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Meet the 2022 Australian Water Award winners

The sparkling talent of the water community was on full display on Wednesday night, as more than 1000 water professionals gathered to celebrate the Australian Water Awards.

Part of the Ozwater'22 Gala Dinner, the ANZ-sponsored awards recognised winners in 13 categories, and culminated with the announcement of Eamonn Kelly as Water Professional of the Year.

Kelly, the Major Program Delivery General Manager at Melbourne Water, was celebrated as a “social justice champion”.

“From safety, delivery, sustainability and social value, Eamonn continues to leave his mark — not only on the water sector, but more importantly on the lives of many in our state and country,” the sell-out crowd heard.

“Eamonn Kelly is a visionary who leads by example.”

Kelly’s acceptance speech was a humble one, and he paid tribute to the Melbourne Water team with whom he works.

“This is really an acknowledgement for what the team has been able to achieve,” he said.

“As a leader, it's really about clearing the way for those bright young professionals that we see around the room today.”

Melbourne Water’s Managing Director Dr Nerina Di Lorenzo congratulated Kelly.

“Eamonn Kelly is an innovator, who demonstrates a deep-rooted commitment to best practice safety and social procurement,” Dr Di Lorenzo said.

“Eamonn leads by example, challenges thinking and influences change for the better across the industry.”

In total, awards were presented across eleven categories, including for the first time separate metro and regional awards for Infrastructure Project Innovation, both of which were sponsored by SMEC.

SA Water’s Zero-Cost Energy Future program won the metro award, while the regional recognition award was received by Torres Strait Island Regional Council for its Mer (Murray) Island Water Network Management Program.

This integrated leak reduction and network management program enabled the remote island community to have water restrictions lifted for the first time in 20 years.

“When we started this project, the community only had access to six hours of work per day,” said a representative from the council upon receiving the award.

“Over the last half-a-dozen years in particular, with a lot of hard work, and some well-directed government funding, we have been able to make significant gains in providing safer, more reliable water services across the region.”

The prize for Young Water Professional of the Year, sponsored by Xylem, went to Michael Carter, Principal Process Engineer at Hunter H2O. Carter was recognised as a passionate and inspiring young principal engineer, with a vision for all water supplies across regional NSW to be safe and resilient.

The judges highlighted the particular competitiveness of the Safety Excellence Award, won by Logan Water, Downer and Mass Products, and Customer Experience Award, won by SA Water. In recognition of this, Fulton Hogan received special commendation in the safety category, while Hunter Water was noted for its program to manage customer communication and responses.

AWA National President Louise Dudley said she was impressed by the fine calibre of the finalists.

“I really commend you for your pursuit of excellence and thank you for the positive contribution that you’ve made to our industry,” she said.

“I talk to people about the water industry and how innovative we are. People see that innovation and we’ll be looking to do a lot more in terms of talking outside the industry about the fabulous work that is done in the industry.”

AWA CEO Corinne Cheeseman congratulated the winners across all categories.

“The talent and innovation that was on display this evening demonstrates the passion and creativity in the water sector,” she said. “Australia’s water professionals are ensuring a bright future for the nation and its water assets.”

The full list of winners is available here.

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