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Celebrating the industry’s finest at the Australian Water Awards

The 2018 Australian Water Awards celebrated the industry’s best and brightest in an evolving industry. It highlighted the most interesting of innovations and best practices by both individuals and organisations across Australia.

Held at the Plaza Ballroom of the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, and sponsored by Trility and ANZ, the gala dinner and awards night following day two of Ozwater’18 was one to remember.

Finalists, winners and top minds across the industry were brought together at the event, and they mingled over food and drinks before the gongs were handed out.

Awards nominees came from all states and territories, and included projects at the organisational level down to individuals.

Up first was the Research Innovation Award for projects that encourage novel approaches to water resources management. The University of Queensland and CRC for Water Sensitive Cities (QLD) took home the top spot for their work on Purple Phototrophic Bacteria for Resource Recovery from Wastewater.

Power & Water Corporation’s clever Community Leak Program for Living Water Smart netted the NT utility the Program Innovation Award, which recognises innovative environmental and sustainability programs.

This was followed by the Infrastructure Project Innovation Award. The collaboration between John Holland Group (SA) and Sundrop Farms on the Sundrop Farms Project project led them to the win.

The Water Industry Safety Excellence Award wrapped up the organisational awards. This category recognises active involvement in injury prevention and safety improvement. Fremantle Commercial Diving (WA) took the top spot for its FCD Skyhook Mark 4 technology.

Moving on to the individual awards, Clara Laydon nabbed the Best Water e-Journal Paper Award for her paper, titled ‘Understanding Naegleria Fowleri: A Different Type of Pathogen, an Increasing Climate Change’.

The Australian Stockholm Junior Water Prize went to Minh Nga Nguyen from the Sydney Girls High School (NSW) for the Recycling Waste into Biochar: A Sustainable Wastewater Filter and Fertiliser for the Agricultural Industry project.

This year’s Student Water Prize, which recognises excellence in water-related studies and research, was given to Sarah Aucote from Flinders University (SA). The reason for the win was her work in smart monitoring for microbial risk assessment, which investigated assays targeting mitochondrial DNA as a new and novel approach to tracking sources of faecal contamination.

Towards the end of the proceedings, the cream of the crop were revealed as the Young Water Professional of the Year and Water Professional of the Year took to the stage.

Katrin Doederer (Young Water Professional of the Year), research fellow at the University of Queensland (QLD), was honoured for rapidly developing from a successful PhD student to a highly regarded expert in the field of disinfection by-products in drinking water, and demonstrating her prowess as an effective communicator and productive project leader at the interface between research and practice.

And the award for Water Professional of the Year went to Ciara Sterling, head of community inclusion at Yarra Valley Water (VIC). She was credited for being the driving force behind Yarra Valley Water’s successful WaterCare initiative and Head of the Thriving Communities Partnership, amongst other attributes.

Australian Water Association Chief Executive Jonathan McKeown congratulated all award winners for their outstanding contribution to the sector and the wider community.

“On behalf of the Association, I would like to congratulate and recognise the dedication, passion and enthusiasm shown by our members who are truly making a difference to the Australian water sector,” McKeown said.

“This year saw a record number of award entries across the country, with 179 submissions in the last year, and 45 of those being submissions for the Infrastructure Project Innovation Award. This is a testament to the growth in water industry projects being undertaken by our members all over Australia.

“It is important for the industry to come together to recognise, learn from and be inspired by the individuals and organisations who, in their day-to-day work, are ensuring a secure water future for all Australians,” he added.

The next round of State and Territory award submissions open in June. For more information, click here.