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An Ozwater we will never forget

What crushing news. Ozwater’20 – Thirst for action – postponed.

Ozwater’20 was locked into my calendar as soon as I returned from Melbourne to Bundaberg, elated from Ozwater’19. The event provided everything that I had longed for after moving from remote Western Australia to regional Queensland.

Networking with old and new colleagues; a myriad of topics from safety to culture, right through to the operation of cutting-edge technology to reduce confined space entry; oh and the dessert at the final dinner – I still dream about it.

As the weeks passed, I watched every networking event get postponed or cancelled.

Then we started to innovate with things like Zoom networking events for the Women of Water. Was there hope for Ozwater’20 to be re-scheduled or transformed?

Yes! The re-vamped Ozwater’20 Online was announced to run every Tuesday and Thursday of June, including keynote speakers, networking, virtual drinks and even the ability to ask questions to the presenters.

The hardest part? Waiting for the event to commence, or perhaps preparing the diary to be clear.

The event re-design covered everything: a variety of ticket prices, viewing a week or the whole event. This flexibility extended the reach, particularly for regional areas, where attendance at Ozwater is an extremely coveted opportunity. With the reduced ticket prices and no time away from families, nor the cost of travel and accommodation, access was much more possible.

The re-designed format, whilst extremely different, was amazing in such an unexpected way. No wrestle with co-workers over who was going to attend a presentation. I was able to create my personal view list and view them all, bar the keynotes, when my diary allowed and even after the live event. How accessible is that?!

Instead of travelling to the event, with flights from Bundaberg to Adelaide taking almost 6 hours, all I needed to do was make the coffee supplied by AWA in my care pack, hang the “Watching Ozwater’20 Online” sign on the door, close it and settle into my comfy desk chair.

The calibre of the keynotes and technical papers was outstanding, the hosts all kept a professional program on schedule, and the website was easy to navigate.

Ozwater’20 Online will be remembered for how quickly the AWA innovated in its delivery model, ensuring networking and technical sharing was possible, while at the same time extending the reach of the event beyond what has been seen before.

I guess anything really is possible.