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SA’s most notable water professionals and projects recognised

The winners of the Australian Water Association's (AWA) South Australian Water Awards were announced at the SA Gala Dinner and Awards Night held at the Adelaide Convention Centre last week, where the theme for the night was ‘The Greatest Show’.

The SA Water Awards were established in 1996 to recognise and celebrate outstanding contributions related to water in SA. The aims of the Awards Program are to firstly provide recognition and celebration of excellence of achievement and innovation in the SA water industry and secondly to raise the profile of the South Australian water industry.

AWA Chief Executive Jonathan McKeown congratulated all finalists and winners for their dedication to the industry and outstanding achievements.

“There were many exceptional award entries this year and we were pleased to see nominations from a mix of local and state government, universities, as well as private and public sector organisations,”  McKeown said.

“This year, we have seen projects that explore new ways of water and wastewater management by using new technologies, upgrading assets and engaging the community.

“We have seen research around recreational access to reservoirs for community benefit, pipe leak detection and repair, long-term planning of critical water infrastructure and the cost-effectiveness of mini hydropower turbines into water transmission system pipelines.

“Our young and experienced water professionals are passionate and enthusiastic advocates for water awareness, and their efforts will continue to inspire positive change in the industry and wider community.

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

The Hon. David Spiers – Minister for Water and Environment, was present as both a guest and to present various awards, and as a performer in our entertainment package.

The entertainment for the night was sponsored by Fulton Hogan, and included a series of videos, with acting contributions coming from across the water industry.

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

The winners

Program Innovation Award

Flows for the Future – Department for Environment and Water

Communities and industries need healthy water catchments. The Flows for the Future Program aims to improve the health and resilience of catchments in the Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges.

Collaborating with landholders and industry, the program funds the design and restoration of “low flows” on dams and watercourse diversions, restoring natural flows throughout stream systems.

Highly Commended:

South East Flows Restoration Project – Department for Environment and Water, and KBR

Research Innovation Award

SA Water Machine Learning Analytics for Proactive Pipe Leak Detection and Repair​​ – SA Water

SA Water and the University of Adelaide have undertaken collaborative research to develop machine learning software tools which enable the early detection of cracked water pipes. These tools have been successfully applied to reduce the number of uncontrolled pipe breaks in the Adelaide CBD and have attracted on-going national and international interest.

Highly Commended:

Protecting Water Quality While Enabling Recreational Access to Reservoirs: Combining Science and Policy to Achieve Community-Level Outcomes​ – SA Water

Infrastructure Project Innovation Award

Peterborough Community Wastewater Management Scheme​ – District Council of Peterborough, Flinders University and Local Government Association of South Australia

The Community Wastewater Management Scheme (CWMS) in Peterborough is a real and living example of how a wastewater treatment project can incorporate sustainable design principles – social, economic, environmental – and achieve success. The CWMS uses world-leading research to solve a wastewater problem and has led to new jobs in Peterborough and in Indigenous communities in Northern Australia.

Highly Commended:

Riverine Recovery Project​ – Department for Environment and Water

The Hodgson Medal: Student Water Prize

Is the Installation of Mini Hydropower Turbines into Water Transmission System Pipelines Cost Effective? ​– Amber Smith and Anthony Cox​, University of Adelaide

Amber Smith and Anthony Cox are former engineering students from the University of Adelaide and completed their honours research in the field of water engineering and renewable energy in 2018. They have a passion for environmental sustainability and are interested in finding innovative solutions to global environmental challenges, like whether the installation of mini hydropower turbines into water transmission system pipelines is cost effective.

Young Water Professional of the Year Award

Ben Staniford​, Senior Engineer​, Tonkin Consulting

Ben Staniford is a passionate, driven young water professional who relishes the opportunity to solve complex problems. He is highly focused on delivering quality outcomes to clients and developing his team to be the best they can be. Staniford is a competent technical professional and has demonstrated experience working with clients and contractors to develop successful outcomes.

Premier’s Water Medal: Water Professional of the Year Award

Mark Gobbie​, Acting CEO​, SA Water​

Mark Gobbie has had a long and distinguished career in the water industry spanning close to 40 years across public and private sectors. Starting as a graduate, his career has taken him to executive roles in both sectors. While he has built a strong profile interstate and overseas, Gobbie has always been a great contributor to the SA water industry.

Throughout his career Mark has and continues to be an advocate of AWA, supporting numerous events through both personal participation and corporate sponsorship in his various leadership roles. He is a very worthy recipient of the 2019 Premier's Water Medal.

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