Water Journal : Water Journal November 2014
NOVEMBER 2014 WATER 27 Feature Article It's been a tough year for the Australian water industry. Heads have rolled, belts have been tightened, research funding is diminishing, and there has been much inward-looking speculation and examination of priorities. On balance, however, on a global scale, we are still very much the lucky country. WaterRA has just celebrated its sixth year (in a quiet, not-too- much-fanfare way) since the company's launch in August 2008. Post- CRC WQT, with a modest income, we are mindful of the need to be accountable and demonstrate investor value. Feedback from our membership consistently tells us that, apart from research, what is most highly valued (and the reason the company was formed in the rst place) is networking and relationships. This is signi cant because relationships, trust and experience are integral to the industry and its capacity to continue delivering safe drinking water, improving the way the industry is conducted and managing the increasingly demanding operating environment and customer expectations. The Australian academic and research sectors can boast many international authorities in elds such as membranes, cyanobacteria, disinfection by-products, modelling, climate change, microbiology and epidemiology. The water industry too has leaders in operations and strategy. WaterRA is privileged to work with outstanding teams drawn from research and industry across the country and beyond. WaterRA is also fortunate to have guidance from a skilled and engaged Board, Advisory Committees and wider membership, as well as many friends who are non- members. HOW TO BUILD CAPACITY A CEO asks one of his employees: "What if I invest in you and you leave us?" -- to which the employee responds: "What if you don't and I stay?". Capacity building for the water industry is one of WaterRA's pillars, and an implicit element in a number of regular activities. Scienti c and technological literacy develop when industry employees have the opportunity to be exposed to, involved in, or gain insights into, the research and development process. WaterRA provides a range of such opportunities to its members. Paul Atherton, Manager Project Delivery -- Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water, and former Education Committee Member, says: "It's fair to say that I wasn't the greatest student when I completed my degree 20 years ago. In fact, I had no desire to return to formal study and certainly didn't think I was capable of doing research. "My role at Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water (GWMWater), however, exposed me to research and I found an increasing interest in pursuing further study. I was able to persuade GWMWater to endorse a policy and provide time for staff to undertake study in an area of interest to the organisation while still working. Four GWMWater staff commenced postgraduate study in elds as diverse as the impact of re on catchment hydrology, hydraulic modelling and groundwater characteristics. With the support of the University of Ballarat, I was able to return to study and successfully complete an Honours project. The results of my investigation have in uenced the Corporation's approach to addressing provision of drinking water in small towns. BUILDING CAPACITY AND RESILIENCE Water Research Australia recently celebrated its sixth anniversary. Angela Gackle and Carolyn Bellamy provide this overview of the organisation's achievements to date and its aspirations for the future. All the places where the US CDC says you can't drink the water (Vox.com 2014).
Water Journal September 2014
Water Journal December 2014