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Meet the ACT’s water leaders

The ACT might be small, but water professionals in the nation’s capital are doing big things.

Their achievements will be celebrated at the Australian Water Association’s ACT Water Leaders Dinner on 5 September, where the winners of the ACT Water Awards will be announced.

Speaking at the event will be Peter O’Connor, Director of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Section at the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

O’Connor has 15 years’ experience in international development and foreign policy, with a focus on the Pacific Region. He has completed postings in the Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste, and has a masters degree in public policy and international development from the Australian National University.

Before joining the Australian Government’s international development program, O’Connor spent 19 years as a political and economics reporter, working for Australian Financial Review, Bloomberg and the Associated Press of America.

Let's meet the ACT Water Awards finalists.

Infrastructure Project Innovation Award

Access box works to allow secondary augmentation

Icon Water, Downer, Mainteck Services, Jacobs and Cove

As part of Icon Water’s refurbishment of the Lower Molonglo Water Quality Control Centre, an innovative access box structure was developed to enable actuated penstocks to be installed

in the Mixed Liquor Distribution Channel. This created a safe and dry work area while allowing process water to flow around the box.

ACT Healthy Waterways Project

ACT Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate

Healthy Waterways successfully delivered an ambitious program of water sensitive urban design infrastructure, including 600,000 seedlings of native water plants, shrubs and trees. Complementary activities in public education, water monitoring, research, tool development and catchment coordination have set a strong foundation for the territory to extend the benefits of Healthy Waterways into the future.

Program Innovation Award

Integrated water accounts for the Canberra Region

Bureau of Meteorology

The Bureau of Meteorology and the Australian Bureau of Statistics produce annual national water accounts of different types for differing but complementary purposes. A collaboration between the two organisations has produced an integrated set of water accounts for the Canberra region that will aid water resources and environmental management in the ACT.

Student Water Prize

Incorporating agricultural analysis into hypoxic blackwater modelling to improve forecasting of future events

Jimmy Parascos, Australian National University

Parascos’ project establishes the bioavailability and dissolved organic carbon leaching rate constant for pasture in the middle reaches of the Murray-Darling Basin. The project updates and improves upon the Blackwater Risk Assessment Tool and removes restrictions that only allowed the model to operate in river red gum dominant basins.

Novel water technologies

Mojtaba Taseidifar, UNSW Canberra

Taseidifar’s project includes developing novel processes in water treatment and cavitation that will lead to more sustainable, environmentally friendly water technologies. The project is aimed at providing solutions for two significant problems in the water industry: the first involving an efficient process for the removal of heavy-metal ions from drinking water; and the second based on a novel approach to the prevention of fluid cavitation in propellers.

Young Water Professional of the Year

Calista Beck

GIS Supervisor, Icon Water

Beck works as a GIS Supervisor at Icon Water, where her expertise in spatial information is highly regarded. She is also focused on improving reliability and customer satisfaction, which actively increases business efficiencies. Using the skills she has developed, Beck is able to work with the business and GIS professional consultants to deliver new functionalities that align to developing business needs in a reduced timeframe.

Portia Condell

Environmental Support Officer, Icon Water

Condell works as an Environmental Support Officer in Icon Water’s Catchment Protection and Land Management team. She is responsible for key aspects of managing the Canberra and Queanbeyan water supply catchments and reducing the risk to the water supply network from bushfires and vegetation encroachment. Condell displays the qualities that water professionals will need in the future in order to meet the challenges of climate change, water scarcity, increased population and threats to our catchments.

Get your tickets to the 2019 ACT Water Leaders Dinner here.