Ozwater’18 international program connects Australian water sector with Water Professionals from across the Indo-Pacific

Posted 28 May 2018

The Australian Water Association has just completed its Ozwater’18 program in Brisbane which attracted more than 4000 participants including delegates from 21 different countries such as Vietnam, South Korea, Philippines, Indonesia and Pacific. 

With support from the Australian Government, Australian Water Partnership and ANZ Bank, the Association facilitated the International program at Ozwater’18 including the Global Perspectives Stream, Women of Water and Water Utility Improvement workshops, Young Water Professional Program, trade and technology demonstrations, site tours and networking events across the three-days.

Global Perspectives Stream
A new feature at Ozwater’18 was a dedicated Global Perspectives stream to highlight contributions that Australian’s are making in developing and developed countries as well as learning from exciting development from overseas water sectors. Themes of focus included:
1. Achieving Sustainable Development Goals
2. International Experience of Innovative Investment
3. Water’s contribution to energy security

Exhibition Tour and technology demonstrations
The Trade Exhibition was a highlight for many of our international delegates who were able to spend time listening to innovative water companies and ask question about how these technologies may be applied in-country. We are grateful to the many exhibitors who made themselves available.

Women of Water Workshop

As part of the Australian Water Association Channeling Change program, Fabiana Tessele led the Women of Water Workshop designed to inspire change through structured discussions on approaches and strategies to enable gender equality and social inclusion in the water sector. Discussions allowed for sharing of ideas between Australian and Vietnam water professionals including the Vice President of the Vietnam Women’s Union, Australian Government (DFAT post), Chair of the Vietnam Water Supply Association, Senior Officials from five Provincial Governments, staff from Vietnam water utilities, Central Government and private sector companies. 

 Discussions focused on: 
1. Increasing participation of women in key areas in water sector
2. Encouraging the development of women in leadership
3. Providing support and flexibility for parents at work with children
4. Eliminating gender pay gap
5. Addressing workplace discrimination and unconscious bias; and 
6. Increasing retention for women in the middle stage of their career. 

The Association is now building on the outcomes from this workshop to: 
- Strengthen engagement and enhance the platform for profiling men and women champions of change 
- Enhance dialogue and sharing of knowledge between organisations and individuals on GESI across the Indo Pacific 
- Further develop the Channelling Change network and digital platforms for communication 
- Identify participants interested in the AWA mentoring and exchange program between the Australian and Vietnam water sectors

If you wish to get involved in the program please contact anguyen@awa.asn.au  

Young Water Professional Program
The Association was able to support the attendance of four Young Water Professionals from Vietnam to Ozwater’18, representing a small technology company, private sector and water utility. Each attendee participated in the Emerging Leaders Forum held on day one as well as all other international activities and built a connection with many Young Water Professional from Australia who attended the conference.  We are grateful to the Australian Water Partnership for providing each Young Water Professional with a financial scholarship to attend.

Water Utility Improvement Program (WUIP) Outcomes Workshop
The Water Utility Improvement Program Workshop offered the opportunity for Ozwater’18 delegates to hear from and meet with Australian and Vietnamese water utilities participating in the WUIP including:
Son La Water Company – Cairns Regional Council, Water and Waste 
Saigon Water Corporation – Seqwater 
Binh Duong Water Company – Wannon Water
Phu Tho Water Company – Coliban Water
Hue Water Company – Western Australia Water Corporation

Participants heard the outcomes achieved from activities implemented to date and lessons learnt.  Agencies involved in similar programs across the Pacific and Kathmandu also contributed their insights. If you would like to hear more about the WUIP in Vietnam or interested in participating in a future WUIP with an Indonesian Utility, please contact Robbie Goedecke.

Site Visit to Queensland Urban Utilities
On day 3 International delegates were provided a guided tour of the Queensland Urban Utilities Innovation Centre and Wynnum Water Treatment Plant. The site tour provided an opportunity for each delegate to hear how QUU are embedding innovation across their business and improved efficiencies from their waste to energy research. Separate Korean delegations also visit Unity Water, Gold Coast Council and Seqwater during the week. We are grateful to each of these organisations for their support. 

Visit our gallery to see more photos
View our Ozwater International Video

Join the Australian delegation to Vietwater’18
The Association will be returning to Vietwater’18 in November with a delegation from Australia to participate in a tailored program designed to connect the Australian and Vietnam water sectors and strengthen trade opportunities. Building from the largest Australian water delegations to ever travel to Vietnam for Vietwater16, 17 and 18 with a total of 244 Australian delegates, the program will include an Australian Pavilion, site tours, business introductions, workshops and networking events. Contact An Nguyen at ANguyen@awa.asn.au

Thank you to our sponsors and partners:
DFAT        AWP          Australian Aid        ANZ