WA Water Awards Showcase and End of Year BBQ 2018

26 November 2018 

WA Water Awards Showcase and End of Year BBQ 2018

This event aimed to showcase the winners of the AWA WA Water Awards for 2018, which were announced at the gala dinner on Friday 26 October 2018. 

Infrastructure Project Innovation Award - Groundwater Replenishment Scheme – Water Corporation

Given the lack of traction large indirect potable recycling programs have had across Australia, the groundwater replenishment scheme stands out as a leader in the planning and implementation of such a project. Dr Stacey Hamilton spoke about the 15 years of work put into this project to determine whether it was technically feasible, develop the required policy & regulation and bring the community on board. While the engineering itself is impressive (e.g. 15 km of pipework beneath the buildings as part of Stage 1), keys to its success are the collaborative approach taken by the regulators and direct engagement with the community via the Visitor’s Centre. It is estimated that commissioning of Stage 2 will occur early next year. 

Program Innovation Award - Revitalising Geographe Waterways – Department of Water and Environmental Regulation

The outcomes of the program includes a high community awareness (88% of survey respondents) and downward trends in nutrient levels across all catchments. Bev Thurlow described these outcomes as a testament to the collaborative approach undertaken to bring together the multiple water managers across government, industry and the community. The approach has reduced the conflict between the diverse groups who have different definitions for the programs, values and solutions. For example, work on the Vasse Wonnerup wetlands has involved scientists, water managers and the community defining the program, designing and implementing programs and analysing the results together.  

Research Innovation Award - Self-Regulating Suspended Biogas Collector Technology – Environmental Engineers International

Biogas is commonly collected to manage odour impacts and for power generation downstream. However, these systems have a number of limitations including accessibility, capital costs and maintenance costs. 

EEI have been researching a retrofittable, modular and IOT integration solution. Through design, modelling and trials of two options, EEI have produced a floating system made from fiberglass and reinforced steel. The floating design allows for sections to be replaced (rather than the whole). This solution has the potential to be utilised across a number of industries to control evaporation, capture odour, collect biogas for energy or to capture GHGs for environmental reasons.

Water Sensitive Urban Design (Grahame Heal) Award - Rosehill Waters Stage 1 – Coterra Environment

Kristy Chandler outlined the initiatives that have been implemented within the first stage of Rosehill Waters. Some of the impressive outcomes include:
•  Achievement of 6 leaf EnviroDevelopment rating
•  Retention of trees and heritage buildings
•  Enhancement of drains into living streams and the provision of rain gardens for every two lots
•  Success through initial community opposition to development of the golf course
•  Installation of a community bore that is metered and priced on a use basis
•  Provision of 6.6 kW of solar panels on each dwelling

Innovating for Sustainable Water and Environmental Outcomes (Award sponsored by Water Corporation & Department of Water and Environmental Regulation) - Self Cleaning Automatic Filter Backflush for the Greyflow Self-cleaning Greywater Diversion System – Advanced Waste Water Systems 

Sam Milani spoke about the realities of maintaining greywater systems, whether installed within individual residential lots, mining camps or other facilities. Historically, lower cost gravity systems have a filter that needs regular maintenance to avoid blockage or burn out of the pump, but it is common for this maintenance to be missed. Advanced Waste Water Systems have designed a greywater system that back-flushes with air, similar to how spa and pool filters are cleaned and sends any material to sewer. 

Following the presentation of the technical awards, a Q and A session was hosted by Anne-Elise Charles with the Water Professional of the Year, Nick Turner, and Student Water Prize winner, Tom Wheeler. Tom’s winning project provides a community in Indonesia with a sustainable water supply through seawater reverse osmosis desalination using renewable energy. Nick is instrumental in the assessment of innovative, alternative water supply options and the strategic development of multiple large water sources for WA.

A strong theme of their discussion was the non-technical aspects of working in the water sector and that the successes seen at the end have only been possible by considering social, financial and technical aspects. Tom outlined the challenges working with a number of communities within Indonesia including barriers across multiple languages, such as maintenance manuals being in Japanese. 

Being the face of ground water replenishment (GWR) in WA, Nick has needed to leverage his public communication skills (gained from international busking) with media training to proactively engage with key individuals and the community as a whole. To be effective, scientists and engineers can no longer stay in the box, but must be inclusive and collaborative.

Nick’s proudest moment to date was an exercise in patience and persistence – taking GWR from an out-there idea to Perth’s largest water source. A project that is inspiring others all around the world. By contrast, Tom saw how quickly a desalination plant, that wasn’t working, could be providing an Indonesian community with a sustainable water solution by operating agilely. This presents an interesting question – could and should the water sector operate more dynamically? 

Tom is looking forward to graduating next year (he’ll be starting his honours soon) and starting work at Josh Byrne and Associates. Nick is focusing on the gap between non-potable water demand and availability in the water sensitive city space. This year’s winners are both out-of-the-box thinkers who engage effectively with all of their stakeholders and inspire the rest of us to do the same.

AWA thanks TRILITY for their sponsorship of the awards showcase and event partners, Water Corporation and the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation. Following the showcase, we were joined by another 20 members and non-members for a casual BBQ dinner sponsored by TRILITY and EC&C. A great way to continue the conversation about fantastic projects and inspiring individuals, and to end the year! It’s hoped the inspiration gained from these wonderful people and projects encourages you to put forward your best ideas and innovations at next year’s Water Awards.

We would like to thank our WA Branch and YWP committee volunteers who assisted us in organisation of these events. 

View all the photos of the event by clicking on the photo gallery below:

WA Water Awards Showcase and End of Year BBQ 2018 Photo Gallery

To watch a recorded videos of the event, click on the playlist below:

WA Water Awards Showcase playlist