Water Journal : Water Journal May 2013
MAY 2013 WATER 43 Conference Report NATIONAL WATER EDUCATION CONFERENCE The education conference featured keynote presenter Aasha Murthy, Executive Of cer of the Australian Council for Educational Leaders, who gave apt advice about managing the challenges and opportunities that arise in times of VUCA, the military acronym for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. She suggested 'unlearning' preconceptions about what we can do and that letting go of unproductive connections is essential. Aasha stressed that now is the time to be agile in our thinking, as elaborated with the video gem of Bruce Lee reprising his 'Be water, my friend' movie line. Diana Cheong from the Public Utilities Board (PUB) in Singapore certainly demonstrated the agile thinking of the Singaporeans. In the 1960s and 1970s Singapore experienced a raft of major water issues: oods, pollutions, scarce water resources leading to water rationing, and public health problems. In response, Singapore has developed its 'Four National Taps', an integrated and innovative approach to ensuring the security of its water sources and reducing its dependence on piped water from Malaysia. The 'Four National Taps' are water from local catchments, imported water from Johor, desalinated water from the ocean, and recycled wastewater (NEWater). In addition to successfully marketing potable recycled water to its community, PUB decided to shift community perception of water and opened access to waterways. Since 2004, their public engagement programs have sought to build community ownership of their water resources. The Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters program actively involves communities and schools in local waterway health programs. They established learning trails along waterways where volunteers conduct a range of experiential activities with school students such as plant and animal identi cation and water quality testing. They also use digital and social media to engage students in place-based learning. The education conference included many other workshops and presentations of interest in the areas of community consultation and participation, utilising technology and changing behaviours, to name just a few. NATIONAL WATER SKILLS CONFERENCE The skills conference began with a series of presentations around workforce planning and development. Grant Leslie, National Manager Programs and Policy at AWA, spoke about the professionalisation of the Australian water industry and the progress that has been made around the classi cation of standard occupation codes. This was complemented by presentations from Sophie Sigalis on City West Water's Technical Of cer Development Program, a means of addressing technical skills shortages, and a combined effort on capacity building in central NSW water utilities from Andrew Francis and Emma Pryor. The Training and Development, and Culture sessions in the afternoon provided insights on in-house programs for water ef ciency audit training, green skills as an alternative enduring training model, capacity building in the NSW water industry through a state-wide network and cultural alignments in alliance contract procurement. The winner of best conference presentation, Mr Geoffrey Enever from Goulburn Murray Water, nished the day with his insights and experiences from the transition of staff skill requirements in modernised irrigation systems (see next issue of Water Journal for the full presentation). The Plenary session began with a presentation from Adam Shapley of Hays, who provided some insights on recruitment and introduced a number of useful suggestions for organisations around the internal and external identi cation of candidates. Following this the attendees launched into a facilitated speed networking session based on some of the concepts introduced by Adam to identify how the industry could best capitalise on these. Ann Ray from Australian Volunteers International spoke in the training and development session on the opportunities that exist for water professionals to provide valuable expertise in developing countries. Kathy Northcott from Veolia and Kate Vinot from the Nous Group outlined their experiences with implementing the Drinking Water Quality Operator Certi cation Scheme and insights on national skills trends and the water sector's in uence. Andrew Marty from SACS enlightened us on Counter Productive Workplace Behaviours and the predictability of poor employee behaviour through various diagnostic tools.
Water Journal April 2013
Water Journal June 2013