Water Journal : Water Journal December 2013
WATER DECEMBER 2013 28 AWA News AWA/DELOITTE STAT E OF THE WATER SECTOR REPORT 2013 The 2013 AWA/Deloitte State of the Water Sector Report was released on 28 November. The report is based on an analysis of survey responses from over 1,500 water professionals across all sectors of the water industry, nationally. The survey is the largest of its kind in the country and provides an important insight into the attitudes of the industry. This was the third time AWA and its partner, Deloitte, has conducted the survey and it now provides a number of industry trends. Throughout November, AWA CEO, Jonathan McKeown, met with the Minister responsible for water in most jurisdictions to brief them on the results of the Survey. Some of the survey highlights have been included here. SOUNDNESS OF THE SECTOR This year's survey found that 65 per cent of respondents considered the sector to be 'quite sound' or 'very sound' -- a largely unchanged result from previous surveys. This is likely to re ect the 'business-as- usual' conditions of the last few years, as the millennium drought becomes a distant memory in the eastern states and large capital spending is largely complete. MAINTAINING AND AUGMENTING INFRASTRUCTURE Infrastructure maintenance and augmentation was seen as the top issue, both now and again in the next ve years. Respondents also saw maintaining and augmenting infrastructure as the least effectively addressed issue across the nation. The issue of deteriorating infrastructure in an environment of cost pressures, along with the need for increased operational ef ciency, is a key concern for the sector. IMPROVING OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCY Thirty- ve per cent of respondents identi ed operational ef ciency as one of the top three priorities for reform. In recent years the sector has invested signi cantly in assets and staff, and there is a key need to focus on improving operational ef ciency. Together, the sector must now consider the use of technology and innovation to drive down costs and would bene t from taking a collaborative approach to achieve this outcome. RESPONDING TO CONCERNS OVER RISING PRICES The price of water has increased largely because the cost of new capital investments is being passed on to customers. The 2012 survey sought respondents' views on whether the price of urban water was too high. Despite bill increases, in 2012 only 21 per cent of respondents thought the price of urban water was too high -- considerably less than the number who found prices about right (34 per cent), or too low (35 per cent). In 2013 the proportion who consider the price is about right remained the same. However, the proportion who found prices too high increased from 21 per cent to 27 per cent, while the proportion who found prices too low fell from 35 per cent to 30 per cent. Respondents are now relatively evenly divided between those who found prices too high, those who think they are too low, and those who think they are about right. WATER SECURITY AND SUPPLY Water security remains top of mind for many working in, or connected to, the water sector. Despite recent wet conditions in many parts of Australia, and billions of dollars being spent on augmentations, 34 per cent still saw water security as a key issue. However, views on this differed signi cantly across jurisdictions. Not surprisingly, water security was identi ed as an issue by 61 per cent of West Australians, compared to 30 per cent elsewhere. At a local level, 82 per cent of respondents considered water supplies in their region were either very or quite secure. There was general agreement that the sector was addressing this issue well. Seventy- four per cent agreed desalination should have a role in water supply security, either as a core supply source or as a backup supply. In an urban context, respondents thought the most important steps that could be taken to meet water supply needs were: • Accessing supplies from innovative sources such as recycling and stormwater (76 per cent); • Curbing the demand for water through education (58 per cent); • Encouraging or requiring installation of rainwater tanks (46 per cent). The Survey also asked respondents to consider the three key things that could help meet the water requirements of the environment. The top three responses were: • Improve the ef ciency of consumptive uses (e.g. repair/upgrade irrigation systems (71 per cent); • Invest more in research to understand the environment's water needs, particularly critical environmental assets (68 per cent); • Ensure that the environment's high security entitlements are respected (53 per cent).
Water Journal November 2013
Water Journal February 2014