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First SA Sundowner of 2023

SA February 2023 Sundowner

During the first sundowner of 2023, we dived into the connection between energy and water supply.

Water and energy supply are intrinsically linked; energy is required to move and treat water, and water is required to produce some types of electricity.

Dr Lisa Blinco is a Senior Water Systems Engineer at SA Water, working closely with the 24/7 Operations Control Centre to operate our water supply systems efficiently. With a great number of SA young water professionals, Lisa captured everyone’s attention while keeping the atmosphere light and casual.

Since 2013, SA Water participates in the National Electricity Market – an electricity grid and market spanning from Cairns to Tasmania, to Port Lincoln. With electricity prices changing every five minutes and ranging from -$1,000/MWh to over $15,000/MWh, SA Water’s operation is challenging as they are exposed to a wide range of electricity costs.

Lisa described how operational planning is guided by a specialised software that was adapted exclusively for SA Water. This software is used to plan pumping through main pipelines from the River Murray, reservoirs in the Mt Lofty Ranges, the Adelaide Desalination Plant, and major water treatment plants for the Adelaide Metropolitan region. Pumping is then conducted when the energy market is favourable, provided that no unexpected situations or maintenance requirements are present.

SA Water’s newly developed energy generation facilities and storage portfolio play a significant role in balancing energy consumption and planning for water security.

A fantastic angle of Lisa’s talk was her decision to share reflections on career decisions. Lisa spent some time in 2022 with SA Water’s Energy Management team. She emphasised the importance of getting out of the comfort zone to learn and grow as a professional and as a person. Even if the result is not what was expected, every experience is a learning opportunity. That message surely resonated with the audience.

Lisa’s talk was followed by a series of very interesting questions and a networking session. It was great to see familiar faces and new YWPs joining this event. We will see you all at the next Sundowner in April!