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NSW water awards showcase innovation and inclusion

The winners of the Australian Water Association's New South Wales (NSW) Water Awards were announced at the Heads of Water Gala Dinner on 28 February at the Sofitel Wentworth. 

The NSW Water Awards recognise the contribution of the association's members for their inspiring leadership and innovative research, programs and infrastructure projects. 

Australian Water Association President Carmel Krogh attended the dinner and congratulated all finalists and winners for their hard work and outstanding achievements. 

“It is inspiring to see such a diverse range of award finalists from academia, local government and the private sector,” Krogh said. 

“This year, we have seen applied research that minimises the consumption of fresh water, and innovations that are saving costs and preventing harm. 

“We have seen sustainable design schemes that support and engage local communities, and small-scale water treatment systems that improve water outcomes for remote communities.

“Our water professionals continue to be exemplary role models and advocates for the industry, particularly for their contribution to the NSW branch and the wider water sector, both locally and globally.

“The Australian Water Association would like to congratulate all finalists and winners who truly embody our purpose to inspire and drive a sustainable water future.” 

A number of this year's NSW Water Award winners will go on to represent the state in the national Australian Water Awards, which will be presented at the Association’s annual water conference and exhibition, Ozwater’20 in Adelaide on 5-7 May 2020. 

The winners

Research Innovation Award

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, have 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 (sponsored by Aurecon)

Recycled Water for a Greener Parkes – Parkes Shire Council

The Parkes Recycled Water Scheme provides a new, sustainable and climate resilient water supply to support a vibrant community in central western NSW. The scheme embodies innovative design and embraces a broader approach to infrastructure planning and delivery, engaging the community it supports and enhancing the local natural and urban environments.

Infrastructure Project Innovation Award

Project Gilghi: Modular Self Contained Solar WTP for Remote Indigenous Communities – Aurecon and Ampcontrol

Since installation of the first unit in early 2019, the community of Gillen Bore has had access to a continuous supply of safe drinking water. This project demonstrates a new way of delivering small-scale, deployable water treatment with integrated power systems. It lowers the cost of delivering quality water to remote communities and facilitates meaningful progress towards improving the water outcomes for all people across Australia.

Kamal Fernando Mentoring Award

Daniel Lambert, Australasia Water Leader, Arup

Daniel’s mentorship and infectious passion for the water industry has been invaluable to the career progression of a significant number of engineers within Arup and the water industry more broadly. His forward-thinking and far-reaching approach to mentoring truly sets Daniel apart as an exemplar water industry leader.

Roger Pettitt Award

Ivan Reolon

Ivan is a stalwart of the Australian water industry and has made a long and sustained contribution to AWA’s NSW Branch at both a personal and business level. He served as a member of the NSW branch committee for many years, including as vice president, and has been a great supporter of many AWA events through his voluntary efforts.

Student Water Prize

Optimisation of the Water System at Visy Paper Smithfield (VP3&6) – Alana Saliba, the University of Sydney

Alana is undertaking a combined degree in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Project Management at the University of Sydney. As one of twelve who received the 2019 Engineering Sydney Industry Placement Scholarship, she’s worked full time for six months at Visy Paper, completing her thesis which considerably assisted the mill in minimising their consumption of fresh water.

Young Water Professional of the Year Award (sponsored by Xylem)
Dr Tanja Rosenqvist, Lecturer - Humanitarian Engineering, RMIT

Tanja has made a substantial contribution to the water sector through her work using human-centred design approaches to improve water and wastewater conditions in low-income communities globally. She has designed innovative water and sanitation technologies for households in Asia and Africa and developed practical tools for increasing the voice of marginalised communities in water governance broadly.

Highly Commended

Jocelyn Ellero, Engineer - Water Resources, SMEC

Water Professional of the Year Award (sponsored by Veolia)
Grant Leslie, General Manager, Balmoral Group Australia

Grant has been a significant contributor to the water sector over the past 30 years with an eclectic career, ranging from sampling trade waste, to policy development, to the economics of water, and many things in between. 

During his time at WSAA, Grant was a key driver of change in the education of water industry operators, which is still in affect more than 10 years later. 

In his current role, Grant provides innovative approaches to the economics of water with one of his recent projects being the first cost benefit analysis that had been carried out on a dam project in the history of WaterNSW.

The AWA wishes to congratulate all the award finalists and winners and thank our generous sponsors for their support of these important industry awards.