Water Journal : Water Journal November 2014
WATER NOVEMBER 2014 4From the CEO GETTING THE SCIENCE RIGHT FOR SUCCESSFUL WATER MANAGEMENT Jonathan McKeown -- AWA Chief Executive In mid-October AWA hosted the inaugural National Water Policy Summit in Sydney. Attended by over 120 representatives from the water, mining, energy and agribusiness sectors, the Summit provided a platform to discuss and collaborate on some of the major issues facing the water sector. The Summit enabled industry to shine a light on the hill for where the water sector should be heading. Included in the agenda were the issues of climate variability, regulatory reform, and cross-sector support to develop an industry-led national water strategy. The Summit concluded that AWA should take a leading position on the following ve actions: 1. The facilitation of an industry-led National Water Strategy accommodating cross-sector water users to be presented to State and Federal Ministers. 2. Call on all State and Territory Governments to make environmental, health and economic regulation of water consistent across all jurisdictions. 3. Recommend ways to reform the regulatory regime and structure of the water sector to reduce the political interference in the decisions and roles of state regulators and water utilities to enable more independent and effective management of water. 4. Convene a Water Regulators Forum for the state and territory water regulators to discuss implementing harmonised regulations at Australia's largest water conference, Ozwater'15, to be held in Adelaide in May 2015. 5. Lead the development and implementation of a campaign to evolve consumer perceptions about signi cant water issues, including the value of water in the Australian economy and the level of customer service. The need for an industry-led water strategy was strongly supported by the participants, with many voicing concern about the closure of the National Water Commission (NWC) later this year. Although the Federal Government has highlighted where key functions of the National Water Initiative will reside following the closure of the NWC, AWA members are concerned about the lack of independent leadership of water in Australia. AWA will be appearing at the inquiry on this matter in early November. As I write this column, the NWC is releasing its nal assessment of Australia's water reform progress, calling on governments not to drop the ball on future water issues, echoing the industry's concerns. The Blueprint report concludes that the National Water Initiative has driven changes that have made water use more ef cient, sustainable and secure. AWA will strive to ensure the work of the NWI and NWC is not forgotten. Independent oversight and leadership of the water sector are paramount as the sector goes through much needed reform. Key planning documents for the development of Australia are underway with the Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, releasing the Agricultural Competiveness Green Paper this week. Minister Joyce said, "Effective water infrastructure will be critical to the pro tability and productivity of Australian agriculture into the future"; however, it is important that the infrastructure vision includes all options and is not limited to dams. There are options including aquifer recharge systems that Australia is well positioned to incorporate that enhance the environment while providing economic and social bene ts. As these options are further analysed industry needs to offer its experience and expertise to ensure Australia implements the most sustainable options. Getting the science right in water management is the only way to advance our economic performance across all sectors dependent on water.
Water Journal September 2014
Water Journal December 2014