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SA August Sundowner

Beneath hanging lights in the historic bar Treasury 1860, water industry veterans, young professionals, and eager students gathered for the Australian Water Association’s August Sundowner event.

For this event, attendees were treated to a presentation on the significance of water in the health industry by Dr Harriet Whiley, a senior lecturer at Flinders University. Water, being society’s most crucial resource, is unsurprisingly central to keeping the community safe and healthy, and Dr Whiley’s research gave those at the Sundowner an insider’s perspective on the importance of water in health. 

Specifically, Dr Whiley presented two projects she contributed to at Flinders University. The first involved her research into the potential for disease to spread through the plumbing in people’s homes. As more and more people have shifted to recovery at home, there is less control over the environment around patients. Dr Whiley’s research found that the pathogens that cause legionnaires disease was present on most people’s shower heads and provided controls to be able to prevent a potential Legionnaires’ disease outbreak. This revelation certainly grabbed people’s attention and inspired more than a few questions after the presentation! 

The second project was new research into the use of water in hospitals, specifically water as a source of antimicrobial-resistant healthcare infections. Through a sick patient’s use of the shower or sinks in their bathroom, disease has the potential to spread into the hospital’s water system, which could cause infection to spread from patient to patient through no direct contact. The research being led by Dr Whiley is identifying preventative designs that can be implemented within hospitals to practically reduce the likelihood of this hazard occurring. 

The presentation was met with plenty of interest and intrigue, leading to an extended question time before we went out to the courtyard for socialising. The Sundowner was a great success as an event to engage all different levels of water professionals and provided those in attendance a chance to learn something new and meet with others in the industry.  

The next Sundowner is on October the 21st and provides another wonderful chance for all to attend!