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Victoria's most innovative recognised in 2018 Victorian Water Awards

The winners of the Victorian Water Awards were announced today at the Victorian Water Awards Luncheon, which was held in the iconic Arts Centre in Melbourne.

The Victorian 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 lunch and congratulated all finalists and winners for their hard work and outstanding achievements.

“This year, we had a total of 31 entries across all organisational and individual award categories. This demonstrates the innovative and inspiring work taking place across Victoria,” 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 and the wider community in Victoria."

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

The winners

Research Innovation Award

Driving Change from Conservatism to Pragmatism – Better use of Biosolids and Recycled Water by Using Research to Challenge Guidelines – South East Water

Through this project, South East Water explored changes to existing regulations around biosolids and recycled water. Using rigorous research, the project team delivered regulatory changes that significantly streamlined storage requirements for both biosolids and recycled water. These changes are now driving major efficiency gains for the industry both in Australia and beyond.

Program Innovation Award

Enhancing Our Dandenong Creek – Melbourne Water

Melbourne Water’s commitment to working with the community and other agencies to achieve exemplary outcomes is clear in the Enhancing Our Dandenong Creek program. The project has seen measurable on-ground benefits, through the reintroduction of two nationally threatened fish species, and world leading waterway renewal works.

Highly Commended

A Day at the Zoo – Engaging Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities – City West Water

The objective of 'Day at the Zoo' was to increase City West Water’s understanding of newly arrived community members who may be facing language or cultural barriers. The program gives them the opportunity to understand the water cycle, the safety of the water supply, and how their daily activities in the home impact the efficient use of water. The collaborative approach of the program has allowed participants to feel they are valued members of the community.

Infrastructure Project Innovation Award

Internet of Things Site Monitoring Solution – SAGE Automation and Melbourne Water

SAGE's solution enabled Melbourne Water to monitor previously unmonitored low-lying sites at low cost, low energy, and high speeds. This project is a clear example of the Internet of Things in practice and provides a blueprint for the water industry in leveraging new digital technologies and associated capabilities to address future challenges.

Student Water Prize

Impacts of Hybrid Water Supply Systems on Water Resources and Infrastructure – Mukta Sapkota, University of Melbourne

Mukta developed a comprehensive framework designed to support the implementation of decentralised and centralised hybrid systems by assessing the interactions between the two systems. The results of the study can help water managers to make informed decisions involving the combination of decentralised and centralised systems under a variety of population and climate scenarios.

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

Casey Furlong, Integrated Water Management Consultant, GHD

Over his seven-year career in the water sector, Casey has worked in the public sector, academia and the private sector. Before becoming a consultant with GHD, Casey was completing a PhD and Post-Doctorate as well as helping establish the Resilient Melbourne Integrated Water Management working and alignment group. Casey's research, which includes 9 international journal papers, a book chapter, and an article in The Conversation, have been read collectively over 16,000 times.

Casey takes every opportunity available to support undergraduate and postgraduate students with career advice and supporting their interest in the water sector and is very deserving of the 2018 Young Water Professional of the Year Award.

Highly Commended

Emily Darlison, Partnerships Coordinator, Project Lead, Climates

Emily is a passionate advocate for water, the environment and people’s rights – especially those whose voices aren't easily heard. She is currently living and working in Fiji for not-for-profit organisation, Climates, and has partnered with Engineers Without Borders on a mentoring network for female engineers in the Pacific. Emily displays strength in advocating for climate change policy and determination to support our neighbours in the Pacific.

Water Professional of the Year Award

Andrew Forster-Knight, Operational Technology Manager, South East Water

Over the last 15 years, Andrew has pioneered the development of a range of technology-based innovations that have delivered efficiency and reliability benefits to water network operators and helped to increase liveability and affordability for water utility customers.

Andrew’s proudest achievement is the development of a data logging and visualising system to help businesses monitor water and energy consumption during Victoria’s Millennium Drought. As a result, water consumption was reduced by 22%.

Andrew’s collaborative approach to problem solving and his willingness to share knowledge both within the water sector and beyond has resulted in significant industry progress both domestically and internationally.

Check out some highlights from the event here.