Water Journal : Water Journal May 2011
10 MAY 2011 water It is an honour to take over as AWA National President this May. As an organisation AWA is forever focussed on better delivering our mission to foster knowledge, understanding and advancement in sustainable water management through advocacy, collaboration and professional development. The key ways in which we do this are by being the hub for water professionals, providing a knowledge network and 'leading the conversation' on water issues. The Ozwater'11 Conference provides just such an environment, bringing together people who work in water from urban and regional utilities, rural water providers, service providers, key customers in resources and agriculture, and international colleagues and counterparts. There will be many interesting conversations over the three days; networks will be established and re-established and knowledge shared. Beyond Ozwater, the conversations we lead relate to the big water issues being faced across the country. At a recent Strategic Advisory Council meeting in Brisbane, AWA leaders from around the country shared the challenges being faced in their regions. Common themes related to: • Political and media questioning of recent capital investments made by metropolitan city water suppliers to diversify their water supply sources to be more resilient in times of drought, now that many storages are on the recovery and some are overflowing; • The related issue of water pricing and the impact of large capital investment programs on consumers' water bills; • Further, the issue of what diverse supply options are being considered and, importantly, not considered. In particular, water professionals remain frustrated by the ongoing reluctance of political decision-makers to consider indirect potable reuse of water, and the slow uptake of stormwater harvesting for potable augmentation. There is plenty of evidence in community and sector surveys that we are ready for these steps; • Across northern Australia, from Western Australia through the Northern Territory to northern Queensland, the issue of the mining and resources boom and the pressure it is putting on our water resources in terms of both water supply and water quality; the stress on the environment in those regions and the scarcity of available human resources. In February, I participated in a round-table discussion with the Federal Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, the Hon. Tony Bourke MP. The questions posed to us sought AWA's advice on the issues that should be considered if Australia is to have a sustainable level of population. They also asked us to provide ideas about what we need to measure and report to know we are sustainable and, more importantly, to inform us of when we are failing to be sustainable. The main idea AWA conveyed was the need to consider the capacity of our water resources to sustain a growing population and an expanding economy. Water is fundamental to economic activity in regional areas for agriculture, mining and resources and forestry, as well as in urban areas for public health and urban amenity and recreation. In considering the capacity of water resources to meet all these needs, we must consider the spatial and temporal variability in the amount of water available. There is a huge range in the amount of water available in any place at any given time and over periods of time. Our planners, policy makers and resource managers need to consider ways to ensure water can be provided to support all these uses in times of extended drought, in times of plenty and also in times of over-abundance (sometimes destructive over-abundance). Indeed, the response of managers and decision-makers during floods is under intense scrutiny with the inquiry that is currently underway into the South-East Queensland floods. AWA's response to the Sustainable Population Strategy and the reports presented by the Government's three panels is available on the AWA website (www.awa.asn.au). The three independent panels each considered a different perspective of a sustainable population: demography and liveability; productivity and prosperity; and sustainable development. from the president Leading the Conversation Lucia Cade -- incoming AWA President regular features About the new President Lucia has worked in the metropolitan and regional urban water authorities in various roles from hydraulic modelling, general management and as a director. In recent times she has provided strategic advice to companies in the infrastructure sector regarding operational improvement, procuring services from the private sector and dealing strategically with key stakeholders to achieve the right outcomes. She is currently General Manager of Growth with construction company Comdain Infrastructure. She is married, has three children and a dog, and lives in Melbourne.
Water Journal April 2011
Water Journal July 2011