Water Journal : Water Journal December 2012
conference reviews 60 DECEMBER 2012 water National Operations Conference 2012 Cheryl Marvell, Co-Convenor – Operations Specialist Network The second AWA National Operations Conference was held from 11–13 September in Darwin. This conference was the brainchild of the Operations Specialist Network and had been two years in the planning. We were thrilled to hold it in the Top End and greatly appreciated the fantastic support that Power and Water Corporation provided us. The aim of the conference was to come together, provide learning and knowledge-sharing opportunities for all areas of water industry operations, and last but not least, to enjoy one another’s company in the laid-back environment that only the Northern Territory can provide. The event kicked off with opening drinks, held jointly with the Northern Territory Branch’s Water in the Bush Conference closing drinks. Many of us attended Water in the Bush as well, and heard about the enormous challenges that Power and Water face in their day-to-day operations. It makes some of the urban water problems that most of us face pale into insignificance. Drinks were sponsored by Ivan Reolan from Aquatec-Maxcon, a great supporter of the network. Day One On the first day, AWA’s President, Lucia Cade, not only officially opened the Conference but set the scene by talking about intelligent assets and where Operations may be heading in the future. Tying in with one of the conference’s themes, Disaster and Recovery, our first keynote speaker was Carl Devereux from Aurecon, New Zealand. Carl works as an engineer, but is also an active member of his community and volunteers for Fire and Rescue. He spoke about his experiences during the recent Christchurch earthquakes and the rescue work that followed. He was not only able to save lives, but also worked on the recovery of people from some of the worst-hit buildings. The enormity of the problems faced, and the ongoing issues, were eye-openers to us all. The ditch that separates Australia and New Zealand got noticeably smaller the longer Carl spoke to us. We would like to thank Aurecon for sponsoring Carl’s trip to Darwin and allowing him to speak to us, and wish Carl and Christchurch all the best for the future and the ongoing rebuilding effort. What followed on Day One were fascinating talks on remote water operations, emergency preparedness and response, biosolids management and water/wastewater quality issues. Our Young Operations Professional award winner, Michael Boyes from Water Corporation, spoke to us about why he is passionate about the water industry, and some of the things that keep him busy working remotely in the Pilbara in WA. Michael did a great job and managed to impress us all with his frank account of life in the top of WA. Michael is a great ambassador for Water Corporation and had everyone wanting to go to the Pilbara – until he mentioned the man to woman ratio was 4:1! Well done, Michael – and good luck for the future. Dinner that night was kindly sponsored by the local GHD office and was held in the Conference Centre, in a great spot that allowed us all to enjoy a beautiful view of Darwin’s waterfront. The local entertainment was just right and the evening allowed for some great networking opportunities. Day Two Our keynote speaker on Day Two was Scott Hastings from CH2MHill US; we were indeed honoured to have Scott join us at the conference. Scott spoke on worldwide issues including the economy, ageing water infrastructure, shifting water demands and rising energy costs. He also spoke on strategies to optimise maintenance, operations and systems using quality principles and frameworks. Following Scott was a presentation given by Toshio Kyosai from Veolia Water, Japan. Toshio spoke on the tsunami, the aftermath, what happened to one city’s water supply and how Veolia was able to help. To say we were all moved is an understatement. To have the disaster and the aftermath presented by someone who was there deeply affected us all and there were many watery eyes in the room, including mine. Toshio made many friends with the style of his presentation and how well he delivered it. He was unanimously awarded a prize for his presentation and you can read his paper in this issue of Water Journal (see page 74). Day Two papers covered topics such as operations optimisation, training, asset management and synergies in the mining and water industries. This year, we worked with the Minerals Council of Australia to assemble a panel of great practitioners from both the Water and Mining industries, to talk about synergies in our industries, and where there are opportunities to assist one another in shared learning. This has certainly started the dialogue between our two groups and we hope to be able to build on that in the future. The standard of presentations at the conference was outstanding, so the organising committee decided to award prizes to three winners: • Northern Territory – Bridget McDowall, Power & Water Corporation, NT; • Interstate – Gavan Inkster, GWM Water, VIC; Keynote speaker, Carl Devereux, from Aurecon, New Zealand. Young Operations Professional award winner, Michael Boyes, from Water Corporation. Keynote speaker, Scott Haskins, CH2MHill, US.
Water Journal February 2013
Water Journal November 2012-1