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Significant collaboration is needed for water, between research, industry and government

Meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) might require new forms of collaboration between researchers, industry and governments.

That is the key message from 2018 AWA/IWA Young Water Professionals (YWP) Conference Chair and Yarra Valley Water Water Optimisation Engineer Felicity Gould.

According to Gould, recent issues with water storage, such as the case in Cape Town, serves as a stark reminder that Australia is not immune from drought and we must continue to look for alternative and innovative sources of water to future proof our industry.

“The lack of access to safe drinking water and sanitation services is a global issue and not just one for the developing nations and the delegates attending the conference will have the opportunity to hear and learn from several leaders in this field.”

Some of the key challenges she highlighted are industry adapting to new technological advances and implementing them to ensure they become embedded, as well as waste, energy and resource recovery and ways industry can optimise the resources available whilst maintaining high achieving outcomes.

Gould said these issues will be addressed at the 2018 AWA/IWA YWP Conference.

Gould said the conference, which will take place between February 22 and 24, provides a forum for developing these connections and prompting young water professionals to think differently by broadening their knowledge.

“The 2018 YWP conference aims to bring together the future leaders of industry, research and government to connect with each other. The discussions which will begin at the conference and continue into their careers will identify opportunities to collaborate, and the skills developed will equip delegates with the tools to accelerate their innovations into mutually beneficial outcomes,” she said.

Gould claimed that it also provides a platform for YWPs from across the country, across different sectors and different disciplines to come together to discuss commonalities and share ideas.

“It is important to make meaningful connections within the water industry, so we can learn from each other and achieve the best outcomes. The focus on developing professional and networking skills will equip YWPs with the skills required to accelerate their ideas into action,” she said.

In addition, the foundation for the technical components of the conference is focused on the key areas surrounding the UN’s Water Sanitation and Hygiene and SDGs, and how the water industry has an important role to play in contributing to them.

Gould also suggested attendees sit in on the professional development workshop run by the International Water Centre, which will prompt attendees to reflect on their development goals and provide new ways of thinking to help achieve them.

Another highlight of the conference is the incorporation of a half-day site tour session (for the first time) of two sites – Yarra Valley Water’s ReWaste facility and the recycled water treatment plant at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Targeted at anyone seeking professional development and new learning opportunities in the early stages of their career, the 2018 AWA/IWA YWP Conference builds on the theme of Connect, Collaborate and Accelerate.