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Industry superstars celebrated at Ozwater’21 gala

A glittering Ozwater’21 gala dinner and Australian Water Awards sponsored by ANZ was capped with the announcement of Dr Annette Davison as the winner of the Water Professional of the Year award.

Davison, the Principal and Director of risk assessment and management company Risk Edge, had previously been recognised as the New South Wales Water Professional of the Year. She is also the founder of D2K Information, a water quality monitoring and information company.

“Annette is the embodiment of professional excellence in water quality risk governance and an ambassador for the water industry who is dedicated to building a secure water future for all,” the crowd of more than 900 attendees at the awards heard.

“Throughout her career, Annette’s passion for a risk-based approach to water safety has changed the industry focus from end-point testing to a preventative approach.”

Davison said she wanted to use the award to help young water professionals enjoy the best that the water sector has to offer.

“While this is an individual award, I’ve really stood tall on the shoulders of others and the many people who have supported me over my career,” she said.

“It’s a real honour to receive this award.”

In total, there were 223 nominations for the 2021 Australian Water Awards across 10 categories.

The prize for Young Water Professional of the Year sponsored by Xylem was given to Simon Roberts, Senior Integrated Water Management Planner at Victoria’s City West Water. Roberts was recognised for his expertise in planning, design, strategy, law and policy, and his passion for integrated water management and water sensitive urban design.

Notable among the categories was the Customer Experience Award sponsored by WSAA, won by Barwon Water for its customer experience program, which saw the utility’s customers rate it as number one for trust, reputation, value for money and satisfaction.

However, the judges also wanted to give high commendations to the work of Icon Water’s efforts to re-establish its connection with the community and Southern Rural Water’s MID2030 Modernisation Program.

Aqua Metro Services and Melbourne Water’s Wara Paring Indigenous Civil Construction Project received the Organisational Excellence Award sponsored by Stantec. This project is an entirely Indigenous-owned training initiative that provides training and employment opportunities in a culturally safe environment to support Aboriginal businesses in the water industry.

The Infrastructure Project Innovation Award (Metro) sponsored by SMEC was won CH2M Beca and Western Water. CH2M Beca developed an innovative and industry-leading digital engineering tool, enabling better, more informed decisions by facilitating business continuity and remote asset access to the right information and the right people at the right time.

While Arup and Centre for Appropriate Technology won the Infrastructure Project Innovation Award (Regional) sponsored by SMEC. This innovative and collaborative initiative helped build a cyclone-proof, safe, clean, and reliable drinking water supply for the Lamalama people, the Traditional Custodians of Princess Charlotte Bay in Far North Queensland.

Arup provided pro-bono support to Indigenous Organisations; Centre of Appropriate Technology and Yintjingga Aboriginal Corporation to build the system, which was facilitated by Engineers Without Borders Australia.

Winner of the Student Water Prize sponsored by Guidera O’Connor was Zhiyao Wang, from the University of Queensland, who best captured the joy and enthusiasm of the evening.

Recognised for her work developing a novel process for efficient nitrogen removal from wastewater, Yang commended the inspiring research of all the nominees in the category.

“Through this conference, I can see the future revealing itself through each of the water professionals,” she said.

“I’m so happy to be part of it.” 

Congratulations to all the winners who were announced at Ozwater’21 Gala Dinner, Tuesday, 4 May 2021 in Adelaide.

R&D Excellence Award (sponsored by Water Research Australia)
Northern Australia Water Resource Assessment - CSIRO and collaborators, supported by the Australian Government through the National Water Grid Authority - watch video

Organisational Excellence Award (sponsored by Stantec)
Wara Paring Indigenous Civil Construction Project - Aqua Metro Services and Melbourne Water - watch video

Infrastructure Project Innovation Award (Regional) (sponsored by SMEC)
Port Stewart Water Supply - Arup and Centre for Appropriate Technology - watch video

Infrastructure Project Innovation Award (Metro) (sponsored by SMEC) 
Deriving Value Through Remote Access to Asset Information - CH2M Beca and Western Water - watch video

Water Industry Safety Excellence Award (sponsored by WSAA)
Confined Space Entry Simulator - Melbourne Water - watch video

Customer Experience Award (sponsored by WSAA)
Customer Experience Program - Barwon Water - watch video

Best Water e-Journal Paper - In honour of Guy Parker
Contaminants of Emerging Concern - By Laura Kuskopf, Dr Madoc Sheehan & Anna Whelan

Australian Stockholm Junior Water Prize (sponsored by Xylem)
Bioflocculation – Annabelle Strachan, Meriden School - watch video

Student Water Prize (sponsored by Guidera O’Connor)
An Innovative Way of Treating Wastewater and Sludge Employing a Novel Ammonia-Oxidizing Bacteria Genus Candidatus Nitrosoglobus – Zhiyao Wang, The University of Queensland (QLD)

Young Water Professional of the Year
Simon Roberts - watch video

Water Professional of the Year
Dr Annette Davison - watch video