NSW State Conference 2018

Dan Barry from WaterNSWThe NSW State Conference was a great success this year, attracting professionals from the rural and urban water sectors to the vibrant city of Newcastle. 

The focal point of the conference was ‘Risk, Resilience and Research’ and touched on relevant issues affecting the water industry at present, including the drought, MDBA plan, water quality management and commercialisation of emerging technologies. 

The program was filled with highlights including the opening address by Deputy Mayor Declan Clausen of Newcastle City Council who spoke on the importance of sustainability and liveability. Jim Bentley from Hunter Water Corporation highlighted the importance of ‘loving water’ and ‘learning together’ with communities. Andrew Reynolds from the Murray Darling Basin Authority spoke about the criticality of managing competing demands for water in developing a sustainable approach to the basin.   

Other key highlights included a presentation by Dan Berry from WaterNSW on a ‘Bulk Water Utilities Response to Drought Management’ and a presentation from Suzanne Wheeler and Andrew Richardson of WaterNSW on the ‘Customer’s Levels of Service for Bulk Water Supply’. Eddie Harris from the Department of Industry gave an exemplary overview of the ‘Greater Hunter Regional Water Strategy ’.

A fruitful discussion between the MDBA, NSW Irrigators and Department of Industry highlighted the challenges of the millennium drought and its impact on agriculture, farmers and the environment. 

Another key highlight of the conference was the well-received Innovative Technology stream which focused on key emerging technologies in the water industry. Masood Naqshbandi from Abyss Solutions delivered an exemplary presentation on underwater drones and their application in assessing asset condition of structures. Abyss Solutions is a young ambitious Australian company who turned a high-tech start-up operation to a successful business with a global footprint spanning across the USA, UAE and Australia. 

The Commercialisation of Research stream showcased key presentations from Isle Utilities, Hunter Water Corporation, Sydney Water and WSAA with all utilities discussing the journey they’ve undertaken to identify and test emerging technologies in the market with the view to improve current business processes.   

We received a high volume of poster submissions from utilities, universities and consultants spanning from NSW, Victoria and Wellington, New Zealand. Anthony Cameron’s presentation on ‘Water Resilience and managing risk across a vast array of water assets in Wellington’ demonstrated the effectiveness of pre-planning to reduce infrastructure risk and effective community consultation to proactively plan for the unexpected. Anthony’s presentation was well articulated and won ‘best award’ for the poster session. Abraham Gibson from the University of Newcastle  also received an award for his poster 'Identifying Drought Resilience on The NSW East Coast'.  

The conference dinner at the Foghorn Brewery was a great end to Day 1 of the conference and provided a casual atmosphere for networking by young professionals, university affiliates and industry. Our conference partner, the University of Newcastle led an interesting discussion on building the bridge between industry and research.

Excellent feedback was received by our members with notable mention of the technical content, quality of presentations, quality of speakers and panel discussions, opportunity for networking and personal development. 

Once again, the NSW Branch would like to thank all sponsors including conference partners Hunter Water Corporation, AECOM and University of Newcastle, our networking dinner sponsor Zinfra, and LGNSW as a supporting partner. We would also like to thank the AWA organisation committee: Katherine Marshall (WNSW), Rebecca Carlier (University of Newcastle) and Sascha Moege (Department of Primary Industries) for their contribution and tireless approach in organising this year’s first State Conference in Newcastle. 

Event Photo Gallery

To view all the photos from the conference visit the Photo Gallery below:
Photo Gallery