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Celebrating the 2020 Australian Water Awards winners

The Australian Water Awards are a way of recognising the Australian Water Association’s members for their contribution to the water sector and the communities in which they serve.

The State and Territory award winners compete in the national awards, which were announced during two of the Ozwater’20 Online Happy Hours. The Australian Water Awards are proudly sponsored by ANZ.

The 2020 Award winners are:

Best Water e-Journal Paper (in honour of Guy Parker)

Progressing Reconciliation through Indigenous Partnerships within Australian Water Utilities – Michael Thomas, David McKinnis and Shu Brown

This paper explores the deep-time connections that traditional owner nations have had with water in the Corangamite catchment of Victoria. The paper also outlines a range of initiatives that Barwon Water has recently undertaken to develop stronger and more meaningful partnerships with traditional owners.

Overall, it is hoped this paper will be useful for other water utilities undertaking work in this area, and to inform other sectors how to develop meaningful initiatives that, in their own small way, help contribute to wider national reconciliation efforts.

Young Water Professional of the Year (Sponsored by Xylem)

Dr Paul Satur, Researcher, Monash Water Sensitive Cities, Monash Sustainable Development Institute and Our Future Cities

Dr Paul Satur is an early career environmental and social science researcher with the Centre for Water Sensitive Cities. He is also Co-Founder of the Our Future Cities organisation. His passion and focus lie in developing the knowledge, tools and influence to foster a socially inclusive and vibrant sustainable water future for everyone.

With a career spanning just 10 years, Paul has made significant inroads in progressing the sector beyond best practice through innovation and excellence in community engagement, capacity building and empowerment initiatives for a more socially just and inclusive water future.

Water Professional of the Year

Daryl Ross, Acting Director, Road and Water Infrastructure, Logan City Council

Daryl Ross is one of the quiet achievers of the Queensland water industry; a calm, strategic, compassionate voice across his 43 years as a water engineer and leader. Among his many achievements, he helped create the first non-statutory regional plan for South East Queensland, led the strategic response to the Millennium Drought and transformed two water businesses.

Ross’ willingness to share learnings with the broader industry is having an immediate and lasting impact on our sector and he is a very deserving recipient of the 2020 Water Professional of the Year Award.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Peter Moore PSM was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognises and honours Australian Water Association members who, through long and meritorious service, have made a positive contribution to the Australian water industry. Read the full article here.

Research Innovation Award (Sponsored by Water Research Australia)

Innovative Sensor Suites and Intelligent Robotics for Condition Assessment of Concrete Sewers – University of Technology Sydney and Sydney Water

Sydney Water, in partnership with the University of Technology Sydney, has developed innovative sensing and robotic toolkits that advance capability for assessing the condition of concrete sewerage pipes. The technology provides crucial data, informing timely decisions to save renewal costs and prevent harm to the environment, health and economic activity.

Program Innovation Award

Flows for the Future – Department for Environment and Water

Communities and industries need healthy water catchments. The Flows for the Future Program aims to improve the health and resilience of catchments in the Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges. Collaborating with landholders and industry, the program funds the design and restoration of “low flows” on dams and watercourse diversions, restoring natural flows throughout stream systems.

Infrastructure Project Innovation Award (Sponsored by SMEC)

Yarra Valley Water Waste to Energy Project – Yarra Valley Water

The Waste to Energy project is a key part of Yarra Valley Water’s strategy to embrace renewables and help keep bills stable for customers at a time when the cost of living is a challenge. The facility contributes to their ambitious, self-imposed target to generate 100% of their own renewable energy by 2025 to reduce reliance on coal-fired electricity and minimise greenhouse gas emissions.

Water Industry Safety Excellence Award (Sponsored by the Water Services Association of Australia)

Ventia’s Mechanical and Electrical Contract to Yarra Valley Water

Ventia’s Mechanical and Electrical team working on Yarra Valley Water’s network has successfully implemented a new, safer procedure for upgrading tertiary filter media at wastewater plants. This innovative approach greatly reduces dust suppression as well as eliminating the risks previously associated with completing the task, including working at heights and in a confined space.

Australian Stockholm Junior Water Prize (sponsored by Xylem)

CRACK for the FUTURE: The use of eggshell waste as a bio-adsorbant of phosphates for water and soil quality – Emma Serisier, Bishop Druitt College

Emma’s study looked at potential biowaste adsorbents to decrease the phosphate run-off into natural waterways from agricultural fertilisers and animal manures.

Identifying eggshell waste as an effective adsorbent for phosphate, Emma developed a mathematical model and website for farmers to calculate cost savings and application rates of eggshell on their soils. This free and accessible tool will help farmers counteract their environmental footprint.

Student Water Prize (sponsored by Guidera O’Connor)

Is the Installation of Mini Hydropower Turbines into Water Transmission System Pipelines Cost Effective? – Amber Smith and Anthony Cox, University of Adelaide, South Australia

Cox and Smith’s work considered the feasibility of installing a mini hydropower turbine at the Hahndorf dissipator in South Australia. The turbine uses the water’s kinetic energy, which is usually released at the dissipator. These dissipators sit at points in the pipeline where there’s high-pressure build-up, and as the water passes through the dissipator, it goes through a series of control valves, where it’s then sprayed out into its next phase. The mini turbine can convert that wasted energy into potentially up to 1 MW of power, all by using existing infrastructure. Cox and Smith’s research considered the feasibility of the turbine operation in a number of scenarios to ensure the technology was economically viable. Their work considered varying discount rates over a 25-year design life.

The Australian Water Association wishes to congratulate all the award finalists and winners and thank its generous sponsors for their support of these important industry awards.