Water Journal : Water Journal July 2011
42 JULY 2011 water The last time Ozwater was held in Adelaide was in 1999, so it was exciting to see it successfully return to that city in 2011 with huge local, national and international content and support. Adelaide is home to Water Quality Research Australia (WQRA) and boasts the expertise of SA Water's water quality laboratories, so it was fitting that the natural focus chosen by Chairman Professor Don Bursill was health, predominantly public health, which was expanded to cover every aspect of the water industry. More than 1,100 delegates gathered at the Adelaide Convention Centre for three full days of paper presentations, totalling more than 170 platform papers, eight workshops, four panel sessions and 44 electronic posters. Papers were chosen by the Ozwater'11 Committee and refereed by AWA members via a peer review process from over 500 submitted applications. Workshops and panel sessions enabled participants to discuss the complexities of a number of topical issues. The accompanying Trade Exhibition had been sold out almost as soon as applications were opened, and provided 220 displays and well-designed exhibits for the big companies. For this reporter it was exciting to see so many new names. The Opening Ceremony The Opening Ceremony was enlivened by The Justice Crew (winners of the 2010 Australia's Got Talent competition), who indulged in a frantic and extremely clever break-dancing routine that certainly shook the cobwebs from our brains. Don Bursill welcomed us in his usual affable manner, emphasising the focus on health -- but on a more serious note remarked that if we aim for potable recycling then we must ensure that the operators of those plants are highly skilled. In his welcome, AWA CEO Tom Mollenkopf noted that for south-eastern Australia the weather in 2010 has certainly turned on its head, with not only the breaking of the 10-year drought, but severe floods which destroyed not only property but also infrastructure. Australia was spared the earthquakes of New Zealand and Japan, but Tom noted that water professionals from all over the world had assisted in restoring water and sanitation to the ravaged areas. We take clean water and sanitation for granted ... until a crisis occurs, he said. He was happy to see that Ozwater had attracted registrants from 15 countries, including associations and several trade missions. Paul Caica, South Australian Minister for Water, Environment and the River Murray, stressed the vital necessity to plan for the future with a portfolio of sources, including the Adelaide Desalination Plant at Port Stanvac, to ensure a water source independent of unreliable rainfall and possibly reduced allocation from the Murray. Research in South Australia has been co-ordinated in the Goyder Institute (named after the Chief Surveyor who in 1869 drew the Goyder Line, beyond which he considered agriculture would be impracticable. Succeeding years proved him to be an optimist). He welcomed the recent appointment of Don Bursill as South Australia's Chief Scientist, as a demonstration that water was at the forefront of the South Australian Government's priorities. The Keynote Addresses There were six impressive keynote speakers in all, with three printed in full in the Conference Proceedings; however, this reporter will endeavour to summarise all six. Professor Steve Hrudey, of the University of Alberta, has visited Australia a number of times in his capacity as the world expert on toxicology of compounds such as disinfection by- products (DBPs), but his address focused on the philosophical -- Special Report Ozwater'11: Australia's National Water Conference & Exhibition Report by EA (Bob) Swinton Chairman Professor Don Bursill. Paul Caica, South Australian Minister for Water, Environment and the River Murray.
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