Water Journal : Water Journal August 2013
29 AWA News SPECIALIST NETWORK MEMBER PROFILE AWA talks to Matthew Bowman, Distribution and Systems Manager -- Drinking Water Quality at Water Corporation and member of AWA's Specialist Network -- Operations, about why he chose a career in water and what bene ts he receives from being a network volunteer. What was it that attracted you to the water industry? The offer of a fulltime job initially! I had an interview on the day of my last university exam and then refereed one of the interview panel in a game of touch rugby that evening. Their team won and I got offered a job the next day... Well, it wasn't quite like that. I was fortunate enough to get offered a graduate engineer position with the Water Corporation back in 1997. Although I had plans to travel overseas my mum took the phone call from the recruitment of cer and pretty much accepted the role in my absence. The variety of the work, working with passionate and inspiring colleagues, the sense of achievement and satisfaction when resolving challenging issues, and being able to visit some of Western Australia's isolated towns have all combined to keep me at the Water Corporation. What was your rst job in the industry and what has been your career path since? I started as a graduate engineer managing minor capital works projects on Perth metropolitan wastewater treatment plants for a couple of years and then moved to providing technical advice and training to operations staff operating and maintaining regional wastewater treatment plants. I then spent almost 12 months travelling overseas before coming back to the Water Corporation to work in our infrastructure planning branch. The lure of regional Western Australia took me to Karratha in the north-west, where I spent three years providing drinking water quality and environmental management advice to operations teams in the Pilbara and Kimberley. I followed my girlfriend (now wife) back to Perth and had a short stint delivering and developing drinking water quality training courses for operations staff. I have been with the Water Corporation's drinking water quality branch since 2005 working in a variety of roles. I led a team responsible for developing water safety plans for 245 schemes to which the Water Corporation supplies safe drinking water, and I now lead a team responsible for managing the sampling and reporting processes for those schemes, including interaction with the Western Australian Department of Health. What does your job entail (please describe a typical working day) and what are your key responsibilities/accountabilities? The key responsibility I have is making sure that the Water Corporation meets the requirements of its Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Health, which includes meeting the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. This is made challenging by the fact that we operate 245 schemes across the length and breadth of Western Australia, some supplying less than 10 services and others almost two million people. A typical day will see me reviewing drinking water quality reports for 'out of spec' results and ensuring our operations teams is following up as necessary. This will often result in initiating investigations for my own and other teams to complete to ensure the scheme is capable of continuously delivering safe drinking water, and in others requiring the Water Corporation's incident management process to be initiated. This can take ve minutes or a number of days, depending on the issue. What do you nd most challenging -- and rewarding -- about your role? The most challenging aspect of the role is to often have to provide immediate operational advice based on limited information -- 'risk management on the run'. Supplying safe drinking water is all about protecting public health so decisions are not taken lightly. This is made easier by having clear drinking water quality management principles and a robust process. The most rewarding aspect is probably in two related areas. The rst is where I see or hear of operations staff supporting the drinking water Find out more about our holistic ethos at From the latest system modelling technology, to rigorous in-the-field steady state and surge pressure testing onestoneconsulting.com.au or call (08) 6161 2361 Whether you have a new pipeline system design on the table, or an existing system that's under-performing or being subjected to excessive water hammer pressure surges, you need an accurate picture before you can optimise performance. At OneStone, our whole-of-system approach provides just that, minimising risk and maximising opportunities.
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