Water Journal : Water Journal June 2015
2 From the President water June 2015 We have just concluded Ozwater’15 in Adelaide – and what a great success it was. In excess of 2,500 people participated in the event, either as delegates at the conference or as visitors to the exhibition. The convention met all our expectations and for this we owe a special thanks to our sponsors – particularly our principal sponsors the South Australian Government, SA Water and Suez environnement. Without their support we would not have been able to provide such an outstanding conference. We also owe a special vote of thanks to the Ozwater’15 organising committee, ably led by SA Water CEO, John Ringham, and supported by our very competent staff and volunteers. Everything ran like clockwork and I have heard only praise for the event and the value participants received. This doesn’t mean we can’t improve, however, and we are keen to get feedback both on what we did well, and opportunities for improvement. A feedback survey has been sent to all participants, so please help us make Ozwater’16 in Melbourne even better. There has been considerable discussion recently at all levels in the industry about the opportunities and need to introduce further private sector funding. As part of the international guest list at Ozwater’15 we were privileged to have two speakers from England: Cathryn Ross, CEO, of OFWAT; and Chris Loughlin, CEO of South West Water Limited, who gave us some clear insights as to just how this can be achieved. To say that Cathryn’s presentation in the opening plenary gave the industry in Australia a case of regulator envy would be an understatement. The UK has had a privatised industry since 1989, with an independent regulator who reports to Parliament. It is also a national system (or at least for England and Wales). As indicated by both Cathryn and Chris, the regulator has developed a level of maturity that enables customers to work with their utility to achieve the desired outcomes they are prepared to fund. This has developed from a period of comparative regulation and is now focused on utilities dealing with their customers on achieving outcomes, rather than reporting to the regulator on comparative performance. With its clarity and consistency, the system in the UK encourages private investment. While it is a system we may wish to aspire to for Australia, the constitutional ownership of water by the states will present challenges, some of which could be overcome by harmonisation. I encourage continued dialogue across all sectors of the industry aimed at putting in place a regulatory framework for Australia that will encourage investors to participate in the industry. On another note, we had two very interesting and exciting visions presented at Ozwater’15 for agricultural expansion in northern Australia. The first was from the Northern Territory Deputy Chief Minister The Hon Willem Westra van Holthe, MLA, while the second was from Aaron Hood from Andrew Forrest’s Mindaroo private company. Both saw great scope for expansion of agriculture based on water availability in our north, which together with the recently released Northern Australia White Paper provides real hope that movement will be seen in this area. Ozwater’15 was an outstanding success and we have started the planning for Ozwater’16 under Organising Committee Chair John Thwaites. It will be an event not to miss, so please mark it in your diary now! A CASE OF REGULATOR ENVY Peter Moore – AWA President WASTEWATER SYSTEMS Control Components CERLIC SLUDGE BLANKET PROFILE SENSORS MEASURE IT, IF YOU CAN’T YOU CAN’T CONTROL IT SEE THEM IN ACTION!
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