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Queensland’s water industry makes waves at water awards

The winners of the Australian Water Association's Queensland Water Awards were announced at the Gala Dinner & Awards Night on Wednesday, 18 November at the Novotel Sunshine Coast.

These industry awards recognise the contribution of the Association's members for their inspiring leadership and innovative research, programs and infrastructure projects.

“For more than 20 years, the Association has been running the Water Awards Program to recognise the work our members do for their communities and the wider industry,” Australian Water Association President, Carmel Krogh OAM said.

“In 2020, the water industry has shown resilience and innovation through climate change, a global pandemic and economic recession.

“The Queensland Water Award finalists and winners are exemplars of how our members are working towards and inspiring a sustainable water future.”

This year's winners will go on to represent Queensland in the national Australian Water Awards, which will be presented at the Association’s annual water conference and exhibition, Ozwater’21 in Adelaide on 4-6 May 2021.


Research & Development Excellence Award

Zero-Energy Sewage Treatment: Harnessing the Power of Biogas – The University of Queensland, Urban Utilities, City of Gold Coast, SA Water, Water Corporation and University of Technology Sydney

Sewage treatment is an energy-demanding process. In a world-first, a consortium of nine research and industry partners, led by The University of Queensland, successfully demonstrated the novel, free nitrous acid biotechnology at pilot scale, treating sewage without net energy input, generating biogas and achieving nutrient discharge limits.

Organisational Excellence Award

Regional Water Industry Worker Pilot Program – Mackay Regional Council, Whitsunday Regional Council, Townsville City Council, Cairns Regional Council and Burdekin Shire Council

Attracting, training and retaining workers in regional areas has significant challenges. In response to this challenge, five regional councils partnered to review the skills of their workforce and reduce the risks to water quality across the regions. Challenging the traditional model, the project has seen these councils collaborate on an upskilling project for their employees. This program demonstrates true collaboration and leadership of the water industry within regional Queensland.

Infrastructure Project Innovation Award (Regional)

Port Stewart Water Supply – Arup and Centre for Appropriate Technology

This project is an innovative and collaborative initiative helping build a cyclone-proof, safe, clean and reliable drinking water supply for the Lamalama people, the Traditional Custodians of Princess Charlotte Bay in Far North Queensland. Arup provided pro-bono support to Indigenous Organisations – Centre of Appropriate Technology and Yintjingga Aboriginal Corporation – to build the system, which was facilitated by Engineers Without Borders Australia.

Infrastructure Project Innovation Award (Metro)

Cedar Grove Environmental Centre – Logan City Council, Downer, WSP and Cardno

This innovative centre showcases Queensland’s first wastewater treatment plant which benefits the environment by producing record low nutrient levels in effluent and offsetting remaining nutrients through catchment restoration. The site master plan was developed with the local community and features walking trails, 120,000 native plants and a Landcare nursery.

High Commendation:

Virtual Assist – Urban Utilities

Distinguished Service Award

David Cameron, CEO, Queensland Water Directorate

David is an incredibly well-respected member of the Queensland water industry and has worked tirelessly for more than a decade to help our regions. Through the Queensland Water Directorate, David’s impact has been wide-reaching, and he is always looking for ways to help regional water businesses stay compliant and improve their business operations. David connects with the people who make a difference in keeping Queenslanders healthy and he is an extremely worthy nominee of the 2020 Distinguished Service Award.

Student Water Prize (sponsored by Calibre and Diona)
An Innovative Way of Treating Wastewater and Sludge Employing a Novel Ammonia-Oxidizing Bacteria Genus Candidatus Nitrosoglobus – Zhiyao Wang, The University of Queensland

Zhiyao is a final year PhD student focusing on the development of novel processes for efficient nitrogen removal from wastewater, and advanced digestion of waste activated sludge. These technologies provide retrofitting options to transition wastewater facilities from pollutant removal to resource recovery. Zhiyao’s research contributes to the sustainability of the wastewater industry by developing new technologies that significantly reduce the cost and increase the efficiency of wastewater and sludge treatment.

Young Water Professional of the Year Award (sponsored by Xylem)
Dr Lachlan Guthrie, Research Fellow, International WaterCentre

Since being awarded his PhD from RMIT, Lachlan has completed several impressive international water management projects including the 2020 update of the Asian Water Development Outlook and the COVID-19 Water Security Risk Index. Lachlan has shown his aptitude for both innovation and leadership within the water sector to create output that will influence hundreds of millions of dollars of funding. His contribution to the water sector over the last several years has been undoubtedly significant and he is very deserving of this recognition after many years of hard work and study.

Water Professional of the Year Award
Professor Zhiguo Yuan AM, Director, Advanced Water Management Centre, The University of Queensland

Professor Yuan is an influential researcher whose innovations in integrated urban water management are coupled with a strong commitment to industry engagement and capacity building. His work, “Putting science in sewers”, fundamentally changed the practice of sewer corrosion and odour management, generating economic benefit greater than $400M. Professor Yuan is an Australian Research Council Australian Laureate Fellow, an Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering Fellow, an International Water Association Distinguished Fellow and a Member of the Order of Australia. The Association is thrilled to add 2020 Queensland Water Professional of the Year to his significant list of achievements.

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