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South Australian Water Awards recognise innovation in SA water sector

The winners of the South Australian Water Awards were announced on Friday, 23 November at the Australian Water Association’s SA Gala Dinner and Awards Night.

The South Australian Water Awards aim to recognise the contribution of the Association’s members for their leadership and innovative programs, research or infrastructure projects.

Australian Water Association Chief Executive, Jonathan McKeown attended the awards dinner and congratulated all finalists and winners for their hard work and outstanding achievements.

“We had an extraordinary line-up of entries in this year’s awards which demonstrates the innovative and inspiring work taking place in South Australia,” Mr McKeown said.

"On behalf of the entire Association, we’d like to congratulate the professionals and organisations
who are truly making a difference to the water sector in South Australia."

The winners of this year's South Australian Water Awards will automatically be entered into the equivalent National Australian Water Awards category, which will be presented at Ozwater’19 in Melbourne, 7-9 May 2019.

The winners

Program Innovation Award (sponsored by SA Water)

Proactive Dirty Water Complaints Management in Adelaide Drinking Water Network – Allwater,
SA Water and SUEZ

Complaints about dirty water make up approximately 50-70 per cent of all water quality related customer complaints in metropolitan Adelaide. Proactive Dirty Water Complaints Management in Adelaide’s Drinking Water Network Program brings together data and information collected from different areas of the business to prioritise and target action to reduce customer complaints. The program demonstrates how to successfully combine disparate data sets to improve business performance.

Research Innovation Award

Combating Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Wastewater Systems: From Quantification to Implementation – SA Water and the Advanced Water Management Centre - The University of Queensland

Current methods to enable greenhouse gases from wastewater treatment plants to be measured and accurately modelled are empirical and found to be very inaccurate but this new research has enabled the real emissions to be measured. Of equal importance, it now allows design modelling to minimise the current significant contribution of greenhouse gas emissions from wastewater treatment sites. This research has already gained global recognition, and will be used to support the 2019 Refinement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories.

Highly Commended

Infectivity Rates of Cryptosporidium, and its Impact on Drinking Water Quality Risk Assessments – SA Water

This research has significant importance in providing safe drinking water supplies globally. SA Water have developed a unique cell culture assay which enables reliable detection and measurement of the human infectious fraction of oocysts in source waters. This method is being recognised globally – and has been accepted by the South Australian Health Regulator. It now forms an important part of SA Water’s monitoring arrangement.

Infrastructure Project Innovation Award (sponsored by Water Industry Alliance)

Enhanced Water Demand Forecasting for SA Water Using Machine Learning – Stantec and SA Water

This project by Stantec, with the support of its many industry partners, involved a comprehensive enhancement to SA Water’s Demand Forecasting Platform with the adoption of the latest cloud-based self-learning algorithms. These support not only more accurate and reliable demand forecasts but also significant improvements in flexibility and user-friendliness for the Network Operators who rely on this decision support platform each and every day. The system’s in-built ability to ‘learn’ and adapt to new constraints will ensure SA Water is able to deliver the most reliable and least-cost water supply to its customers for many years to come.

Student Water Prize – The Hodgson Medal

The Onshore Influence of Offshore Fresh Groundwater – Andrew Knight, Flinders University

Andrew’s post graduate research project identified that much of the world’s offshore groundwater is being mined through onshore extractions which is likely to reduce long term water security for many coastal communities. Andrew’s work provides a basis for reducing long-term risks associated with using coastal aquifers for freshwater supply. Custodians of coastal aquifers will also be better informed of the potential influence that offshore fresh groundwater may have on their onshore resources when designing future water allocation plans.

Young Water Professional of the Year Award (sponsored by TRILITY) – two winners

Adele Hay, Civil Engineer, Water, WSP

Adele Hay is a recent graduate who has already made an outstanding contribution to technical excellence and leadership. She has performed the role of Design Manager in analysing SA Water’s complex networks and has supervised design of main replacement projects leading to a reduction in the number of bursts in the network. She has also worked tirelessly to raise the profile of water engineering and science as a speaker in schools and universities, and as an encourager for more women entering the field.

Boris Ninkovic, Program Manager, Fulton Hogan

Boris Ninkovic has been instrumental in growing the water business of Fulton Hogan, particularly in leadership and project management of collaborative capital delivery project frameworks for SA Water. He has contributed to the water industry through supporting WaterAid and has stimulated interest in school students by directly involving them in observation and experience of large water projects. Known for championing positive behaviours, Boris has also worked hard to encourage better gender balance in the growing teams he is leading.

Premier’s Water Medal – South Australian Water Professional of the Year Award

Kevin Yerrell, Operations Manager, Waternish Engineering

Kevin has been a part of the water industry in South Australia for 33 years. During that time, he has worked in both Government and private sectors in design, construction and operation of water and wastewater treatment infrastructure. Whether leading, mentoring, inspiring or socialising, Kevin is both a challenging and encouraging communicator with peers, competitors, academics and labourers.

Kevin has been a mover and shaker behind the SA Branch of the Australian Water Association, serving on the Committee and organising countless SA Conferences and Ozwater conventions over more than 20 years. His organisational skills along with his unique sense of seriousness and fun has contributed much to the smooth running of the events.

The award of the 2018 Premier’s Water Medal is a fitting acknowledgement of Kevin’s contribution to the South Australian water industry.

The Australian Water Association would like to thank the generous sponsors and supporters of the South Australian Water Awards and Gala Dinner:

SA Water – Thought Leadership Partner and Program Award Sponsor

Flinders University – for the presentation of the Research Innovation Award

Water Industry Alliance – Infrastructure Innovation Award Sponsor

SUEZ – for the presentation of the Student Water Prize

TRILITY – National Young Water Professional of the Year Award Sponsor

Department of Environment and Water – Premier’s Water Medal Sponsor

Fulton Hogan – Entertainment Partner

WSP, GHD and Aurecon – Silver Sponsors

ANZ – Principal Banking Partner

SMEC – Networking Sponsor