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Western Australia welcomes delegates to the inaugural Connected by Water conference

Last week, AWA welcomed over 550 attendees to the inaugural Connected by Water conference featuring keynote speakers, a trade exhibition and brought together water professionals across Australia to an exciting and picturesque Perth location to discuss the intersection of water, mining, energy and the environment.


Last Tuesday 27 February, delegates were presented with three site tour options including:

  • Water Corporation’s Advanced Water Recycling Plant and Water Research & Innovation Precinct;
  • Woodman Point WRRF and Hazer Hydrogen Demonstration Plant; and
  • Wetlands of Boorloo (Perth) Walking Tour.

All three tours sold out and the feedback was unanimously positive.

Site Tour Perth

Day One

Day one was focused on Young Professionals and began with an enigmatic Welcome to Country by Noongar dancer & musician Olman Walley.


Delegates were then immersed in two Keynote presentations by David Symons (Global Future Ready Innovation Lead and Director – Earth and Environment, WSP) on megatrends and by Chelsea Hayward (2023 Australian Young Water Professional of the Year) who delivered a call to action for more intergenerational collaboration to be created for the support of young professionals in the industry.


Delegates then attended dynamic sessions throughout our Young Professionals Program (sponsored by Water Corporation) with themes to broaden their horizons including:

  • Our Sustainable Future;
  • Acting Now to Shape the Future;
  • Water Matters;
  • Steps Towards Circular;
  • The Path to Net Carbon Zero – Fugitive Emissions;
  • Thriving Communities and Social Value;
  • Innovation and New Technologies;
  • Thinking Outside the Box; and
  • Leading People to Water.

Day one finished with a relaxing outdoor social event (sponsored by Tessele) with delegates enjoying live music, canapes and networking in the Summer Garden.

Day Two

Day two continued with more thought provoking Keynote sessions from Lisa McLean who discussed "Water: A Foundational Resource for a Circular Economy" and Josh Byrne who discussed "Waterwise Exemplars – Using Leadership Projects as Catalysts for Change".


The opening keynotes were followed by a presentation from Katie Hanniffy, Head of International & Industry Programs, Australian Water Association who presented an update on all the work completed in partnership with The Australian Water Partnership on "Connecting our Region: Partnerships for a Resilient and Climate Smart Water Sector".


Delegates then attended sessions with themes including:

  • Water Treatment Technology and Innovation;
  • Thriving Communities and Social Value;
  • Financing the Net Zero Carbon Future;
  • Keeping Us Accountable;
  • Circular Solutions;
  • The Path to Net Zero - Hydrogen;
  • Integrated Planning;
  • Circular Economy Workshop; and
  • Preparedness and Resilience in a Changing Climate.

Day two ended with a fabulous Conference Dinner (Sponsored by Jacobs) where delegates were treated to a Welcome to Country by Olman Walley and his daughter who dazzled the audience with a traditional Noongar dance and music piece.


Day Three

Day three brought the Connected by Water conference to a satisfying conclusion with a final Keynote session from Professor Anne Poelina who discussed "Connecting and Sharing River Voices".


The Hon. Simone McGurk, Minister for Training and Workforce Development; Water; Industrial Relations also delivered the Minister's Address.


Delegates then attended final sessions with themes including:

  • “With, not For” - First Nations Community Collaboration;
  • Wastewater Technology and Innovation;
  • Sharing Water Information in the Mining Sector;
  • What's in the Way, is the Way;
  • Digital Technology and Innovation;
  • Sustainable Mining and Agriculture;
  • Responding to a Changing Climate; and
  • Developing Resilience Solutions.

To wrap the inaugural Connected by Water conference, the Best Paper Award (Sponsored by Quantum Filtration Medium) was presented to Luca Zappia of Water Corporation for his paper Horrocks WTP Continuous Electrochlorination (CEC) Upgrade.


After a powerful three days, delegates attended the Happy Hour (Sponsored by National Pump and Energy) to wind down and network with new friends and colleagues.

Thank you to our delegates, staff, sponsors, speakers, exhibitors, organising committee and venue assistants! We hope to see you at Ozwater'24 in Melbourne this May.

Thank you to our Partners and Sponsors