SA Awards

The Australian Water Association offers a range of awards at both state and national levels which play an important role in promoting excellence and the contribution our members make to the community. Find out more about the South Australian Water Awards below.

Awards overview

SA Awards

The Australian Water Association’s South Australian Water Awards are the SA water industry’s highest accolades. 

Established in 1996 to recognise and celebrate outstanding contributions to the South Australian water industry, the Awards acknowledge the sector’s “best of the best”, shining a spotlight on exceptional achievements across the state in a range of organizational and individual categories.

Each year the number of entries grows, as do the number of attendees at the annual SA Gala Dinner and Awards Night, where the winners are announced.

This high-profile industry endorsement brings finalists and winners widespread recognition of individual and organizational achievements; generates PR and media opportunities; creates a point of difference from competitors; and generates team and corporate pride.

2019 SA Water Awards - Open June 2019
To recognise an outstanding contribution to the SA water industry, nominate yourself, your organisation, a colleague, or student, for a 2019 South Australian Water Award by clicking on the links below. 
Organisational Awards
Individual Awards
Special Award
Nomination for the Premier’s Medal must be made by a current member of the Association’s SA Branch Committee, via the online form.
The Premier's Water Medal/ South Australian Water Professional of the Year

  • Each year the Association’s SA Branch Committee nominates eminent individuals to be considered for the Premier’s Water Medal. 
  • The Medal recognises outstanding individual contribution to the South Australian water industry, or management and conservation of water in the state.
  • To be eligible for the Premiers Water Medal the individual must be a Professional Member of the Association, or an employee of a Corporate Member, have been based in SA for a number of years, have made a significant contribution to the state and/or national and/or international water industry, have an excellent reputation within SA, in other States of Australia and/or internationally for substantial contribution and commitment over an extended period to the social, economic and environmental sustainability of the community of South Australia.
  • The winner will represent South Australia as a finalist for the Water Professional of the Year at the Australian Water Awards, held at Ozwater 7-9 May 2019

Important information

All Awards, aside from the Student awards, are open to Australian Water Association members only. To download the Conditions of Entry click here.
A judging panel will be formed by the Australian Water Association SA Branch Committee, consisting of industry experts. Short-listed entrants will be required to give an oral presentation to the judges for final consideration. 

In addition to your written award submission, you will be required to make a short presentation in person to the SA Awards Judging Panel at the 2019 South Australian Water Awards Presentation Day.

Organisational Awards
Organisational Awards are exclusive to AWA Corporate Members. 
Where there are multiple partners in an award submission, some who are members and some who are not, the submission is eligible for entry. However marketing and publicity arising from the entry, inclusion as a finalist, and the award, will be limited to AWA Corporate Members.
If you have an award-worthy project, but are not a member, or if you are a non-member partner in a submission, please contact our SA Branch Manger, Cat Murtagh, at to discuss membership benefits.
Frequently asked questions
To download the Awards FAQs, click here.

Thought Leadership Partner

SA Water

2018 SA Water Awards - Winners Announced

The winners of the South Australian Water Awards were announced on Friday, 23 November at the Australian Water Association’s SA Gala Dinner & Awards Night.

The South Australian Water Awards aim to recognise the contribution of the Association’s members for their leadership and innovative programs, research or infrastructure projects.

Australian Water Association Chief Executive, Jonathan McKeown attended the awards dinner and congratulated all finalists and winners for their hard work and outstanding achievements.

“We had an extraordinary line-up of entries in this year’s awards which demonstrates the innovative and inspiring work taking place in South Australia,” Mr McKeown said.

"On behalf of the entire Association, we’d like to congratulate the professionals and organisations who are truly making a difference to the water sector in South Australia."

The winners of this year's South Australian Water Awards will automatically be entered into the equivalent National Australian Water Awards category, which will be presented at Ozwater’19 in Melbourne, 7-9 May 2019. 


Program Innovation Award (sponsored by SA Water)
Proactive Dirty Water Complaints Management in Adelaide Drinking Water Network – Allwater, SA Water and SUEZ

Complaints about dirty water make up approximately 50-70 per cent of all water quality related customer complaints in metropolitan Adelaide. Proactive Dirty Water Complaints Management in Adelaide’s Drinking Water Network Program brings together data and information collected from different areas of the business to prioritise and target action to reduce customer complaints. The program demonstrates how to successfully combine disparate data sets to improve business performance.

Research Innovation Award
Combating Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Wastewater Systems: From Quantification to Implementation – SA Water and the Advanced Water Management Centre - The University of Queensland

Current methods to enable greenhouse gases from wastewater treatment plants to be measured and accurately modelled are empirical and found to be very inaccurate but this new research has enabled the real emissions to be measured. Of equal importance, it now allows design modelling to minimise the current significant contribution of greenhouse gas emissions from wastewater treatment sites. This research has already gained global recognition, and will be used to support the 2019 Refinement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories.

Highly Commended:

Infectivity Rates of Cryptosporidium, and its Impact on Drinking Water Quality Risk Assessments – SA Water

This research has significant importance in providing safe drinking water supplies globally. SA Water have developed a unique cell culture assay which enables reliable detection and measurement of the human infectious fraction of oocysts in source waters. This method is being recognised globally – and has been accepted by the South Australian Health Regulator. It now forms an important part of SA Water’s monitoring arrangement.

Infrastructure Project Innovation Award (sponsored by Water Industry Alliance)
Enhanced Water Demand Forecasting for SA Water Using Machine Learning – Stantec and SA Water

This project by Stantec, with the support of its many industry partners, involved a comprehensive enhancement to SA Water’s Demand Forecasting Platform with the adoption of the latest cloud-based self-learning algorithms. These support not only more accurate and reliable demand forecasts but also significant improvements in flexibility and user-friendliness for the Network Operators who rely on this decision support platform each and every day. The system’s in-built ability to ‘learn’ and adapt to new constraints will ensure SA Water is able to deliver the most reliable and least-cost water supply to its customers for many years to come.

Student Water Prize – The Hodgson Medal
The Onshore Influence of Offshore Fresh Groundwater – Andrew Knight, Flinders University

Andrew’s post graduate research project identified that much of the world’s offshore groundwater is being mined through onshore extractions which is likely to reduce long term water security for many coastal communities. Andrew’s work provides a basis for reducing long-term risks associated with using coastal aquifers for freshwater supply. Custodians of coastal aquifers will also be better informed of the potential influence that offshore fresh groundwater may have on their onshore resources when designing future water allocation plans.

Young Water Professional of the Year Award (sponsored by TRILITY) – two winners

Adele Hay, Civil Engineer, Water, WSP 

Adele Hay is a recent graduate who has already made an outstanding contribution to technical excellence and leadership. She has performed the role of Design Manager in analysing SA Water’s complex networks and has supervised design of main replacement projects leading to a reduction in the number of bursts in the network. She has also worked tirelessly to raise the profile of water engineering and science as a speaker in schools and universities, and as an encourager for more women entering the field.

Boris Ninkovic, Program Manager, Fulton Hogan

Boris Ninkovic has been instrumental in growing the water business of Fulton Hogan, particularly in leadership and project management of collaborative capital delivery project frameworks for SA Water. He has contributed to the water industry through supporting WaterAid and has stimulated interest in school students by directly involving them in observation and experience of large water projects. Known for championing positive behaviours, Boris has also worked hard to encourage better gender balance in the growing teams he is leading.

Premier’s Water Medal – South Australian Water Professional of the Year Award
Kevin Yerrell, Operations Manager, Waternish Engineering

Kevin has been a part of the water industry in South Australia for 33 years. During that time, he has worked in both Government and private sectors in design, construction and operation of water and wastewater treatment infrastructure. Whether leading, mentoring, inspiring or socialising, Kevin is both a challenging and encouraging communicator with peers, competitors, academics and laborers. 

Kevin has been a mover and shaker behind the SA Branch of the Australian Water Association, serving on the Committee and organising countless SA Conferences and Ozwater conventions over more than 20 years. His organisational skills along with his unique sense of seriousness and fun has contributed much to the smooth running of the events.

The award of the 2018 Premier’s Water Medal is a fitting acknowledgement of Kevin’s contribution to the South Australian water industry.

Photo gallery:

 SA Water Awards winners Photo Gallery

2017 SA Award winners
Program Innovation Award
Adelaide Services Alliance Advanced Customer Complaint Mapping Program – Allwater and SA Water

Research Innovation Award
ATUM: Advanced Tertiary Ultrafiltration Management – Allwater, SA Water and SUEZ

Infrastructure Project Innovation Award
Sundrop Farms Project – John Holland Group

The Hodgson Medal: Student Water Prize

Smart Monitoring for Microbial Risk Assessment – Sarah Aucote, Flinders University

Young Water Professional of the Year Award
Adam Medlock, Operations Manager, Riverland Region, TRILITY
The Premier's Water Medal: Water Professional of the Year Award
Richard Hopkins, Chief Executive, International Centre of Excellence in Water Resources Management (ICE WaRM)

For more information about the winners and their winning projects, see the below media release.

Download PDF SA Water Awards winners announced

Photo gallery:
 SA Water Awards winners Photo Gallery

Thanks to our sponsors:
   SA Water Awards Gala Dinner Sponsors

For queries about the SA Awards please contact:

Caitriona Murtagh
P: 0439 893 304   E:

SA Awards Honour Roll

Click here here to see a list of past winners and finalists.