Water Journal : Water Journal December 2013
DECEMBER 2013 WATER 29 AWA News The survey explored attitudes to three different water sources for differing uses: recycled water, stormwater and desalinated water for potable and non-potable uses. There is still strong concern in the industry about using recycled or stormwater as a potable supply source. Nine per cent of respondents considered recycled water suitable for potable use only, 39 per cent for both potable and non-potable use, and 49 per cent for non-potable use only. In response to stormwater, 10 per cent considered it suitable for potable use only, 33 per cent for both potable and non-potable use, and 53 per cent for non-potable use only. Desalinated water was seen more favourably, with 60 per cent considering it suitable for potable use, 33 per cent for both potable and non-potable use, and three per cent for non-potable use only. CHANGES OVER TIME With three years of data now accumulated, we have identi ed trends and gathered learnings on attitudes of respondents. One immediate observation is that the issue of sustainability or reducing the long-term environmental impact of the sector appears to have less importance than in previous years. Only 18 per cent of respondents identi ed the long-term environmental impact of the sector as an issue in 2013, compared to 22 per cent in 2012 and 42 per cent in 2010. This could be a result of recent more normal rainfall levels and, therefore, a reduction in water utilities' focus on water ef ciency. It is also consistent with broader community concerns about the environment and climate change, which have abated somewhat in recent years. Another overall theme is that concerns about skill shortages have almost halved. This is likely to be due to a reduction in demand for additional staff (perhaps as a result of moves to improve operational ef ciency), as well as a greater availability of skilled labour with the easing of construction activity in the mining industry. WHAT IS THE SECTOR DOING WELL? As noted, there was overwhelming agreement that the sector was effectively addressing the issue of security of supply, with 56 per cent of respondents agreeing with this. The second most effectively addressed issue is ensuring sewage is effectively treated and disposed of (37 per cent). Sewage treatment and disposal has been a 'sleeper' issue in the last 10 years, in part re ecting the focus on water supply, but also re ecting sound performance in this area. In general, and particularly in major cities, compliance with treatment and disposal requirements has been consistently high. Tasmania was the only state where concerns were raised about sewage treatment and disposal. The third most effectively addressed issue was improving operational ef ciency (34 per cent). Here there is divergence among respondents: this was also considered to be the second least effectively addressed issue. WHAT IS THE SECTOR NOT DOING WELL? There was no standout issue where performance was considered poor. There were six key areas of approximately equal concern: • Maintaining and augmenting infrastructure (27 per cent); • Improving operational ef ciency (26 per cent); • Responding to community concern over rising prices (26 per cent); • Ensuring water supplies are secure (25 per cent); • Reducing the skill shortage in the water sector (25 per cent); • Improving the way in which water sector institutions are governed (24 per cent). For a copy of the full report, and state breakdown reports, please visit the AWA website. AWA MEETS THE MINISTERS During November, AWA Chief Executive, Jonathan McKeown, met with the Ministers responsible for water in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory. The key topics discussed at these meetings were collaboration between State Governments and the Association, AWA's position on key local water issues, and the launch of the AWA/Deloitte State of the Water Sector Report 2013. The Ministers all voiced keen interest in furthering their relationship with AWA and welcomed the opportunity to take part in more AWA state-based events. Further, they encouraged AWA to become more involved in state policy, ensuring the voice of water professionals is heard. So, keep an eye out in 2014 for local policy forums and other events with the Minister in attendance. AWA ENTERS THE BOARDROOM AWA continued to strengthen its ability to shape and in uence outcomes on the policy issues facing the Australian water sector in November, playing host to a series of invitation-only corporate brie ngs across Australia. The brie ngs provided AWA with the chance to hear from members about current business challenges and other matters of concern, including the need for industry to step-up in driving research and development, and the need for a national framework for economic regulation. The brie ngs also included a report from Deloitte on the results of the 2013 AWA/Deloitte State of the Water Sector Report, highlighting key issues identi ed by water industry professionals both nationally and locally. BRANCH NEWS QLD QWater'13 Conference The Queensland Branch would like to thank the sponsors, trade exhibitors and attendees of the successful QWater'13 Conference, which was held at the Novotel Twin Waters Resort on the Sunshine Coast from 8--9 November. The sponsors were: Unitywater; Pentair; Trans eld Services; Gentrack; and Trility. The QWater'13 program was full of excellent presentations, with the Best Paper Award highly contested. The award went to "Magnesium Hydroxide Liquid (MHL) Micro-batching Plants -- An Innovative Approach to Corrosion and Odour Management", presented by Scott Barnes of Unitywater. The Unitywater team had a huge impact on the success of the event and is to be commended on the organisation of the site tour to the Community Wetlands Project and Sewage Treatment Plant Upgrade. This was the highlight of the conference for many of the delegates. Congratulations to the attendees who got into the spirit of the 'Tropical Island' theme for the Friday night dinner when they found themselves shipwrecked on Gilligan's Island.
Water Journal November 2013
Water Journal February 2014