Ozwater ’13

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This year’s Ozwater conference was held last week at Perth’s river-front Convention Centre, between 7-9th May.  Ozwater is Australia’s leading international water conference and trade exhibition hosted annually by the Australian Water Association. Essential Environmental took advantage of its home turf location with the team attending presentations held over the three days, as well as the Gala Dinner and National Water Awards ceremony on the Wednesday night!

The conference was opened with a traditional Welcome to Country by a representative of the Wajuk language group and Nyoongar elder, Ozwater ’13 committee Chair Sue Murphy, AWA President Lucia Cade and Minister for Water Terry Redman. If you were fortunate enough to attend the Opening Ceremony, you would also have had the privilege to hear from keynote speakers Chris Loughlin (Chief Executive, South West Water UK and Board Member of Water Aid) and Hon Karlene Maywald (Chair of the Nationa Water Commission, Australia).

Multi-streamed presentations and interactive workshops were held on current ‘hot topics’ including, but not limited to:

  • Desalination
  • Water reuse & stormwater
  • Mining & resources industry water management
  • Asset management
  • Water planning in remote & indigenous communities

The exhibition hall was filled with stands show-casing the latest water industry science, technology, products and services.  The hall was set up as a great place to wander around and check out exhibits or electronic posters (a novelty!), bump into and chat with colleagues , or have a break from it all while relaxing at the aptly named Oz-watering hole.

You had to be quick if you wanted to change themes and move from one conference room to another to catch a new presentation!  However, it was well worth it due to the high standard and variety of presentations that attendees were able to attend, making it hard to choose in many instances. Some of the themes were particularly relevant to Western Australians given recent high profile issues concerning how we will manage water in the future in Perth, mining areas, and in remote and indigenous communities across the state.

Unfortunately there were no sandgropers (West Australians for those who aren’t in the know) amongst the 2013 National Water Awards winners announced during the Ozwater gala dinner on 8th May.

Excellence in the water sector was recognised for the following award recipients:

  • AWA Young Water Professional of the Year: Kate Simmonds, Victoria
  • AWA Water Professional of the Year: Jurg Keller, Queensland
  • Water Industry Safety Excellence Award: Water Resources Alliance, Victoria
  • National Undergraduate Water Prize: Caroline Auricht, Lisa Blinco, Nina Hurr and Stefanie Tiggemann, University of Adelaide
  • AWA Program Innovation Award 1: Bulk Water Alliance for their Enlarged Cotter Dam Fish Management Program, ACT
  • AWA Project Innovation Award 2: State Water Corporation and Water for Rivers for the Computer Aided River Management Project (CARM), NSW

The next Ozwater conference will be held in Brisbane 2014. And who knows? You might just see Essential Environmental presenting if you go!

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