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A message from AWA's SA Branch Chair Elsie Mann

When I decided that it would be a nice personal challenge to connect with our members by providing an introductory piece to each of our local SA Source newsletters, little did I know how much change we would all experience during my first year as chair of the branch committee.

My December message referred to our need to respond to industry leadership and policy changes; and two months ago I was contemplating what to say about the impacts of the intense summer bushfires. Over the last two weeks I have struggled to decide what to write for this particular article. I certainly can’t predict what will happen in the weeks, months and years ahead as we navigate through the impacts of COVID-19 and I don’t have the expertise to provide commentary on what we are facing right now that you can’t find in the vast number of available articles, opinion pieces and analysis.

I feel particularly fortunate to be able to do my work remotely/from home with relative ease, and I am also thankful to be a part of the water industry, contributing in a small way to the provision of essential services, at a time like this. There are undoubtedly many challenges that our industry will have to address in the short-, medium-, and long-term, and many of those will be due to forces outside our control. I do truly hope, however, that these challenges will bring us opportunities to think about how we might do things differently in the future. Reflecting on this, perhaps the underlying themes of my previous posts haven’t been obsolete – we are constantly facing change and in the face of this we need to adapt. Sharing experiences, striving for diversity of thought, and connecting with our peers are still all critical to achieving positive outcomes.

In the midst of this we have welcomed our new Branch Manager, Shirley Fraser. You can get to know more about Shirley on her LinkedIn profile here or read our Q&A with her here. With in-person events not possible for the foreseeable future, our national office, branch committee and sub-committees are working on how we can continue to engage with our members, and importantly provide opportunities for our members to engage with each other. I think we are all still figuring out what new ways of working and socialising can be, and how to make them work best for our teams, our families and ourselves. We would certainly welcome any ideas about topics of interest, information that you may wish to share in an online format (blogs, podcasts or webinars) or any other activities you believe AWA could support that would help you during this time.

I hope you all are keeping safe, physically distant, but socially connected.

Elsie Mann is the AWA South Australia Branch Chair.