Water Journal : Current Feb 2016
www.awa.asn.au 10 COMMUNITY AND CORPORATE MEMORY Peter Moore Australian Water Association President In writing this, let me welcome you all to 2016 and all the New Year has to offer. This is the first publication of our new magazine and one of the topics in it relates to our preparedness for the current El Niño, which in turn brings me to the issue of community and corporate memory and the challenges that brings for both the community as a whole and those serving it as water service providers. We regularly rise to the challenge that a drought or flood may bring but how well do we really learn from these challenges so that we are better prepared for the future? There are many examples where it would appear things have returned to normal, or at least seem to have, and we go back to operating the way we were, with it would seem little recognition of the lessons learnt. Examples include: rebuilding communities in forests that have been ravaged by bushfire; building houses on flood plains of rivers where flooding has previously been recorded; assuming the climate has gone back to some previous norm and resuming previous consumption patterns and potentially re-examining the MDB Plan. It can be argued that the eastern states of Australia, despite many views to the contrary, have remembered some of the lessons from the last El Niño and, despite significant political and public debate, retained their desalination plants in readiness. There has nevertheless been some regression, with Queensland abandoning their reuse plants on the basis they may never be required. Similarly, on the west coast, reduced engagement with the community and a combination of factors including a very dry end to winter and a hot spring/summer have produced a situation where the community is using significantly more water than has been allowed for based on previous years' actuals. The fine balance between supply and demand is challenging all involved. A major factor in all that we in the water industry must focus on is consistency of message preserving the gains previously made and continuity of message. We are on a journey with no end. Community support in the way they utilise our precious resource is fundamental and must never be taken for granted. We simply must remember the lessons of the past and not allow the hard-won gains of the past to be lost. I suggest we already have some work to do in recovering lost ground. The penalty for a lack of continued leadership is likely to be a community going back to its old ways. Recovering what has been lost in this will come at very large costs, both financially and politically. As an Association, we must take every opportunity to push this position as we move into 2016. From the president's desk WE SIMPLY MUST REMEMBER THE LESSONS OF THE PAST AND NOT ALLOW THE HARD-WON GAINS OF THE PAST TO BE LOST.
Water Journal November 2015
Current May 2016