Water Journal : Water Journal June 2015
June 2015 water 43 Ozwater report and more stable infrastructure; improved standards of service; greater environmental and drinking water compliance; and, thanks to regulation, 30 per cent lower consumer bills. Ms Ross listed key challenges facing the UK water industry: climate change; population growth (73 million population by 2037); changing consumer expectations; affordability (52 per cent of the adult population now struggles to pay household bills and debt repayments); and increasing environmental standards (including carbon emissions). Ofwat’s vision and approach to regulation can be encapsulated under the heading of Trust and Confidence in: • The quality of drinking water; • The resilience of services; • Customer service and fair dealing; • Stewardship of the environment; • Ensuring that decisions made today will not impoverish future generations. Thierry Mallet, Director, Innovation & Business Performance, SUEZ environnement in France, titled his keynote ‘The Importance of Innovation in the Delivery of Water Solutions for the 21st Century’. He identified a series of global megatrends: • Population growth and ageing; • Urbanisation and megacities; • Social inequalities; • Resource scarcity; • Growing energy costs; • Climate change; • New technologies; • Better informed populations; • Nature, safety and well-being. The SUEZ group is substantial, delivering water services to 92 million people, wastewater for 65 million and desalinated water to 10 million. The business has a presence in 70 countries and employs 80,000 people. It has four strategies to seize growth opportunities: • Developing smart and high-tech value solutions to better secure water resources; • Responding to resource scarcity by giving waste a ‘second life’; • Developing new business models for new markets; and • Being a strategic partner for industrial clients to optimise their water and waste management. SUEZ’s innovation priorities to align with strategy are: Water • Make better use of water resources; • Develop advanced treatment solutions; • Develop “smart water” solutions. Waste • Face resources scarcity by positioning SUEZ as a leader in recycling; • Improve energy recovery from waste, while reducing environmental impact. Industry • Manage the water cycles of industrial customers. Mr Mallet noted that private and public water businesses have common goals in many respects and can bring complementary values to the table. A key is to ensure that regulation is in place to encourage private sector involvement, and to ensure that all parties work under fair pricing mechanisms. Aaron Hood’s theme was ‘Unlocking Australia’s Water Resources’ and he followed the well-beaten path to a target of northern Australia. Potential resources could, he asserted, enable Australia to double its agricultural production, developing 1.5 to 2.0 million hectares and using some of the 16,000 gigalitres of available water resources in the north. The key to unlocking this potential lies with the Australian Government and, potentially, the Chinese Government to support the venture, which could feed another eight million people (see northernaustralia.dpmc. gov.au for the Australian Government’s recently released White Paper on Developing Northern Australia). Gala Dinner The social highlight of Ozwater’15 was, of course, the Gala Dinner on the Wednesday evening, which saw a packed ballroom accommodate 960 guests. Gospo, Adelaide’s leading gospel (and much more) choir, performed a short but tantalising gig that had feet tapping. An unexpected surprise was provided by aerialist Kate Lawrence, a young Adelaide artist who has performed across Australia and in Asia and the UK. She seemed to float gracefully up and down on a cord of chiffon from the high roof. TRILITY, the major sponsor of the Dinner, donated funds to WaterAid in place of a delegate gift on the night. Immediate Past President Graham Dooley took the stage to talk briefly about his tenure on the Board, before going on to present the Australian Water Association National Water Awards (see page 55 for a full rundown on the Awards). Keynote speaker Cathryn Ross. Keynote speaker Thierry Mallet.
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