partnership of over $100,000 per year with Opportunity International Australia, setting a goal of getting 500,000 children out of poverty over the next 15 years. The TechnologyOne Foundation has also recently partnered with the Fred Hollows Foundation to support the Vietnam Child Eye Care program, to eradicate avoidable blindness.
At the upcoming VicWater Annual Conference, TechnologyOne will donate to one of its major charity partners, The School of St Jude, which provides access to education for some of the world’s poorest students in Tanzania.
TechnologyOne understands that providing access to basic human rights – water, education, sanitation, medical care – can dramatically transform lives. The company believes organisations have a unique opportunity to make a difference in the communities in which they operate, to ensure they can thrive and grow.
As we tackle challenges facing the water industry at this year’s Annual Conference, it’s important to remember our responsibility on a global scale towards our most vulnerable community members. How we choose to spend our time and money matters. How we choose to allocate and manage our precious resources, such as water, matters. We all have the capability and capacity to make a difference.
TechnologyOne is once again proud to be the Dinner & Technology Sponsor at the VicWater Annual Conference 2017.
For more information about the TechnologyOne Foundation, visit https://www.technologyonecorp.com/foundation.< PreviousNext >