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Queensland water sector celebrates achievements at water awards

The winners of the AWA Queensland Water Awards were announced at the Gala Dinner & Awards Night on Friday 10 September at the Hilton Brisbane, recognising the contribution of the Association's members for their inspiring leadership and innovative research, programs and projects. 

AWA CEO Corinne Cheeseman congratulated all the finalists and winners for their significant contribution and outstanding achievements.

“AWA’s Water Awards recognise the important and groundbreaking work our members do for the water sector and for their communities,” Cheeseman said.   

“The Queensland Water Award finalists and winners showcase the best examples of innovation and are a reflection of our members' collective contribution towards our sustainable water future.   

“From supporting long term water security and planning to leading the move towards zero carbon emissions and energy neutral wastewater treatment, the people and projects we are celebrating demonstrate the astonishing work being done across Queensland.”

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’22 in Brisbane on 10-12 May 2022. 


Organisational Excellence Award (sponsored by Fulton Hogan)
Water Future Program – Seqwater 

The Water Future Program is an integrated and innovative communication, engagement and education program supporting long-term water security planning and outcomes. The long-term goal is to build South East Queensland communities that are ‘water wise’ – communities that are connected to water, participate in decision making and take action to manage water sustainably.  

Infrastructure Project Innovation Award (Regional)
Mer (Murray) Island Water Network Management Program – Torres Strait Island Regional Council 

Following the successful implementation of an integrated leak reduction and network management approach, the remote Mer (Murray) Island community in the Torres Strait has had strict water restrictions lifted for the first time in 20 years. 

Infrastructure Project Innovation Award (Metro)
Australia’s First Municipal Sidestream Anammox Treatment Facility - Urban Utilities, Veolia Water Technologies, The University of Queensland and Fulton Hogan 

Urban Utilities and partners have delivered Australia's first municipal full-scale anammox process in Brisbane. A large amount of anammox culture is now available to be utilised, to seed more anammox installations across Australia. This is a significant milestone for the Australian water industry to shift toward zero energy wastewater treatment.  

Regional Service Award
Moira Zeilinga 

Moira has championed the needs of regional Queensland in many forums. She has recently delivered for Queensland Water Directorate, working collaboratively with a number of councils, a tool to determine asset criticality. She often volunteers and contributes to pro bono activities to promote and build capacity for the association including Ozwater, QWater Conference, North Queensland Conference, webinars and many regional events, and served on the QLD Branch of AWA.  

Distinguished Service Award
Mal Shepherd 

Mal has been instrumental in the top tier of the Australian water and wastewater infrastructure industry for almost two decades, including a full six-year term on the Australian Water Association Board. Mal is recognised for his significant contribution to not just the Australian Water Association, but also in recognition of his leadership in, and efforts to raise the profile of the industry.  

Student Water Prize (sponsored by Aurecon)
Towards Net-Zero Emission and Energy Neutrality, a Novel Technology to Utilise Methane Produced in Wastewater Treatment - Tao Liu, The University of Queensland 

Tao focused on the development of novel technologies for efficient nitrogen removal from wastewater, facilitating Australian water utilities to achieve net-zero emission and energy neutrality. His research outcomes contribute to the sustainability of the wastewater industry, which has great potential positioning Australian water industries at the frontier of advanced wastewater treatment technologies.  

Young Water Professional of the Year Award (sponsored by Xylem)
Samuel Koci, Senior Engineer, Water, Arup 

Samuel currently leads Arup’s water business in North Queensland and is responsible for the business development and delivery of high impact water sector projects. Samuel has a unique ability to draw together and lead multi-disciplinary and inter-organisational teams for the benefit of his projects, clients and end users. His well-rounded technical and project delivery skills, particularly in remote infrastructure design and delivery, are highly sought after by colleagues and clients across the region. 

Water Professional of the Year Award
Abel Immaraj, Director, Environment and Planning and Water Resources Systems Leader, Aurecon 

Abelis one of the nation’s most eminent water stewards and advocates. A trusted adviser to governments, utilities, corporations and industry bodies, he has actively shaped major water regulation, governance, and policy at local, state, and federal level across three decades. 

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