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Global water leaders unite for SUEZ Innovation Day

SUEZ Innovation Day

In a declaration of commitment to innovation and sustainability, water leaders and innovators from around the world united in Adelaide on 22-23 March for SUEZ Innovation Day, hosted together with SA Water.

Against the backdrop of pressing global and local water challenges, the two-day event served as a crucible for transformative ideas and collaborative solutions, heralding a new era of progress and resilience within the water community.

SUEZ Innovation Day is a recurring annual event, alternating between Paris and the cities where SUEZ operates. Notably, this marks the inaugural occurrence of the SUEZ Innovation Day in Australia.
Drawing together water and innovation researchers from around the world, the event serves as a dynamic platform for the exchange of ideas and the exploration of opportunities to tackle pressing water and wastewater challenges.                                                    

Commencing on Thursday 21 March, within SA Water’s Adelaide CBD premises, leading thinkers delved into forthcoming societal, economic and environmental shifts, including urbanisation, climate variability and regulatory alterations.

SUEZ Australia and New Zealand CEO Kevin Werksman expressed heartfelt gratitude to SA Water for their instrumental role in bringing the event to life.                                                      

“In a world marked by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity, bringing people together highlights the criticality of innovation in mitigating risks and unlocking value,” he said.                  

“The palpable sense of camaraderie and purpose that permeated the event, as participants from diverse backgrounds united in a shared commitment to collaboration and co-creation within the sector.”        

P&T Alliance General Manager Wafaa Khalifi said the inaugural SUEZ Innovation Day stands to enhance local operations through exposure to diverse global perspectives.                                             

“This gathering offered a priceless opportunity to foster collaboration within the water and wastewater ecosystem, leveraging insights from international counterparts and local experts to pave the way for future solutions,” he said.                                                

“This event was a success thanks to the invaluable contributions from our panellists, including SUEZ employees locally and globally, SA Water and its partnering businesses, as well as other Australian utilities such as Water Corporation, Coliban Water, Service Stream and Unity Water.

“At SUEZ we want to continue to enable co-creation opportunities, where the people in the sector can learn from one another and find the answers quicker. We are all working towards a common purpose of a sustainable future.”

Customers in focus

Discussions during the event highlighted the necessity of adaptability and collaboration in navigating an uncertain and complex future, ensuring that the sector’s efforts remain focused on meeting the evolving needs and expectations of customers.                 

SA Water Chief Executive David Ryan said innovation is crucial in meeting customer needs and addressing societal challenges, emphasising the imperative of smarter service delivery to ensure reliability and affordability for South Australian communities.                

“Our customers are at the heart of everything we do at SA Water, and we need to remain focused on achieving positive outcomes for them – this means working smarter in how we deliver reliable and affordable services,” he said.                                     

“Innovative technologies are crucial in helping us meet our customers’ changing expectations and needs, and SUEZ Innovation Day together with SA Water enabled us to tap into global ideas and successful strategies to broaden our thinking and consider options for possible future solutions.”

The day involved interactive sessions and discussions with a diverse range of expert panellists including:                         

  • Nicola Murphy, SA Water General Manager Science and Strategy
  • Zdravka Doquang, SUEZ Global Innovation Officer
  • Mark Caligaris: SUEZ Paris E&C Innovation Projects & Methods Manager
  • Troy Holst, SUEZ Engineering & Construction Innovation Director
  • Ollivier Ramus: SUEZ Paris Technical Performance Officer Wastewater Treatment
  • Daniel Lambert, Water Start Australia CEO

There was a strong emphasis on the transformative potential of artificial intelligence in addressing megatrends and enhancing service delivery, all with the ultimate goal of providing better experiences for end-users.

Additionally, the conversations centered around the democratisation of asset management responsibilities and the recognition of the value inherent in wastewater.

Other key themes of discussion included the responsibility of corporations to champion ethical practices, the indispensable role of cross-industry collaboration, the importance of sustainable pricing, and the need to embrace uncertainty with agility and resilience.

Exploring future frontiers

Looking ahead to 2050, Werksman painted a vivid picture of a digitally-enabled future characterised by automation, AI-driven resource management and enhanced connectivity.

Werksman said he is optimistic about the prospect of co-creating circular products and solutions, engaging in real-time conversations with customers, and advancing integrated water solutions to ensure a safer, more sustainable world for future generations.
“We envisioned a future, buoyed by digital innovation, where automation fosters a safer environment," he said.
"In this era, AI emerges as a solution to our resource challenges, promoting a healthier work-life balance. This forward-looking vision extends to enhanced connectivity across Australia, New Zealand, and the global landscape.

“It encompasses optimised business practices, the creation of circular products and solutions tailored to customer needs, and real-time engagement with customers through data-driven conversations.

“I am genuinely enthused about the possibilities that lie ahead for us."