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Welcome to 2021 from SA Chair Elsie Mann

2021 is a year I think we’re all approaching with a sense of optimism and a dose of hesitance as we look to plan for the future. We were very fortunate to be able to hold our first event for the year – the Ministers Breakfast and Water Industry Summit – in person at the Adelaide Convention Centre in February. I want to personally thank everyone who attended – it was not insignificant to our organisation that the vast majority of members who had signed up for last year’s event held on to their tickets while we worked to reschedule. There was a level of excitement on the day to be together again and having the opportunity to network face to face. A big thank you from me to our Ministerial and Conference sub-committees, especially the convenors Jodieann Dawe, Hannah Ellyard and Andrew Wilkins, who have worked on the planning of these events (twice over) with the excellent support of AWA’s event management staff to bring this event to fruition. I’d also like to make a special mention of Karlene Maywald who contributed a lot of time through the planning phases for the Summit, as well as on the day.

The Breakfast was also a great opportunity for many of you to meet our new SA Member Engagement Manager, Marc Sneddon. Marc’s role reflects changes to AWA's operating model which places emphasis on investing in tools and processes that ensure AWA’s activities are tailored to the needs and interests of our members. You can read more about Marc here.

You should have all received communication about a series of industry engagement opportunities that AWA is delivering in partnership with DEW over the coming months. The purpose of these engagements is to inform future initiatives and areas for investment that will support our local water industry. We are excited about this collaboration and strengthening our relationship with DEW. The success of this initiative will be dependent on the input we get, so I encourage you all participate (survey responses are due 8 April), and spread the word; we are particularly keen to engage with people and businesses from other sectors that have a reliance on water in addition to water industry members.

We are in the process of planning for our next budget period, guided by AWA's Strategy’22. The last year showed us how we can deliver things differently, and we are keen to develop further with innovative initiatives and activities that may not be our traditional face to face events, but nevertheless align with our strategic direction and deliver value to members.

If you have any ideas please contact me, Marc, or any of our local committee members.

If you've ever thought about getting more involved with AWA, now is the time to put this into action! This year is an election year for the SA Branch committee. Our last round of elections were really positive, with a great response in terms of the number of nominations; we gained a number of new members and much greater diversity in the committee. We’d love to continue to build on our success, and now more than ever we can benefit from fresh perspectives – a call for nominations will be circulated in due course, but if you are interested I encourage you to reach out to Marc to discuss further.

Last but very much not least, I look forward to seeing everyone at Ozwater’21 in Adelaide! This event is really not to be missed. While the pivot to deliver Ozwater Online last year was great and allowed us to bring the amazing content to a wide audience, we have heard loud and clear that everyone missed the face to face interaction. The Association has made a commitment to holding the event in person, and the events team is working really hard to provide flexibility for those who may be challenged by travel restrictions. Please check out the program, register, and encourage your friends to register too. I can’t wait to catch up with you there.