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An end of year update from the NSW Branch

NSW Branch President Nanda Altavilla reflects on a terrific year in the NSW space.

We are approaching the end of the 2023, where we wrapped up a a successful year by celebrating our Legends of Water. This is a NSW Committee tradition where we interview and give a voice to three people that have dedicated their efforts to make a difference to the water industry in NSW. This year’s Legends were Marie Abood, Executive Director at the NSW Reconstruction Authority and Grant Leslie, Director – Australia, Balmoral Group. Our third Legend, Doug Moorby, Utilities Manager and Chairman of the Narromine Shire Council and Orana Water Utilities Alliance unfortunately was ill on the day but will be interviewed in 2024.

The NSW Committee are committed to increasing the visibility and impact of the AWA. The inaugural NSW Parliamentary Forum provided a platform for the committee and representatives of the specialist interest networks to engage with the Hon Rose Jackson MLA, NSW Minster for Water on a range of issues including climate change, water servicing to regional NSW, alternative sources of water and the skills shortage, leading the Minister to suggest future round table discussions to discuss possible solutions with our organisation. We continued our conversation with Rose Jackson, on regional water quantity and quality at the Minister’s Breakfast, hearing the perspectives from Mayor Craig Davies from Narromine Council, representing the NSW Regional Mayors and Dr Annalisa Contos of Atom Consulting, expert consultant on water quality and risk in regional NSW.

To support our young professionals and ensure a pipeline of future skilled and passionate water professionals, the NSW mentoring program was launched in October, we wish both the mentors and mentees a rewarding experience.

The NSW Regional Champions initiative continues to extend the reach of AWA to regional NSW and now interstate. In conjunction with the NT Branch, in a hybrid event with 7 regional hubs in NSW and the NT, we heard from three speakers on the Management of Water by and with First Nations People. The Dharriwaa Elders Group from Walgett, NSW spoke of the impact of water quality in their communities. We also heard from Jimmy Cocking of Dessert Knowledge and Tom Attwood of NSW DPE on working with aboriginal communities to meet the challenges of climate change and water security.

Newcastle Sub Committee’s technical event on ‘How will transition to future technologies effect the water industry?’ saw the Deputy mayor of Newcastle, Declan Clausen engage with water professionals, Michelle Kiejda of GHD and Kurt Dahl of coNEXA to discuss the opportunities for an industrial city to transition to a new future.

We are looking forward to the NSW Heads of Water Forum, Gala Dinner in March 2024 where we will announce the NSW award winners. Any winners can then go onto represent NSW at the Nationals to be announced at OzWater ’24.

Save the date for the NSW State Conference to be held 28-30 August 2024 when we venture to the South in Albury. More on this very soon!

Wishing you a happy and safe holiday season.