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Committee

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Co-Chairs

Mani Manivasakan, Principal Engineer – Water, Irrigation and Drainage, SMEC 
Mani has nearly 30 years' experience in the investigation, design, construction and project management of Irrigation modernisation and drainage projects in Australia, New Zealand and Asia. Mani has worked on wide ranging irrigation systems such as advanced irrigation systems in Australia to some primitive systems internationally. Prior to joining SMEC, Mani worked at SKM and Jacobs for more than 25 years as Global Practice Leader for Rural Water, Irrigation and Drainage. 

He worked on several irrigation modernisation and rural water supply projects including the G-MW Connections Project, Lower Murray Water Modernisation Project, a due diligence study for Sunwater’s Assets, the Ruataniwha Water Storage (NZ), Mayfield Hinds Irrigation Scheme Modernisation (NZ) and MADA Irrigation System Upgrade (Malaysia). In 2011, he provided significant input to the Asian Development Bank as a Senior Water Resource specialist and a member of the Pakistan Water Sector Task Force along with several international experts to develop water use efficiency improvement measures/projects.

Michael Lawrence, Associate Director, Bligh Tanner
Michael is a water quality scientist; his 20-year water industry career has included phases covering research science, regulation and consulting.
 
Michaels initial research in aquatic biogeochemistry expanded to include the fate of micropollutants in recycled water, with an aim to demonstrate the effectiveness of specific water treatment barriers, and improve the linkages between science and regulation.
Michael transitioned from research to regulation where the reality of the challenges faced by regional, rural and remote providers in delivering safe drinking water became a stark reality – the provision of safe water from effectively operated and monitored treatment processes cannot always be assumed.
 
Michael has worked extensively with regional, rural and remote water service providers, mostly in NSW and Queensland, to improve water treatment processes and to implement effective management systems to ensure safe water. Michael will actively advocate for fit-for-purpose strategies and solutions that are necessary to support these providers in a rapidly changing regulatory landscape.

Committee Members

Chantal Donnelly, Head of Water Resource Modelling, Bureau of Meteorology
Chantal Donnelly leads the Water Resource Modelling Unit at the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) where her team develops and runs the Australian Water Resource Assessment Modelling System, AWRA MS, which provides data to the http://bom.gov.au/water/landscape water balance website. She has over 10 years' experience in setting up, calibrating, evaluating and operating continental scale hydrological and nutrient models for water resource management, nutrient management, forecasting, seasonal forecasting and climate change impact assessment purposes. Previously she was responsible for the development of the E-HYPE, pan-European hydrological and nutrient model at the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI). Chantal's research interests include continental scale hydrological modelling and all the associated challenges, climate change impacts on water resources and the development of future climate services and large scale water quality scenario modelling. Originally from Australia, she spent 15 years of her professional life in Sweden completing a PhD in coastal processes then leading a number of international hydrological research projects at SMHI. She was been back in Australia, at BoM, since May 2017.

David Sweeney, Senior Water Treatment Engineer
David Sweeney has a degree in Chemical Engineering, and has completed postgraduate research into the design and operation of waste stabilisation ponds. He has almost 20 years of experience working in public and private water utilities in Australia and New Zealand, across the fields of research, operations, process optimisation, capital delivery and regulation.  The majority of this experience has been gained working in rural and extremely remote small scale systems in New Zealand the Northern Territory.
 
Eric Vanweydeveld, Senior Project Manager, Power and Water Corporation
Eric is a certified Senior Project Manager and Chartered Professional Engineer with thirteen years’ experience in the water industry. His expertise includes water engineering, water resource management, project planning, contract administration and project management.

Eric has worked on numerous water and wastewater projects in Morocco, France, Reunion Island and Australia. In his current role, Eric is involved in delivering a wide range of major capital projects across the Northern Territory with a focus on water and wastewater treatment. 
 
Dr Ian Overton, Chief Research Services Officer, Water Research Australia
Ian is the Chief Research Services Officer at WaterRA, managing the research and professional development products and services. He is also the coordinator of the WaterRA Regional, Rural and Remote Community of Interest, leading the development of a position paper on RRR issues and assisting in the development of a research strategy to address the key challenges facing RRR water supply. Simon has worked in water as a researcher, consultant and manager for over 25 years, including previous positions at the University of Adelaide, Mapping and Beyond Pty Ltd, CSIRO, Jacobs and Natural Economy.

Josh Tickell, Senior Project Officer, Water Unit, NSW Health
Josh works in the Water Unit at NSW Health, supporting NSW water utilities supply safe drinking water to their communities. Josh has worked extensively with NSW regional water utilities as a consultant, designer, regulator, trainer and researcher. Josh has experience in water quality risk assessment, water treatment plant design and optimisation, chemical dosing systems, training, and implementing the ADWG Framework for Management of Drinking Water Quality in a rural and regional context.

Martin Brezger, Director, Moerk Water Solutions Asia-Pacific
Martin is a senior engineering consultant, with a focus on sustainability in renewable energy and water desalination. He is working on integrated and holistic drinking water solutions in remote and arid areas of the Asia-Pacific, Australia and East Africa. The approach is culturally sensitive with a long-term focus including social development through local ownership, job creation, education and skill-building and encourage women to participate in business. Martin is co-operating with local partners and staying committed to the community so they have a safe source of drinking water that is reliable, will function into the long-term commitment, runs on green energy and is resilient to natural disasters. He has also established and heads up a family owned business specializing in industrial, commercial and residential properties, including turnkey projects, solar power and drinking water supply.
 
Masoud Edraki, Senior Hydrologist, Bureau of Meteorology
Masoud has been working in the area of rural water in the Australian landscape since 2000 when he started his work at the CSIRO land and Water. Since then he has conducted projects on the water use of the broad acre and horticultural crops, leaching efficiency, drought management practices and water harvesting, at various spatial scales in the NSW and Victorian State organisations and at Charles Sturt University.  

Masoud is currently senior hydrologist in the Water Markets, Use and Engagement Unit of the Water program at the Bureau of the Meteorology in Canberra. He is a subject matter expert in the rural water use information across Australia and he contributes to the Bureau’s related reports on the state of water in the country. Masoud also contribute to the provision of water trade information through online Water Markets Dashboard.
 
Simon Schutz, Senior Engineer, Water, Arup
Simon is a senior civil engineer at Arup in Adelaide with 15 years’ experience in consulting and utilities, focusing primarily on water supply. He has work with large municipal water authorities, regional councils and small remote communities. Simon has a passion for appropriate technology and capacity building in Aboriginal Communities through pro bono projects.