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International Water Association celebrates “extraordinary contributions” of Australian water professionals

Two Australian professors have recently been recognised by the International Water Association (IWA) for their “sustained outstanding contribution to the water profession”.

Professor Jurg Keller of the University of Queensland and Distinguished Professor Saravanamuthu Vigneswaran of the University of Technology Sydney were confirmed as IWA Distinguished Fellows by the IWA Board of Directors.

Keller and Vigneswaran are two of only 46 water professionals to have received the honour and will join four other Australians to have been recognised as Distinguished Fellows. Distinguished Fellows are appointed for life and are recognised for their long-term “extraordinary contributions to the global water sector and leadership role performed in supporting IWA’s mission and objectives”.

Keller, who has been a water professional since 1991, is a member of the Advanced Water Management Centre in the University of Queensland’s Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology. He chaired the Australian National Committee of IWA between 2004 and 2009, has been a member of the IWA Governing Board, and is a director of the Board of the Australian Water Association.

AWA President Carmel Krogh congratulated Vigneswaran and Keller on their appointment. “Jurg and Saravanamuthu have made extraordinary contributions to the Australian water industry and have been an inspiration to water professionals here and globally,” she said. “They are truly worthy of appointment as IWA Distinguished Fellows.”

Darryl Day, an IWA Distinguished Fellow, praised Keller’s influence and impact.

“A great deal of credit must go to Jurg for the strong Australian membership of IWA and the high level of Australian participation in specialist groups, management committees and conference committees,” he said.

“Jurg continues to represent the values of IWA and advocate the value of participation in IWA activities. His academic and research impact is evidenced by his many achievements in publishing, research and awards.”

Vigneswaran, a core member of UTS’s Centre for Technology in Water and Wastewater Treatment, has worked on water industry issues in developing and developed countries since 1981.

“IWA enabled me to participate in IWA world and development congresses and serve as scientific committee member in membrane, water reuse, rainwater and solid liquid separation specialist group meetings,” he said.

“This helped me to broaden my knowledge in different water issues and their sustainable solutions by interacting with water professionals, scientists and policymakers”.

As well as honouring Keller and Vigneswaran, the IWA also appointed Sydney Water Resilience and Climate Change Adaptation Lead Kathryn Silvester as a Fellow.

IWA Fellows are nominated for five years and support the organisation in implementing its strategic plan.

“Kathryn has had a transformative influence on the IWA national committee and has empowered the national committee to be more engaged, connect with members and mentor Australians engaging in IWA formal and informal groups, networks and activities,” Day said.

An official ceremony in Copenhagen will be held at the IWA World Water Congress and Exhibition in May 2021 to honour the new Fellows and Distinguished Fellows.

The Australian Water Association is the IWA Governing Member for Australia. The IWA Australia Committee is currently chaired by Silvester.