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Volume 40 No 8 DECEMBER 2013

Journal of the Australian Water Association

RRP $18.95


PLUS: > Water Pricing > Health & Safety > Recycled Water Irrigation > Remote Communities > Disinfection > Water Quality

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Contents regular features From the AWA President

Water Pricing: The Issue That Never Goes Away Graham Dooley


From the AWA Chief Executive


Call For A National Framework Of Economic Regulation Jonathan McKeown


water journal MANAGING EDITOR – Anne Lawton Tel: 02 9467 8434 Email: TECHNICAL EDITOR – Chris Davis Email:

My Point of View

Why Driving Investment In Australia’s R&D Is Essential Professor Don Bursill


Letter To The Editor


CREATIVE DIRECTOR – Mike Wallace Email:


ADVERTISING SALES MANAGER – Kirsti Couper Tel: 02 9467 8408 (Mob) 0417 441 821 Email:

Mike Dixon


Industry News



Crosscurrent Postcard From Kuwait

Young Water Professionals

The Importance Of Effective Communication Jo Greene


AWA News


Water Business

New Products and Services


Advertisers Index



CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER – Jonathan McKeown EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT – Despina Hasapis Email: EDITORIAL BOARD Frank R Bishop (Chair); Dr Bruce Anderson, Planreal Australasia; Dr Terry Anderson, Consultant SEWL; Dr Andrew Bath, Water Corporation; Michael Chapman, GHD; Wilf Finn, Norton Rose Fulbright; Robert Ford, Central Highlands Water (rtd); Ted Gardner (rtd); Antony Gibson, Orica Watercare; Dr Lionel Ho, AWQC, SA Water; Dr Brian Labza, Dept Health WA; Dr Robbert van Oorschot, GHD; John Poon, CH2M Hill; David Power, BECA Consultants; Dr Ashok Sharma, CSIRO. PUBLISH DATES Water Journal is published eight times per year: February, April, May, June, August, September, November and December. Please email for a copy of our 2013 Editorial Calendar. EDITORIAL SUBMISSIONS Acceptance of editorial submissions is at the discretion of the Editors and Editorial Board. • Technical Papers & Technical Features: Chris Davis, Technical Editor, email: AND Technical Paper Submission Guidelines Technical Papers should be 3,000–4,000 words long and accompanied by relevant graphics, tables and images. For more detailed submission guidelines please email:

volume 40 no 8

Aerial view of New York.

special update WaterAUSTRALIA: Doing International Business An Interview With Bob Herbert


feature articles

A PPP For Operational Excellence In New York

A New Form Of PPP At NYC Department Of Environment Protection Rod Naylor


Why Cost-Reflective Pricing Remains Good Policy A Review Of Recent Urban Water Pricing Reform Jim Grayson & Erin Cini


Drinking Water Operators As Health Professionals The Journey Towards Certification John Harris & Kathy Northcott

technical papers cover

© Alamy

A New South Wales RFS fire-fighter surveys a bushfire burning close to homes in Springwood in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, in October 2013.



• General Feature Articles, Industry News, Opinion Pieces & Media Releases: Anne Lawton, Managing Editor, email: General Feature Submission Guidelines General Features should be 1,500–2,000 words and accompanied by relevant graphics, tables and images. For more details please email: • Water Business & Product News: Kirsti Couper, Advertising Sales Manager, email: ADVERTISING Advertisements are included as an information service to readers and are reviewed before publication to ensure relevance to the water sector and the objectives of AWA. PUBLISHER Australian Water Association (AWA) Publishing, Level 6, 655 Pacific Hwy, PO Box 222, St Leonards NSW 1590; Tel: +61 2 9436 0055 or 1300 361 426, Fax: +61 2 9436 0155, Email:, Web: COPYRIGHT Water Journal is subject to copyright and may not be reproduced in any format without the written permission of AWA. Email: DISCLAIMER Australian Water Association assumes no responsibility for opinions or statements of fact expressed by contributors or advertisers.

DECEMBER 2013 water


From the President

WATER PRICING: THE ISSUE THAT NEVER GOES AWAY Graham Dooley – AWA President Is there any other commodity or service of which the price is so frequently reported on and debated as water? I think not, and it has been that way for decades – although in the past five years electricity has possibly come a close second. In the past few weeks alone, the Water Corporation of Western Australia has testified before a Parliamentary Committee about water prices, the South Australian Government is inquiring into water prices for sporting clubs, and ACTEW is being investigated after a very arduous price-setting process. Even during the recent major drought, we rarely saw articles about the price of fruit and vegetables – in spite of the fact that they went up considerably – but we always have plenty of print and electronic media coverage of water prices. The amount of money paid each year by water consumers for their water and sewerage services is actually quite modest compared to the rest of the household or enterprise budget. IPART in New South Wales and ESC in Victoria have made water pricing less political for over 20 years now, and have been very successful in focusing the natural monopolies in water and other utilities on value for money and performance standards. OFWAT in the UK has also been a star performer in balancing the utilities delivering increasing standards, the prices that consumers pay and the returns that investors receive. (As an aside, I met Baroness Thatcher many years ago and asked her about this initiative of her Government – but that will have to wait for another column!) In my view, appropriately set water and wastewater prices over multi-year pricing periods do three useful things for the Australian community:

water december 2013


They ensure that the most capital hungry of all the utilities (i.e. our water and wastewater utilities) get the revenue and resources they need to deliver the services to the required standard. Regulators also set efficiency and productivity targets – a necessary requisite for monopolies.


They promote innovative alternatives. We have seen plenty of stormwater and wastewater harvesting and recycling schemes become viable alternatives to valuable potable water. Irrigators of open space and agriculture often now have a cheaper grade of water to choose from.


They enable long-term investors to invest in water infrastructure with certainty – for example, the Sydney and Melbourne desalination plants, BOOT type schemes and investor-owned utilities.

Some water utilities are regulated for prices and standards of service by independent regulators, while some are only partially regulated and the Minister or local council in charge makes the final decision. We have also seen cases in two jurisdictions recently where the pricing regulators or Ministers have taken the unusual step of lowering prices – something I am not a fan of because it inevitably leads to subsequent higher increases as the demand for capital and revenue to fix old infrastructure grows. Water utilities have long asset lives and expenditure profiles. Accordingly they need farsighted price paths. They also yield steady but modest returns to those investors who own them. If the recommendations of Infrastructure Australia are adopted, this might, in the future, include the baby boomers in superannuation pension mode – such as myself. It is a most suitable investment for superannuation, as the UK has shown.


From the CEO


During November AWA and Deloitte released the State of the Water Sector Report for 2013. The survey revealed a broad consensus that the key objectives of providing water security and effective management of sewage are being met. Maintaining and augmenting infrastructure and operational efficiency, and responding to concerns about rising prices and water security are the main issues. The survey revealed that the industry’s concerns about a skills shortage have reduced significantly. This may reflect a reduction in large projects; however the industry needs to continue to attract new talent to meet future opportunities. These findings should also not dilute the need for improved training for operators across the industry – an initiative that AWA supports through the promotion of the National Certification Framework. Obtaining consistent water quality across all geographical locations should remain a strong industry priority. An interesting aspect of the survey was its findings on economic regulation. There is still a clear divide between those who see economic regulation of the water industry as being effective (47%) and those who see it as not effective (37%). How economic regulation of the water industry is governed is fundamental to the industry’s growth and success. The degree of regulation varies across the different states and territories. The various models in practice today provide for an independent regulator to set the price for water and, indeed, to set how and for what purpose the utilities can allocate financial resources. In other jurisdictions these matters are determined by the utilities themselves, or their shareholders – the State Governments.

Further successful expansion of outsourcing operations to the private sector will be determined by the way economic regulation is governed within the respective jurisdictions. This whole process of outsourcing needs to be driven by one overriding objective – better outcomes for the customers and the creation and maintenance of more ‘livable cities’. The partnering of the private sector with publicly held assets and utilities is a formula that has clearly worked in several locations. To encourage the private sector to take on more responsibilities we need consistency and clarity across all jurisdictions, which could be achieved under a national framework of economic regulation. This framework needs to address the investment environment needed to attract and maintain capital, the methods to equitably transfer risk from public to private partners, and guidelines for transparent pricing mechanisms with flexibility to maintain operations capable of meeting customer requirements. For the water sector to continue to meet customer demands and expectations the industry needs to work collaboratively to create the most appropriate partnerships between utilities and the private sector to deliver the product and services they require. This includes delivery of a consistent water quality across Australia, attracting the skills and people the industry needs to prosper, and advocating for a national framework to guide the economic regulation of the industry by the States and the Territories. These are all issues AWA will pursue in 2014. On behalf of all staff at AWA I wish you a Happy Christmas – and may 2014 be a year of confidence and success for the Australian water industry.

december 2013 water


My Point of View

Why Driving Investment In R&D Is Essential To Australia’s Economic Prosperity Professor Don Bursill AM FTSE – Chief Scientist for South Australia

Don has had some 40 years of experience in the Australian water industry. For most of that time he worked for the SA Water Corporation as its Chief Scientist, a position he held for 17 years. He led a national team that established the Co-operative Research Centre for Water Quality and Treatment under the Australian Government’s Co-operative Research Centres Program and was CEO of the Centre from 1995 until December 2005. After many years in the water sector, having enjoyed a strong involvement in research and innovation in Australia and internationally, it has been particularly interesting to gain exposure to a range of other technology areas through my current role as Chief Scientist for South Australia. The water sector employs many people skilled in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) professions. Developing, operating and maintaining the infrastructure and other systems needed to provide high-quality, reliable water services requires multidisciplinary teams working effectively and with the benefit of the most up-to-date knowledge and technologies. While working in the water sector I was always looking for ways to increase the level of support for research and innovation within the utilities, as well as enhancing collaboration with universities and other research organisations. The establishment of the CRC for Water Quality and Treatment in 1995 was a significant opportunity

water december 2013

and mechanism to do just that. When the CRC ended its life and transitioned into what is now Water Research Australia, there were almost 30 core participating organisations and a slightly larger number of associate members. The CRC, in one way or another, had an impact on most of the urban water sector in Australia and was highly recognised and appreciated internationally as well.

Why Settle For Mediocrity? The statement of purpose of the CRC aligned well with my own personal approach: “To assist the Australian water industry to produce high quality water at an affordable price”. Aspiring to excellence always seems preferable to being content with mediocrity. It is more challenging, but also infinitely more interesting. Achievements made under a more aspirational set of objectives are likely to be more significant and useful in improving business performance, productivity and the quality of service provided. Scientific research and innovation are recognised by leading countries such as the Western European democracies, the USA and Canada as an important factor in achieving sustainable economic development. In these countries competitive advantage and high levels of productivity (albeit in a high labour cost environment) are achieved through superior product and technology developments.



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My Point of View There are many examples of good technology and design succeeding in advanced economies against competition from low-cost countries. One very good Australian example is the export success being achieved by SMR Automotive, based in Adelaide. This company is a participant in the Automotive CRC and has worked with the University of South Australia on the development of new plastic mirrors for vehicles, that are lighter, more robust, have better optical properties than conventional automotive mirrors, and are cheaper to manufacture. Perhaps if this sort of quality investment in research and innovation had been more extensively utilised across the Australian automotive sector then the current parlous state of that industry might have been avoided. Collaboration between industry and the research community is a feature of some other sectors, such as defence. However, it is not common practice for many areas of Australian industry to seek the services and support of the research community with a view to enhancing innovation or to develop new products and services. Many small to medium enterprises (SMEs) do not even seem to recognise that their business competitiveness could be improved through innovation. Fortunately there are exceptions and SMR Automotive is one of those.

ADDrESSiNG AUSTrAliA’S DECliNiNG ProDUCTiViTy Australia’s productivity has been declining over the past decade and organisations such as the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) have been pointing this out for some time, as well as detailing a range of reforms and other changes that they see as necessary to address the decline. As a country we seem to have embraced a range of economic rationalisation measures to address the increasing global competition issue. Competing on cost alone is unlikely to achieve successful outcomes for Australia. Investment in research and innovation seems a better option. However, if we are going to be a successful country and economy in the longer term there are some issues that need to be addressed. High among these are: • The declining rate of Australian students studying STEM subjects; • Poor levels of science literacy among the general population; • A risk-averse culture in many areas of business, investment and government; • Australian industry generally finding it too difficult to engage and collaborate with universities; • The current ERA (Excellence in Research in Australia) system that rewards university researchers based on publication in highranking journals. This system is a disincentive for those working with industry on commercially sensitive developments that often preclude publication of research undertaken; • The very low level of PhD-qualified STEM professionals (ie, with research training) employed in Australian business and industry. Most are in academia and government. This is the opposite situation to leading economies such as those mentioned above.

ThE DiSENChANTMENT oF ThE loNG-DiSTANCE rESEArChEr Australia is blessed with many outstanding research scientists, engineers and mathematicians covering a broad range of important areas of national and international interest. Many depend on Federal and State Government funding for research support and the funding of key research infrastructure. The success rates, particularly for early career researchers, are frustratingly low. This leads to disenchantment with research as a career in Australia for many of our brightest young people. Some drop out of the system and others go overseas.

water december 2013

The German company, Bosch, which is based in Stuttgart, has an annual budget for research and development of some $4.2 billion – a larger annual budget than the Australian Research Council, the National Health and Medical Research Council and CSIRO combined. Even although size isn’t the only thing that matters, it certainly often helps. We definitely need to improve our funding and support for research on areas that align with national priorities and where collaborative links between industry and the research institutions will optimise the chances for the best social, economic and environmental outcomes for this country. The level of literacy and numeracy skills has been declining for many years, yet there are regular calls for schools to teach skills that should, in my view, be a family responsibility. A broader curriculum tends to lead to less time on literacy and STEM subjects. The number of Australians studying most STEM courses at university level, and the quality of their skills on entry, are declining. The opposite trend is the picture we see in many countries in our region with whom we are competing. This is an important issue for any industry that depends on STEM professionals in its workforce. More broadly, it is of concern that many in the community have low levels of appreciation of science or even how it works. Surveys undertaken by the office of Australia’s Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb, show a low level of appreciation among the community of the value of science in our daily lives. Even with Year 12 students it appears that only 1% of those not studying science thought science was almost always relevant or important to their future, while just 4% thought it useful in everyday life. Of those studying at least one science subject only 19% thought it almost always useful in everyday life. Interested readers may find out more on Professor Chubb’s initiatives from

rAiSiNG AWArENESS oF KEy WATEr iSSUES It is important that the community understands how our knowledge base is expanded and improved. It can be confusing at times when scientists are taking differing positions on key topics. Scientific debate is part of the process of moving forward. Differing views among scientists should not be used as an opportunity to completely undermine positions on important issues. There is substantial scientific knowledge on issues such as fluoridation, inoculation of children, management of marine parks, desalination and climate change. Yet scientific debate at the margins of these issues is used to present outlandish positions based on superstition, doctrine, or vested interests, rather than applying an objective assessment of the evidence base. Water issues can evoke passionate debate from the broader community. It is important that these debates are well informed and based on a high level of understanding. Notwithstanding the solid efforts of some water utilities and water agencies, the water industry could do better in keeping the community better informed on key issues. Continuing to build on the collaboration that exists between our best water researchers and the industry helps to keep the knowledge base current and provides enhanced opportunities for innovation. It would appear that there is a current focus on cost reduction processes in the industry following the huge infrastructure investments prompted by drought and climate change impacts. Investment in research and innovation often retracts under such circumstances. Relatively recent history shows this to be foolhardy. Perhaps it would be better to look at export opportunities with a view to improving bottom lines. In any event it would be disappointing if the levels of innovation in our sector were to decline to the mediocrity seen in some other areas of our economy at present.

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Letter to the Editor

CHALLENGING A CULTURE OF SECRECY Dear Editor, After 42 years in the industry one would think that I would get used to changes. One thing that hasn’t changed is that I am just as passionate as I was in 1971. Trained as a civil engineer, but having spent most of my working life as a supplier and contractor in the equipment business, I have seen fashions come and go … and come again. I have never, however, seen such widespread dissatisfaction among suppliers as I am seeing today. I’m referring to the current procurement system that has permeated much of the Australian water industry. The word “probity” is ubiquitous. Perhaps it is due to our litigious society and our managers’ desire to reduce risk, but it seems to me that the reverse is the outcome for which we are setting ourselves up. Someone did tell me that the path we are treading was trodden in the UK for a time, until it was realised that it is not productive. One of the most valuable activities AWA carries out is to facilitate networking opportunities within the water sector and provide the chance to share information with others as passionate as ourselves. At industry events we bore colleagues with our desire to share. We think we are highly informative when we start a dinner conversation about sludge, effluent or water treatment. For those of us passionate about what we do, it is how we are made up, our core being. Unfortunately, however, this no longer applies to purchasing. In today’s market, even if you have just invented the best widget available and want to sell it, you won’t be allowed to. No-one is to know what you have. If you bear with me I will explain why. As I said, we [suppliers] are a funny bunch. We might know about how to wash a wet well, how to stop a treatment plant from smelling, how to avoid an algal bloom. Whatever our field, many of us are almost fanatical about our own little area. Consulting engineers, purchasers and users of equipment have relied on people like us.

Try this example. A tender comes out that contains some potentially disastrous errors. The material specified will fail in a couple of years, so you want to offer something that will work. Easy, you might think. Make an offer to the tenderers and explain your reasoning. Sorry, no chance … the list of tenderers is a secret. So, despite the fact that you only have a small item to offer in the overall tender you go to the compulsory site meeting. At the meeting you ask for a list of attendees. Sorry, that’s a secret too. You are all supposed to be anonymous. Having been around the industry for so long I am well known and I have my ways. Another 60-year old supplier I know in the chemical dosing area also has his ways – although neither of us beats the system every time. He just hopes that no-one is seriously injured or killed when inexperienced contractors put in dangerous chlorination equipment because he can’t find out who is bidding. What do you do if you are a water authority engineer? You can see what is happening – that you are losing quality, that life controlled by the procurers is almost unbearable, so you come up with an answer. Go through all the procurement pain once, select a panel of four or maybe six, and then just go out to them for the next two years or so. The procurers like panels. There is lots of work setting one up so they are happy. Everyone will know who is on the panel so you are happy. Problem solved. Sounds good, doesn’t it, but now you have groups of four to six companies all over the country, all closed shops. But people are honest, aren’t they? It will be fine. Hang on though, what about all this secrecy stuff that the procurers brought in? Wasn’t that because engineers can’t be trusted? If they were right, we have now gone from an open and transparent system to a secret society with no accountability with the players deemed untrustworthy. I don’t know about you, but the logic defies me. – Steve Posselt, Riverview, Queensland

For widget suppliers, we used to talk to people when we found out about a job. We tried to educate the buyer and main contractor, sometimes successfully and sometimes not. We’d sell to knowledgeable buyers because buyers wanted to know. Not now. It’s a secret.

ANY COMMENTS? Would you like to comment on this letter? Letters to the Editor are welcome. Please email your response to Please note that contributions are the opinion of the author and may be edited at our discretion.

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TX592 – 0713 WATER DECEMBER 2013

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Special Update

DOING INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS AWA’s waterAUSTRALIA speaks with Bob Herbert. Bob Herbert, Australia’s Water Supplier Advocate, proudly dons the ‘champion’ title in developing and promoting the Australian water industry abroad. He works closely with the Australian Water Association’s waterAUSTRALIA network, Austrade and the Department of Industry to pinpoint business opportunities for suppliers looking to tap into the international market.

A: I think the Australian water industry has gained a reputation for its agility and robust water policy when dealing with challenges such as our sporadic rain and drought patterns. Now more than ever it’s vital for local suppliers to boost their competitive edge through international collaboration whenever possible by accessing opportunities picked strategically by waterAUSTRALIA.

Here AWA talks to Bob about his role in shaping and sharing a positive picture of our country’s water capabilities across foreign markets.

A: Last year’s mission to Singapore for Singapore International Water Week was a great success, providing an opportunity for the participating companies to showcase their capabilities to the international market. The mission helped to identify $60M worth of business opportunities and negotiations that are still in progress. I look forward to another successful delegation to Singapore next year. The SAMP program also continues to prove a success, running missions to the US including WEFTEC in October 2012 where companies identified and are still pursuing $12.3M in international business opportunities. The SAMP program is in the planning phase of more upcoming missions.

Q: What does your role as the Water Supplier Advocate involve? A: M  y role was appointed by the Commonwealth Government and I lead, advocate for, and assist Australian suppliers from the water industry to grow their capabilities and business domestically and into international markets. This is done by identifying and promoting platforms to maximise supplier involvement in water projects. Q: What industry experience do you bring to the role? A: I’ve worked closely with industry throughout my entire career, including the manufacturing and construction sectors. A large part of my career was actually with the Australian Industry (AI) Group, where I worked as Director for 30 years and was Chief Executive for eight of those. It’s the valuable insights I’ve received over the span of my career that have provided me with a continuing interest in helping Australian industry take advantage of the opportunities that international business affords. Q: W  hat projects highlight the capabilities of the Australian water industry in the local and international markets? A: T  he Australian Water Supplier Compact has been established through an agreement between waterAUSTRALIA, the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA), the Industry Capability Network and myself. The Compact demonstrates a commitment to breaking down the barriers to supply into the water industry and, therefore, increasing supplier access to business opportunities. Internationally, I think the key projects opening the gateway to international markets including the US, Asia and Latin America are waterAUSTRALIA’s Supplier Access to Major Projects (SAMP) US program, the Australian Water Solutions Mission to China and a mission to Latin America in 2014. These all provide Australian suppliers with an ‘in’ to foreign markets through increased business networking and definitely help to remove the complexities of doing international business. Q: H  ow have the current economic experiences changed the opportunities for the Australian water industry?

water december 2013

Q: W  hat are some of the project success stories and what opportunities did they foster?

Q: Y  ou are part of the Australian Water Solutions Mission to China delegation. Can you tell us a bit about this? A: I’m leading this Mission to Beijing for the Water Expo China + Water Membrane China 2013 (WEC 2013), which is supported by the Australian Department of Industry. This mission will provide several Australian suppliers with opportunities to present their products and/or services to the Chinese market through an Australian exhibition pavilion. Delegates will also have the opportunity to present their offerings to Chinese water authority leaders and potential buyers in an interactive seminar and take advantage of business-matching provided by Austrade. We hope this will unlock further opportunities for collaboration between both markets in the future. If you’d like to to get in contact with Bob please email:

AWA waterAUSTRALIA update waterAUSTRALIA is developing pathways to build international business for domestic suppliers through a range of initiatives aimed at growing and promoting the capabilities of the Australian water industry. If you are a small- to medium-sized business and are interested in creating demand for your products and services in foreign markets, consider joining one of the following international missions aimed at cultivating international business opportunities:


Special Update Australian Delegation to Singapore International Water Week, June 2014 Tap into the Asian market by participating in the 2014 Australian delegation to Singapore International Water Week, led by AWA. A pavilion at the Singapore exhibition under the waterAUSTRALIA brand will provide delegates with the opportunity to showcase their products and services to potential global buyers, suppliers for water infrastructure and key decision-makers. Tailored business matching will also be provided to help fasttrack networking between Australian delegates and prospective companies. This is an effective platform for participants to investigate potential business opportunities overseas, profile their business and, ultimately, generate sales. Follow-on meetings will be arranged in surrounding markets for those delegates wishing to take full advantage of their stay in Asia. If you would like to join the delegation please go to www.awa.asn. au/wateraustralia or email for more information. Australian Water Management and Wastewater Treatment Mission to India, January 2014 Australian suppliers with an interest in the Indian market and water recovery, treatment, reuse, water efficiency, small scale desalination, and water management and control solution are invited to join this mission. It will be held from 31 January to 5 February 2014, and participants will take part in a beneficial program including meetings with decision-makers and potential partners and customers through networking events and tailored one-on-one appointments in Ahmadabad, New Delhi and Chennai. Delegates will also participate in one of India’s leading water events, the Gujarat Water Summit 2014 in Ahmedabad.

Corporate Showcase spotlight The Industry Capability Network (ICN) has contracted waterAUSTRALIA to facilitate a Corporate Showcase to Degrémont in February 2014. The showcase will offer participating Capability Team members opportunities to showcase their products and services to key decision-makers from Degrémont – a strong option to facilitate business growth domestically.

WhAT is the ICN? The Industry Capability Network is a business source for suppliers. It’s a network that identifies and introduces Australian and New Zealand companies to projects, large and small. Did you know that ICN has helped local suppliers find $20.6bn worth of contracts since it started 29 years ago? Find out more about the ICN at As part of a 12-month plan, Industry Capability Team members will be offered opportunities to help ramp up their business development domestically and across international markets. This includes undertaking export readiness training, involvement in international missions, corporate showcases and tailored business matching. AWA is focusing on the growth of these teams and development of further offerings. If you are interested in joining a Capability Team please email

• Have YOU joined an Industry Capability Team?

If you’d like to take part, register online at au/WaterMissionIndia2014 or email Leigh Wilmott, Trade Adviser, Austrade at for more information. Latin America Mission, April 2014 With many of Australia’s water management challenges shared with Latin America, there is a great opportunity to share our world-class expertise abroad and learn from each others’ experiences, specifically across the resources and irrigation industries. In partnership with Austrade, AWA’s waterAUSTRALIA will manage an Australian mission to Latin America for members to take advantage of business-matching opportunities with companies seeking water solutions. Express your interest by going to or email for more information. Dubai Urban Water Symposium, April 2014 With water shortage a key issue across the Middle East and North Africa, Austrade will be running a series of water seminars across the Gulf Cooperation Council markets from 13–16 April, 2014. The Symposium will share Australia’s extensive experience in water conservation, urban water trends, management and product development and highlight how Australia has tackled a range of issues including desalination, water recycling and flood management. The symposium is a great opportunity for Australia to gain exposure as the global leader in water reform and governance, and share its successes and lessons learned along the way. For more information please go to or email

Creating better links into South-East Asian markets As the peak body for the Australian water industry, AWA will be working to develop new alliances in South-East Asia to maximise opportunities for AWA members in foreign markets and develop links regionally for AWA’s Corporate Members. AWA will be developing special partnerships with similar organisations in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia during 2014 (Phase 1) and Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar in 2015 (Phase 2). These partnerships will help promote the Australian water industry’s profile and identify opportunities to develop business opportunities for the Australian water sector. AWA’s CEO and waterAUSTRALIA’s Managing Director, Jonathan McKeown, will meet with several organisations and governments in Asia. Through this network of alliances AWA will be able to introduce members to new information and opportunities in these emerging markets and assist its members to find the right contacts and introductions to develop new business in Asia. If you’d like to stay updated on AWA’s involvement in South-East Asia please go to or email This program is proudly funded by the Asian Century Business Engagement (ACBE) Plan.

• Keep an eye out in the next issue of Water Journal for a post-event report on the Australian Water Solutions Mission to China. december 2013 water



International With millions of people in developing countries lacking access to safe drinking water, a Purdue University Professor and researchers are working to provide safe water supplies by using ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun to kill waterborne microorganisms and purify water. The prototypes currently produce water at a rate of about 10-20 millilitres per minute and the researchers are now determining how to scale up production. The Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization has filed an international application for patent of the innovation.

A study in Vietnam has revealed that massive over-pumping of groundwater sources to meet surging demand is drawing arsenic into the country’s village wells. The research indicates that a clean aquifer can become contaminated when water suppliers accelerate their flows of groundwater that contains naturally high levels of arsenic.

Nations around the world need to cut back on their water use if they want to save their precious woodlands and rivers, scientists at the Australia’s National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT) warn. The work of PhD researcher Sepideh Zolfaghar reveals that even trees in areas with abundant rainfall are at risk from over-extraction of groundwater.

Texas voters have approved the creation of a water bank expected to fund nearly $30bn in water infrastructure projects in the coming decades. The passage of Proposition 6 means the state will begin putting its 2012 State Water Plan – which calls for more than $50bn in spending on new water infrastructure by 2060 – into action. The project list is heavy on big new pipelines and reservoirs, and also features agricultural conservation and municipal water reuse projects.

A study by the UK water industry has concluded that fracking to extract shale gas is safe, the British government says. Opponents say water used in the process could be contaminated and could enter domestic supplies. UK Water Industry Research, a research body set up by water companies, is to release a report by the end of 2013.

National Australia should embrace the concept of recycled drinking water, according to a new report from the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE). Direct potable reuse of water (DPR) should be considered as a viable water resources management strategy beside other water supply options. Its benefits include reduced energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, lower capital and operational costs and a more robust, climate-independent water supply. These are the key findings of a research project completed by the Academy for the Australian Water Recycling Centre of Excellence and captured in an Academy report: Drinking Water Through Recycling: The Benefits and Costs of Supplying Direct to the Distribution System.

water december 2013

The Bureau of Meteorology’s Australian Water Resources Assessment 2012 is now available. The Assessment highlights patterns and trends in water availability, condition, and use at local to national scales and includes extensive information on the nation’s surface water resources and more limited information on its groundwater resources. It provides details on urban and rural water use and the water volumes of major surface water storages and aquifers.

Australia’s reserves of groundwater help earn the nation a steady $34 billion a year from mining, food production and manufacturing, according to a new study. A report by Deloitte Access Economics, commissioned by the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT), has highlighted for the first time the key role groundwater plays in the nation’s economy.

The Environment Department will slash 150 jobs before Christmas and more may go as part of the Abbott Government’s plan to shed 12,000 public sector jobs. Staff were sent a notice telling them that as a result of the department’s immediate budgetary pressures, it was preparing a voluntary redundancy program.

The National Water Commission has issued its 2012–13 Annual Report. The report looks at the NWC’s performance against outcome, deliverables and key performance indicators as outlined in the Commissions’ Portfolio Budget Statement.

Fewer Australian households are taking steps to save water in the garden, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Mark Lound from ABS said the recent Water Use and Conservation Survey collected information about water sources, water use and water conservation behaviours of Australian households.

The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) has proposed a national computer database that anyone can log onto to monitor mining projects and the environmental research associated with them. It says it will make the environmental approvals processes more transparent to the public and will assist with the Federal Government’s ‘one-stop shop’ approach.

The next mining boom and the emerging ‘dining boom’ in agriculture will depend critically on whether Australia has enough water to support them, says Professor Craig Simmons, Director of the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training. Mining and farming both use huge volumes of water, and with surface supplies becoming scarce, our future economic prospects are likely to rely increasingly on our underground ‘water bank’.

An important goal of the Australian Water Recycling Centre of Excellence is the development of a National Validation Framework for Water Recycling under what is now known as the NatVal Project. Phases 1 and 2 of the project are now progressing in parallel to ensure that the outcomes of the research activities can directly feed into the overall framework. The Centre and its partners are engaging with the public and private sector to build upon the large wealth of knowledge which has been developed in the industry over the years and to ensure the outcomes are relevant to the water recycling sector.



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New South Wales The O’Farrell Government has rejected a Labor push to keep coal seam gas activity out of Sydney’s water catchments, despite a pre-election pledge to ban the practice. Opposition Leader John Robertson introduced legislation to Parliament on Thursday seeking a ban on coal seam gas operations in designated “special areas” surrounding major water storages. The move would rule out about 371,000 hectares around Sydney, the Illawarra, the Blue Mountains, the Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven.

A delegation of Chinese water scientists has visited the water conservation group Rivers SOS to learn more about damage to catchment areas from mining. The scientists are from the Department of Ocean and Fisheries from the Hainan Province. Caroline Graham from Rivers SOS says her group asked the delegation to take a message to the Chinese Government to stop buying coal that comes from special catchment areas in the Illawarra. Meanwhile, a group of NSW MPs has visited Sydney’s drinking water catchment to view the impact of longwall mining from BHP’s Billiton’s Dendrobium mine.

Queensland A public hearing into the efficiency of the desalination plant on Queensland’s Gold Coast will start within weeks. A report from the auditor-general found that better planning of the South-East water grid may have saved taxpayers’ money.

Queensland Environment Minister, Andrew Powell, has defended his department’s decision to make 30 water policy, koala research and conservation workers redundant. “As a government we have committed to looking at what we do, how we do it, why we do it and whether there are better ways of doing it,” Mr Powell said. “In some instances that means looking outside of government to see if there are groups, organisations, local councils, who can do the same work, to remove the duplication to ensure we get the best outcome for the taxpayers dollars.”

A blueprint for the flexible and cost-effective management of South-East Queensland’s water resources has been released for public consultation. Acting Minister for Energy and Water Supply, Andrew Cripps, said the time was right for Seqwater to start developing a long-term strategy for maintaining water security in the region.

Queensland Deputy Premier, Jeff Seeney, says water created as a byproduct of coal seam gas exploration is a “resource” that could be used for drinking and irrigating farmland. The recently opened Kenya Water Treatment Plant will desalinate millions of litres of salt water released as a byproduct from coal seam gas extraction every day. Australian Greens Senator, Larissa Waters, said if the salt ends up in landfill it could be disastrous for downstream communities, and Lock the Gate Alliance President, Drew Hutton, said the long-term effects were unknown.

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Agriculture in the Fitzroy River Basin will receive a boost under proposals contained in a new draft Resource Operations Plan (ROP) for the Fitzroy released for public consultation by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines. Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Andrew Cripps, said the draft ROP proposes a number of initiatives to support future economic development in the Fitzroy Basin.

The Federal Government has approved a massive coalmining project in central Queensland that will be the largest in the country. The Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, approved the 37,380-hectare Kevin’s Corner project, which is the first to be approved since the introduction of a water trigger rule by the previous Federal Government.

Northern Territory The Northern Territory Government is investigating a number of projects to increase Darwin’s water supply. Documents sighted by ABC Rural show the Government is considering new dams and an innovative “wet season harvest” project, of which feasibility testing is underway. David George, from Power and Water, says work has begun on testing the feasibility of harvesting wet season flood flows from the Adelaide River.

Western Australia A new web portal launched by the Department of Water opens up the Government’s vast network of water information direct to clients throughout the state. The portal was developed by the Department of Water as a part of the $12.82m Royalties for Regions funded program to increase regional water availability, planning and investigation.

Water Corporation has defended the State Government’s decision to increase water bills this year, despite WA’s economic watchdog calling for a fall, saying it will protect consumers from future “price shocks”. Under a decision that came into effect on July 1, the cost to the average household for water, sewerage and drainage services increased by 6 per cent, or $79.65, to $1406.85 a year.

South Australia The South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA) has awarded its 2013 Environmental Excellence Awards to Treasury Wine Estates and Byrne Vineyards. The theme of this year’s awards was Water. Treasury Wine Estates won the large business category for its Markaranka vineyard, located near Waikerie.

A new policy aimed at reducing the impacts of urbanisation on the natural water cycle and reducing flood risks has been unveiled by the SA State Government. The Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) policy promotes urban design principles that integrate the management of the water cycle into land use and development processes.



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Tasmania The Australian Government has confirmed funding of $19.5 million for a new irrigation scheme to increase horticultural, viticultural and farm productivity in south-east Tasmania, creating up to 330 jobs. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment, Simon Birmingham, said the South East Irrigation Scheme involves construction of a 200-megalitre dam, installation of three pump stations and laying 82 kilometres of new pipelines for water delivery.

URS has announced the appointment of Kelly Maslin as Water Business Line Leader, Australia and New Zealand. Kelly was a member of the ANCOLD Committee who prepared the ANCOLD Guidelines on Consequence Categories for Dams and is currently a member of the committee preparing the ANCOLD Guidelines on Retarding Basins.

The Queensland Government has appointed an Aurecon-led consortium to conduct a $1.16M study to review the expected magnitude and frequency of flood flows for the Brisbane River catchment. Aurecon has partnered with Royal HaskoningDHV, Hydrobiology, Deltares and Don Carroll Project Management for the study, which will help create new systems to better handle future floods.

Victoria The Victorian Coalition Government expects to realise further savings on the Victorian Desalination Plant project following agreement with AquaSure to refinance the project early. These savings will be passed through to Melbourne’s water customers. The agreement between the Victorian Government and AquaSure also resolves $1.3 billion of outstanding legal claims.

The Victorian Coalition Government has announced the appointment of one new chairperson and 17 new members to the boards of Victoria’s 10 Catchment Management Authorities (CMAs). Victorian Minister for Water, Peter Walsh, said nine chairs and 20 members had also been reappointed.

Member News Reid Butler, chair of the AWA Water Efficiency Specialist Network and Manager of the Sydney office of BMT WBM, recently led an Australian contingent to the 7th IWA Water Efficiency Conference in Paris. Eighteen presentations were delivered by representatives of Australia’s world leading water efficiency industry. Reid presented the AWA position paper The Case for Water Efficiency and facilitated a workshop to determine the best aspects of engaging business with efficiency programs from around the world.

GHD has implemented an innovative multi-barrier stormwater treatment system for a major mining company at the Port of Townsville in Queensland. The GHD-patented technology economically filters stormwater and is effective for a broad range of contaminants, including oil, grease, soluble nutrients and heavy metals.

Dr Emily Phillips has been named the new Deputy Secretary of Water and Natural Resources at DEPI Queensland. For the past seven years, Emily has built and led the Rural and Resources Policy Branch at the former Department of Primary Industries, and most recently was Executive Director, Agriculture Policy at DEPI.

Water engineer, Craig Berry, has joined Aurecon as Unit Manager for its Water team based in Brisbane. Craig moved to Aurecon from Jacobs, where he was director of its water division in Glasgow and managed Scottish Water’s £800 million capital works program.

water december 2013

James Currie has been appointed as Managing Director of Black & Veatch’s Water Business for Australia. James has more than 30 years’ experience in the water sector spanning the UK, south-east Asia and, most recently, Australia. He will continue to be based in Melbourne and can be contacted by e-mailing

Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) has announced the appointment of Mark Sullivan AO, Managing Director of ACTEW Water in the ACT, as the new Chair of the WSAA Board. Mark takes over from outgoing Chair, Sue Murphy, Chief Executive Officer of the Water Corporation of Western Australia.

An integrated water project servicing the towns of Agnes Water and Seventeen Seventy has been recognised by the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia, Queensland division (IPWEAQ) for excellence in design and construction. The Agnes Water Seventeen Seventy Integrated Water Project was awarded the IPWEAQ Excellence Award for Design and Construction of a Private/Government project over $10 million at the recent IPWEAQ State Conference.

‘Problems with Pipes – Drinking Water Networks Master Class’ will take place in Sydney from 18–19 February 2014. This Master Class focuses on what can go wrong with pipes and troubleshooting the problem. Issues to be covered include planning and design to address unstable geo-strata or acid sulphate soils, selection of materials to minimise corrosion, dealing with leaks, catastrophic failure, pressure management and smart metering systems. For the full program visit the AWA website.

The NSW Government has appointed Bruce Morgan as Sydney Water’s new Chairman for a term ending in September 2016. Mr Morgan takes over from Dr Tom Parry, who was Sydney Water’s Chairman from August 2007 to September 2013. Mr Morgan has been on Sydney Water’s Board as a Director since January 2012 and has been acting Chairman since Dr Parry’s term ended in September.

East Gippsland Water has selected MWH Global to provide the bulk of its engineering services. The performance-based agreement commenced on 1 November and will initially run for three years, with a possible two-year extension. MWH boasts world-wide expertise in the water and wastewater industry and significant experience serving water corporations in Victoria.



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december 2013 water



POSTCARD FROM KUWAIT CITY – from Mike Dixon Like many, when I hear the name Kuwait, images from the Iraqi invasion and subsequent Gulf War come to mind. However, earlier this year I learned that this is only one chapter in its rich history; Kuwait City is a city of intrigue, surprises and dichotomy. After being presented with the International Desalination Association’s Fellowship Award in 2012 I travelled to Kuwait at the end of December for a six-week attachment with the Ministry of Electricity and Water (MEW). I arrived to sub-10°C temperatures and a lovely Persian Gulf view while staying in Sumiya (luckily it was cold, because swimming in the ocean is prohibited). Desalination in Kuwait has a long history, with the world’s first large municipal distillation plant installed in 1953. Since then MEW has expanded its distillation capacity, mostly using Multi Stage Flash (MSF) technology.

Kuwait of six Towers: the s Kuwait ets of tower centrepiece sa and an icon o round f the c ity.

More recently Reverse Osmosis (RO) has been introduced with a plant at Shuwaikh, the city’s main port. A second RO plant at Az-Zour is under construction while a third plant at Doha is in the pre-qualification stages. As MEW’s experience is largely MSF-based, their aim was to learn more about RO technology from me, while my aim was to broaden my knowledge about desalination practices in the Middle East.

downtow l scene in A typica Kuwait.-


During my time with MEW, their design department became my base under the supervision of Engineer Zamzam Al-Rakaf, who appointed Engineer Nawal Al-Azemi as responsible for organising my activities across Kuwait. My work for MEW involved several short consultancy projects where I assessed issues and provided feedback on potential solutions.

I visited the Shuwaikh RO Plant to comment on operations, the Shuaiba MSF Plant to learn about the distillation process (new to me), and the Az-Zour RO Plant construction site to observe progress. As part of the scholarship I also undertook a project of my own choice. In 2012 Red Tide Algae Bloom was a topical issue and, using outcomes of a previous workshop I was a part of in Oman, I shared lessons with the MEW designers and operators about red tide. Kuwait is considered an area at risk of red tide bloom because of the ideal conditions created by shallow, warm waters at the head of the Arabian Gulf. Undertaking the IDA’s Fellowship attachment was a rewarding career-building experience. It taught me to look beyond how I normally work and assess problems from different perspectives. I learned a huge amount about Middle Eastern culture and gained useful insights about their attitudes toward problems, which I found can vary vastly to those of the West.


A traditional Kuwati building, which was devastated during the invasion.

If you’re visiting Kuwait City I highly recommend a visit to the Tareq Rajab Museum and the Museum of Islamic Calligraphy, ancient Qurans, jewelry and weapons from Persia and beyond – saved by quick thinking and a bricked-up doorway before the war. The Scientific Centre has a large aquarium and the Centre’s nearby dhows and other fishing boats provide an appreciation of Kuwait’s wealth generators before oil – pearls and fishing. A visit to the Old Souq (market) is a must-do as a contrast to the new, gigantic, opulent malls bursting with Western culture and fast food.

Another set of water towers – a typical sight in Kuwait.

water december 2013

Perhaps the most relevant attraction for AWA readers would be the landmark Kuwait Towers and the Kuwait Water Towers designed by the same company and built in the 1970s. They’re easily the most impressive and glamorous water towers I’ve ever seen! Mike Dixon is Senior Applications Engineer at NanoH2O, Inc in El Segundo, California.

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SA Water’s Adelaide Desalination Project was named project of the year at the Project Management Institute’s awards ceremony held in New Orleans recently.

Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) has announced the appointment of Mark Sullivan AO, Managing Director of ACTEW Water in the ACT, as the new Chair of the WSAA Board. Mark takes over from the outgoing Chair, Sue Murphy, Chief Executive Officer of the Water Corporation of Western Australia, who has just completed two years in the position.

“We congratulate SA Water on their project being recognised as world-class by the largest association for the project management profession,” said Brett Nilsen, Aurecon’s Major Projects Leader.

Mark said he was delighted to be appointed and thanked Sue for the strong leadership she had shown to WSAA and the industry as a whole. The role of Deputy Chair will be taken by Louise Dudley, CEO of Queensland Urban Utilities.

Brett Nilsen and Milund Kumar.

SA Water initially appointed Aurecon to undertake technical studies and investigations. Aurecon was later appointed as technical advisor and client’s engineer, undertaking a project management role for the 100GL desalination plant.

At the request of SA Water, Nilsen undertook the role of Senior Project Manager responsible for managing the AUD1.2 billion contract and leading an integrated, site-based team consisting of SA Water staff and a range of consulting firms specialising in engineering, project management, commercial, legal and cost advice. “The success of this project belongs to every person who has contributed to it during the past five years,” SA Water Project Director Milund Kumar said. “Building a desalination plant of this calibre and quality is no easy feat, and the leadership team, specialist advisers, and project contractors brought their passion, commitment and focus to deliver a quality asset. “The award especially recognises the project management approach and the ‘one team’ culture,” Kumar said. SA Water delivered commercial handover of the plant 19 days ahead of schedule, within the original approved budget of AUD1.824 billion while achieving industry benchmarks in quality and durability. Please visit for more information.

The Managing Director of Melbourne Water, Shaun Cox, was also re-elected to the Board. Adam Lovell, WSAA Executive Director, said: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to work closely with Mark and Louise, who both bring a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm to their new roles. With their leadership and such a depth of talent on the Board we can be confident that WSAA will continue to represent the Australian Urban Water industry appropriately.”

US OPPORTUNITIES FLOWING TO AUSTRALIA With Australia being the driest inhabited continent in the world, the Australian water industry has developed many innovative water products, services and solutions. There is now growing opportunity to spread this innovation to international markets, including the US. The $US21.5 billion utilities and industrial water and wastewater market is growing and represents a major opportunity for Australian water suppliers. Following a successful mission to the US in 2011 to introduce Australian suppliers to the market, ICN received Australian Government funding, through the Suppliers Access to Major Projects (SAMP) program. The funding was to establish a US representative, identify market opportunities for Australian water companies and provide them with on-the-ground support. Through SAMP funding, the US representative, Ken Rubin from Rubin Mallows, spoke at a number of Australian workshops on the opportunities in the US, and assistance available to Australian companies. A trade mission was also organised in later 2012 by waterAUSTRALIA, allowing Australian SMEs to attend the major water event WEFTEC (Water Environment Federation Technical Exhibition and Conference) in New Orleans. Since the mission a number of companies have engaged the services of Rubin Mallows to help them enter the US market. This opportunity identified key partners and current distribution channels for one such Australian company, which is now working with a well-established irrigation company and will be launching a co-branded product with them in the US. They have now incorporated their business and have two employees in the US.

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Industry News This market-entry strategy has been the cornerstone for this company to develop and sell its own products in the US and set up its own distribution channels. The program has also allowed another Australian-owned company to scope potential resellers in the US, undertake market analysis, conduct interviews with shortlisted companies and arrange one-on-one meetings with potential resellers. As part of the ongoing support for the program, ICN has over 29 projects listed under the USA SAMP program, with more than 80 companies registering their interest to date. A targeted mission is being planned in early 2014 for companies that have registered their interest and are looking to access these opportunities. If you’re a major project developer, ICN can put you in contact with the best suppliers. If you’re a supplier we will connect you with the best projects for your business. All opportunities for the US SAMP program are available on the ICN Water Directory at

AGEING WATER ASSETS IN MELBOURNE TO BE RENEWED Black & Veatch, in a joint venture with Thiess, has been named as one of two preferred Service Providers for the next phase of capital investments by Melbourne Water. The Service Providers will bid for a proposed $500 million worth of projects from a broader capital program, known as Water Plan 3. The program focuses on renewing and upgrading assets throughout Melbourne Water’s portfolio. “We are seeing an increased focus by water utilities throughout the world to extend the lifecycle of their assets,” said James Currie, Managing Director of Black & Veatch in Australia. “The program of improvements is significant and represents a concerted effort to deliver long-term value for Melbourne Water customers.” The three-year framework agreement that has been put in place is also designed to deliver the works more effectively. The approach allows Melbourne Water to deliver multiple small- to mid-scale projects competitively and efficiently. The terms of the framework agreement can be extended for a further seven years.

WINNERS ANNOUNCED FOR THE INTERNATIONAL 2013 SAVEWATER!® PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPETITION LOCAL PROJECT WINS AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE Four winners have been selected from more than 3,700 entries from over 90 countries in the International 2013 savewater!® Photographic Competition. An independent judging panel selected one winner and one runner-up from each of the three categories in the competition: Junior Students (up to 12 years old), Senior Students (13–17 years old), and Open. An additional winner and runner-up were awarded by a people’s choice vote, which took place on Facebook. Nigel Finney, CEO of the savewater!® Alliance, believes that the messages captured in the winners’ images will act as a reminder to people around the world that water is one of our most valuable and precious resources. “The winning photograph in the Open category by Kumar Bishwajit shows the desperation of searching for water in a scorched dry land – this is just one of the many compelling stories we have seen from this competition,” he said. Winners’ and finalists’ entries can be viewed online at www.

An integrated water project servicing the towns of Agnes Water and Seventeen Seventy has been recognised by the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia, Queensland division (IPWEAQ) for excellence in design and construction. The Agnes Water Seventeen Seventy Integrated Water Project was awarded the IPWEAQ Excellence Award for Design and Construction of a private/government project over $10 million at the recent IPWEAQ State Conference. The project was initiated by the Gladstone Regional Council (GRC) to provide long-term water solutions for the townships by reducing reliance on local bores for drinking water. The scheme was instigated in 2008 by way of a 10-year design, build and operate contract with Australian water utility TRILITY to specifically address the issue of dwindling water supplies in both towns. “The Council recognised that without a reliable, long-term potable water supply, the towns would face significant consequences for development, employment and lifestyle of local residents,” TRILITY Managing Director Francois Gouws said. “Located at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef, the area’s tourism industry would also be affected, delivering a significant economic blow to the region. A fully designed and constructed solution by TRILITY was necessary for long-term water security.” It was decided that constructing a desalination plant and combining it with wastewater treatment capabilities offered the best whole-of-life cost solution with minimal impacts on the community and environment.

The winning photograph by Kumar Bishwajit.

TRILITY was awarded the $40 million contract to deliver the project, which involved completing capital works and delivering ongoing operations and maintenance across the facilities.

december 2013 water


Industry News TRILITY has also expanded the existing water supply from a desalination plant, upgraded a sewerage treatment plant and constructed a reservoir and reticulation network to provide an improved level of services for the communities. It’s the second accolade for the Agnes Water Seventeen Seventy project in as many months. Recently it was announced as a finalist in the Best of the Best Queensland Water Taste Test through Queensland Water. “The water industry in Queensland has battled against natural disasters and has also faced numerous challenges around changes in water regulation,” Mr Gouws said. “The success of this project demonstrates both TRILITY and the council’s hard work in overcoming these challenges.”

GROUNDWATER SUPPORTS AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY Australia’s reserves of groundwater help earn the nation a steady $34 billion a year from mining, food production and manufacturing, according to a new study. A report by Deloitte Access Economics, commissioned by the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT) has highlighted for the first time the key role that this valuable and potentially renewable resource plays in the nation’s economy. The Deloitte Access Economics study is the first attempt ever made to quantify the value of Australia’s groundwater. It found that: 
 • Groundwater directly contributes an estimated $6.8bn/year to the Australian economy; 
 • Industries with production worth $34bn a year depend on groundwater; • Current average annual groundwater use is approximately 3,500GL;
 • 60 per cent of this is used to grow food, 12 per cent is used in mining, and 17 per cent is used in manufacturing; 
 • 11 per cent is used for drinking water;
 • Groundwater also supports landscapes, the forestry industry and acts as ‘water insurance’ to the nation in the event of drought; 
 • There is currently 6,544GL under license for possible extraction from groundwater out of a total estimated sustainable reserve of 29,173GL. “To many people, groundwater is all but invisible, or there as a last resort when surface water runs short. In reality, it drives many of our most productive industries – and if carefully managed can be maintained as a sustainable resource,” says NCGRT Director Professor Craig Simmons. “Ours is a hot, dry continent and more than 90 per cent of our freshwater is, in fact, underground. This is a resource with vast potential, however we do not as yet have a clear idea of its size or how long it takes to recharge. But in a world that is increasingly short of fresh water, it is a major strategic asset.”

NEW APPOINTMENT FOR EMERSON Karl Wigginton has been appointed General Manager and Managing Director of Emerson Process Management, responsible for Australia and New Zealand. Karl has been in senior roles with Process Control companies for over 20 years. He has had an active involvement with Regional and Country Instrumentation Committees, including the IICA and SAIMC over the years.

Karl Wigginton

He recently moved from the Perth branch, having managed the Western Australia region for the past two years. Previously he held the role as Brisbane Branch Manager for seven years, responsible for Queensland and PNG. Both of these roles have given him an appreciation of the market in Australia and customer needs. Karl relocated from South Africa having moved from a General Manager position for a leading Instrumentation company in the late 1990s. Karl holds a Diploma in Electrical Engineering (Instrumentation) and obtained a distinction in a Government Trade Test when he qualified as an Instrument Technician.

KBR AND JOHN HOLLAND FORM JOINT VENTURE A joint venture between KBR and John Holland (JHKBRJV) has been selected by Melbourne Water to deliver engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services for water, wastewater and drainage projects in Melbourne over the next three years. JHKBRJV is one of two joint ventures that will deliver these services as part of Melbourne Water’s 2013 Water Plan capital works program. KBR’s Director of Water, Asia Pacific, Ted Cusack, said the joint venture partners are looking forward to working collaboratively with Melbourne Water on delivering successful projects under this innovative new water infrastructure delivery model. KBR and John Holland have collectively delivered over $8 billion worth of water infrastructure projects and over $10 billion in general infrastructure projects in Australia over the past 10 years.

According to the report groundwater represents an important input into the Australian economy, larger in direct value terms than individual sectors such as forestry, fishing, poultry, motion pictures, gambling, heritage, creative and performing arts.

John Holland’s Executive General Manager for Specialist Engineering Businesses, Brendan Petersen, said the company is moving to be Australia’s leading developer, deliverer and operator and maintenance provider of water and environment infrastructure solutions to the public and private sectors, through a combination of its dedication to quality, its people, its clients, partners and delivery performance.

Copies of the full report are available at: au/economicvalue

“We look forward to working with our partner KBR to deliver value for money for the residents of Melbourne,” Mr Petersen said.

water december 2013


Industry News

PITT&SHERRY GROWS ITS NSW STAFF BASE Dr Steve Edwards, who has 25 years’ experience as a scientist in organic and natural products chemistry, has been appointed as Business Development and Operations Manager, with pitt&sherry’s NSW office. Edwards has extensive experience in business management and as a company director on start-up ventures, placing him in good stead to lead the NSW operations. Several Sydney-based appointments have also been made to pitt&sherry’s Transport Infrastructure Division.

Dr Steve Edwards

Peter Douglas has been appointed as Director, bringing over 38 years’ experience in project management and construction of infrastructure projects to the role. David Hackney, who joined pitt&sherry from RM Baird & Associates in 2007, has been appointed to the position of Senior Mechanical Engineer. He has over 20 years of design and verification experience. Jin Kim, who has over 12 years’ professional experience in bridge design, building design and research works, has been appointed Senior Engineer, Bridges & Civil Structures in Sydney. Strengthening pitt&sherry’s Carbon and Energy team in Sydney are Kait Gotham and Rebecca Williamson as Senior Consultant and Consultant, respectively. Both Gotham and Williamson bring extensive experience as environmental and sustainability professionals to the Sydney office.

ENSURING WATER INFRASTRUCTURE MEETS VICTORIA’S GROWTH MWH Global has recently been awarded two substantial contracts to help ensure water infrastructure for Victoria meets the needs of the state’s predicted population growth. MWH and South East Water MWH has been awarded one of two positions on a five-year program of work for South East Water. In a joint venture with Comdain Infrastructure and Downer EDI, known as Lean Design & Construction (LD&C), MWH will work to design and construct upgrades to some of South East Water’s major infrastructure. The program will deliver approximately $400 million in capital works, with a focus on designing and constructing trunk sewer mains, water distribution mains, recycled water mains, water and sewage pump stations, reservoirs and contingency tanks, and minor sewer treatment plant upgrades. The program will continue through until June 2018, with a possible two-year extension.

MWH and East Gippsland Water MWH has also been selected by East Gippsland Water to provide the bulk of its engineering services for the delivery of its five-year Water Plan 3 capital works delivery program. The initial three-year performancebased consultancy services agreement began in November 2013, with a possible two-year extension period. MWH Australia manager of business development Bruce Hammond, East Gippsland and strategy, Peter Robinson, Water’s Managing Director (left) and Peter Robinson, MWH Global’s said, “This is an exciting opportunity for MWH to work Manager of Business Development and Strategy. closely with a new client to provide an efficient service delivery model while also bringing our global network expertise to the East Gippsland region.”

GHD WINS PLACES ON WATER UTILITY TECHNICAL PANELS Engineering, architecture and environmental consulting company GHD is strengthening its position in the water market with a series of wins for places on technical panels to service water utilities in Australia. Chris Hertle, GHD’s Global Market Leader – Water, says the company is involved in over 40 formal and informal technical panels across Australia. “There has been a real intensity in GHD winning panel work in the past 12 months, particularly in Victoria where utilities are renewing their water plans.” Chris says there is a trend among Australian water utilities to consolidate their technical panels. “Until recently, utilities would have many panels. Now, they are looking to hire a small number of firms for all of their needs. GHD has been successful in winning these contracts because we have a diversity of skills and can offer a broad range of integrated services in the water sector.” According to Chris, Australian utilities are increasingly focusing on asset productivity – doing more with less. “The Millennium Drought has resulted in massive capital projects by utilities around the country. Now they are tightening their belts and want to maintain costs at current levels without compromising service quality,” he says. “A lot of the technical panel services are for planning and design in order to delay or reduce capital expenditure in the near future. We are helping our clients rehabilitate and refurbish existing assets instead of replacing them. We are also looking at ways to improve efficiency, and lower operating and maintenance costs.” Key clients include Wannon Water and Shoalhaven Water, where GHD is the sole provider appointed. GHD is also one of two providers appointed to service the Western Australian Water Corporation.

december 2013 water


Industry News

YOUR STORIES OF FACT AND FICTION. “ We didn't think there was a way to get

an accurate DO reading without lots of calibration. But the new LDO sensor from Hach comes calibrated from the factory— simplifying my life, and giving me more accurate readings.

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NANOH2O TO BUILD FIRST ADVANCED REVERSE OSMOSIS MEMBRANE MANUFACTURING FACILITY IN CHINA NanoH2O Inc., manufacturer of reverse osmosis (RO) membranes for seawater desalination, has announced plans to build a manufacturing facility in Liyang, China, a city in the Yangtze River Delta 250 kilometres west of Shanghai. The 10,000 square metre facility will be the company’s second fully integrated manufacturing plant, following the first located in Los Angeles, California. The China facility comes at a total investment of $45 million and is expected to be operational by the end of 2014. China, which represents one-fifth of the world’s population but just six per cent of the global fresh water supply, plans to increase its seawater reverse osmosis desalination capacity three-fold by 2015. The overall membrane market in China is estimated to grow more than 20 per cent per year over the next 10 years. The Chinese government’s current five-year plan also calls for 70 per cent of equipment used in desalination plants to be produced domestically. Establishing a facility in China will allow the company to take advantage of the growing domestic market for both desalination and wastewater treatment. “Developing new sources of affordable, clean water is a priority for China’s ongoing economic development,” said Jianghua Su, Mayor of Liyang. “Liyang is excited to welcome NanoH2O and its leading desalination membrane technology to China, adding to Liyang’s growing roster of multi-national industrial and Cleantech corporations looking to expand global operations and commercial efforts.” For more information, please visit

NSISP WINS NATIONAL AWARD SA Water and the Waterlink SA joint venture comprising Parsons Brinckerhoff, MWH and Tonkin have won the National Award for the Australian Institute of Project Management for Construction/ Engineering projects greater than $100 million for the North-South Interconnection Systems Project (NSISP). NSISP Project Director Mark Dedman said that the national award recognises the skill, hard work and collaboration of all those involved in the $403 million project. “This project has completely transformed the way in which SA Water’s metropolitan water network functions and operates – a large, complex and incredibly challenging proposition. This award acknowledges high quality project management undertaken to manage the challenges and complexities of a project of this scale and nature. “The project is considered game changing for the delivery of major utility infrastructure in urban areas. This success would not have been possible without the dedication and skill of the many people across SA Water and the Waterlink SA joint venture group, PB, MWH and Tonkin.” Parsons Brinckerhoff’s Gary Neave accepted the award with SA Water Manager of Stakeholder Engagement Steve Dangerfield at an awards night in Perth.

water december 2013


EXPOSURE IN THE SOUTH-EAST ASIAN MARKET? Create international demand for your products and services. Join the Australian delegation to Singapore for Singapore International Water Week 2014.

International brand visibility

Pre-departure briefings and training

Reserved Australian exhibition pavilion

Reach international government, buyers and key decision makers

Tailored business matching opportunities

Follow-on meetings in surrounding markets for delegates wishing to take full advantage of their stay in Asia



Another step to enhancing the capabilities of the Australian water industry abroad. To learn about other missions or initiatives, go to


Young Water Professionals


Communication is one of life’s vital skills. It is one of the basics we teach to our children. But there is a lot more to communication than we might think, and it is worth thinking about how we communicate with others and whether we are doing it as well and as effectively as we might. What is communication? The word is from the Latin "communicare", meaning to share. There are many definitions of communication, including the activity of conveying information through the exchange of thoughts, messages or information as by speech, visuals, signals, writing or behaviour. Communication may be intentional or unintentional, may involve conventional or unconventional signals, and may occur through spoken or other modes (Wikipedia). We spend much of our time communicating with others. Most of us work in open-plan offices with our co-workers in close proximity, responding to a constant stream of emails and telephone calls, and often eating in communal lunchrooms. We attend meetings, seminars and conferences where people give presentations and use white boards. Outside of work, we socialise, play sport and co-habit with friends and relatives. We listen to the radio, watch television. In short, there are many different ways in which we communicate. The list is almost endless.

water december 2013

It follows, then, that if communicating is something we do all day, every day, it is worth working out the best ways of doing it. Here are some basic suggestions for successful communication at work.

Helpful hints for Good Communication • Choose the right time and place to communicate and make sure there are no distractions. Turn off phones. • Organise your ideas in your mind beforehand and make your most important point the central theme. • Be concise and stay on topic. It isn’t necessary to tell people everything you know… just what is relevant to the conversation.


Young water Professionals • Be direct and to the point. Author and Communication Coach, Karen Friedman, says that vagueness is common in the workplace. Think about the what, when, where and why. Instead of, “Can you get that report to me? It’s really important” – try, “Can you please have that report to me by 3pm on Tuesday?” Then everyone knows what is expected. • Use eye contact. • Be articulate and avoid mumbling. • If you have bad news to deliver then do it in person, not by email. Make sure you say it plainly and clearly. It is much better to be straight with people than to avoid telling them because they may not want to hear what you have to say. • Use “I” when you have a concern to raise. Instead of saying, “You are disorganised and can’t get anything done”, say something like, “I feel that you could use your time more efficiently. Would you like some help with time and task management so you can get better results?”. • When speaking to a group of people or public speaking with an audience, take your time and breathe evenly. Simon Reynolds, Business Coach, says that pausing causes the audience to lean in and listen. It helps you to emphasise your points and allows the listener time to digest what has been said. It makes you more compelling and makes your speech easier to listen to. • Thank your listeners – regardless of the size of your audience it is good manners to thank people for their time and attention.

Your Partner in Chlorination

don’t forGet to listen Another interesting point is that listening is one of the most important parts of communicating. Make sure you are attentive when you listen, and let people finish what they are saying before you speak. If you don’t understand them completely, ask a question. Often a good way of doing this is to ask: “Can you give me an example of a situation where this method might work?”. You don’t have to like or agree with someone to communicate effectively with them. In fact, it's vital that you withhold your judgement of them and actually listen to what they have to say without criticism. By doing this you may find that you are able to understand each other. If you have to communicate in a situation of conflict, try these suggestions: • Don’t stand over the other person. If they are sitting, then so should you. Speak on an equal level. • Remain calm. Never yell or make accusations. • Make sure everyone has a chance to speak and be heard. Allow people to finish and let them know they have been heard and understood. • If someone walks out of a room, let them go. They may need some space and time to calm down. Don’t follow them; let them come back when they are ready to talk. • Don’t try to have the last word. Sometimes you just have to agree to disagree and move on.

Our World Our Water Our Commitment

Gas & Liquid 14 Winterton Road, Clayton, Victoria 3168 P O Box 1105, Clayton South, Victoria 3169 Ph: (03) 9544 7333 • Fax: (03) 9543 6706 Email:

Chlorination Systems Metering & Monitoring Polymer Make-up Systems Instrumentation

Our World - AWA Dec 13/Jan 2014 december 2013 water


AWA News

AWA/Deloitte State of the Water Sector Report 2013 The 2013 AWA/Deloitte State of the Water Sector Report was released on 28 November. The report is based on an analysis of survey responses from over 1,500 water professionals across all sectors of the water industry, nationally. The survey is the largest of its kind in the country and provides an important insight into the attitudes of the industry. This was the third time AWA and its partner, Deloitte, has conducted the survey and it now provides a number of industry trends.

Responding to concerns over rising prices The price of water has increased largely because the cost of new capital investments is being passed on to customers. The 2012 survey sought respondents’ views on whether the price of urban water was too high. Despite bill increases, in 2012 only 21 per cent of respondents thought the price of urban water was too high – considerably less than the number who found prices about right (34 per cent), or too low (35 per cent). In 2013 the proportion who consider the price is about right remained the same. However, the proportion who found prices too high increased from 21 per cent to 27 per cent, while the proportion who found prices too low fell from 35 per cent to 30 per cent. Respondents are now relatively evenly divided between those who found prices too high, those who think they are too low, and those who think they are about right.

Throughout November, AWA CEO, Jonathan McKeown, met with the Minister responsible for water in most jurisdictions to brief them on the results of the Survey. Some of the survey highlights have been included here.

Soundness of the sector This year’s survey found that 65 per cent of respondents considered the sector to be 'quite sound' or 'very sound' – a largely unchanged result from previous surveys. This is likely to reflect the ‘business-asusual’ conditions of the last few years, as the millennium drought becomes a distant memory in the eastern states and large capital spending is largely complete.

Water security and supply

Maintaining and augmenting infrastructure Infrastructure maintenance and augmentation was seen as the top issue, both now and again in the next five years. Respondents also saw maintaining and augmenting infrastructure as the least effectively addressed issue across the nation. The issue of deteriorating infrastructure in an environment of cost pressures, along with the need for increased operational efficiency, is a key concern for the sector.

Improving operational efficiency Thirty-five per cent of respondents identified operational efficiency as one of the top three priorities for reform. In recent years the sector has invested significantly in assets and staff, and there is a key need to focus on improving operational efficiency. Together, the sector must now consider the use of technology and innovation to drive down costs and would benefit from taking a collaborative approach to achieve this outcome.

water december 2013

Water security remains top of mind for many working in, or connected to, the water sector. Despite recent wet conditions in many parts of Australia, and billions of dollars being spent on augmentations, 34 per cent still saw water security as a key issue. However, views on this differed significantly across jurisdictions. Not surprisingly, water security was identified as an issue by 61 per cent of West Australians, compared to 30 per cent elsewhere. At a local level, 82 per cent of respondents considered water supplies in their region were either very or quite secure. There was general agreement that the sector was addressing this issue well. Seventyfour per cent agreed desalination should have a role in water supply security, either as a core supply source or as a backup supply. In an urban context, respondents thought the most important steps that could be taken to meet water supply needs were: • Accessing supplies from innovative sources such as recycling and stormwater (76 per cent); • Curbing the demand for water through education (58 per cent); • Encouraging or requiring installation of rainwater tanks (46 per cent). The Survey also asked respondents to consider the three key things that could help meet the water requirements of the environment. The top three responses were: • Improve the efficiency of consumptive uses (e.g. repair/upgrade irrigation systems (71 per cent); • Invest more in research to understand the environment’s water needs, particularly critical environmental assets (68 per cent); • Ensure that the environment’s high security entitlements are respected (53 per cent).


AWA News The survey explored attitudes to three different water sources for differing uses: recycled water, stormwater and desalinated water for potable and non-potable uses. There is still strong concern in the industry about using recycled or stormwater as a potable supply source. Nine per cent of respondents considered recycled water suitable for potable use only, 39 per cent for both potable and non-potable use, and 49 per cent for non-potable use only. In response to stormwater, 10 per cent considered it suitable for potable use only, 33 per cent for both potable and non-potable use, and 53 per cent for non-potable use only. Desalinated water was seen more favourably, with 60 per cent considering it suitable for potable use, 33 per cent for both potable and non-potable use, and three per cent for non-potable use only.

Changes over time With three years of data now accumulated, we have identified trends and gathered learnings on attitudes of respondents. One immediate observation is that the issue of sustainability or reducing the long-term environmental impact of the sector appears to have less importance than in previous years. Only 18 per cent of respondents identified the long-term environmental impact of the sector as an issue in 2013, compared to 22 per cent in 2012 and 42 per cent in 2010. This could be a result of recent more normal rainfall levels and, therefore, a reduction in water utilities’ focus on water efficiency. It is also consistent with broader community concerns about the environment and climate change, which have abated somewhat in recent years. Another overall theme is that concerns about skill shortages have almost halved. This is likely to be due to a reduction in demand for additional staff (perhaps as a result of moves to improve operational efficiency), as well as a greater availability of skilled labour with the easing of construction activity in the mining industry.

What is the sector doing well? As noted, there was overwhelming agreement that the sector was effectively addressing the issue of security of supply, with 56 per cent of respondents agreeing with this. The second most effectively addressed issue is ensuring sewage is effectively treated and disposed of (37 per cent). Sewage treatment and disposal has been a ‘sleeper’ issue in the last 10 years, in part reflecting the focus on water supply, but also reflecting sound performance in this area. In general, and particularly in major cities, compliance with treatment and disposal requirements has been consistently high. Tasmania was the only state where concerns were raised about sewage treatment and disposal. The third most effectively addressed issue was improving operational efficiency (34 per cent). Here there is divergence among respondents: this was also considered to be the second least effectively addressed issue.

What is the sector not doing well? There was no standout issue where performance was considered poor. There were six key areas of approximately equal concern: • Maintaining and augmenting infrastructure (27 per cent); • Improving operational efficiency (26 per cent); • Responding to community concern over rising prices (26 per cent); • Ensuring water supplies are secure (25 per cent); • Reducing the skill shortage in the water sector (25 per cent); • Improving the way in which water sector institutions are governed (24 per cent). For a copy of the full report, and state breakdown reports, please visit the AWA website.

AWA Meets the Ministers During November, AWA Chief Executive, Jonathan McKeown, met with the Ministers responsible for water in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory. The key topics discussed at these meetings were collaboration between State Governments and the Association, AWA’s position on key local water issues, and the launch of the AWA/Deloitte State of the Water Sector Report 2013. The Ministers all voiced keen interest in furthering their relationship with AWA and welcomed the opportunity to take part in more AWA state-based events. Further, they encouraged AWA to become more involved in state policy, ensuring the voice of water professionals is heard. So, keep an eye out in 2014 for local policy forums and other events with the Minister in attendance.

AWA Enters the Boardroom AWA continued to strengthen its ability to shape and influence outcomes on the policy issues facing the Australian water sector in November, playing host to a series of invitation-only corporate briefings across Australia. The briefings provided AWA with the chance to hear from members about current business challenges and other matters of concern, including the need for industry to step-up in driving research and development, and the need for a national framework for economic regulation. The briefings also included a report from Deloitte on the results of the 2013 AWA/Deloitte State of the Water Sector Report, highlighting key issues identified by water industry professionals both nationally and locally.

BRANCH NEWS QLD QWater’13 Conference The Queensland Branch would like to thank the sponsors, trade exhibitors and attendees of the successful QWater’13 Conference, which was held at the Novotel Twin Waters Resort on the Sunshine Coast from 8–9 November. The sponsors were: Unitywater; Pentair; Transfield Services; Gentrack; and Trility. The QWater’13 program was full of excellent presentations, with the Best Paper Award highly contested. The award went to “Magnesium Hydroxide Liquid (MHL) Micro-batching Plants – An Innovative Approach to Corrosion and Odour Management”, presented by Scott Barnes of Unitywater. The Unitywater team had a huge impact on the success of the event and is to be commended on the organisation of the site tour to the Community Wetlands Project and Sewage Treatment Plant Upgrade. This was the highlight of the conference for many of the delegates. Congratulations to the attendees who got into the spirit of the ‘Tropical Island’ theme for the Friday night dinner when they found themselves shipwrecked on Gilligan’s Island.

december 2013 water


awa News The YWP Brisbane River Walking Tour

Another conference highlight was an appearance by Linsey Pollak and his “Live & Loopy” show at the Saturday night conference dinner. It was amazing how ordinary garden hoses, toilets and watering cans could be turned into a musical instrument with such a clear sound!

On 13 September the Queensland YWPs organised a walking tour along different sites along the Brisbane River. The walk started with a guided tour of ‘The River’ exhibit at the Museum of Brisbane in the recently refurbished heritage-listed City Hall. From there we crossed the river to South Bank, where renowned Brisbane artist, John Coleman, told us all about his interactive water installation, Aquativity, a playground for children which communicates the importance of indigenous, environmental and urban elements of the Brisbane River. After that we crossed back over the river where we received a tour of one of the world’s largest digital interactive and learning environments, The Cube, at QUT. The trip was concluded with fresh drinks and canapés at the Botanic Bar at QUT Campus.

University Career Events The Queensland YWP Committee had been busy over the past few months with organising and attending career events at several universities in Queensland. On 22 July the YWP in cooperation with the Queensland Branch Committee presented at the 3rd year course Water & Wastewater Treatment Engineering at QUT. About 80–100 civil and environmental engineers attended the course. On Monday 19 August the YWP, in cooperation with the International Water Centre and the Branch Committee, organised a lunchtime Water Career Event. The event was kicked off by Professor Stuart Bunn of the Australian Rivers Institute, and several YWP Committee members then shared what they are passionate about in their careers. On 16 September the YWP joined the Griffith University Career Night. Despite the event being run each year by the Griffith University Environmental Engineers Society (GUEES), this year was the first time the YWP presented and coordinated the event. This opportunity was sparked from the Vice President of GUESS, Jacob Thorne, being impressed by the YWPs after attending the Water Career Event a month earlier. During the events it was apparent that most students hadn’t heard about AWA or YWP. The students were very enthusiastic after our presentations and conversations, and the YWP Committee members have since been contacted by quite a few students to learn more. We are sure this will result in some future new AWA members, and we will continue to host these valuable events!

SA SA Branch Conference: Building Resilience In South Australia’s Urban Water Systems. This year’s conference was held on 2 August at the Adelaide Convention Centre. It was opened by Jodieann Dawe, who welcomed the Hon. Ian Hunter MLC – Minister for Water and the River Murray, the five invited speakers, and the conference presenters and delegates. She set the theme for the conference, namely the building of resilience within the whole water industry in Adelaide, and South Australia’s other urban areas. The conference was divided into three streams: Integrated Urban Water Systems; Implementing Solutions to Support Resilience; and a stream for Young Water Professionals. In all there were five invited speakers as well as 15 paper presentations. The various papers included a range of topics such as the environmental performance of the Adelaide Desalination Plant, impacts of the 30 Year Plan for Greater Adelaide on SA Water’s Water and Wastewater Infrastructure, “Torrens Lake Adelaide CBD – The Ultimate Toxic Algae Solution”, “The Council Verge as the Next Wetland”, a presentation by Robran Cock – 2012 South Australian Young Water Professional (YWP) of the Year, and “Connection & Continuity: Ngarrindjeri Life Ways at Waltowa Wetland”. The first three invited speakers covered aspects of Water Regulation in SA. Paul Kerin, CEO of ESCOSA started by providing an overview of the development of Water Regulation in SA over the last year. Paul described the challenges ahead as promoting competition, creating a robust access regime, tackling a historical monopoly, and the need to consider industry restructuring. The next speaker was Dr David Cunliffe, from the Department of Health, whose talk was on the Safe Drinking Water Act 2011 and its associated Regulations. He provided an overview of the history of the management of safe water supplies in SA, which has culminated in this new Act. The third presentation was by Stephen Smith of the NRMB Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges. He stressed that the Ranges are important, as is the River

water december 2013


awa News Murray. This area needs planning as it contains important reservoirs. The Board is working on understanding and protecting the water resources, finding ways to use them more efficiently, searching for alternative water sources, developing the capacity of rural water users, and ensuring the provision of the needs of dependent ecosystems. The conference ended with two further talks by Keynote Speakers. Steve Morton of DEWNR introduced their current focus, which is the development of an integrated urban water management plan for Greater Adelaide. Finally, Wendy Campana, CEO of the Local Government Association, talked about the challenges of working with 68 Councils and of managing stormwater issues across them. The conference closed with dinner and networking in the evening. Our thanks go to the members of the SA Branch Committee for all their hard work in organising this event, and to our Sponsors.

WelCome to tHe neW Committee Welcome to the SA Committee for 2013–2015. It includes a number of new members who bring a wealth of experience to the table. The Committee is as follows: SA Branch Chair – Glenn Sorensen, Santos; Deputy Chair – Ben Parcell, Allwater; Immediate Past Chair – Lionel Ho, SA Water; Treasurer – Robran Cock, Trility. Committee Members: Justin Brookes, University of Adelaide; Chris Brown, Alano Water; Victor Cantone, Parsons Brinckerhoff; Kim Falster; Mark Griscti, Trility; Mathew Howland, Aquatec Maxcon; Jeremy Lucas, SA Water; Elsie Mann, Optimatics; Trevor Pillar, ICEWaRM; Andy Roberts, Water Industry Alliance; Niki Robinson, SKM; Chris Saint, Uni SA; John Skirrow, Parsons Brinckerhoff; Tanja Stefanovic, Fyfe Engineers

and Surveyors; Kevin Yerrell, Waternish; Katharine Ward, DEWNR; Carmen Wentrock, Tonkin Consulting. We are also pleased to have the following current/past AWA Board Members in SA: Jodieann Dawe, WQRA; Graham Dooley, Osmoflo; and John Howard, SA Water.

NSW Engineers and Operators Conference The 2013 15th Engineers and Operators Conference held in Sydney from 28–30 October was a successful event with speakers covering topics from Achieving Energy Efficiency and Lower Life-cycle Costs in Aeration Systems, Reservoir Mixing and Reservoir Design for the next 80 years, through to Biosolids Handling in Wastewater Treatment Plants.

NSW Southern Regional Conference The 2014 NSW Southern Regional Conference will be held at Wagga Wagga, with a theme of Resilience in the Bush. The conference is now in the planning stage and is calling for papers. The conference will feature discussions on key issues such as Future-Proofing Small Communities, Water Sensitive Urban Design, Incident Management, Supply Resilience, and Infrastructure Optimisation. Closing date for Abstract Submissions is 16 December 2013, with submission forms available from the NSW office. Exhibitors considering attending or sponsoring this event should register their interest now with the NSW office on 02 9467 8424.

• • • •

• OIL & GAS Coe Drilling Pty Ltd • TELECOMMUNICATIONS 11-13 Gibbs Street, • WATER & WASTE WATER Arundel, Queensland • ENVIRONMENTAL REMEDIATION 4214 Australia. • POWER • 50-500 TON CAPACITy • 6”- 54” COMPLETED Tel: +61 7 5500 5222 OIL & GAS • 100-2140M CROSSINGS COMPLETED Coe Drilling Pty Ltd Fax: +61 7 5500 6444 TELECOMMUNICATIONS 11-13 Gibbs Street, WATER & WASTE WATER Arundel, Queensland ENVIRONMENTAL REMEDIATION • • • • • • • •


Coe Drilling Pty Ltd 11-13 Gibbs Street, Arundel, Queensland 4214 Australia. Tel: +61 7 5500 5222 Fax: +61 7 5500 6444

NEW MEMBERS AWA welcomes the following new members since the most recent issue of Water Journal A Kersting, B Andrews, I Yousuf, S Lee,


SA A Heathershaw, A Mott, A Jane


TAS R Cooper

B Rashleigh

Corporate Bronze

VIC C Smitt, G Benca, M Turnley, R Crupi, M

Acron Pty Ltd

Sullivan, N Cook, D Nattaghi, J Whitewood


WA C Pilkington, D Collyer, R Lynn, M

Corporate Bronze


Lastek Pty Ltd



M Lim, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

NSW R Tandingan, S Lehane, N Li, J Plummer, E Hogan, Ki Navaratnam, M Van Asten, M Foster, T Abraham, C Sun, C Miyashita, K Silvester, K Funsten, A Silkman, S Gamble, N Moriera, L McTaggart, L Coletta, C Payne, D Zographou, A Mather

NT R Holden, J Deacon QLD C Gould, J Harrold, S McCagh,


QLD SD Yap, A Boyle-Gotla, S Vernon

AWA EVENTS CAlENDAR This list is correct at the time of printing. For up-to-date listings and booking information please check the AWA online events calendar at:

December Thu, 05 Dec 2013

AcT Awards Presentation and Networking evening, Canberra, ACT

Thu, 05 Dec 2013

Vic branch end of Year celebration, Melbourne, VIC

February 2014 Tue, 18 Feb 2014 – Wed, 19 Feb 2014

master class: Problems with Pipes – drinking Water Networks, Sydney, NSW

March 2014 Water in mining conference, Burnie, TAS

Fri, 21 Mar 2014

April/May 2014 Tue, 29 Apr 2014 – Thu, 01 May 2014

Ozwater’14, Brisbane, QLD

June 2014 Wed, 25 Jun 2014–Fri, 27 Jun 2014

AWA biosolids and Source management National conference, Melbourne, VIC

July 2014 Tue, 08 Jul 2014–Thu, 10 Jul 2014

water december 2013

Peri-Urban’14, Parramatta, NSW


Feature Article

A PPP FOR OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE IN NEW YORK Rod Naylor discusses a new form of Public Private Partnership in progress at the NYC Department of Environmental Protection. Increasingly, water utilities worldwide face difficult challenges in identifying and implementing the dramatic changes necessary to meet ever increasing service level expectations, while also reducing the tariff paid by water services consumers. The slow pace of internal incremental improvement programs, or varied success in the implementation of consultants’ recommendations, can leave utilities with a shortfall in meeting improvement targets, thus creating a burning platform for transformation and innovation. One approach has been to achieve Peer Performance Solutions (PPS) Partnerships. these transformations through outsourcing or PPS focuses on delivering verified and sustainable improvement privatisation, which can produce dramatic change – but the process in performance and cost savings. Commercially, reward for the can be subject to risks. There is an opportunity, therefore, to find private partners is driven directly by the actual, verified and realised a way to blend the talents of both the public and private sectors, savings made, or the achievement of other non-financial KPIs in a and bring global reach to all utilities to achieve improvement in the manner similar to some alliance contracts. Crucially, this means that quality and cost of public services. relevant changes to methods, systems or management must be A new form of Public Private Partnership (PPP) is now in progress implemented and effective in the utility before payments are made, at the New York City Department of Environmental Protection providing a powerful incentive to ensure successful and sustainable (NYCDEP), where a program known as Operational Excellence (OpX) change management within the organisation. is incorporating best worldwide practices in water and wastewater In New York City, Veolia and McKinsey and Company are working to achieve substantial savings, without outsourcing or privatisation. with the city’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) under The model, known variously as Peer Performance Solutions this model to deliver over $100 million in net sustainable annual (PPS) or Utility Performance Contracting, combines much of the savings and revenue improvements over four years. incentivisation and accountability of more common PPP models Veolia is paid primarily on the basis of a share of the actual through the remuneration model, with the relative ease and political and social acceptability of consulting services. value created for the utility during the three-year implementation



Feature Article

Global experience and expertise brought to NYC OpX. phase. This followed an initial phase that investigated and prepared business cases for a range of reforms and improvements that were then selected by the DEP under the process of PPS. Fundamentally, the approach provides access through the private sector to global best practices which are identified, verified, piloted where appropriate, and then implemented through to a performance-based consulting contract. As this is a consulting relationship, at all times the DEP maintains full control of its operation and decides which initiatives to undertake or not, directing its own staff in the implementation. The partners work cooperatively to first conduct detailed analysis and assessments using specific consulting tools to identify and select initiatives for adoption through a formal business case and then approval under an appropriate governance structure. The greater challenge, however, is in changing the mindsets and behaviour of the employees, and instilling a performance management culture at the DEP. Without a sustainable change in the way people think and work, the improvements will be transient, and not sustainable.

and supporting and coaching leadership and change agents within the business. These efforts are coordinated with specific communications and interventions, and rely heavily on also supporting strong senior leadership by the DEP. In effect, both the management and the workers together must learn a new way of working and managing to achieve performance. And as the process moves from trials into demonstrations and through broad roll-out programs, the power of change agents to lead change, and the power of motivation created through shared success and subtle internal competition, all combine to create a powerfully effective model for change. This behavioural work is suppported by a wide range of tools and methods as required, including: • Development of operational management tools, systems and processes;

In the first instance, by aligning Veolia’s remuneration with the continuing achievement of savings, both parties are aligned in efforts to make the change sustainable. Achieving sustainable organisational change is a shared journey and a range of techniques and tools are applied, from data analytics and data visualisation, through setting and formalising performance measurement systems, to leading by example including role modelling, providing meeting scripts


PPS components for value delivery.


Feature Article • Piloting initiatives in operation for development of work process design and demonstration of effectiveness; • Effecting organisational structural changes; • Codification and roll-out of programs across geographies and divisions; and • Embedding these processes and methods to be adopted into the utility’s management systems and behaviours through technical and managerial training and formal skills development. The impact achieved is measured through verification of the benefits in terms of savings realised, revenue generated, or other non-financial performance outcomes that are measured and tracked during the program. As well as the technical and operational solutions, successful change must address the human element by ensuring a supportive and enabling organisational culture while also developing the capabilities of staff and strengthening the management infrastructure and leadership performance. In this way, the PPS model combines operational changes with the development of the appropriate capabilities and mindsets and the necessary management infrastructure to deliver sustainable operational excellence and create real and verified value for the DEP. In the case of New York, Veolia was appointed by the NYCDEP in 2011 and completed the first phase by by June 2012. The proposed program of work presented to the NYCDEP (NYCDEP, 2012) was adopted for implementation through until June 2016. The total expected annual benefit to the City of New York is forecast at between US$108 and US$130 million, representing between 9% and 10.8% of the total operating budget. Key areas of scope are procurement, metering and revenue management, energy efficiency, chemical usage, labour efficiency, maintenance planning and optimisation, wastewater treatment process optimisation, field operations, and central functions.

Manhattan Bridge by night. At the time of writing, in November 2013, the program is on schedule, having reached the target of 30% implemented by the end of the City’s fiscal year 2013, and is expected to surpass 50% achievement by the end of the calendar year 2013. Thus the NYCDEP experience is achieving the goal of demonstrating the value generation and performance improvement achievable under the PPS model of PPP, without compromising operational or regulatory compliance. The unique combination of private sector expertise and management excellence, brought into the utility’s operations (rather than through outsourcing), will generate sustainable improvements in cost and performance, and leave a lasting legacy of cultural change and enhanced management and leadership capability that serves the DEP and the city of New York well beyond the term of the contract. The program represents a developing new model of PPP that leverages global access to the expertise, systems and tools of the private sector, while also building capability and transforming culture to enable utilities to achieve marked improvements in performance. It is a model that is gaining prevalence in the US water market and is potentially aplicable to use throughout the world. WJ

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT The Author wishes to acknowledge the support and cooperation of the executive members of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, the employees of the NYCDEP and the City of New York.

REFERENCE NYCDEP (2012): NYSDEP Operational Excellence: Phase 1 Report to the Water Board, June 2012. Prepared for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and the Water Board by Veolia Water (available online).


Analysis and status of agreed benefits at completion of Phase 1. For New York City’s specific situation, the most valuable levers for impact are labour productivity and improvements in revenue management from large diameter water meter accounts. Substantial success has also been found in optimising WWTP process performance (achieving energy and chemical use savings, improved sludge processes and reduced disposal or reuse cost). And a focus on the central functions, in particular procurement and IT, is also proving to be very effective in achieving impact in the form of direct expenditure savings.

Rod Naylor (email: rod.naylor@ is the General Manager responsible for Veolia Water’s role in the OpX contract with the Department of Environmental Protection in New York, and is also responsible for managing all of Veolia’s PPS contracts in North America. Until 2013, Rod was Executive Director, Veolia Water Australia and New Zealand, having held the positions of Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Operations there. Rod started his career with the Hunter Water Corporation over 25 years ago, and spent a period consulting in the UK before joining Veolia. He holds an honours degree in Chemical Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration.



Feature Article

WHY COST-REFLECTIVE PRICING REMAINS GOOD POLICY By Jim Grayson and Erin Cini, with the assistance of the AWA Water Management Law and Policy Specialist Network. Introduction Over recent years, there has been a widespread increase in prices for urban water services across Australia. These increases have been associated with investment in new and upgraded assets to improve water security, as well as increased finance costs that were associated with the volatility that followed the Global Financial Crisis. The price rises have resulted in a corresponding increase in media focus and public concern over pricing of water services. Against this backdrop, there is a strong case to refocus attention on the merits of pricing reform, such as cost-reflective pricing, in a way that leads the industry to re-engage in constructive communication and supports the continuation of the Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) reform agenda, which commenced in the mid-nineties. These COAG pricing reforms are aimed at improving water efficiency and the performance of the industry as a whole, including protecting consumers from excessive prices in natural monopoly markets.

Urban water pricing reform Pricing and associated institutional reform has been a major component of the national water reform agenda over the last two decades for both urban and rural water. Most water service providers are geographic monopolies. For this reason, costreflective pricing is generally supported by regulatory oversight to ensure only necessary costs are recovered in prices. Agreed national pricing reforms have evolved over time, from the 1994 COAG Water Reform Framework to the 2004 National Water Initiative (NWI) best practice pricing and institutional arrangements and, most recently, the 2010 NWI pricing principles. 1994 COAG Water Reform Framework The 1994 COAG Water Reform Framework provided the first agreed set of national reforms for the urban and rural water sector. The framework embraces pricing reform based on the following principles: • Full cost recovery – to ensure prices recover the full, efficient cost-of-service provision from customers. • Cost reflectivity – to structure tariffs to introduce more costreflective pricing to provide a signal for efficient water use through consumption-based charges, with remaining revenue collected through fixed service charges on a defensible cost basis rather than property values more akin to a tax. • Elimination of cross-subsidies – to remove or reduce crosssubsidies, with any government subsidies remaining made transparent and gradually removed where possible. By moving away from ad hoc pricing decisions based on political imperatives, pricing reforms also aimed to foster public confidence

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in the industry and greater certainty for investment through improved transparency and accountability (NWC, 2011a). 2004 National Water Initiative The 2004 NWI covers eight elements, including best-practice pricing. The NWI pricing reforms seek to promote water-use efficiency and innovation in urban and rural areas. The emphasis of full cost recovery, cost reflectivity and elimination of crosssubsidies is maintained, with their application specifically extended to include alternative water sources and trade waste.

Recent reviews of urban water reform In recent years a number of Australian government agencies have reviewed the success of urban water reforms, including urban water pricing: • The Productivity Commission’s Australia’s Urban Water Sector (2011); • The National Water Commission’s Urban Water in Australia: Future Directions (2011) and associated publications; • Infrastructure Australia’s Review of Regional Water Quality & Security (2010). Strong benefits from the pricing and institutional reforms were identified by the three reviews, including: • Consumption-based charging in the 1990s consistently resulted in reductions in residential water consumption, indicating more efficient urban water use; • A decline in real operating costs per property for water and wastewater services in many urban areas from the late 1980s to the early 2000s (although in some cases costs have increased since 2004 because of new investment); • Independent economic regulation of urban water services has provided increased scrutiny of water businesses’ expenditure, resulting in cost savings to customers; • Independent economic regulation has led to greater transparency and accountability for all parties; • Where in place, the introduction of customer protection frameworks ensuring access and better protection of disadvantaged customers. These frameworks are most effective in jurisdictions with strong independent economic regulation, such as Victoria and New South Wales. The three urban water reviews identified opportunities for improvement as a result of failure to implement all agreed pricing reforms fully, including the inconsistency in the application of full cost recovery, approaches to cost-reflective pricing, and the removal of subsidies.


Feature Article Productivity Commission

National Water Commission

The Productivity Commission (2011) recognises the important role that pricing plays in providing the signals that guide behaviour on both the demand and supply sides of the urban water sector.

The recommendations in the National Water Commission’s Urban Water in Australia: Future Directions (NWC, 2011b) seek to ensure that urban water is managed using an efficient, adaptive, resilient and customer-driven approach that can respond to the challenges of increasing population, affordability concerns of water services, and the impacts of climate change. The report makes 10 primary recommendations, each with supporting recommendations.

In identifying opportunities for improvement, the Productivity Commission (2011) argues for pricing all elements of the urban water supply chain in a way that reflects the efficient cost of providing services to customers, and in particular: • Pricing bulk water according to the marginal opportunity cost of supply (flexible bulk water pricing) would facilitate better allocation of water resources and investment decisions by ensuring that bulk prices respond to changes in demand and supply. • Enhance the efficiency of the utilisation of water transmission infrastructure by pricing these services in line with flexible pricing principles under some circumstances. Efficiency gains could also be realised by ensuring that developer charges better reflect the costs involved. • The efficiency of retail prices could be improved through: – more comprehensive use of consumption-based pricing, including the direct charging of water usage to tenants where water is separately metered, and installing separate water meters in all new dwellings – moving away from mandatory inclining block tariffs – moving to more location-specific pricing that reflects the costs of service provision in different locations, where justified by a cost–benefit analysis.

The pricing-specific recommendations advise that governments should recommit to using pricing to promote economic efficiency; broaden the coverage of fully independent economic regulation across all urban water systems; and ensure that economic regulation is more flexible, to encourage innovation in price and service offerings and better reflect the value of water. Infrastructure Australia The focus of the AECOM (2010) report prepared for Infrastructure Australia, Review of Regional Water Quality & Security, was specifically focused on regional urban water. The review identified that pricing water in order to recover the full cost of supply is currently difficult to achieve in many Australian regional towns. AECOM (2010) identifies a high variability in the price paid for water across regional Australia. In addition to cost factors, variations in the application of pricing policies contribute. The review suggests that many utilities servicing regional towns are not recouping the costs of supplying water, let alone providing for capital improvements. Many are charging prices significantly lower than in major urban areas, where economies of scale would be likely to mean lower cost. AECOM (2010) makes recommendations for pricing reform with particular focus on achieving cost reflectivity and reduction of cross-subsidisation.

Pricing plays a vital role in guiding behaviour affecting supply and demand in the urban water sector.

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Feature Article Why cost-reflective pricing is important

Implementation of the reform agenda

At its core, the proposition is that the community must know what is the true cost of the service with which they are being provided. This is not to say that they must pay the full cost, just that these costs should be transparent. There are compelling public policy reasons that may support a price lower than the true cost being paid; however, these reasons should be explicit and their value capable of justification.

There has been limited response from governments to the urban water reform recommendations made by the Productivity Commission, the National Water Commission and Infrastructure Australia in their respective reviews over two years ago. At present the NWC has commenced its engagement with NWI parties, Australian Government agencies, industry stakeholders (including AWA) and the public to gather information and evidence to inform the 2014 NWI Triennial Assessment.

It is a fallacy to believe that increased costs around service provision can be prevented by constraining water prices. This practise merely conceals the issue and inhibits efficient decisionmaking by obfuscating the facts upon which decisions are made. Hiding the cost does not make it go away! If prices are less than the cost of the provision of the service then inevitably this ‘structural deficit’ will result in either the unsustainability of the service provider or, as is normally the case, the provision of external financial support. As was clearly recognised by COAG, such external financial support had commonly been provided by way of: • Equity investments by government and local government owners – as these investments are made to cover operating losses they generally do not meet the characteristics that most people would use to define an investment, as they are not likely to generate a return. • Cross-subsidisation – this is where the costs are smeared over a broader base, with users paying an averaged price – some paying more than the actual cost of the service provision, while others pay less. There are competing equity arguments around the efficacy of such practices that are beyond the scope of this paper. The point is that such practises should be justified, with their existence being known and their rationale transparent. Cost-reflective pricing is important for the best allocation of resources across the community. A lack of clarity around the cost of the provision of a service will inevitably distort future investment decisions, with the cost of the attendant errors requiring payment – ultimately by the customer (normally the community). Take, for example, a decision to augment a water supply when prices have been suppressed beneath the point of long-run cost recovery – the true demand for that service is unknown. It is possible that if it was priced in alignment with its true cost the forecast future demand, upon which investment decisions to augment supply were based, would not require augmentation. The work that was initiated some 20 years ago that was encapsulated into the NWI was predicated upon sound business principles. It is inevitable in an environment of increasing prices that pressure is brought to bear to keep prices as low as possible; however, this should not be misunderstood as some form of justification for the introduction of poor business practises. The true cost of the provision of water services can be minimised by robust planning, efficient operation and also through the utilisation of improved financing models. Concealing the cost will only result in the cost being transferred elsewhere – not in any savings. Should subsidies be warranted, their existence and value should be explicit. The provision of such subsidies (such as Community Service Obligations) is not inconsistent with the principle of full cost recovery; indeed, it is just an example of the sensible and balanced implementation of such policies.

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Conclusion AWA has previously submitted that full cost-reflective pricing is critical if economically efficient allocation of water resources and investment in them is to be made. It has acknowledged that this principle is not inconsistent with the delivery of stated social objectives that may be delivered through subsidisation of water prices, but where this occurs all subsidies should be transparent and bounded. The merits of cost-reflective pricing in the urban water industry are as compelling today as they were in the 1990s, as has been affirmed by the conclusions of the successive investigations completed in recent years by the Productivity Commission, the National Water Commission and Infrastructure Australia. The 2014 Triennial Assessment process of the NWI can serve as an opportunity to recommit to the attainment of this policy imperative. This opportunity should be seized to ensure the momentum of the change agenda that has been (only) partially implemented is not lost. Charles Darwin observed that it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent – it is the one that is the most adaptable to change. We submit that change unguided by objective is inefficient. The sustained implementation of change over the long term guided by strong policy objectives represents the preferred pathway for the optimal evolution of the urban water industry. In seeking to guide micro economic reform, the NWI correctly identified cost-reflective pricing as a necessary platform upon which urban water industry could realise efficiencies. It is hoped that the current review can leverage on the strengths of earlier work, to recalibrate the vision to accommodate contemporary drivers, but then to re-energise momentum within the industry to the attainment of this objective for the delivery of long-term efficiency gains. WJ

The Authors Jim Grayson (email: is CEO at Gladstone Area Water Board, Director at WSAA, and Chair of the AWA Water Management Law and Policy (WMLP) Specialist Network Committee. Erin Cini (email: is Director at Element Solutions and a member of the AWA WMLP Committee.

References AECOM (2010): Review of Regional Water Quality & Security. Infrastructure Australia. Council of Australian Governments (1994): The Council of Australian Governments’ Water Reform Framework. Environment Australia, Canberra. Council of Australian Governments (2004): Intergovernmental Agreement on a National Water Initiative. COAG. Council of Australian Governments (2008): COAG Work Program on Water – November 2008 – Agreed Actions. COAG. Council of Australian Governments (2010): NWI Pricing Principles. COAG. National Water Commission (2011a): Review of Pricing Reform in the Australian Water Sector. April 2011. National Water Commission. Canberra. National Water Commission (2011b): Urban Water in Australia: Future Directions. April 2011. National Water Commission, Canberra. Productivity Commission (2011): Australia’s Urban Water Sector. Productivity Commission, Canberra.


Feature Article

DRINKING WATER OPERATORS AS HEALTH PROFESSIONALS – The journey towards certification An update on the operator certification scheme in Victoria As waterborne chemical and pathogen public health risks are better understood, and water treatment technology continues to evolve, the role of the water treatment operator becomes ever more challenging. John Harris of Wannon Water and Kathy Northcott from Veolia Water Australia, look at the journey towards implementation of a Victorian drinking water operator competency and certification framework and implications for a future national certification scheme.


Minimum levels of competence required to work at individual water treatment facilities based on risk analysis and process steps.


A gap analysis that details how closely a water business meets the requirements of the Guidelines. From this an action plan is developed to achieve the required levels of operator competency within the review and implementation cycle of the Guidelines.

Victoria’s Safe Drinking Water Act 2003 and Safe Drinking Water Regulations 2005 utilise a ‘catchment-to-tap’ risk-based approach to the management of drinking water quality. A crucial component of this is the use of multiple water treatment processes (the ‘multi-barrier‘ approach). Management of multi-barrier treatment processes requires a certain skill set, knowledge and competency standard among drinking water operators. On a day-to-day basis it is the operator who is responsible for ensuring water is treated to the required standard and that risks are adequately managed.

Figure 1. Victorian Framework for Water Treatment Operator Competencies – Best Practice Guidelines. Issued by the Victorian Department of Health in September 2010.

Drinking water operator competency in Victoria


In September 2010 the Victorian Department of Health (Department of Health) issued the Victorian Framework for Water Treatment Operator Competencies – Best Practice Guidelines (the Guidelines). They were developed as a collaborative effort between the Department of Health and members of the Victorian Water Industry Association (VicWater). The Guidelines were developed using several collaborative committees, of which Wannon Water was a member.

Assessment of the capability of the water treatment processes to manage identified microbial risks.


Review of risks, treatment capability and operator gap analysis and establishment of a new action plan upon commencement of each new cycle of the Guidelines.

The Guidelines define the minimum training, qualification and competency standards that operators must attain and maintain in order to operate drinking water treatment facilities in the state of Victoria. An important aspect of the Guidelines is the development of an operator certification scheme that recognises the competency of water operators and certifies that they meet the minimum competency requirements detailed in the Guidelines. Part of these minimum requirements requires that operators have undertaken formal training on the unit processes they are responsible for managing. The Water Industry Operators Association of Australia (WIOA) has the first such certification scheme endorsed by the Department of Health, which certifies operators under the Guidelines and then re-certifies them every three years, using an evidence-based points system for ongoing training and professional development.

The Structure of the Guidelines The Guidelines are comprised of five parts: 1.

Assessment of microbial risk associated with individual water supply systems.

All of these actions must be carried out for each water treatment plant and a report submitted to the Department of Health on all aspects of the Guidelines. The actions are repeated for each water treatment plant once every three years, to capture any changes to risk classification, treatment capability and/or operator competency and training requirements.

The WIOA Certification Scheme The aim of the Certification Scheme is to verify that an operator meets the minimum competency requirements of the Guidelines and is, therefore, by extension, qualified and competent to perform their role in the water industry. By being certified the operator is recognised as having a specific set of skills, experience and abilities. Each operator must provide evidence to show relevant industry experience, a set of relevant skills (gained through training) that are considered the minimum required for working in that particular occupation, and an ability to keep skills and knowledge current. The process of certification is structured as follows: Step 1. Documentation of industry experience An applicant provides documentation to show relevant experience in one of the certification categories (e.g. Level 3 or 4 in water). This experience must total more than three years in an operational role.

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Feature Article

Summary of actions Under these best practice guidelines, each VicWater member undertaking water treatment for the purpose of supplying drinking water to the public agrees to:

Action 1

Action 3

Undertake a public health (microbial) risk classification assessment for each water supply system that they either operate directly, or have responsibility for, using the template and scoring system in Appendix A of the guidelines, and then provide to the Department of Health the microbial risk classification for each assessed system.

Where the assessment indicates that the minimum levels of competency are not being met at an assessed water treatment facility, provide details of the proposed actions they will take to address this, including proposed timeframes.

Action 2 At the time of submission of the initial public health (microbial) risk classification to the Department of Health, provide the department with a summary of the competencies and qualifications of the staff at each water treatment facility that they operate, including an assessment of where the minimum levels of competency, as described in Part two of the guidelines, are currently not being met.

Action 4 Undertake a treatment capability assessment on each water treatment facility that they either operate directly, or have responsiblity for, and then provide to the Department of Health the treatment capability category for each facility.

Action 5 Every three years after the initial microbial risk classification, gap analysis and treatment capability assessment, redo the microbial risk classification, gap analysis and treatment capability assessment on each water treatment facility that they operate, or have responsibility for, and provide to the Department of Health the revised results.

Figure 2. Summary of actions taken from the Victorian Framework for Water Treatment Operator Competencies – Best Practice Guidelines. Step 2. Documentation of skills from a training provider An applicant must show evidence of completion of accredited training from an approved Registered Training Organisation (RTO). This includes Certificates and Statements of Attainment. Step 3. Application for certification The applicant completes and submits an application form to WIOA. Applicants must also sign a professional Code of Conduct. Step 4. Periodic certification renewal To ensure that certified operations practitioners keep their skills up to date there is a process requiring certification to be renewed every three years. Certified operators need to show that they have remained active in the industry and that they have taken steps to keep up to date with new technology. They do this by accruing the prescribed number of 15 certification points in each three-year period under WIOA’s Certification Scheme.

Launch of the Certification Scheme

Wannon Water has submitted certification applications for another two operators, with four more operators finalising their certification paperwork ready to apply. This illustrates the commitment of both businesses to the establishment of a robust competency and certification framework for drinking water operators.

Wannon Water’s certification approach Wannon Water (Wannon Region Water Corporation) is, geographically, Victoria’s second largest regional urban water corporation. The service area extends over 23,500 square kilometres from the South Australian border (west), to Balmoral in the north, Lismore in the east and the lower Gellibrand River catchment on the south coast. Wannon Water manages a diverse range of water supplies, including water catchments, geothermal groundwater and shallow groundwater systems. Wannon Water supplies water services to a permanent population of 80,000 people, including residential, commercial, industrial and rural customers.

Wannon Water has been involved with the development of the operator competency guidelines in Victoria, through its membership with VicWater and representation on collaborative committees involved with the drafting of the Guidelines. The implementation of operator certification within Wannon Water is part of our key Strategic Objective to grow organisation capability. Wannon Water has a broad-ranging workforce capability program that focuses on a professional development philosophy that fosters positive attitudes towards learning, teamwork and involvement of its managers in training and mentoring. This philosophy, coupled with the variety of learning and development programs we offer to our employees, has enabled us to achieve our target of certification of drinking water operators by December 2012.

Veolia’s certification approach In Victoria, Veolia operates bulk water, drinking water and recycled water assets under contract to water businesses such as Coliban Water and Central Highlands Water. The geographic area extends from Landsborough in the west, north-east to Lake Epplaock and

WIOA’s Certification Scheme was officially launched at a reception held at the Department of Health on Friday 14 December 2012. At this reception four Victorian water treatment operators became the first water industry operators in Australia to be certified under the scheme. The first four operators to be certified were Broc Mulcair and Luke McCormick from Veolia Water Australia (Veolia), and Matthew Sinnott and Peter Uwland from Wannon Water. The certification scheme is now officially available to all Australian water businesses and operators employed in the treatment of drinking water. Since the launch of the certification scheme in December 2012, Veolia has had a further three operators certified in the Bendigo region, with another four operators in the Ballarat region expected to achieve certification by early 2014.

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Figure 3. Operator certification ceremony held at the Department of Health on 14 December 2012.


Feature Article

Some perspectives on operator certification Kathy Northcott (Veolia) – Regional Training Project Manager I have observed the operator competency and certification experience within the Veolia Victorian operations team as having an overwhelmingly positive impact. The implementation of the Guidelines, and subsequent official recognition of operator’s knowledge and experience through certification, has given many people the ability to confidently grow into their role as water treatment professionals and custodians of public health. Broc Mulcair (Veolia) – Bendigo Water Operator and first operator certified with WIOA Figure 4. The Veolia Training Management Database is an essential component of Veolia’s management of operator competency and certification. south to Ballarat. Service, value and a socially and environmentally responsible approach are incorporated into everything we do. Since the publication of the Guidelines in September 2010, Veolia has considered operator competency and certification to be an important measure of the value we can provide to our clients, as well as improving the capability and professionalism of our operational teams. Veolia is developing an operator training framework that will meet the needs of Veolia’s business as well as fulfilling the requirements of the Guidelines and the WIOA Certification Scheme. The key components of the Veolia training program will be: • Schedule relevant training and upskilling of individuals based on the training gap analyses performed for each treatment plant. • Work towards all operators achieving a minimum of Certificate III in Water Operations, as well as any further units of competency required to achieve operator certification. • Manage each operator’s ongoing training, knowledge and experience requirements through their twice-yearly performance plan meetings. Development of a suitable training management database is important to the overall success of Veolia’s training framework and ongoing refresher training. Currently undergoing its first update after being in use for 12 months, the Veolia training management database is intended to be used to manage all operator qualification and certification training requirements. The database includes all information pertaining to units of competency, work experience and certification requirements for each operator to enable the business to achieve compliance with the guidelines and with certification. The database has provision for reporting on competency and refresher training requirements for individuals. These reports are used to allocate training budgets as well as for performance management of operators. A second key component of Veolia’s training framework is mapping the Guidelines and certification scheme requirements to Veolia’s own employee Performance Appraisal and Development Plan. This will be key to the success of our implementation of certification into our operations.

I think it’s great that the Department of Health recognises that being a drinking water operator is a career, not just a job. Ten to 15 years ago people working in water and wastewater operations were considered to be on the bottom rung of the career ladder. Now we are classed as essential service providers, equivalent to professionals working in hospitals and power stations. Drinking water operations is becoming ever more important. The public is more aware of issues with water and we have to be able to meet public expectations regarding water quality and supply. Konrad Mueller (Veolia) – Bendigo Plant Supervisor Certification is important for the recognition of the skills and knowledge of today’s drinking water operators. Water treatment essentially started out as a guy operating a penstock at a reservoir. Now operators are required to manage highly sophisticated plant requiring substantial skills and training. A well-designed operator competency framework and certification scheme provides a clear definition of accountability to operators for the management of the processes they are responsible for. John Harris (Wannon Water) – Manager Treatment Operations This certification scheme gives operators the structure to promote the excellent work they do. It has brought about a positive change to the attitudes and culture within our organisation. The implementation of the Best Practice Guidelines, and official recognition of operators’ knowledge and experience, has given many people the ability to confidently grow into their role. Peter Uwland (Wannon Water) – Coordinator Central District I was surprised yet honoured when I learnt of my earning certification in Water Treatment Operations. My experience shows that Water Treatment Operators take a lot of pride in their chosen career and it is great to see that the Department of Health and WIOA have joined together to introduce a system that formally acknowledges this. Matt Sinnott (Wannon Water) – Operator Eastern District That the Department of Health recognises treatment operators with certification is very important to the operations staff, as well as providing greater security for the public. With the responsibility that I have to provide safe and healthy water to my family, friends and community I am proud that I am recognised as being a certified operator.

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Feature article

NATIONAL cERTIFIcATION FRAmEWORK The COAG National Water Skills Strategy released in 2009 recommended that in order to better manage public health risks associated with the known variations in water supply standards and practices a National Certification Framework for water operators involved with drinking water be introduced. The National Water Commission provided funding through the Raising National Water Standards program to Government Skills Australia, the Industry Skills Council responsible for water industry qualifications in the vocational sector, for the development of a National Certification Framework. Following extensive industry consultation, a proposed National Certification Framework is now available to industry. The challenge of how this Framework is to be implemented is now being considered by the Water Industry Skills Taskforce (WIST). In November 2012, WIST convened a National Water Industry Skills Forum in Canberra, which aimed to articulate the critical skills issues and identify current and emerging workforce needs and potential solutions for the future. The National Certification Framework was identified as a priority issue. WIST has agreed to champion the implementation of this Framework and continue to drive the implementation of the Framework forward. Key activities will include: • Working with state and territory regulators to ensure national consensus for defining key elements of the proposed National Certification Framework; • Scoping a pilot to test implementation; • Running a pilot in the first quarter of 2014; • Ensuring that lessons already learned in Victoria through the implementation of the Victorian Framework for Water Treatment Operator Competencies – Best Practice Guidelines are taken into account; and • Developing an advocacy campaign to the Federal Government. Early planning for a National Certification Framework identified how it would benefit the public and the water industry, including both employers and employees. Many of these benefits are well articulated in the accompanying article by Kathy Northcott and John Harris about their experiences as employers implementing the Victorian Framework for Water Treatment Operator Competencies – Best Practice Guidelines. Although there are some differences between the Victorian Framework and the proposed National Certification Framework, it is likely that the challenges and benefits they have described will be similar at the national level. For more information please contact Petra Kelly, National Manager – Water Sector Training, email: Funding Support If you are an employer concerned about cost implications associated with making sure your water operators meet the requirements of the National Certification Framework, please check out the Funding Information Tab on the Government Skills Australia website:

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certification: challengeS There are a number of challenges for a water business such as Wannon Water or Veolia in implementing an operator certification scheme. These include: • Providing a consistent training delivery and training quality framework for operator competency that is applicable regardless of geographic location or the size or complexity of the treatment process.

Figure 5. Proposed National certification Framework – Suggested Governance Arrangement.

• Finding customised and flexible training options that cover highly technical treatment processes such as ozone, biological activated carbon, microfiltration, ion exchange and reverse osmosis. In the case of Veolia, we have developed a number of in-house training packages to meet training needs that are not widely available externally through RTOs. • Finding a certification methodology that can be portable enough to fit various regional operations. • Customising certification to meet the needs of water business plans, as well as our corporate vision, values and drivers for excellence in quality, safety and environment. • Mitigating extra costs to the business for training and maintaining certification for a large number of operators over a large geographic distance.

certification: opportunitieS In contrast to the above-mentioned challenges, the implementation of the Guidelines and the associated WIOA Operator Certification Scheme has provided opportunities for Wannon Water and Veolia to participate in a number of training initiatives that have positive implications for the wider water industry. These include: • Working with the Water Trainer Assessors Networks and RTOs to develop a broader range of assessment options (for example, Veolia’s participation in the RPL Resources Project). • Promotion of the technical expertise of staff through presentations at technical seminars (for example, Veolia staff invited to present at WIOA Technical Seminars, AWA Master Classes). • Working with government departments to create water industry skills and workforce development initiatives (for example, Wannon Water and Veolia representatives on the National Certification Framework steering committee). • Working with industry groups to foster new professional development initiatives (for example, Veolia’s participation in AWA mentoring programs). • Initiatives to retain skilled staff within the region through the development of local career pathways (for example, Wannon Water’s participation in Future Leaders of Industry Program in Portland, and the Emerging Technologies Industry Program with Warrnambool College).


Feature Article What have we learned from the Victorian Experience? From a team culture perspective, Veolia and Wannon Water have found participation in implementation of the Guidelines and operator certification to be a beneficial exercise. Anecdotal evidence has shown that operators appreciate the recognition of their skills and knowledge and have been receptive to the increased focus on their role as custodians of public health (see “Some Perspectives on Operator Certification”). They have risen to the challenge of the increased training and upskilling requirements, and are more likely to actively participate in their own training and professional development planning. However, there are constraints and costs that are borne by an organisation when implementing such a scheme. For example: • The first implementation cycle of the Guidelines in Victoria (2011–2014) resulted in an increased cost and time impost on Veolia’s Victorian operations. • The Bendigo operations saw a three-fold increase in the annual training budget in the first year (2011) and a five-fold increase in the second year (2012), compared to the 2010 budget. The second impact is the loss of operations staff due to the increased training requirements. The Guidelines in Victoria require new operators to be fully qualified within 24 months of commencement of employment, with extra units of competency to be completed within 36 months. In the case of Veolia’s Victorian plants, this equates to almost 400 hours of water operations training that is required over 36 months. This places major constraints on rosters, staffing and leave allocation. In response to the increased cost and time commitment for operator training and competency the Veolia team worked hard to improve and innovate on our training management and delivery. This included: • Providing technical staff and senior operational staff professional development opportunities to become in-house qualified trainers.

Guideline levels, despite an increase in training delivery. The benefit is that more training funds are available for ongoing professional development. • The Veolia team has made more effective use of alternative training delivery methods (online, distance mode, on-the-job, RPL) and has overall reduced the number of hours operators are away for training.

Looking to the future: The National Operator Certification Framework The development and implementation of the Guidelines in Victoria has been an important first step on the road to the establishment of a future National Operator Certification Framework (the National Framework). The National Framework responds to the need to address the inconsistencies in training and competency of drinking water operators across the country, and the resulting variation in standards of practices, which has been highlighted by regulators and industry as a potential public health risk. A National Certification Framework to address the issue was considered a high priority in the National Water Skills Strategy (COAG, 2009). The $250,000 project to establish a National Framework proposal was awarded to Government Skills Australia (GSA) in June 2011 from the Raising National Water Standards program run by the National Water Commission (NWC). A National Framework steering committee headed up by GSA, and including representatives from industry, regulators and peak water associations, was tasked with delivery of a proposal for the National Framework to the NWC in March 2012. Both Wannon Water and Veolia had representatives on this steering committee. The general feeling across the water industry is that the National Framework will be an important step towards achieving nationally consistent quality standards for drinking water treatment. The Victorian experience of the implementation of the Guidelines and the WIOA Certification Scheme provides valuable insights to the implications of a National Framework for the Australian water industry. WJ

• More focus on recognition of existing skills and experience within the team and more effective use of RPL assessment.


• Development of better working relationships with RTOs in order to customise more flexible, time- and cost-effective training arrangements.

Government Skills Australia (2012): Proposed National Certification Framework 2012, Adelaide, SA, 37pp.

These activities have resulted in significant improvements to our training management and delivery – so much so that: • In the first six months of 2013 the expenditure on operator qualification and competency training had returned to pre-

DEWHA (2009): Water For The Future, National Water Skills Strategy, 16pp.

Victorian Water Industry Association (2010): Victorian Framework for Water Treatment Operator Competencies – Best Practice Guidelines, 31pp. Wannon Water (2012) 2011/12 Annual Report, Warrnambool, Vic, 86pp. WOIA (2011): Water Industry Operator Certification Scheme, Water Industry Operators Association, Shepparton, Vic, 14pp.

The Authors John Harris (email: is Manager, Treatment Operations, with Wannon Regional Water Corporation. John has 39 years’ experience in the water industry and has a strong involvement in training with setting up the first certificate in Water and Wastewater in Victoria in 1987. He has since been involved in the development of the national water training package, as chair of the water industry advisory committee. John is also a Director on the Government Skills Australia committee representing water. Kathy Northcott (email: is a Senior Process Engineer with Veolia Water Australia’s Victorian operations. Since mid-2011 Kathy has added Regional Training Project Manager to her responsibilities, tasked with implementation of operator competency and certification across Veolia’s Victorian operations. With a PhD and a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Melbourne, Kathy has 16 years of industry experience. She has worked in a variety of roles including Cogeneration Power Station Operator in South Australia, Water Treatment Operator in Antarctica, and Engineering Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Japan.

december 2013 water

technical papers

Application Of Sonar Technology For The Profiling Of Sludge In Wastewater Pond Systems

Climate Change How Climate Change Will Impact On The Water Industry

PB Urich et al.


A Byrne et al.


S Cloete et al.


T Kildea et al.


R Wrigley & R van de Graaff


A Cunningham & P Stapleton


L Wallace et al.


T Wohlsen


Key findings of the UN Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report

Disinfection A Modified Laboratory Chlorine Decay Test To Assess The Impact Of Multi-Point Chlorine Dosing

A chlorine decay assay involving addition of chlorine in several doses to simulate multiple dosing at a WTP

Health & Safety Urban Water System Safety An investigation of the human element issues of control room operations for water treatment and distribution

Desalination Environmental Performance Of The Adelaide Desalination Plant

Outcomes of marine monitoring studies of saline waste stream at ADP

Recycled Water Irrigation Land Capabaility Assessment For Recycled Water Irrigation Schemes

Is it more than just compliance with environmental standards?

Water Reuse This icon means the paper has been refereed

Class A Water Recycling At Barwon Water

Delivery, challengeas and key lessons from two recycled water projects in Victoria

Remote Communities Managing Extreme Risk Tanks In Remote Aboriginal Communities

New methodologies for managing infrastructure past its normal operational lifespan

Water Quality Detecting Enterococci In Recreational Water Samples By Membrane Filtration

Comparative evaluation of USEPA Method 1600 and AS/NZS 4276.9:2007



72 The Black Rock Recycled Water Plant in Victoria.


HOW CLIMATE CHANGE WILL IMPACT ON THE WATER INDUSTRY Key findings of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report PB Urich, P Kouwenhoven, Y Li, K Freas, J Poon

INTRODUCTION The Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the United Nations (UN) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will be released in four parts between September 2013 and November 2014 and supersedes the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) as the most comprehensive review of climate science and policy. The First Assessment Report (FAR) emerged after the IPCC was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organisation and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). These entities were tasked with preparing a report on all aspects of climate change and its impacts to inform the crafting of practical response strategies. After its 1990 release, FAR exposed the need for international cooperation and spurred the creation of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the key international treaty to guide greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction and provide a framework for managing consequences of non-reduction. Since 1995, regular assessments have been released, as well as a number of important methodology

and special scientific reports. All of these publications assist national governments in their communications with the UNFCCC and help them review their GHG emissions and plans for mitigation, impact and adaptation at the independent State level.

the Synthesis Report will be jargon-free and accessible to a broad audience as it is read, used and quoted in official reports and action statements. The report will not be released until the Conference of Parties meeting (location undetermined) in December 2014.

AR5 contains more extensive information on climate change’s socioeconomic impacts and, hence, its role in sustainable development. Features include a new set of scenarios that are applied across the three working groups:


• Working Group I – “The Physical Science Basis”; • Working Group II – “Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability”; • Working Group III –“Mitigation of Climate Change”. Additional activities include a Task Force on Greenhouse Gas Inventories, a Synthesis Report that will integrate science from the three working group reports, and special reports issued through AR5 and previous assessment cycles. Specifically written for policy makers and government officials, advisors to government and experts,

USING SIMCLIM AND GCMS TO DETERMINE FUTURE CLIMATE CHANGE Climate change is about future development of the Earth’s climate. Because this change is driven by carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from burning fossil fuels, we have to make assumptions about how much CO2 is being added to the carbon cycle. IPCC developed different scenarios, with the RCP8.5 representing the most extreme emission scenario. Unfortunately, that pathway is the one the global community is currently following. More conservative emission scenarios will still reach expected 1.92°C warming, albeit later. GCMs are used to determine future climate change. Various research institutes develop their own models and report results for agreed inputs (like the RCP8.5) on a publicly accessible website (CMIP5). CLIMsystems’ integrated modelling software, SimCLIM, uses model results and takes the median (the 50-percentile, not the average) from these results in generating ensemble outputs. Using the median eliminates more extreme model results.

Climate modelling through General Circulation Models (GCMs), also known as Global Climate Models, has been a substantial part of the Assessment process since 1990. The number of modelling groups producing GCMs has increased markedly over successive Assessments, starting with five groups generating eight models for the FAR (1990) to 27 groups producing 61 models for AR5. These models represent the natural (physical, chemical and biological) processes of the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and land surface, and are the most sophisticated available for simulating increased GHG concentrations on the global climate system. Over time there has also been an expansion in modelled variables, including both the marine and atmospheric environment. For AR5, many models have daily varying temperatures (with minimum, mean and maximum values) so that change patterns can be extracted for the first time; AR4 models did not contain this information. Only 12 AR4 GCMs produced daily precipitation outputs; with AR5 more daily outputs results in better modelling of extreme rainfall events. Previously, a location’s monthly rainfall could show a drying signal, even though individual extreme rainfall events increased in intensity, and few groups had managed to develop methods for working with such limited daily GCM data.




Technical Papers



Technical Papers • RCP4.5 stabilises by 2100, but at 650 PPM CO2 equivalent without overshoot; • RCP2.6 peaks at 490 PPM CO2 equivalent before 2100 and then declines. The global atmosphere is currently close to 400 PPM CO2 equivalents and concentrations of CO2 and non- CO2 gases are increasing at a rate that is of concern (Prinn, 2013). Table 1 provides an RCPs overview.


AR4<0 (drier)

AR4>0 (wetter)

AR5<0 (drier)



AR5>0 (wetter)




Both AR4 and AR5 agree it is getting drier AR4 signal is getting drier, but AR5 signal indicates it is getting wetter AR4 signal is getting wetter, but AR5 signal is for it to get drier Both AR4 and AR5 agree it is getting wetter

Figure 1. Comparison of change in precipitation between AR4 (21-model ensemble) and AR5 (40-model ensemble). More than 20 models (of the current 61) have all the necessary data for post-processing and incorporation into extreme rainfall event models for risk assessments, and 40 models can generate spatial scenarios. This considerable data enrichment adds additional information for any set of tools applied to real world problems and improves the statistical significance of results. The IPCC is still advising that an ensemble or mean of a group of models be applied when using GCM model data (Stocker et al., 2010). Global scenario parameters are also necessary to generate climate outputs. Prior to AR5 this information was communicated through the storylines of emissions scenarios (Special Report on Emission Scenarios [SRES]). Prior to that FAR was driven by analogue and equilibrium scenarios for impact assessment that included business as usual (as well as policy) scenarios. Forty SRES scenarios represented different assumptions on pollution, land use change and other driving forces of climate change. This scenario list was refined to six families for application in risk assessments with the descriptors A1FI, A1B, A1T, A2, B1 and B2. In 2005, the process moved away from SRES with the development of


representative concentration pathways (RCPs) introduced at an IPCC Expert Meeting on Emissions Scenarios, followed by IPCC workshops (2005, 2007). For the first time the RCPs include scenarios that explore approaches to climate change mitigation in addition to traditional ‘no climate policy’ scenarios. Each RCP represents a different emission pathway: • RCP8.5 leads to a greater than 1370 PPM (parts per million) CO2 equivalent by 2100 with a continued rise post-2100; • RCP6.0 stabilises by 2100 at 850 PPM CO2 equivalent to 2100 without overshoot;

AR5 model precipitation projections are similar to AR4 on a global scale; however, when ensemble medians of models are created and compared (AR4 versus AR5) some important geographic areas show signal differences in GCM results. For example, in Australia the 21 GCM ensemble median AR4 data show a signal towards an increase in annual precipitation for the northern third of the continent. Processing a 40 model AR5 ensemble reverses the signal and shows drying for much of the northern part of the continent, as shown in Figure 1. The models are based on data trending through the entire 21st century, which represents a huge increase in data volume, but does not necessarily lead to model performance improvement (Knutti and Sedláček, 2012). EXTREME TEMPERATURES AND PRECIPITATION

In AR4, the IPCC concluded (Solomon et al., 2007) that climate change has begun to affect the frequency, intensity and duration of extreme events (i.e. extreme temperatures, extreme precipitation floods and droughts), some of which

Table 1. RCPs Overview (van Vuuren et al., 2011; Moss et al., 2010; Rojeli et al., 2012). Description

CO2 Equivalent

SRES Equivalent

Publication – IA Model


Rising radiative forcing pathway leading to 8.5 W/m2 in 2100.



Raiahi et al., 2007 – MESSAGE


Stabilisation without overshoot pathway to 6 W/m2 at 2100



Fujino et al.; Hijioka et al., 2008 – AIM


Stabilisation without overshoot pathway to 4.5 W/m2 2100



Clark et al., 2006; Smith and Wigley, 2006; Wise et al., 2009 – GCAM


Peak in radiative forcing at ~ 3 W/m2 before 2100 and decline



van Vuuren et al., 2007; van Vuuren et al., 2006 – IMAGE

are projected to continue. A subsequent IPCC assessment (a special report on managing risks of extreme events) to advance climate change adaptation [SREX]) confirms these assessments (Seneviratne et al., 2012). The ability of GCMs to reproduce extremes with different time scales is of great importance. In 1950 the researcher Jennings discovered the relationship between the global maximum of precipitation and duration; since that time his findings have been reinforced by numerous studies. Now the question is “how do the new models perform and how can their results be folded into decision making?”. In general, high temperature extremes in the late 20th century are plausibly modelled, with 20-year return values (on a global scale) that are within the range of uncertainty in historical reanalysis data of about 10 C. Local scale discrepancies are greater, with values of up to 50 C, with more extreme differences over the land than the oceans. The uncertainties in low extremes are greater than that of the warm extremes; however, they still fall well within estimates obtained from different reanalysis data. Precipitation extremes have always been challenging to model. Large uncertainties remain, especially over tropical and subtropical regions, with AR5 models performing similarly to AR4 models. Both perform better in the extratropics where they compare favourably with observational records. By the end of the century, the various RCPs express different possible shifts in precipitation intensity. RCP 2.6 global multi-model results indicate a 6% increase in high extreme daily precipitation, while the RCP 4.5 experiment shows a 10% increase and RCP 8.5 20%. These changes in extremes are two to three times greater than the corresponding multi-model change in global annual precipitation. Return periods for extreme precipitation are expected to shorten for much of the world, except in some of the subtropics’ drying regions. A strong indicative trend is the shortening of 20-year return periods to 14, 11 and six years for RCPS 2.6, 4.5 and 8.5 (respectively) by the end of the century, compared with the historical 1986 to 2005 period. In summary, AR5 extremes for temperatures and precipitation are generally in agreement with the AR4

Figure 2. Signal of change in ocean surface pH in the Western Asia-Pacific (the Coral Triangle). The redder colour represents a stronger change. models (Kharin et al., 2013). While annual precipitation may show a decrease for many locations, the intensity of extreme events is likely to increase. The expansion in the GCM daily data availability permits the application of ensembles with more members than that in AR4. This means that, while statistical analysis of uncertainty across models has improved, it acknowledges that uncertainty in certain regions and locations remains particularly high for precipitation (although less so for temperature). MARINE CHANGES: SURFACE TEMPERATURE AND ACIDIFICATION ISSUES; COOLING AND DESALINATION

AR5 offers opportunities to model the marine environment and its wide range of biophysical ocean variables, improving on AR4 ocean model shortcomings (Griffies et al., 2010; Mora et al., 2013). More than 40 variables are available from limited GCM runs, and processing of some biogeochemical models is now available for application through Esri ArcGIS tools. The currently available variables include sea surface temperature; net primary productivity of carbon by phytoplankton; dissolved nitrate concentration; dissolved oxygen concentration; pH; dissolved phosphate concentration; total alkalinity; dissolved iron concentration; and dissolved silicate concentration, all at the surface. Much of the interest in these model data relates to sea surface temperature changes as they impact on power plants cooled by warming seawater. Increasingly there are examples of power plant shutdowns as sea surface temperatures increase and the seawater cooling potential decreases. Similarly, changes

in sea surface temperatures, combined with other biophysical characteristics, make it possible to model potential changes in algal bloom frequency (which can affect desalination operations), as well as extreme events like coral bleaching. One of the greatest concerns related to climatic change and oceans is degradation of the carbonate/reef environment. About a quarter of the CO2 released in the atmosphere dissolves in the oceans where it lowers pH, causing ocean acidification (Mora et al., 2013). A small pH change affects the CaCO3CO2 equilibrium, slowing coral growth and weakening the coral that can grow under these conditions. Figure 2 shows the pH changes of 12 models from AR5. Because pH is a log-scale unit, the ratio of pH for 1995 and 2035 is presented, with the redder colour showing a stronger change. This mostly occurs in shallower areas, as temperature increase contributes as well. SEA LEVEL RISE

Global mean sea level (MSL) rise for 2100 (relative to 1995) for the RCPs is projected in the following 5–95% ranges for AR5: • 28–60 cm (RCP2.6) • 35–70 cm (RCP4.5) • 37–72 cm (RCP6.0) • 53–97 cm (RCP8.5) Confidence in the projected ranges comes from process-based model consistency, in addition to observations and physical understanding. The IPCC notes that there is currently insufficient evidence to evaluate the probability of specific levels above the likely range. It




Technical Papers



Technical Papers

Table 2. Return periods of maximum temperature events for baseline period and 2040 projections. Baseline Climate °C (1984-2012)

2040 (RCP8.5-high) 35-GCM Ensemble



7-day average


7-day average





















Table 3. Return periods for extreme temperature events in 2040 based on an RCP 8.5 with high climate sensitivity for a 35 GCM ensemble. 2040 (RCP8.5-high) 35-GCM ensemble Event

























is unlikely that global MSL will exceed these levels by the end of the century unless there are substantial changes in the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets. Current research is focused on better understanding the potential for rapid and catastrophic sea level rise over a much shorter timeframe (Krinner and Durand, 2012). While MSL rise is important, it is also critical to recognise at least two other factors:

• Sea level rise does not occur evenly across the globe; some areas rise faster than others because of changes in ocean currents, seawater temperatures (the thermal expansion component varies), air pressure and geo-tectonic movements (e.g. land rising can partially or totally offset sea level rise in some localities, or subsidence owing to tectonic or other activities such as groundwater extraction can exacerbate local sea level rise).

• Extreme sea level events (in addition to sea level rise) often (but not exclusively) arise with the confluence of events such as exceptional seasonal high tides, wind and waves associated with tropical depressions or extra tropical low pressure systems and coastal bathymetry. Extreme sea level (surge) events can have a profound impact on people and property. This can now be modelled for a location, in conjunction with MSL rise, in order to improve understanding of return periods for extreme events and the actual potential sea level during such an event.

CASE STUDY: CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS ON THE HAZELWOOD COAL-FIRED POWER STATION The GDF SUEZ Hazelwood is a brown-coal fired power station located 150km east of Melbourne in the Latrobe Valley, Victoria. Recently, CLIMsystems analysed future climate impacts on the station, including the change in ambient temperatures. The power station produces around 10 terawatt (TW) hours of energy, supplying up to 25% of Victoria’s energy requirements and 5.4% of Australia’s energy demand. The power station is a heat-intensive operation and relies on water extracted from a dedicated cooling pond. The SimCLIM software tool analysed climate variability and change over a downscaled geographical area and set timeframe and identified that future temperature increases will: • Reduce power-generating capacity as it becomes harder for the power station to expend heat and cool its operations; • Increase power demands through increased residential and commercial air-conditioning requirements.

METHODS The SimCLIM tool used results produced by institutes around the world for AR5 to examine changes in ambient temperature. Specifically, it used the results of an ensemble of 35 GCMs and applied the RPC8.5 scenario with high climate sensitivity (by 2040, the global mean temperature will have risen 1.92°C compared to 1990 levels).

Figure 3. The spatial distribution of the daily maximum temperature (TMax) averaged over January and February 1995 for the baseline climate of Victoria.


The extreme temperature events for given return periods are outlined in Table 2 and demonstrate that by 2040 the maximum temperature extremes (for both a 1-day period, as well as for the 7-day average maximum) will be significantly

in the current GHG emission rate, but also adaptive measures such as energy efficiency and resilience planning for power generation and distribution infrastructure. The impacts of climate change on the Hazelwood power plant operations will include: • Increased demand for energy for residential and commercial air conditioning; • Decreased efficiency of power generation due to increased ambient temperatures; depending on powerplant cooling design the ability to generate power might be seriously affected; • Decreased efficiency on power delivery through the grid, both from increased temperatures and increased demand; • Redesign of the power grid in order to meet demand changes.

CONCLUSIONS Figure 4. The spatial distribution of maximum temperature by 2040 (RCP8.5-high, 35-GCM ensemble). higher. Instead of focusing on the temperature increase for a given return period, the analysis can also produce the change in return period for the current extreme events, as shown in Table 3. The current extreme temperatures will become more than three times more frequent by 2040 (as shown in Table 3). Seven-day heatwaves, with a current return period of 1 in 100 years, will become nearly five times more frequent by 2040 under this emission scenario. At the power plant location (red dot, Figure 3) the average maximum temperature is around 25°C. Areas closer to the sea or at a higher elevation are cooler, as indicated by the lighter blue colours, and hotter toward the interior along the Murray River. The same colour definition is used in Figure 4, where the 25°C contour line has shifted closer to the power plant. The whole area shows a considerable temperature increase, which will drive increased energy demand from residential and commercial air-conditioning. CLIMsystems analysed the degreeday sum to assess climate change consequences on the environmental heat-balance, which affects energy demand from air-conditioning and the ability to cool the power plant. Degree-day sum is used for air-conditioning design, as well as the cooling requirements of thermal power generation. The degree-day sum

represents the sum of all daily temperatures throughout a year, over a threshold. With a threshold temperature of 25°C, the yearly degree-day sum is distributed per Table 4. Currently the degree-day sum reaches 128°C.d once every 10 years (on average), but by 2040 this may increase to 191°C.d. As the energy demand for cooling is linear with the degree-day sum, the energy demand to meet this requirement could, therefore, increase by almost 50%. In addition, the energy demand peak that currently occurs every 20 years will be demanded every other year by 2040, while the 100-year peak could occur every three years. The increasing extremes in maximum temperature and degree-day sums (both intensity and frequency) will adversely affect the Hazelwood power station’s efficiency. The change in the degreeday sum is one of the most indicative measures of potential impact and can help focus planning not only on reductions

The IPCC AR5 is being released in stages. The recent release of the Working Group 1 report “The Physical Science Basis” gives the general public a first official glimpse of the science underpinning climate change modelling. In general, there are no dramatic changes from previous models released in earlier assessment reports. However, there is a marked increase in the volume of data and a steady increase in the number of modelling groups providing their scientific perspectives to the modelling initiative. With AR5, the range of new models available for commonly modelled variables of temperature, precipitation and sea level rise has been augmented by improved marine biogeochemical variables. These variables permit new analyses to be conducted on the ecology and potential management options of our ever-changing oceans. The model range represented by the AR5 is slightly narrower and the upper bounds for MSL rise are higher than in previous reports, so uncertainty remains an issue that

Table 4. Degree days over 25°C for different return period extreme temperature events. Event

Baseline (°C.d)

2040 (°C.d)

Return Period (2040)

























Technical Papers



Technical Papers must be managed by climate data users. New methods continue to be developed for transforming AR5 data into informative and useful information for planners, policy makers and a wide range of stakeholders. The links among climate modellers, those charged with downscaling and interpreting the data, and end users are being vigorously pursued. However, data are not equivalent to information; therefore, different user groups require communication within their working context in order to achieve proper interpretation and avoid jargon. In all stakeholder and client communications, material and visualisation outputs are needed. Raw data must be transformed to express the climate change signal (increase or decrease), and risk levels must be explained through application of ensembles, web-based tools, hands-on site and regionally-specific software, and other media. This is an exciting area as there are ever-growing demands for expertise in determining what climate change means to various sectors.

THE AUTHORS Peter Urich (email: is Managing Director of CLIMsystems in New Zealand. Dr Peter Kouwenhoven (email: pkouwenh@. is Senior Scientist with CLIMsystems in New Zealand. Yinpeng Li (email: is Senior Climate Scientist with CLIMsystems in New Zealand. Kathy Freas (email: is CH2M HILL’s Global Water Resources Director and Global Climate Risk and Resilience Services Leader. John Poon (email: john. is CH2M HILL’s Regional Technology Leader for Resource Systems Management and Technical Leader for two major drinking water reuse projects in India. John’s integrated water cycle management projects in Australia use SimCLIM.




GCM (General Circulation Model or Global Climate Model) Represent the physical processes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and land surface, and are the most advanced tools currently available for simulating the response of the global climate system to increasing GHG concentrations.

Griffies S (2010): Sampling Physical Ocean Fields in WCRP CMIP5 Simulations. CLIVAR Working Group for Ocean Model Development (WGOMD). Committee on CMIP5 Ocean Model Output.

National Communications A series of reports has been required for submission to the UNFCCC on the current status of signatory countries to the Kyoto Protocol. They document progress achieved on meeting the goals set out by the Conference of Parties to the Convention. These reports include major sections on national GHG inventories and adaptation risk and planning across key sectors. To date there has been an uneven meeting of obligations to report across the two streams: Annex 1 or more developed countries (41) and Non-Annex 1 countries (developing and least developed). For the latter there is no deadline for report submission. Some non-Annex 1 countries have yet to complete their First National Communication, while some Annex 1 countries are preparing their Sixth communication, due on 1 January 2014. RCP (Representative Concentration Pathway) Each RCP defines a specific emissions trajectory and subsequent radiative forcing. Radiative forcing is a measure of the influence a factor has in altering the balance of incoming and outgoing energy in the Earth-atmosphere system, measured in watts per square metre. For example, RCP 2.6 represents 3.0 Wm2 before 2100 declining to 2.6 Wm2 after 2100. Reanalysis A systematic approach to producing data sets for climate monitoring and research. Reanalyses are created via an unchanging (frozen) data assimilation scheme and model(s), which ingest all available observations every six to 12 hours over the period being analysed. This unchanging framework provides a dynamically consistent estimate of the climate state at each time step. Signal (versus noise) The attribution of climate change owing to human activities in contrast to the natural variability in the climate systems. Uncertainty Plays a key role in policy formation because decisions often turn on the question of whether scientific understanding is sufficient to justify particular types of response. 

Jennings AH (1950): World’s Greatest Observed Point Rainfalls. Monthly Weather Review, 78, pp 4–5. Kharin VV, Zwiers FW, Zhang X, Wehner M (2013): Changes in Temperature and Precipitation Extremes in the CMIP5 Ensemble. Climatic Change. article/10.1007%2Fs10584-013-0705-8#page-1 Knutti R, Sedláček J (2012): Robustness and Uncertainties in the New CMIP5 Climate Model Projections. Nature Climate Change, DOI: 10.1038/NCLIMATE1716. Krinner G & Durand G (2012): Glaciology: Future of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Nature Climate Change, 2, pp 396–397. Mora C, Wei C-L, Rollo A, Amaro T & Baco AR (2013): Biotic and Human Vulnerability to Projected Changes in Ocean Biogeochemistry over the 21st Century. PLoS Biology 11, 10. e1001682. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001682. Moss M (2010): The Next Generation of Scenarios for Climate Change Research and Assessment, Nature, DOI:10.1038/ nature08823. Prinn R (2013): 400 ppm CO2? Add Other GHGs, and It’s Equivalent to 478 ppm. Oceans at MIT News. Rogelj J, Meinshausen M & Knutti, R (2012): Global Warming Under Old and New  Scenarios Using IPCC Climate Sensitivity Range Estimates, 2012, Nature Climate Change, DOI: 10.1038/NCLIMATE1385. Seneviratne SI (2012): Changes in Climate Extremes and Their Impacts on the Natural Physical Environment. In: Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation. A Special Report of Working Groups I and II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 109–230. Solomon S (2007): Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis, Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. ISBN 978-0-521-88009-1. Stocker T, Qin D, Plattner G-K & Midgley PM (2010): Good Practice Guidance Paper on Assessing and Combining Multi Model Climate Projections, IPCC Expert Meeting on Assessing and Combining Multi Model Climate Projections. 15pp. van Vuuren DP (2011): The Representative Concentration Pathways: An Overview. Climatic Change, 109, pp 5–31.


Technical Papers

A chlorine decay assay involving the addition of chlorine in several doses to simulate multiple dosing at a real WTP A Byrne, G Dharmasena, D Cook, C Chow, J van Leeuwen, M Drikas

ABSTRACT The introduction of desalinated water into a conventional water supply system via blending is likely to significantly alter chlorine dosing requirements and decay kinetics in the distribution network. The standard laboratory method of measuring chlorine decay, involving the addition of a single chlorine dose and the tracking of chlorine residuals over several days, may not be representative of a field/water treatment plant (WTP) process where multiple dosing is employed. In this study we developed and implemented a modified method of a chlorine decay assay that involved the addition of chlorine in several doses to simulate multiple dosing at a real WTP. The decay kinetics differed between the two methods, with more rapid decay in the multiple dose assays occurring in the first 24 hours, but overall faster decay in a standard single dose assay. Although the differences in decay rates between the two methods in this study were small, in other treatment systems the disparity may be much greater. Representative chlorine demand assays are particularly important for treatment and distribution systems with dynamic conditions, such as those incorporating blended waters. There is potential for this technique to be useful in producing more accurate chlorine demand and decay data for treatment and distribution systems comprising multiple chlorine dosing points. Keywords: Desalination, blended waters, chlorine decay.

INTRODUCTION Chlorine decay assays are used widely in the water industry as an indication of chlorine dosing requirements for water disinfection, as well as its potential decay behaviour in the distribution network.

However, the procedure to measure chlorine demand of water, which involves the addition of a single chlorine dose and tracking of chlorine residuals over several days, is not always representative of the real dosing behaviour in a field/ water treatment plant (WTP) process. At many water treatment plants chlorine is added to the water at several dosing points, rather than in a single dose following filtration, as might be expected (Figure 1). Chlorine may be used as a pretreatment for water to prevent membrane fouling, enhance disinfection and reduce turbidity in the product water (when applied pre-filtration) (Becker et al., 2004; Heng et al., 2008). In addition to pretreatment dosing, chlorine may also be added as a trim dose following storage and transport of the product water to counteract chlorine residual loss during these processes. Multiple dosing of chlorine at water treatment plants is, therefore, common, with many plants applying at least two doses of chlorine to water (a primary disinfection dose in addition to either a pre-treatment or trim dose). Given that the total dose of chlorine is applied in multiple doses and over an extended time period, it is unclear whether these situations are adequately represented by a standard chlorine demand assay in the laboratory. It is possible that chlorine decay kinetics between single and multiple dosing scenarios differ, potentially resulting in an over- or under-estimation of chlorine demand in a single dose assay. Knowledge of chlorine demand and chlorine decay kinetics becomes more complex when examining treatment and distribution systems comprising multiple source waters. Desalinated seawater is becoming a popular alternative water resource and, in many regions, is being blended with conventionally (coagulation,

flocculation, sedimentation, filtration) treated surface water. Blending of these two waters presents many challenges, as they possess markedly different chemical characteristics. Desalinated seawater generally has a lower pH, alkalinity and organic carbon content than conventionally treated surface water; it may also have higher proportions of ions such as chloride and bromide (Taylor et al., 2005; Birnhack et al., 2011). Of particular importance to treatment plant operators is that the lower dissolved organic carbon (DOC) content of desalinated water is likely to significantly alter chlorine-dosing requirements. In addition, the blend ratio of desalinated water to conventionally treated water can also be highly variable and subject to external factors such as resource availability and customer demand. Changing chlorine demands of blended waters necessitate complete laboratory chlorine decay assays of different blend ratios to determine the required chlorine dose. In this study the aim was to develop a new method for chlorine decay assays to better simulate multiple dosing conditions at the WTP. A conventional WTP that employs multiple chlorine dosing was selected to set up this study. This novel technique involves the addition of chlorine in multiple doses over an extended time period to simulate retention times between doses at the WTP. Multiple chlorine dose decay assays were run on several blends of desalinated water and conventionally treated surface water. Single dose assays were concurrently run on blended waters to determine whether chlorine decay results from our modified method produced results significantly different from the standard procedure. This study was developed as





Technical Papers







Activated carbon Polymer



Treated water storage



850 ML/day capacity

68 min through filter

11 min to 1152 min in end of treated water filtered storage water duct

3 days distribution system

Figure 1. Happy Valley WTP schematic, showing chlorine dosing points. Table 1. Chlorine dose rates applied in single (S) and multiple (M) chlorine decay experiments for different blend ratios. Detention time (hours) 0

Chlorine dose applied (mg/L) 0% blend

25% blend

50% blend

75% blend

















1.32 h Filtered water duct









19.2 h Post storage

















Total chlorine dose applied

part of a larger project to prepare South Australian WTPs for the introduction of desalinated seawater into a conventional network. It is hoped that this modified method will provide more accurate chlorine decay data to support operations staff during the transition period.


Desalinated seawater Desalinated seawater acquired from an operating double pass RO desalination pilot plant (Adelaide, South Australia) was used for laboratory experiments. The quality of generated desalinated product water was as follows: conductivity 288 ÂľS/cm, alkalinity (as CaCO3) 65 mg/L, bromide 0.22 mg/L and DOC <0.1 mg/L. Conventionally treated water The Happy Valley Water Treatment Plant (HV WTP), a conventional WTP employing multiple chlorine dosing, was selected as a model plant for use in this study (Figure 1). HV WTP is situated about 15km south of Adelaide, South Australia, and is a conventional treatment plant (coagulation/ flocculation, sedimentation and filtration) that uses alum (Al2(SO4)3.18H2O) as the primary coagulant and chlorine as disinfectant. This plant is optimised for DOC removal by adjusting the alum dose and the coagulation pH (6.6-6.9). Experiments were run to simulate multiple chlorine


dosing at HV WTP. At HV WTP, an initial chlorine dose is added to the water prior to filtration to precipitate iron and manganese for removal during the filtration process. In addition to this pre-filtration chlorine dose, water is given a primary disinfection dose following filtration, and may also be given a final trim dose of chlorine upon leaving storage and entering the distribution network; this dose counteracts any loss of residual that may have occurred during the storage retention time. The chlorine dosing regime at HV WTP is shown in Figure 1. Treated surface water samples were obtained from HV WTP. Water for this study was collected prior to filtration (i.e. the settled water) so that multiple dosing could be applied. The DOC concentration of this water at the time of collection was 3.3mg/L.

ANALYTICAL METHODS Ultrapure water was obtained from Milli-Q purification system (Millipore, France). Chlorine residual was determined using the N,N-diethylphenylenediamine (DPD) titration method. DPD is used as an indicator in the titration procedure with ferrous ammonium sulfate (FAS). DOC (Sievers 900 TOC analyser, GE Analytical Instruments, USA) was determined using the methods described in Standard Methods (Clesceri et al., 1998).

Single dosing Blended waters were prepared by blending desalinated seawater with HV WTP settled water to yield blend compositions of 25%, 50% and 75% desalinated seawater (in addition to unblended water 0%). Chlorine decay was determined by dosing an appropriate volume of a saturated chlorine stock solution (2,000-4,000mg/L as Cl2) into the samples with pH adjusted to 7.2. Multiple dosing To account for the dosing regime at HV WTP described, multiple chlorine doses equivalent to that added in the single dose assays were dosed at set retention times to simulate pre-filtration, post-filtration and poststorage chlorine dosing (Table 1). Retention times between dosing points were calculated based on plant raw water flow at the time of water collection. The chlorine dose applied for the 0% blend of desalinated water was 2.0mg/L pre-filtration, 1.6mg/L postfiltration and 1.1mg/L as a trim dose. The dose rates were adjusted proportionally for other blends of desalinated water (25%, 50% and 75%).

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION General chlorine decay â&#x20AC;&#x201C; different blends Comparison of chlorine decays for each blend ratio shows slower chlorine decay with increasing proportion of desalinated water (Figure 2). This is expected, as desalinated water typically has a lower chlorine demand than conventionally treated surface water due to a lower DOC content. The DOC of desalinated water was <0.1mg/L compared with 3.3mg/L in the settled water. In this study, the change in chlorine decay rate with incremental changes in blend composition was not proportional. The decrease in chlorine decay rate between 0% and 25% desalinated water blends was significantly less than the difference between 50% and 75% blends. These results are in agreement with other recent studies on desalinated and surface water blending, which have similarly found non-linear relationships between blend ratio and chlorine decay (Cook et al., 2009). Single v multiple chlorine dose Although the differences appear minor, chlorine decays were consistently slower under the multiple chlorine dosing scenario when observed over


Technical Papers

Settled water blended - single chlorine dose 5.0

Blend ratio - percent desalinated water 0 25 50 75

4.5 3.5 3.0

0.8 0.6

C t/C o

2.5 2.0 1.5 1.0

0.4 0.2

0.5 0.0

0.0 0

24 48 72 96 120 144 168 192 216 240


24 48 72 96 120 144 168 192 216 240

Time (hr)

Time (hr)

Figure 2. Settled water single dose chlorine decay assays for different blend ratios. Table 2. ‘Slow’ decay rates of settled water undergoing single and multiple dosing. Slow decay rate (mg L-1 h-1) 0%




Settled water (single)





Settled water (multiple)





the entire course of decay experiments (Figure 3). The ‘slow’ reaction rate was calculated as the reaction rate after 20 hours, which corresponded to the reaction rate after the final addition of chlorine in the multiple dose experiments (Table 2). The reaction rate of water treated with a single dose was greater than for water treated with multiple doses for all blend ratios. However, excepting the 0% blend, these differences were very small, and further experimentation would be required to determine if they are significant.

Unfortunately, due to the nature of the data in the fast reaction period of the multiple dose experiments (chlorine residual increases with chlorine addition), the fast reaction rates for the multiple dosing assays could not be calculated and compared with the single dose assays. However, the reaction rate in the multiple dose assays following the addition of the first and second chlorine dose was very rapid, and the combined decay rates are probably equal to that observed during the first 20 hours of the single dose experiments. The primary difference between single and multiple

It is probable that applying a smaller chlorine dose to water produces a rapid decay initially because the proportion of organics available to consume chlorine is larger than in samples treated with a higher chlorine dose. Rodrieguez et al. (2002) observed that applying a lower chlorine dose to water in benchscale experiments produces a very high chlorine demand initially, which results in lower levels of chlorine remaining to react during the rest of the decay period (and, hence, a slower, overall decay rate). When higher levels of chlorine are dosed, as in the single dose experiment here, chlorine residuals will remain higher initially, allowing a greater reaction with organic matter over a longer time period (three days) than in smaller, multiple doses.

Chlorine residual (mg/L)

Chlorine residual (mg/L)

Chlorine residual (mg/L)

Chlorine residual (mg/L)

Other authors have observed that applying chlorine in multiple doses (i.e. applying chlorine to a water that has been previously chlorinated), will usually give a slower decay rate than non pre-chlorinated water. In Powell et Blend ratio 0% desalinated water Blend ratio 25% desalinated water 5 5 al. (2000), samples Settled water single dose Settled water single dose Settled water multiple dose Settled water multiple dose that had undergone 4 4 prior chlorination 3 3 generated decay rates at least 40% 2 2 lower than originally following a second 1 1 chlorine dose. 0 0 Hua et al. (1999) 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 similarly found that Time (hours) Time (hours) the decay rates Blend ratio 50% desalinated water Blend ratio 75% desalinated water of re-chlorinated 5 5 Settled water single dose Settled water single dose samples are Settled water multiple dose Settled water multiple dose 4 4 significantly lower than decay rates 3 3 present in ambient (non-rechlorinated) 2 2 samples. This is 1 1 despite the fact that the addition of extra 0 0 chlorine in these 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 Time (hours) Time (hours) experiments resulted in a higher overall Figure 3. Chlorine decay assays for single- and multiple-dose experiments showing the chlorine dose. evolution of chlorine residual after each dose in the multiple dosing assays.



Chlorine residual (mg/L)


Blend ratio - percent desalinated water 0 25 50 75


dosing assays is that the rapidly decaying fraction of organics appears to be consumed earlier in the multiple dose scenarios. After the initial chlorine dose in the multiple dose scenario (2.0mg/L in the 0% blend), decay occurs extremely rapidly and remains fast even after the second chlorine dose. It is only after the final chlorine dose that the reaction rate in the multiple dose method becomes significantly slower than in the single dose method.


Technical Papers

3 day chlorine demand (mg/L)



3 day chlorine demand

5.0 4.5 4.0

Single dose


Multiple dose

3.0 2.5 2.0 1.5 1.0 0.5 0.0





Figure 4. Three-day chlorine demand in chlorine decay assays carried out with single and multiple dosing. The three-day chlorine demand for the multiple dosing assays was calculated as the reduction in the total amount of chlorine added three days after the final chlorine dose. The three-day chlorine demand was calculated from this point because it simulates the loss of chlorine after water exits the WTP, to the furthest point of the HV WTP distribution system (retention time of three days). Unlike the differences in chlorine residual in the decay graphs which, at different experimental times, appear minor, the three-day chlorine demand in samples treated with a single chlorine dose appears greater than in multiple dose experiments for most blend ratios (Figure 4). Additionally, the difference in chlorine demand between the two methods appears to be greater for blends with a higher proportion of desalinated water. This result is surprising, considering that we would generally expect a larger demand with the longer reaction time/ chlorine contact time allowed in the multiple dose experiments. In addition to the three-day decay measured above, chlorine from the first dose was in contact with the water for 20.5 hours prior to the final dose, and from the second dose, for 19.2 hours prior to the final dose. Overall, chlorine decay in multiple dose assays follows the trend of a fast initial decay rate during the first two doses (the first 20 hours of decay), with much slower decay following the third chlorine dose (after first 20 hours). The trend in the single dose experiment is similar, but the initial chlorine decay rate appears slower because the initial chlorine concentration is higher (is expended slower than


following the smaller dose applied in the multiple dose experiments). Implications for chlorine demand assays and treatment plant dosing The rate of long-term chlorine decay appears to be slower in a multiple dosing scenario than in a standard single dose laboratory assay. Despite this, the overall difference in three-day chlorine demand between the two methods ranges from 0.2â&#x20AC;&#x201C;0.5mg/ L, which is not that significant considering the large variability in chlorine demand/ decay created by other external factors such as temperature, demand flow and source water quality changes. Although this slight over-prediction of chlorine demand by a single-dose decay assay is operationally preferable to an under-prediction of chlorine demand, the modified method still provides opportunity to gauge the most accurate prediction of chlorine decay possible; the extent by which results differ from single dose to multiple dose assays may be much greater for treatment systems employing extensive pre-treatment of water or possessing multiple secondary disinfection points. The observation that the chlorine demand of water is consistently higher for a single chlorine dose may have practical implications for dosing regimes at water treatment plants; if multiple dosing can represent a more efficient use of chlorine, cost savings may be generated by employing this method. Similarly, due to the strong relationship between chlorine dose/consumption and disinfection by-product formation, application of chlorine in multiple doses also has potential to address this issue, and warrants further investigation.

In this work an alternative chlorine decay assay method to more accurately represent chlorine dosing conditions in a real treatment plant and distribution network has been presented. This method was used to generate data to advise changes in chlorine dosing that will be necessary with the blending of desalinated seawater with conventionally treated surface water at HV WTP. While the results from this method were similar to those obtained using a standard, single dose assay, it did demonstrate that differences in chlorine decay kinetics exist between single and multiple dosing scenarios, which will impact chlorine residual evolution in the distribution network. For other treatment systems employing multiple chlorine dosing, the disparity between single- and multipledose assays may be much greater. This modified method has the potential to provide the most accurate indication of chlorine dosing requirements.

THE AUTHORS Amanda Byrne is a Research Scientist, Water Treatment and Distribution Research, at the Australian Water Quality Centre, SA Water Corporation. She completed her Bachelor of Science (Honours) at the University of Adelaide, and commenced work at SA Water in 2009. Amanda has been involved in a variety of research work in water treatment-related areas, including network modelling, online monitoring and distribution system water quality investigations. Gayani Dharmasena was a student at the time of the project. She completed an MSc. in Environmental Management and Sustainability at the University of South Australia in 2009. She is currently working as an Environmental Coordinator at Penrice Soda Holdings Limited. David Cook is a Senior Research Scientist, Water Treatment and Distribution Research, at the Australian Water Quality Centre, SA Water Corporation. In his role at the AWQC, David has been investigating water quality issues associated with drinking water treatment processes and distribution systems since 1997.


Technical Papers Dr Christopher Chow (email: chris.chow@sawater. is a Senior Research Specialist, Water Treatment and Distribution Research, at the Australian Water Quality Centre, SA Water Corporation. He also holds an Adjunct Professor position at the University of South Australia and is Leader of the Advanced Water Quality Sensing and Optimisation group, SA Water Centre for Water Management and Reuse.


Dr John van Leeuwen holds the position of Associate Professor in Water Science at the University of South Australia. He conducts research in the areas of catchment management, potable water treatment and modelling and wastewater treatment.

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Mary Drikas is the Leader, Water Treatment and Distribution Research, at the Australian Water Quality Centre, SA Water Corporation.

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Technical Papers

URBAN WATER SYSTEM SAFETY: A HUMAN FACTORS INVESTIGATION An investigation of the human element issues of control room operations for water treatment and distribution HEALTH & SAFETY

S Cloete, T Horberry, B Head

ABSTRACT Water systems in first-world countries such as Australia are still vulnerable to critical incidents that can result in health and safety disturbances. This research investigated the human element issues of control room operations for both water treatment and distribution. Data collection was by means of semistructured management interviews, observations of routine work, operator interviews and questionnaires, and the application of a best practice checklist for alarms. The main findings were that there is considerable room for improvement in human factor issues such as alarmhandling, interface design and humantechnology integration. For example, at one site visited alarm flooding was common, operator interfaces suffered from a lack of consistency and integration, and tasks were not appropriately delegated to human operators and system automation. The key message emerging is that the water sector does not give adequate consideration to the dynamic interactions between equipment, work tasks and operators. There is a need for usercentred design and evaluation in this domain so that technology and humans can be appropriately integrated in a work system. Keywords: Human factors, control rooms, water treatment, water distribution, alarms, user-centred design.


Recognition is growing among stakeholders that water treatment and supply systems in first-world countries such as Australia are not immune to critical incidents resulting in compromises to public health and safety. The case of E. coli contamination in


Walkerton, Ontario, is the most widely publicised and discussed example of a disease outbreak in a developed country (Hrudey and Hrudey, 2004), and is also an excellent demonstration of how factors across a broad range of stakeholders interact to result in a public health disaster (Vicente and Christoffersen, 2006). A stance the water sector should be anxious to avoid is to implicitly assume that technological components of supervisory control systems always provide sufficient, meaningful and credible information to the operators. Clearly, in the case of the incident just described, they did not. THE HUMAN ELEMENT IN WATER SYSTEMS: A RISK MANAGEMENT APPROACH

A water treatment and supply system can be thought of as a complex ‘sociotechnical’ system in which operators, procedures and technology need to interact safely and efficiently. The human element in such complex socio-technical systems is being increasingly studied using a risk management framework (Horberry et al., 2010). The process starts with establishing an understanding of the broader context in which work tasks take place, before undertaking hazard identification and risk assessment. From a Human Factors risk control perspective, the emphasis is on elimination or reduction of risk through design controls rather than focusing excessively on administrative controls such as training, selection or personal protective equipment (Simpson et al., 2009). The underlying assumption is that the people involved are the ‘experts’ and must be involved at each stage of the risk management cycle if the process is to be executed successfully. Contemporary thinking in Human Factors and related disciplines

characterises human error as a consequence, rather than a cause, of system failures (Simpson et al., 2009; Reason, 1990). Detailed analyses of industrial accidents with human error contributions show that it is always the case that multiple safety barriers at organisational, technical and operational levels are breached before aberrant human behaviour – labelled as ‘error’ – can take place. In systems responsible for the provision of drinking water, this recognition remains under-developed and, with the exception of one recent review article (Wu et al., 2009), human element risks in water treatment and delivery have received scant attention in the academic literature. With consideration also given to the potentially serious nature of incidents and accidents involving water treatment and distribution infrastructure, including threats to public health and large-scale destruction of property, the water sector should be playing a more active role in understanding and managing human element risks. THE PRESENT RESEARCH

The Wu et al. article was an important step in publicising the role of human factors in drinking water contamination, but had a focus on assessments of previous incidents rather than examining current operations. The present research investigated the human element issues in operations of both water treatment and distribution. Participation was sought from the bulk water transport authority and from a newly commissioned advanced water treatment plant (AWTP). These were selected to represent a broad range of technological sophistication and operational activities. On the one hand, the AWTP plant was commissioned and built relatively recently (2007–2008); it was highly automated and designed


Technical Papers to run with minimal input from human operators. At the other end of the spectrum, bulk water distribution relied on a complex network with major components being 40–50 years old.



To give the research clear scope, it was restricted to problem-specification tasks, including an appraisal of supervisory control and alarm systems using a bestpractice audit tool, questionnaires and work observations, and interviews with operators and management. The focus was on control rooms for water treatment and supply plants. These control rooms house the desktop interfaces for distributed control systems, and are where the majority of network operations in the water grid are initiated and governed. The key topics addressed in the research activities were: • Alarm systems: An operator’s inappropriate response to a critical alarm was identified as a contributory factor in a recent industrial accident. • Human-system integration: Recent changes in the organisational structure and ownership in the water grid precipitated, for some entities, a need to decommission aging plant equipment and upgrade existing facilities with newer technology. DATA COLLECTION METHODS

Several human factor research methods were used: these comprised semistructured management interviews, observations of routine work, operator interviews and questionnaires, and the application of a best practice checklist for alarms/warnings. Before data collection began, clearance to conduct the research was obtained from the University of Queensland (Australia) Human Ethics Review Committee. To better understand the organisational context and the actual technology deployed, semistructured interviews were held with six representatives from senior management, including Service Delivery Managers, Network Managers, and Systems Engineers of the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems. Research activities for both water grid participants consisted primarily of site visits, during which the research team was given an overview of the

Figure 1. The water distribution control room. control network and site tour (AWTP only). Operators were then interviewed and asked to complete a standardised questionnaire. The questionnaire assessed the operator’s level of interaction and experience with the SCADA system (particularly the alarm components), and perceptions of its effectiveness. It was adapted from the Engineering Equipment and Materials Users’ Association (EEMUA) guidelines (EEMUA, 2007). In addition, approximately 21 hours of naturalistic ‘fly-on-the-wall’ observations of operators in the control rooms were conducted. Non-intrusive observation coincided naturally with periods of higher operator workload, while in quieter periods (and with the operator’s consent) the experimenters asked questions about relevant human factor issues.


Control room operator observations Operators were observed over five three-hour control room visits, which were conducted at various shift/roster combinations. The main function of such observations was to obtain a broad task description. The operator’s duty can be summarised as ensuring efficient bulk water supply to the SEQ water grid, which entailed: • Monitoring the system for abnormalities; • Performing routine transport operations;

• Issuing instructions to third parties and other water grid participants; • Coordinating an active maintenance schedule. As such, duties varied considerably, notably when only one operator was on duty. Regardless of time of day, phone communication appeared to be a dominant activity, and operators were often observed manipulating the SCADA system and performing other tasks while talking on the phone. The absence of appropriate hands-free telephone headsets increased task difficulty. Maintaining the operator log also stood out as a major component of their task load, although it was not treated with the same priority as other duties. Operators frequently took notes by hand, which were later transcribed into the operator log. Distraction and interference by other personnel was frequently observed. Figure 1 shows the water distribution control room. Operator experience questionnaires and interviews From a workforce of seven operators, we interviewed four and obtained the consent of three to complete our questionnaire instruments. Unfortunately, the particularly small sample size did not allow us to quantitatively analyse questionnaire data, but did provide insights that were consistent with the observations and interviews.




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Figure 2. Alarm list from the SCADA system at the water distribution control room. Responses to questionnaire items were quite variable, which indicates that individuals may develop a unique operating style. This was reflected in some observations, particularly the idiosyncratic ways in which operators arranged their screens and managed the operator log. Operators were fairly consistent in their assessment of the alarm system, but again differed in their preferences for the way SCADA system information was displayed and manipulated. Operator log Operators reported numerous problems with the operator log – primarily that it was maintained in an Excel spreadsheet, which was burgeoning in size and processed on an ageing laptop. One operator claimed that the volume of log entries required, and delays due to inadequate computing power, accounted for up to 50% of their time in the control room, and this was subsequently confirmed with other operators. Given that the most trivial situations require multiple log entries, such as a cleaner requiring access to a secure facility, this is of considerable concern. They were unanimous in their desire for improvements to information logging, and argued that this may be best implemented at the level of discrete


operations – for instance, if a valve is opened or a pump disabled, the system would automatically log the date and time of the operation. Alarms Two lines of alarm information were displayed at the bottom of each screen. A dedicated alarm screen was accessible by clicking, but most operators reported that they did not allocate an entire screen to this function full-time. Alarms were categorised according to priority, but alarm priority was not clearly distinguished in the system, and neither priority was signalled by an auditory alarm. Figure 2 shows a screenshot of the alarm list. Note that the use of red text on a dark blue background is difficult to read. Alarm flooding was reported to be common during a major upset such as power failure to a pump station. Operators reported that ‘pages’ of mostly redundant alarm messages are triggered in the first 10 minutes of an event. Operators agreed that functionality to detect and integrate related alarm signals would reduce cases of alarm flooding, but, given the size and complexity of the network, implementation of alarm rationalisation would not be trivial.

Information Support The manner in which the SCADA information was accessed and displayed, particularly for routine activities, was overly cumbersome. As an example, current practices required operators to check reservoir level trends at the beginning and end of each shift, to detect potential problems with reservoir input and output. The operator must go through a series of operations involving several mouse-clicks to obtain the information, and must pay particular attention to the date and time range over which the information was requested. There were fixed options for selecting a period, ranging from 1 minute to 13 weeks. It is inconceivable that any meaningful change in reservoir levels could occur over less than one hour (taking into account the flow rate set-point of 300L/s), so many of these fixed options were essentially useless. The options cluttered the drop-down menu display and increased the likelihood that an operator could select an incorrect period. Compliance with Best Practice As previously noted, the SCADA design checklist was derived from EEMUA guidelines (EEMUA, 2007). The checklist comprised 40 items assessing various aspects of display and alarm design and general control room ergonomics. It was


Technical Papers

Table 1. Deviations from EEMUA (2007) Best Practice Guidelines. Comments

Lack of consistency in the use of colour, graphic design elements and schematics between the different SCADA software platforms.

In some instances, colours are used to convey diametrically opposite meanings (e.g., on/off). This is a plainly unacceptable situation.

No spatially/geographically organised network overview screen and no protocols to constrain the way in which operators organise the screens.

Operators do not always organise their displays in an efficient way. Organisation according to the geographical distribution of the network, potentially utilising the GIS system, is recommended.

No dedicated screens for intranet, email and ad-hoc tasks.

The lack of a dedicated non-SCADA terminal means that operators need to use screens that should be dedicated to system monitoring and network activities.

No dedicated screen for alarm lists.

Best Practice recommends that active alarms are displayed schematically. However, with a complex network, an alarm list is generally the only way that all active alarms can be depicted simultaneously. A dedicated alarm screen should be provided, with functionality to navigate directly to the relevant screen.

No auditory alarms, with unacknowledged alarms progressing to a phone alert after three minutes.

Recommendations are that Category 1 alarms (requiring immediate operator action) have an auditory signal.

No one-click integration of alarms to relevant screens/schematics, and no online alarm documentation. Alarm flooding during incidents is common.

Click-to-navigate functionality reduces the operatorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s reliance on memory and saves time navigating to the appropriate screen to deal with the problem. Alarm documentation, including information on fault diagnosis and step-by-step instructions for remedying the situation, should be available at a mouse-click. Alarm flooding defeats the purpose of alarms, which is to support operators in fault detection and diagnosis. Alarm flooding has been implicated in several major industrial catastrophes, including Three-Mile Island.

completed independently by a SCADA system engineer and the operators. Compliance with best practice was rated on only 13 of the 40 items. Examples of the major deviations are shown in Table 1. Water distribution summary The control system for water distribution was inefficient and struggling to support operators in their duties. Short-term gains could be made by addressing problems in a piecemeal fashion, but the only way to ensure a robust solution would be through a thorough operatorcentred evaluation and overhaul of instrumentation, alarm rationalisation and interface design. Fortunately, both management and operators were receptive to the findings of this research, which confirmed their proposed changes. Steps were being taken to deploy a new and more stable system. ADVANCED WATER TREATMENT

The advanced water treatment plant visited by the team was a relatively new acquisition in the water grid. It uses cutting-edge water treatment technology to recycle treated wastewater, which was sold via dual-reticulation systems. The plant uses a process of sedimentation, microfiltration, reverse osmosis

and ultraviolet disinfection, and is capable of producing 70ML of water in a 24-hour period. Control room and operator observations Operators in the control room (and on site) were observed in their duties over a six-hour site visit. Observations were conducted in between more rigorously scheduled data collection activities. The staff recruitment model differed significantly to that employed at the water distribution facility. The plant was only staffed between 6am and 2.30pm, after which it ran automatically with an operator on call. The majority of control operators spent less than 25% of their time at the SCADA terminals, and performed extensive site maintenance activities as well as supervisory control. During the research visit, operators reported that there was a degree of redundancy in staffing levels. Apart from a lead operator who staffed the control room on a full-time basis (subject to a rolling roster), operators engaged themselves between control room and site maintenance duties on an as-needed basis. A view of the primary operator console at the control room is shown in Figure 3; this console is 100% attended during shift hours.

Operator experience questionnaires and interviews As with water distribution, the limited number of operators on duty meant that quantitative analysis of the research questionnaire instruments was not possible. Therefore, observation at this site and responses on these instruments and operator interviews provided the bulk of the qualitative data presented here. Alarms The alarm system was more sophisticated and functional than the one examined at the water distribution facility. This was not surprising given that the plant was new and quite constrained in size. However, the utilisation of advanced water treatment technologies (microfiltration, reverse osmosis, UV disinfection) and the higher degree of automation mean that the control network was no less complex. Grouping of correlated alarms was in place to prevent alarm flooding and operators reported that it worked well. However, an unintended consequence of alarm groupings was the occasional situation in which fault diagnosis was impeded, because parts of the process control logic and corresponding interface were highly detailed and sequential. Operators suggested that improvements to drill-down functionality, and one-click



Best Practice Violation


Technical Papers


Table 2. Departures from 2007 EEMUA Best Practice Guidelines. Best Practice Departure


Use of colour not restricted to alarm functions.

Colour is used to designate functional properties in schematics, such as operational status. Recommendations are that displays are primarily monochrome, with the excellent alerting properties of colour assigned to alarm functions only.

No one-click integration of alarms to relevant screens/schematics.

Click-to-navigate functionality reduces the operatorsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; reliance on memory and saves time navigating to the appropriate screen to deal with the problem. This is particularly problematic if the operatorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mental model of the network is inconsistent with the SCADA system. Alarm documentation including information on fault diagnoses and step-by-step instructions for remedying the situation should be available at a mouse click.

Rectangles used in overview screen to designate functionally different plant components.

Major system components should be differentiated symbolically. This was a major omission in an otherwise good human-machine interface.

localisation of alarms to the relevant SCADA screen, could solve these problems. A recent change to the system, universally appreciated by the operators, was the ability to inhibit nuisance alarms on the basis of criteria such as priority, type and physical location. Opportunities for operator feedback It was reported that getting changes made to the system was overly restrictive. Particularly, there was no simple mechanism for capturing user feedback about system design. Information Support Operators reported that the system generally met their information support needs. Criticism of the SCADA displays and

navigation hierarchy was minor and largely piecemeal. However, operators stated that some aspects of general system function, particularly those pertaining to network security, required extensive workarounds, which increased the time required to perform routine tasks. For example, previously operators would insert trending information directly into Microsoft Excel and produce a report in approximately 15 minutes, but the introduction of strict network security protocols meant that a complicated data transfer procedure had to be followed, which often took over two hours. Compliance with Best Practice In general, the system demonstrated better compliance to 2007 EEMUA best practice

Figure 3. The primary operator console at the AWTP control room.


guidelines than the earlier described system analysed at the bulk water distribution facility. A senior operator/ maintainer completed the SCADA design checklist and rated 21 of the 40 items as compliant. Minor departures included the items in Table 2.


The key findings are that there is considerable room for improvement in human factor issues such as alarm handling and interface design. Consistent with the broader risk management philosophy in human factors, our research focus was on the anticipation of future system failures, rather than the retrospective analysis of failures. This complements the work of previous commentators (eg, Wu et al.) whose approach was concerned principally with the retrospective analysis of system failures. At the water distribution control room, many avenues for improving system stability and reducing operator workload were found. The complex monitoring and communication role of the operator in this context requires extensive support from the supervisory control system, and this was found to be inadequate in several ways. Alarm flooding was common,


Technical Papers operator interfaces suffered from a lack of consistency and integration, and tasks were not appropriately delegated to human operators and system automation – for example, up to 50% of the operators’ time was spent manually maintaining an inefficient and potentially disordered log. In no small part, the problems identified here were problems of inheritance owing to organisational change in the sector, and ongoing efforts were underway to improve both technical and human aspects of the system.


Similar applied research studies in other work domains have found comparable issues. Research using a similar human factors toolkit showed that control rooms in the minerals processing industry (Li et al., 2012) have a similar pattern of poor human technology integration. Portions of the operator experience questionnaire were developed for a crossindustry survey of alarm systems in the chemical and power generation industries (Bransby and Jenkinson, 1998). For the purposes of qualitative comparison it suggests that the operators’ perceptions of the alarm systems, while variable, do not differ dramatically from those in the other industries. Given that the systems investigated in the previous survey represent the technology and management practices of 15 years ago, this is cause for some concern (Cloete et al., 2011).

CONCLUSIONS: THE NEED FOR HUMANCENTRED DESIGN The research presented here is an encouraging start towards a fuller understanding of the role of the human operator in the water sector, which should lead to improvements in efficiency and stability of system function. Further work here should follow a user-centred design and evaluation process. In this current research, discussions with control room operators and observations of work practices revealed several departures from this ideal, and one of the key messages emerging here is that operator expertise was an underutilised resource. In a wide range of work contexts, the gap between end users and new technology is widening, which introduces problems that did not exist before the widespread introduction of technology (Vicente, 2004). It is only through the application of human-centred methods that technology and humans can be appropriately integrated in a work system.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Funding for this research was provided by the Urban Water Security Research Alliance (UWSRA), Queensland, Australia. The Authors are particularly grateful for the input from Don Begbie from the UWSRA, Greg Jackson from Queensland Health, the two organisations involved, and the operators who took part in this research.



Dr Steve Cloete (email: is a Research Associate with the Minerals Industry Safety and Health Centre, University of Queensland, Australia. He has a background in transport safety, human factors and applied experimental psychology.

Opportunities for data collection in this project were limited to routine control room operations. This was owing to the extreme logistical difficulty of gaining access to control room facilities during incidents and emergencies, not to mention the risks and attached ethical considerations. Exploration of human factor issues surrounding abnormal situations may have to assume a retrospective approach, and there is

Associate Professor Tim Horberry (email: au) is an Associate Professor (Human Factors) at the Minerals Industry Safety and Health Centre, University of Queensland, Australia. He is also a Senior Research Associate at the Engineering Design Centre, Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, UK.

Professor Brian Head (email: au) is Professor of Policy Studies in the Institute for Social Science Research, University of Queensland, Australia. His research focus is on the use of evidence in policy and program design.

REFERENCES Bransby ML & Jenkinson J (1998): The Management of Alarm Systems. HSE Contract Research Report 166/1998. Suffolk, UK: HSE Books. Cloete SR, Horberry TJ & Head BW (2011): Human Factors in Urban Water System Safety: Stage 1: Initial Findings. Urban Water Security Research Alliance Technical Report No. 46. Available at: publications/technicalreports/index.html EEMUA (2007): Alarms Systems: A Guide to Design, Management and Procurement. London, UK: The Engineering Equipment and Materials Users’ Association. Horberry T & Cooke T (2010): Using the Critical Decision Method for Incident Analysis in Mining. Journal of Health and Safety Research and Practice, 2, 2, pp 10–23. Horberry T, Burgess-Limerick R & Steiner L (2010): Human Factors for the Design, Operation and Maintenance of Mining Equipment. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. Hrudey SE & Hrudey EJ (2004): Safe Drinking Water: Lessons From Outbreaks in Affluent Nations. London, UK: IWA Publishing. Li X, Powell M & Horberry T (2012): Human Factors in Control Room Operations in Mineral Processing: Elevating Control From Reactive to Proactive. Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making, 6, 1, pp 88–111. doi 10.1177/1555343411432340. Reason J (1990): Human Error. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Simpson G, Horberry T & Joy J (2009): Understanding Human Error in Mine Safety. Ashgate Press, Farnham UK. Vicente K (2004): The Human Factor: Revolutionizing the Way People Live with Technology. UK, Routledge. Vicente K & Christoffersen K (2006): The Walkerton E. coli Outbreak: A Test of Rasmussen’s Framework for Risk Management in a Dynamic Society. Theoretical Issues in Ergonomics Science, 7, pp 93–112. Wu S, Hrudey S, French S, Bedford T, Soane E & Pollard S (2009): A Role for Human Reliability Analysis (HRA) in Preventing Drinking Water Incidents and Securing Safe Drinking Water. Water Research, 43, 13, pp 3227–3238. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2009.04.040.



The AWTP control room, on the other hand, represented state-ofthe-art process control. Being newly commissioned, it was a considerably better integrated control system. A sophisticated and highly consistent alarm management philosophy was in place, alarm flooding did not occur, and operator criticisms of the SCADA system were minor. However, the system fell short of the highest standards of industry best practice in regard to the lack of click-to-navigate functionality for alarms and the lack of online alarm documentation.

no shortage of examples where this approach has been successfully applied in other industries, notably in mining (Horberry and Cooke, 2010).


Technical Papers

ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE OF THE ADELAIDE DESALINATION PLANT Outcomes of marine monitoring studies of saline waste stream at ADP T Kildea, V Ayala, M Kumar, G Hijos, J Artal


ABSTRACT Desalination has come to the fore in Australia as a means of “water-proofing” Australian coastal cities against drought. The construction of large desalination plants along Australia’s coastline has generated considerable public debate, which has required plant operators to provide assurance that a strong core value in the developments is the protection of the local environment. Marine monitoring studies undertaken for the Adelaide Desalination Project have shown that the saline waste stream discharged to the marine environment rapidly disperses, and dissolved oxygen concentrations adjacent to the outfall are conducive to maintaining a healthy aquatic ecosystem. The project has been successful in terms of meeting its operational and environmental commitments.

INTRODUCTION The South Australian Water Corporation (SA Water) is a government-owned utility which provides water and wastewater services to more than 1.5 million people in South Australia. In December 2007, following years of severe drought

Figure 1. Adelaide Desalination Plant.


conditions, the State Government announced the Adelaide Desalination Project as part of a major investment in securing water supplies for the State. The building of the 100 gigalitres (GL) per year Adelaide Desalination Plant (ADP) commenced in early 2009. The plant was was designed and constructed by AdelaideAqua, which was a consortium consisting of McConnell Dowell, Abigroup and ACCIONA Agua. The ADP is the largest and most complex water infrastructure project ever delivered by SA Water. The $1.824 billion project was delivered on time and within budget.

in 15ML/d increments. This flexibility was necessary due to the multiple sources of drinking water for Adelaide (catchment, River Murray, desalination) and the need to ensure optimum usage of lower cost, climate-dependent water sources. At the maximum plant production rate of 100GL per year, ADP can produce approximately 50% of Adelaide’s current drinking water needs, providing the only climate-independent source of water for the city. Although this provides some water security for Adelaide, the ADP is only one of a number of strategies that the State is incorporating to meet the city’s growing water needs.

The ADP (Figure 1) was officially handed over to the Operator, AdelaideAqua Pty Ltd (AAPL) on 12 December 2012. AAPL is a partnership between ACCIONA Agua and TRILITY, who have a contract to operate and maintain the plant over the next 20 years. At handover, the ADP had already delivered in excess of 17GL of drinking water into SA Water’s distribution system.

Environmentally, the ADP has one of the lowest carbon footprints of any desalination plant in the world. A contract with AGL has ensured that the ADP is powered by GreenPoweraccredited energy over the next 20 years. The energy consumption of the total plant has been optimised through sustainable design and by recovering residual energy by using outfall turbines.

The ADP incorporates a high level of operational flexibility, with nominal production rates from 30 to 300ML/d,

Ultra filtration pre-treatment (with washwater recovery), coupled with patented high-recovery Reverse Osmosis


Technical Papers membranes (48.5%), minimises seawater abstraction requirements to achieve optimum energy consumption. These processes have contributed to a specific energy consumption of 3.70MWh/ML (based on one-year-old membranes at a water temperature of 18.1°C and TDS concentration of 38.4g/L; May 2013). This specific energy consumption rate incorporates all energy requirements to produce freshwater at 60m above sea level. There were a number of key environmental drivers for the project other than reducing the carbon footprint. During the environmental assessment process several committments were made to the community in regards to the care of the local terrestrial and marine environment in the region of the ADP.

During the construction phase, initiatives such as marine tunnelling for the intake and outfall pipework, using large tunnel boring machines, protected sensitive nearby habitats including coastal cliffs and offshore reefs. The intake of large volumes of seawater by desalination plants is often a focus of community concern, in particular protecting local marine wildlife. The ADP intake structure was designed to minimise entrapment and entrainment of marine organisms by setting a maximum seawater intake velocity of 0.15m/s, which is equivalent to the average current velocity in the region. The structure is also located in deep water away from local reefs and far from nursery fish grounds. Finally, duckbill valves were incorporated into the diffuser design to assist in the rapid dispersion of the saline concentrate reject stream generated from the desalination process into the marine environment – a novel engineering solution that has increased the effectiveness of the diffuser when operating at low flow rates. In Australia, detailed monitoring studies have been developed by plant operators and owners to assess the environmental performance of seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) desalination plants. These studies have provided a

This paper presents some of the water quality data collected for the Adelaide Desalination Project, in particular salinity and dissolved oxygen concentrations. The results focus on the performance of the ADP in dispersing saline concentrate waste into the marine environment. Salinity concentrations adjacent to the diffuser are compared to results obtained from ecotoxicological studies conducted as part of the environmental impact assessment process. The comparisons provide an appraisal of how well the plant performs in meeting its environmental commitments.

METHOD The data presented in this paper are based on three separate studies. These are: WATER QUALITY CHARACTERISATION STUDY

In order to estimate the temporal and spatial dispersion of the saline concentrate from the ADP diffusers, monthly oceanographic surveys are undertaken in the region of the outfall. Water column profiling is undertaken at sites 100m, 500m and 5km north and south of the Adelaide Desalination Plant outfall, at a water depth of 5m, 10m, 15m, 20m and 25m. Three reference sites, located approximately 10km offshore, are included in the study, which encompasses a total survey area of 100km2. At each site, vertical distribution of specific conductivity (uS/cm), dissolved oxygen (mg/L), pH, turbidity (NTU), water temperature (degrees Celsius) and depth were obtained using a YSI 6600 series V4 sonde. Depth profiles were undertaken by lowering the instrument through the water column at a rate of approximately 0.2 metres per second. Data, which included the instrument’s position (longitude and latitude) and depth (metres) in the water column, were logged and stored every two seconds. DIFFUSER PERFORMANCE

A study was undertaken to assess the intensity and dispersion of the saline concentrate from the ADP diffuser under a “worst case” scenario of low tidal currents and a maximum production rate of 300 ML/d. The survey was undertaken on 4 June 2013, coinciding with a local period of minimal

tidal movement (termed a “dodge tide”), low wind (< 10 knots) and calm seas (<0.5m). Specific conductivity, dissolved oxygen, water temperature and depth were recorded at the seafloor at over 70 sites, covering an area over 100km2 around the ADP outfall. Spatial plots were derived using the grid-based graphic program Surfer 8 (Golden Software Inc), which interpolates irregularly spaced XYZ data into a regularly spaced grid. The grid was then used to produce an image map to show how concentrations (salinity and DO) changed across a defined area. The data are interpolated using the “Natural Neighbour” algorithm, which is a geostatistical gridding method used to express the spatial trends that occur for each of the different parameters. ECOTOXICOLOGY

Work carried out for the Environmental Impact assessment of the Adelaide Desalination Project (SA Water 2009) utilised ecotoxicology testing in order to assess the potential biological impacts that saline concentrate may have upon marine organisms. The study utilised, where possible, South Australian species and seawater derived from the Port Stanvac region. Five species from four taxonomic levels (polychaete, crustacean, plant, fish and phytoplankton) were used in the ecotoxicological experiments to derive an ecological trigger value that represented the dilution required for the safe disposal of saline concentrate into the marine environment.


The main focus of desalination research, worldwide, has been assessing how rapidly saline concentrate waste streams disperse in the receiving waters (Roberts et al., 2010). The results from these studies have been highly variable and have shown that dispersion occurs over a wide distance range, extending from tens of metres to several kilometres. The variation in dispersion has been attributed to differences in plant capacities, diffuser designs, local oceanographic features and sampling methods (Roberts et al., 2010). In the majority of cases the studies have shown that the salinity concentration is usually no greater than two parts per thousand (ppt) above the



Over 250,000 native plants of local provenance were planted around the ADP, which also included the development of an extensive wetland ecosystem for the management of stormwater on site.

substantial volume of information, which shows the positive outcomes of good planning and engineering in minimising potential impacts to the environment.


Technical Papers


Figure 2. Average salinity on the seafloor. background salinity within 20m of the outfall. Thereafter, the saline concentrate plume rapidly disperses with salinity concentrations only slightly greater than background levels (< 0.5 ppt) within a couple of hundred metres of the point of discharge (Roberts et al., 2010). It should be noted that the majority of these studies have been conducted in the Mediterranean Sea, which is characterised as a shallow, low-energy environment – conditions considered to be sub-optimal for the rapid dispersion of saline concentrate waste streams. Results from the water quality monitoring of the ADP have shown that there is a high degree of variation associated with the dispersion of saline concentrate into the marine environment (Figure 2). Average salinity measured on the seafloor, 100 metres from the diffuser at a depth between 15m and 20m, is represented by the red (solid) line. The blue (hashed) line represents background salinity concentration on the seafloor, approximately 10km from the ADP diffuser. Error bars represent standard deviation. Background salinity concentrations vary from 35.6ppt to 37ppt, dependent on the time of the year. This is natural for Gulf St Vincent (GSV) and is a result of oceanic seawater mixing with the seawater in the Gulf. Generally the GSV gets saltier in summer from natural freshwater evaporation and decreases in salinity during winter as freshwater enters via seasonal rains. Density-driven currents develop in GSV over summer, and saltier water from the upper parts of the Gulf moves past Port Stanvac in late autumn/early winter. Hence, average background salinity concentrations in the Port Stanvac region are highest around May/June.


Figure 3. Salinity profile through the water column. Another feature is the movement of oceanic seawater in response to the prevailing southerly winds. The seawater moves into the Gulf and mixes in the vicinity of Port Stanvac. Bye and Kämpf (2008) noted that Port Stanvac lies at the junction of two opposing gyres and this is reflected in the large standard deviations observed for the average salinity concentrations. Salinity concentrations are highly variable, not only monthly, but weekly and sometimes daily. A daily salinity variation between 0.2ppt and 0.4ppt is not unusual for this region of the coast (Kildea, unpublished data). Most of the time the difference in salinity concentration between background and 100m from the diffuser is less than 0.5ppt. The largest average difference observed was 1ppt during the month of July (Figure 2). Modelling undertaken as part of the Environment Impact Statement (SA Water, 2009) for the development predicted that average salinity concentrations 100m from the diffuser would be 0.6ppt or less (90 percentile) when the plant was operating at a maximum production rate of 300ML/d. Water quality results to date generally support the mid-field model predictions. Additional modelling undertaken during the development by AdelaideAqua D&C consortium predicted a maximum salinity of 0.9ppt above background concentrations (Water Technology, 2009), which is close to the observed maximum value of 1.0ppt. It should be noted that the results presented in Figure 2 are based on a range of daily plant production rates and oceanograpic mixing conditions; variables which would influence the rate of dispersion of the saline concentrate waste from the diffusers.


To effectively assess diffuser performance, a study was required that incorporated “a worst case scenario” of poor mixing conditions (dodge tide, wind <10 knots and swell/seas < 0.5m) at the maximum plant production of 300ML/d. GSV is characterised by a phenomenon called a “dodge tide”. This is an interplay between semi-diurnal lunar and solar tidal constituents, which result in “significantly” weakened tidal currents on a fortnightly basis (Kämpf and Clarke, 2012). It has been speculated that, during dodge tide events, “brine underflows” would form consisting of a thin layer of hypersaline water spreading along the seafloor, becoming rapidly depleted in dissolved oxygen (Kampf and Clarke, 2012). The diffuser performance study was undertaken on 4 June 2013 under “worst case scenario” conditions. A salinity contour map (Figure 8) was generated from over 70 sample points covering an area of approximately 100km2. The contours represent salinity (ppt) on the seafloor in the vicinity of the ADP diffuser (yellow circle). The x and y axes represent eastings and northings and provide a measurement in metres of the size of the plume footprint. The footprint is detectable over a distance of approximately 6km by 4km. Maximum salinity concentration observed was 38.3ppt approximately 100m south of the ADP outfall (Figure 3), which is approximately 1.0ppt above background level. At this point the plume is about four metres thick on the sea floor. Brine discharges are often denser than seawater of natural salinities and, therefore, plumes tend to extend further along the seafloor than at the surface (Roberts et al., 2010). As predicted, the data clearly shows that elevated salinity concentrations are restricted to the seafloor (Figure 3).


Technical Papers

Figure 4. Average seafloor oxygen concentrations. Error bars Figure 5. Dissolved oxygen (percentage saturation) profile represent standard deviation. through the water column.

Salinity varies naturally with tidal cycles, particularly due to the mixing of oceanic water and gulf water, as observed in the variability of the ambient salinity concentrations (Figure 2). Thus, exposure to elevated salinity increases is likely to vary both spatially and temporally, particularly with changing tides and weather patterns. The footprint observed (Figure 8) is considered to be the worst-case scenario and, therefore, the salinity at other times is likely to be substantially lower. This is reflected in the average salinity data obtained at other times of the year while the plant has been operational (Figure 2).


A question often posed in the public forum is whether dissolved oxygen becomes depleted as a result of denser saline water moving across the seafloor (e.g. Kämpf and Clarke, 2012). A simple answer is, “no”. Long-term monitoring has shown no significant differences (p = 0.067) between the background dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations on the seafloor and those around the ADP diffuser. Figure 4 shows the average ambient seafloor dissolved oxygen concentrations (mg/L) throughout the year, compared with dissoved oxygen concentrations measured 100 metres from the diffuser, at a depth between 15m and 20m. The results tend to show that oxygen concentrations are greater around the ADP outfall than background. This may be due to the saline concentrate becoming supersaturated with oxygen as it descends from 60m above sea level into the outfall shaft before dispersing through the diffusers into the marine environment.

This is reiterated by the dissolved oxygen profile through the water column, 100m north and south of the ADP diffuser (Figure 5). These measurements were taken during the diffuser performance study and suggest that DO concentrations decrease slightly from the surface to the bottom – an observation that is expected due Figure 6. Comparing average salinity to ecotoxicology to normal surface results. The blue hashed line represents background water oxygen salinity while the red solid line represents average salinity supersaturation 100m from the ADP outfall. Error bars represent standard (>100%). devation of the mean.

On a regional scale there is little discernable difference in DO concentrations on the seafloor (Figure 9). The results presented are from a diffusion performance study undertaken during a dodge tide. Black crosses represent sampling points and white crosses represent the exclusion zone surrounding the ADP intake and outfall. The x and y axes represent eastings and northings and provide a measurement of distance in metres. DO concentrations range between 7.2mg/L and 7.8mg/L across the 100km2 sampling region, which represents dissolved oxygen concentration greater than 93%. Environment Protection Authority criteria for healthy marine ecosystems stipulate a DO concentration threshold of 6mg/L. DO concentrations adjacent to the diffuser have been measured at 7mg/L or greater throughout the year (Figure 4). It should be noted that this result is plant and location specific. There is strong evidence to support the conclusion that saline concentrate discharged from the ADP outfall does not deplete oxygen concentrations on the seafloor, but it is not clear from the literature that this is the case for all desalination plants around the world (Roberts et al., 2010). ECOTOXICOLOGY

The final question that could be asked is, “Is the elevated salinty concentration observed around the ADP outfall harmful to marine life?”. The ecotoxicological studies undertaken as part of the Environmental Impact Statement (SA Water, 2009) recommended a safe dilution factor of 23:1 to protect 99% of typical marine species. This equates to 39ppt based on maximum background salinity concentration of 37.4ppt. This is a conservative estimate, as most of the organisms tested did not show signs



Thereafter, the plume quickly disperses to concentrations approximately 0.6ppt above background salinity within 1km of the outfall. It then follows the depth gradient moving into deeper water, reaching background concentrations of 37.3ppt, approximately 4.5km south of the outfall.


Technical Papers sea is actually achieving the objective of minimising potential evironmental impacts to local ecosystems. AdelaideAqua is required to undertake a number of in situ studies as part of EPA Licence conditions to operate the plant, which include monitoring fauna living in the sediment, local intertidal and subtidal reefs and phytoplankton populations in the region of the ADP outfall. These studies commenced two years before the plant became operational. The results from these studies will be reviewed by independent specialists in 2014, 18 months after project handover of the 100GL/yr plant.

Figure 7. Marine life around the ADP outfall, 20m from a diffuser with plant operating at 150MLD (April 2013).


of stress until salinity concentrations reached 40ppt or above. The maximum salinity concentration recorded next to the ADP diffuser was 38.1ppt (Figure 2). All things considered, these results suggest that there should be minimal impact to the organisms living around the ADP outfall. Other studies on the toxicological effects of brine on local South Australian marine species support this conclusion (Dupavillion and Gillanders, 2009; Beattie, 2009). Dupavillion and Gillanders (2009) exposed cuttlefish embryos (Sepia apama) to a range of salinities until their hatch date. Their results showed that there was no significant reduction in size and weight of hatchlings until salinity concentrations were greater than 42ppt. Beattie (2009) found that ascidians (Ascidiaceae) and sea stars (Ophiuroidea) reacted in a similar way when exposed to different concentrations of saline concentrate. The results from this

study suggested that until salinity reached a threshold of 44ppt, there was no impact on survival rates. The World Health Organisation (WHO) provided a synthesis of all ecotoxicological studies published in peer review journals and suggested a more conservative threshold of 10% above maximum background salinity concentration (equating to 40.7ppt for Port Stanvac). Results to date from ADP suggest that salinity concentrations recorded on the seafloor, around the diffuser, are well below all these thresholds. A comparison of threshold values is presented in Figure 6. It should be cautioned that, although ecotoxicology experiments are able to provide potential toxicity threshold values for assessing likely impacts, the studies are generally short term (96 hours to 7 days) and limited to a small range of species. It is important that in situ monitoring studies are also developed to verify that the saline concentrate discharged into the

CONCLUSION While studies have identified several potential mechanisms by which desalination plants may impact upon marine ecosystems, many published review articles and case studies cite little or no peer reviewed literature and present little or no empirical data to support statements regarding environmental effects of desalination (Roberts et al., 2010). Hence it is unclear whether the potential impacts of desalination plants are assumed or have been determined through rigorous ecological research. Marine monitoring studies undertaken for ADP have shown that the saline waste stream discharged to the marine environment rapidly disperses, and dissolved oxygen concentrations adjacent to the outfall are conducive to maintaining a healthy aquatic ecosystem. The project has been an outstanding success in terms of meeting its operational and environmental commitments.






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Figure 8. Salinity contours (ppt) around the ADP outfall (yellow dot).










Figure 9. Regional dissolved oxygen concentrations (mg/L). Oxygen concentrations expressed as percentage saturation were greater than 93% across the region.


Technical Papers ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The Authors would like to thank Lorenzo Andreacchio and Dusty Rietveld for their assistance in data analysis, figures and introduction, and Matt Blaikie, Carol Sim, Bernadette Lee and Lorenzo for their editorial red pen.

THE AUTHORS Tim Kildea (email: Tim. is Team Leader, Source Water and Environment Research, SA Water. He has over 20 years’ experience in temperate and tropical marine ecosystems as a research scientist and marine consultant. Milind Kumar (email: milind. is Project Director, Adelaide Desalination Project, SA Water. He has over 29 years’ experience in executive management, project, engineering and construction management for multi-disciplinary projects across various industry sectors.

Dr Vanesa Ayala (email: vanesa.ayala@acciona. is Environmental & R&D Manager, Adelaide Desalination Plant. She has been working as an R&D Scientist in Acciona Agua for over eight years. Guillermo Hijós Gago (email: au) is Operations Manager, Adelaide Desalination Plant. He has been working as a Process Manager in Acciona Agua for almost 10 years in key international desalination projects. Javier Artal (email: javier. is Plant Manager, Adelaide Desalination Plant. He has been involved in a number of international desalination projects throughout their different phases.

REFERENCES Beattie K (2009): Desalination Impacts on Marine Invertebrates: Effluent Toxicity. Honours thesis. Flinders University.

the australian water directory 2014

is GoinG diGital! AWA is excited to announce the Australian Water Directory will soon be joining our portfolio of online publications and will now be available to members and non-members!

Bye J & Kämpf J (2008): Physical Oceanography. In Natural History of Gulf St Vincent, pp 56–70. Royal Society of South Australia. Dupavillon J & Gillanders B (2009): Impacts of Seawater Desalination on the Giant Australian Cuttlefish, Sepia apama. Marine Environmental Research, 67, pp 207–218. Kämpf J & Clarke B (2012): How Robust is the Environmental Impact Assessment Process in South Australia? Behind the Scenes of the Adelaide Seawater Desalination Project. Marine Policy. Roberts D, Johnston E & Knott N (2010): Impacts of Desalination Plant Discharges on the Marine Environment: A Critical Review of Published Studies. Water Research, 44, pp 5117–5128. SA Water (2009): Proposed Adelaide Desalination Plant Environmental Impact Statement, Government of South Australia. World Health Organisation (WHO) (2007): Desalination for Safe Water Supply: Guidelines for the Health and Environmental Aspects Applicable to Desalination, Public Health and the Environment. World Health Organisation, Geneva. Water Technology (2009): Outfall Dilution Modelling Assessment Report. AdelaideAqua D&C. Report submitted to South Australian Environment Protection Authority as part of licence application.


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Technical Papers

LAND CAPABILITY ASSESSMENT FOR RECYCLED WATER IRRIGATION SCHEMES Is it more than just compliance with environmental standards? R Wrigley, R van de Graaff



Recycled water irrigation became common practice during the extended dry period from 1997 to 2009. The practice was recognised to be an alternative wastewater disposal strategy and was encouraged by state environment protection policies. These policies were given increased status by the need to control nutrient pollution of waterways in the mid-90s as a means of reducing the incidence of blue-green algae blooms. To provide assistance, government agencies prepared guidelines that specified acceptable and unacceptable levels of wastewater and soil parameters. Unfortunately these were sometimes used as ‘’how to do manuals’’. Such guidelines, while useful, cannot eliminate the need for a thorough investigation of the site and careful analysis of the complex interactions that can occur in biological systems. The use of simple spreadsheet models that use readily available information, default values and “desk top” analyses without onsite investigations and ground-truthing can result in misleading results. There is no guarantee that this information is representative of a site or wastewater stream. Guidelines and manuals are no substitute for a systems approach based on a detailed investigation and the application of sound scientific and engineering principles.

and certainly not a “tick the box” exercise. Such an approach ignores the complexity of a biological system and the numerous interactions that can take place. The authors have seen investigations that almost exclusively focus on simple spreadsheet calculations aimed at assuring no nutrients were likely to reach the groundwater, nor enter a waterway. In some cases no soil sampling has been undertaken, and no attempt made to understand the soil chemistry or plant agronomy. This paper presents a number of case studies to help us to learn from our mistakes.

BACKGROUND In Victoria the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is the responsible authority for protecting air, surface water, groundwater and soil. The authority seeks to enforce policies that prevent wastewater from reaching the groundwater, contaminating the soil or adversely impacting surface waters.


These principles underpin EPA Publication 168 “Guidelines for Wastewater Irrigation” (1983, last reprint 1992). They also come from the EPA principle that nothing we do must cause any harm to the receiving environment. We also recognise that the EPA seeks to focus on practical rather than idealistic targets, because we cannot live on this earth without having any negative impact whatsoever.

Land capability assessments (LCAs) for recycled water irrigation require a thorough understanding of the interaction of the particular wastewater with the local soil properties and hydrogeology. It is not just a matter of demonstrating compliance with environmental threshold values,

A fundamental principle of the sustainability of any site receiving wastewater is that components in the wastewater must be subject to degradation, beneficial uptake or safe storage. This principle presents a bit of a dilemma as, without leaching, most of the salts added in the irrigation


water will accumulate in the crop root zone and ultimately compromise plant growth (via osmotic effects) and possibly adversely impact soil structure. The EPA guidelines place almost exclusive reliance on standard setting authorities such as ANZECC, ARMCANZ and other EPA guidelines, as well as a number of Agnotes issued by the DPI – as can be seen by looking up their lists of literature references. This may give the consultant designing the scheme the impression that compliance with standards is all that needs to be done. Clearly the investigation of a site to assess its suitability for recycled water irrigation requires an understanding of the likely interactions between the soil, the underlying geology and groundwater system, the plant agronomy, and the constituents of the recycled wastewater. There are a number of standard texts such as Pettygrove and Asano (1985), Ayers and Westcot (1985), and the manual Water Reuse, issued in 1989 by the Water Pollution Control Federation (USA), or other basic references such as Tanji (1990), Pescod (1992), and Rhoades, Kandiah and Mashali (1992), as well as the manuals published by the Irrigation Association and the American Society of Civil Engineers. WHO guidelines are now particularly informative, but they postdate the EPA guidelines (WHO, 2006). The only technical reference in EPA 464.2 is the CSIROproduced “Sustainable Effluent-Irrigated Plantations – An Australian Guideline”. The authors are concerned that not all practitioners understand environmental and human health risks, the significance of the numbers, their units and the potential interactions of parameters.


Technical Papers MODELLING OF WATER BALANCE, SALINITY, SODICITY AND CONTAMINANTS The Excel worksheet issued by the EPA at about the same time that publication 168 was promulgated (1983) is a protected file and the algorithms cannot be changed. More importantly it does not formally enable an investigator to set a leaching requirement that ensures export of the added salts to ensure root zone salinity does not increase to unacceptable levels. The fundamental importance of washing out imported salts was recognised already in the early 1900s by CS Schofield in papers published between 1921 and 1940 (references listed in USDA Agriculture Handbook No. 60, 1954).

Publication 168 has been rescinded to the best of our knowledge, but it is still used routinely in the consulting industry. EPA Publication No. 464.2 came out in 2003 and acknowledges the requirement for leaching in the following terms: Leaching of salt from the root zone is required to prevent salt build up. In most locations, rainfall will provide enough leaching to protect the root zone. Where this does not occur, extra irrigation is needed. This requires careful management so as not to cause excessive nitrate leaching to groundwater. Leaching thus becomes an expression of hope and not a means of assisting quantified design. Low rates of rainfall between 1997 and 2009 led to ineffective leaching and rates of evapo-transpiration exceeded modelled projections. Crop factors, which are used to calculate crop irrigation needs as a function of crop growth stage, may often

EPA, in its Publication 812.2, Reuse Options for Household Wastewater (2006) identified the need for leaching, but paints a picture that the leachate comes from rain, with a near nil contribution from wastewater. In other words, it promotes the view that the rainwater that has fallen after irrigation, and is on its way to the groundwater, is somehow able to bypass the effluent that is already in the soil. However, leaching is not without its own hazards, as irrigated lands often require artificial drainage to remove the accessions to groundwater and maintain a water table at a safe depth below the surface. Neither EPA Publication 168 nor EPA 464.2 emphasise the need to consider the drainability of irrigated land to control water tables and salinity. EPA 168 devotes a mere two short paragraphs to surface and subsurface drainage and actually states: “On permeable soils, subsurface drainage should be necessary only if excessive irrigation has caused the water table to rise.” In other words “Don’t worry!”. During the 1960s and 1970s we learned that irrigation in Victoria without engineered drainage systems is unsustainable, and the salinity programs of the 1990s placed great emphasis on salt mitigation through drainage. Rycroft and Amer (1995) provide essential information to ensure the matching of irrigation systems with drainage systems for improving the management of clay soils. This reference draws on extensive experience in the Netherlands with land reclamation. The recent wet years in eastern Australia have tested the performance of many recycled water irrigation systems that failed to take account of drainage. Drainage water, with its accumulated salts, needs to be discharged somewhere safely. Where and how this is to be achieved is part of an LCA (life cycle analysis) because it is a critical part of a whole hydro-salinity system.

boundaries of the site. The well-known formulation “within the boundaries of the site” implies permanent vertical downward movement of water, which is at odds with geohydrology. We investigated the reasons for rapidly increasing waterlogging and salination of the areas immediately surrounding turkey’s nest lagoons and adjoining land. Of particular interest was how the permeability of the clay soil is affected by the salinity of the irrigation water. We understand that the original design did not include a membrane to prevent seepage through the floor of the lagoon, because the heavy clay, when tested for its hydraulic conductivity in the lab, proved to be “impermeable”. The laboratory test using the relevant Australian Standard (AS 1289) was conducted with de-ionised water. The effect of that water on the original saline and sodic clay was to cause the clay to swell and render it virtually impermeable. However, the storage lagoon water, when it was later filled and used to supply the irrigation water, had a significant salinity of 940-2,340 μS/cm (TDS of 600-1,500 mg/L) and rendered the clay very much more permeable. De-ionised water remains the default water for the test in AS 1289, but only those laboratory managers who are aware of the effect of salts request their clients to specify the composition of the test water.


Prior to the land being purchased, the Victorian Department of Agriculture had conducted a detailed soil survey of the site (Skene and Harford, 1964) at scale 1:31,680 and areas of badly salinised clay soils were mapped on the land that was later purchased. The report was widely available at the time and contained soil chemical data that would have been extremely useful, alerting the developers to the presence of sodic clay with a gilgai micro relief on the site. This situation, whereby data is available in a different discipline (and often in a different form) and consequently not accessed, is all too common. In the engineering discipline the use of soil science is often very superficial and there is a tendency to accept a map that may have been produced at 1:100,000 at face value without a quick check by digging a few soil pits.

In 1991–1992 both of the authors were involved in investigating the failure of a wastewater irrigation system to retain the wastewater, after application, within the

Historical aerial photography showed that the land purchased was within an undeveloped, rough-looking area sandwiched between intensively




There is a risk that an investigator who has little understanding of irrigation can follow the guidelines and, using the Excel worksheet, conclude it is easy to comply with EPA rules. Our concern with the model is a lack of recognition of the distribution and magnitude of rainfall events when the model tends to employ mean monthly data corrected for 90-percentile values, and a failure to take into account soil type and available soil moisture storage. In addition, the model focuses on irrigation of perennials or summer crops and fails to reflect the growing use of recycled water in winter cropping regimes.

be too low, leading to salt retention in the crop root zone.


Technical Papers developed irrigated land. Local landowners were aware of the difficult soil on the site and the nature of the landscape. This local knowledge, when added to the soil survey/chemistry data should have alerted the proponents to the excessive risk of the development. CASE STUDY 2. INTERACTION OF ELEVATED ELECTROLYTE LEVEL OF STORED WATER WITH CLAY SOIL FORMING EARTHEN WATER/ WASTEWATER STORAGES


Currently two evaporation basins in southern NSW are being repaired to control excessive seepage. When they were constructed four years ago, permeability tests conducted using distilled water provided a false impression that the floors would be ‘’impervious’’. In a more recent example, in order to clarify water in an irrigation water earthen storage, the floor, bed and banks were gypsum-stabilised at very high application rate. The contractor did soil tests but thought that the more gypsum used the better the clarity of water. Seepage of water from the dam became excessive as a result of excess electrolytes. Of particular interest to the water industry is the state of some earthen wastewater storages that were constructed during the 1997–2009 dry period. Water used for compaction during this period frequently had an elevated salt level and recent investigations reveal that there have been some deleterious physico-chemical impacts such as piping, bank voids and shrinkage cracks. These become obvious with the storage of low salinity wastewater or rainfall ingress into embankments. This issue is not just restricted to the urban water industry. The management of elevated electrolytes in water associated with coal seam gas extraction and its interaction with soil will become an essential component of environmental approvals. CASE STUDY 3. IRRIGATION OF TREATED LEACHATE FROM A LANDFILL

This study involved the interception of leachate from a landfill in order to protect groundwater. Irrigation seemed to be the environmental friendly answer if it could be demonstrated that it would not cause a risk to the environment, including the groundwater of the adjacent irrigated paddock. The highly saline leachate was to be treated in a


desalination plant, and the 80 kL/day of permeate (690 mg/L TDS) used for the irrigation of lucerne. The reject water (the brine) was to be stored in an evaporation pond. The matter of soil drainage was not addressed by the LCA. The field work for the LCA was limited to logging 10 soil auger holes to depths of up to 0.9 m, but without any sampling and lab analysis at that time. The investigation failed to recognise the preponderance of salt-tolerant weeds in large parts of the paddocks. The methodology used for the LCA was based on EPA Publication 746.1, and EPA Publication 891, which are reference documents for domestic septic tank systems and not relevant to the project. EPA Publication 168 was also used as it included a few specific references on lucerne tolerance to water quality, including salinity, boron and sulphate (SO4-2) levels, the latter consistently confused with sulphide (S-2) in the report. Visual assessment of the soil, using texture and structure, led to an estimated “percolation rate” of 10–15 cm/day, classed as “low to moderate” when a soil is assessed for its suitability for disposal of onsite sewage. Percolation rate is a loose concept borrowed from septic tank practice and, unlike hydraulic conductivity, is not useful for irrigation and drainage design. There was no attempt to measure the saturated hydraulic conductivity in situ, nor to review the operation of the existing irrigation system to check irrigation application rates. This first LCA presented the view that the treated effluent, applied to 26ha of lucerne on an adjacent farm, must be prevented from contaminating the groundwater with residual nitrate. It presented calculations to support an irrigation rate of 0.3mm/day (0.3L/ Given that the daily water requirement of lucerne was estimated at between 2.2 and 5.9mm/day, the accession of this extra effluent load or any of the solutes, the nitrate, to the groundwater was considered to be negligible. However the salt balance was another problem. Given an irrigant salinity of 690mg/L, and an irrigation loading of at 0.3L/, this translates to a salt load of 0.755 tonne/ha/year. Without leaching, the plant root zone would suffer an adverse impact on lucerne production and possibly soil structure.

The boron content of the treated effluent, at 9.7mg/L, was said to be two to three times the ‘safe’ level, but this could be managed by “irrigating for longer intervals with good quality water with intermittent ponding. This encourages the leaching of boron below the root zone” and by “liming the soil to promote adsorption of boron from the soil”. Then, when all else fails, “introduce boron tolerant species such as barley, tall fescue and some tree species”. Clearly, leaching the boron out of the root zone towards the groundwater would also move the nitrates there. To resolve some of the ambiguities, a second LCA was completed by another consultant in 2009. It presented a water budget based on climate data indicating an irrigation demand of 670mm/yr, far larger than the 110mm/yr irrigation load proposed initially (i.e. 0.3 x 365 days). However, even the second investigation failed to identify that the site was within a local rain shadow where the evaporation rate was 1,370mm/yr rather than the 997mm/yr used in the water balance. The report recommended an annual irrigation rate of 670mm (6.7ML/ hectare), which relies on zero leaching as per EPA 168. By this time the salinity of the permeate had increased to 1,000mg/L; the boron concentration to between 19 and 35mg/L, averaging 26mg/L; and the SAR value was 25. The second LCA investigator contended that, after blending with good quality river or reservoir water the SAR (Sodium Adsorption Ratio) would only be five to six. It is impossible to change the SAR of high-salinity, high-SAR water by using low-salinity, low-SAR water, as the ratio of cations in the shandy will be dominated by the cations in the high-salinity water. “Good water”, in order to lower the SAR of the final irrigation water, must be water with high dissolved calcium and magnesium concentration and a very low sodium concentration compared to the treated leachate (permeate) water. For example, if a 1.6 dS/m, 25 SAR water is mixed 2:1 with a 0.3dS/m, 5 SAR water, the resultant salinity is 1.17 dS/m (the weighted arithmetic average) but the SAR is only reduced to 19. Consultant number two reported that lucerne could generally be considered to be boron tolerant, surviving up to 15mg/L of boron in the soil water


Technical Papers (ANZECC, 2000). As blending would reduce the concentration of boron, this calculation was used as a compliance crutch. However, this level of boron is well in excess of the recommended maximum concentration for lucerne listed in Tanji (1990) of 4mg/L. Referring now to nitrogen loading, the annual irrigation application rate of 670mm/ year was expected to apply around 200 to 335kg N/hectare, which is less than 35% of lucerne’s annual ability to take up nitrogen. Hence the investigator deemed that groundwater would be safe from NO3 contamination. This is the second compliance crutch. It overlooks the fact that lucerne, a legume, can fix its own nitrogen from the atmosphere.









The existing EPA guidelines and Excel spreadsheet models are not sufficient by themselves to design sustainable irrigation schemes; There is a need to incorporate knowledge of soil hydrology and chemistry as well as groundwater hydrology to design a sustainable irrigation scheme, whether for wastewater or scheme water; A daily water balance model may be best to capture the effects of climate on crop growth, irrigation demand, nutrient uptake, soil salt balance and nutrient leaching below the crop root zone; Additional soil and agronomy knowledge is required to incorporate aspects not present in most models; these include toxic concentrations of contaminants such as boron and, especially, sodicity effects on soil structure that are dependent on soil type and salinity of the irrigation water;


One case study presented came from a scheme designed over 20 years ago, but there is little evidence that designers have learnt much more since then. In case of the treated leachate irrigation the hydrogeology of the area was ignored, as was the effect of water salinity on soil permeability. In Case Study 3 the soil chemistry/salinity interpretation was incompetent, as was the irrigation water balance; Technical skills well in excess of that required to run an EPA monthly time step spreadsheet model are required to design a sustainable effluent irrigation scheme; We strongly suggest that the designer uses information available from adjacent irrigation farms (when available) to design the irrigation scheme, even if the objectives of effluent disposal can be different from conventional irrigation farming.

CONCLUSION Local knowledge should not be discounted in preparing an LCA. Information on climate, geology, geomorphology, terrain, soil types, landscapes and plants can also be accessed from the DPI (Victorian Resources Online (VRO): www.dpi.vic. and Catchment Management Authorities. CMA staff can also point consultants in the right direction to secure more specialised information. However, the user of such information must not lose sight of the nature of detail that is commensurate with the scale of the mapping. When in doubt, consult an experienced soil scientist.

THE AUTHORS Roger Wrigley (rjwrigley@ is a Principal of Wrigley Dillon Consultants, an Associate Professor and Honorary Fellow of the University of Melbourne. Robert Van de Graaff (email: email: vdg.robert@ vandegraaff-soilshorizons. is Principal of Robert Van de Graaff & Associates, Mitcham, Victoria.

REFERENCES Allen RG, Pereira LS, Raes D & Smith M (1998): Crop Evapotranspiration: Guidelines for Computing Crop Water Requirements. FAO Irrigation and Drainage Paper 56, Rome. AS 1289: Methods of Testing Soils for Engineering Purposes – Soil Strength and Consolidation Tests – Determination of Permeability of a Soil – Constant Head Method Using a Flexible Wall Permeameter. Ayers RS & Westcot DW (1985): Water Quality for Agriculture, FAO Irrigation and Drainage Paper 29 Rev. 1, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome. Doorenbos J & Pruitt WO (1975): Guidelines for Predicting Crop Water Requirements. FAO Irrigation and Drainage Paper 24, Rome. EPA Victoria Publication 168 (1983): Guidelines for Wastewater Irrigation. Revised 1991. EPA Publication 746.1 (2003): Land Capability Assessment for Onsite Wastewater Management. EPA Publication 812.2 (2006): Reuse Options for Household Wastewater. EPA Publication 891.2 (2008): Code of Practice – Onsite Wastewater Management (under review). Maas EV (1990): Crop Salt Tolerance. In: Agricultural Salinity Assessment and Management. (Ed.) KK Tanji, ASCE Manuals and Reports on Engineering Practice 71, ASCE, New York, pp 262–304. Pescod MB (1992): Wastewater Treatment and Use in Agriculture. FAO Irrigation and Drainage Paper 47, Rome. Pettygrove GS & Asano T (1985): Irrigation with Reclaimed Municipal Wastewater – A Guidance Manual. Lewis Publishers Inc. Rhoades JD, Kandiah A & Mashali AM (1992): The Use of Saline Waters for Crop Production. FAO Irrigation and Drainage Paper 48, Rome. Rogers ME, Grieve CM & Shannon MC (1998): Variation in the Growth of Lucerne (Medicago sativa) in response to sulphate salinity. Plant Soil, 202, pp 271–280. Rycroft DW & Amer MH (1995): Prospects for the Drainage of Clay Soils. FAO Irrigation and Drainage Paper 51, Rome. Skene JKM & Harford LB (1964): Soils and Land Use in the Rochester and Echuca Districts, Victoria. Tanji KJ (Editor) (1990): Agricultural Salinity Assessment and Management, Volume 71. ASCE. Wrigley RJ & van de Graaff RHM (1995): Wastewater Irrigation, Hydraulic Conductivity and Wastewater Storage. Murray Darling 1995 Workshop, Wagga Wagga, 11–13 September 1995



We have deliberately sought to avoid identifying sites or projects. We acknowledge in presenting these examples that we all learn from our own mistakes and misunderstanding. In undertaking investigations we also recognise limitations associated with trying to minimise the cost of field and laboratory work, as well as the elevated risk of using imperfect data for modelling. We can draw the following conclusions from the cases described in this paper:

The quality of the LCA reports are a function of the zeal, rigour and technical knowledge of the consultants, as well as of the regulatory agencies;


Technical Papers

CLASS A WATER RECYCLING AT BARWON WATER An overview of the delivery, challenges and key lessons learnt from two recycled water projects in Victoria A Cunningham, P Stapleton


• Two water pre-treatment plants;

Barwon Water recently commissioned two major recycling projects. The $94 million Northern Water Plant (NWP) is a 7.5 million litres per day water reclamation plant coupled with a 5 million litres per day Class A advanced recycled water plant to supply the Shell Geelong Refinery. This potable substitution frees up approximately six per cent of Geelong’s water demand. The $42 million Black Rock recycled water plant consists of identical membrane and desalination technologies to the NWP. In a first for the Geelong region, it will produce up to 7.5 million litres per day of Class A recycled water for dual pipe use at Armstrong Creek and Torquay North.

• 11 water reclamation plants;


This paper presents an overview of the background, drivers, procurement model, design features, delivery, challenges and key lessons from each project and performance during their initial operation.


Barwon Water is Victoria’s largest regional urban water corporation, providing world-class water, recycled water and sewerage services. Barwon Water provides services to more than 285,000 permanent residents and up to 510,000 residents over the summer holiday period across an area of approximately 8,100 square kilometres, stretching from Little River and the Bellarine Peninsula in the east, to Colac in the west, and from Meredith and Cressy in the north, to Apollo Bay on Victoria’s south-west coast. Barwon Water manages almost $2 billion in assets, including: • 10 major reservoirs; • Nine water treatment plants;


• 13 groundwater bores; • 212 pumping stations; • 50 local water storages; • More than 6,000 kilometres of pipes. Water is sourced mostly from catchments on the upper Barwon and Moorabool rivers, supplemented by groundwater resources deep below the Otway foothills. PROJECT OVERVIEW

In the mid-1990s, Barwon Water began developing a long-term sewerage strategy to manage future growth in Geelong. An opportunity for a joint treatment plant project was identified with the Shell Geelong Refinery (the refinery) that would provide significantly wider benefits than a conventional sewerage system upgrade. It would be known as the Northern Water Plant. Benefits included: • Removal of the refinery’s trade waste and associated hazards from Barwon Water’s sewer network (up to two million litres per day); • Relief to downstream sewer bottlenecks via treatment and temporary storage for up to 21 million litres per day of wet weather flow; • Production of 5 million litres per day of Class A recycled water for washdown and boiler feed purposes at the refinery. While the NWP would relieve sewer capacity pressures in the north of the catchment, it created another problem. The saline waste stream from the RO treatment process at the NWP is discharged to the sewer and ultimately makes its way to the Black Rock water reclamation plant, Barwon Water’s largest water reclamation plant, servicing

the greater Geelong region. The resulting increase in salt load from the NWP project called for a new treatment process at Black Rock to ensure that its significant Class C recycled water irrigation scheme was not affected by the increased salinity. The requirement for a new salt reduction treatment process, coupled with the following factors, was the catalyst for the development of a Class A recycled water plant at Black Rock: • Major housing developments in the vicinity of Black Rock, including Armstrong Creek, one of the largest growth areas in Victoria with 22,000 homes expected at ultimate development; • Declining recycled water quality from Black Rock in the form of increased salinity (separate to the impacts attributed to the NWP project) threatening the ability of Barwon Water to meet the needs of existing recycled water customers; • Predicted long-term decline in the security of water resources attributable to a growing customer base. The location of each project is presented in Figure 1. Common aspects of the project, such as the procurement model, commissioning, and health and environmental risk management are addressed together. Specific information relating to the background, scope and construction of each project has been addressed separately.

PROCUREMENT MODEL A procurement model was required for the projects that met the needs of both Barwon Water and the refinery, including: • Barwon Water input into the design for operability and quality; • Agreed project budget;


Technical Papers construction as the contractor’s sole allowance for Stage 2 delivery costs, overheads, risk and profit; • A collaborative design/pilot phase, followed by a conventional hard dollar construction stage; • A single contracting party responsible for managing both stages of the contract.

Figure 1. Locality map. • A go/no-go point based on a +/-10 per cent cost estimate; • A fixed construction cost; • Appropriate process risk transfer.

During Stage 2, and in accordance with the EPC Contract, an independent reviewer was required to review and certify monthly progress payment claims as well as undertaking regular on-site inspections to confirm quality requirements were being met.


The origin of the NWP project dates back to the mid-1990s, when Barwon Water began developing a long-term sewerage strategy to service future growth in Geelong. An opportunity for a joint project with the region’s largest potable water user, Shell Geelong Refinery, arose that would provide significantly wider benefits than a conventional sewerage system upgrade. Both parties faced significant infrastructure challenges. Under a new trade waste agreement, the refinery was obliged to build its own treatment plant to improve the quality of trade waste discharged to sewer. Barwon Water was experiencing difficulty managing

• Stage 1: Investigations, design, planning approvals, cost estimating, tendering and independent cost estimation review; • Stage 2: Construction, commissioning, Class A validation, operational handover and a 24-month defects liability period. The procurement model is shown in Figure 2. Unique aspects of the procurement model included: • A competitively tendered margin to be applied to future direct costs during

Figure 2. Procurement model.



Various models were considered, including Engineering Procurement Construction Management (EPCM), Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC) and Alliance forms. The final model was a customised ‘turn-key’ EPC contract, delivered by one contractor over two stages:

Following a competitive tender process, contractor John Holland was awarded the EPC contract in 2009. During Stage 1, detailed design was completed by multiple design teams consisting of major consulting engineering firms, subcontractors and equipment vendors. Under the EPC contract, John Holland was responsible for managing the design process and to ensure the design met Barwon Water’s project requirements. In addition to Barwon Water’s input and oversight of the design process, an independent design reviewer was utilised to provide specialist advice as required.

A critical phase of the procurement model was reached towards the end of Stage 1, with the contractor, John Holland, developing a lump sum price to construct, commission and obtain Class A validation of the project. John Holland priced the project in the form of multiple subcontractor work packages. Multiple supply packages were also priced, including the UF, RO and UV equipment. The lump sum price was subjected to a detailed review by Barwon Water and an independent estimator over a period of several months. Following this review, the construction phase lump sum price was agreed and finalised.


Technical Papers the refinery’s trade waste due to the presence of benzene and other volatile hydrocarbons. In addition, for some time Barwon Water had recognised the need for major works in northern Geelong to address a bottleneck in the trunk sewer that was leading to overflows during large rainfall events. The extended drought was also imposing significant stress on Barwon Water’s potable water reserves. Out of these challenges arose an opportunity for a joint project. Through an innovative partnership, the NWP was developed to assist Barwon Water and the refinery to meet strategic objectives of sustainable water treatment and water reuse. Trade waste from the refinery and sewage from Barwon Water’s domestic catchments is treated to generate Class A recycled water for supply to the refinery, saving approximately six per cent of Geelong’s potable water. In late 2006, the Victorian Government committed $9.2 million to the project. In 2007, the Federal Government announced it would contribute $20 million. Barwon Water and Shell contributed $17.5 million and $47.5 million respectively. The $94 million capital cost included design, pilot plant investigations, approvals, construction, commissioning and hand over. ODOUR AND NOISE SENSITIVITY


There was strong community support for the project. However, due to close proximity (300m) to residential communities, the scope required: • Prevention of odour at the boundary; • Mitigation of plant noise; • Minimal aesthetic disturbance. The EPA Works Approval process incorporated an extended community consultation period to ensure all concerns were addressed. The EPA works approval process employed Ausplume dispersion modelling to ensure the proposed design and odour treatment plant would comply with Victorian regulations, i.e. no odour at the boundary. PROJECT SCOPE

The final design included: • Two new pump stations to convey sewage to the NWP; • Several new sewage collection pipelines;


• A 7.54 million litre per day biological nutrient removal (BNR) treatment plant;

• Type 1 for refinery boiler feedwater (4.7 million litres per day @ < 50mg/L TDS);

• Waste-activated sludge thickening and dewatering plant;

• Type 2 for the refinery wash-down use (0.25 million litres per day, medium salinity);

• Covered inlet works, BNR tanks and enclosed sludge handling processes; • Odour extraction and treatment via biological trickling filter/activated carbon; • A 5.05 million litre per day advanced water treatment plant (AWTP) including UF, RO, UV and chlorine disinfection; • A 10 million-litre wet weather storage; • RO permeate storage lagoon; • New pumping systems to and from the NWP. BNR TREATMENT PLANT DESIGN

The presence of strong industrial wastewater from Shell and also from one of the Barwon Water catchments presented a number of process risks. The plant needed to achieve significant nutrient removal, including the degradation of long-chain and aromatic hydrocarbons to provide consistent quality water to the plant. Long-term protection of the membranes within the plant was paramount. The reactor was based on a modified ‘Ludzack-Ettinger’ (MLE) process, summarised below: • A fully covered two-tank system with an influent average dry weather flow (AWDF) of 7.54 million litres per day (combined sewage and Shell trade waste including five tonnes per day of concentrated spent caustic); • A 20-day sludge age with average MLSS concentration of 3,700mg/L (including chemical dosing for phosphorus removal); • 20% anoxic fraction; • Anoxic zone recycle up to four times AWDF; • Zoned aeration system with a total duty of 12,000 m3/h. The BNR plant is followed by two clarifiers sized to meet wet weather flow of 21 million litres per day. PRODUCT WATER STREAMS

The NWP produces three types of Class A recycled water, namely:

• Type 3 for irrigation supply to third parties (700 mg/L TDS). PILOT PLANT

A pilot plant was built and operated for six months to simulate the feedwater conditions, assess the concept design and inform the operational cost plan. Two types of membranes were trialled (UF and MF). The pilot successfully demonstrated concept feasibility of the key treatment technologies of biological treatment, ultra-filtration and reverse osmosis. Critically, the observed rates of membrane fouling were found to be manageable via conventional maintenance regimes. Success with the pilot addressed a number of unknowns and process risks, allowing the project to proceed. CONSTRUCTION

John Holland mobilised on site in April 2011. Civil works were mostly complete by July 2012, including key interface works with the refinery and the off-site pump stations. The majority of mechanical and electrical works were completed by December 2012, and commissioning and performance testing activities were completed in February 2013. Over 260,000 hours were worked on-site without lost-time injury or environmental incident.


The Black Rock site was selected as the location for Geelong’s sewerage outfall in 1912. The outfall was commissioned in 1916 and sewage was discharged direct to the shoreline. In the early 1960s, works to reduce the environmental impact on local beaches were completed. Following extensive investigations in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Black Rock facility was significantly expanded, with construction of a milli-screening plant and a 1.2 kilometre ocean outfall. The new facility, commissioned in 1988, produced a higher quality of effluent, which was discharged offshore. A major upgrade of the facility was completed in 1996 using natural biological treatment of the sewage.


Technical Papers

Figure 3. The Northern Water Plant (bottom centre) and Shell Geelong Refinery (rear).

A new facility adjacent to the existing reclamation plant was officially opened in January 2013. The thermal drying plant produces small biosolids pellets suitable for immediate use as fertiliser, and significantly reduces the greenhouse gas emissions previously associated with the transport and storage of biosolids. The facility was built by Plenary Group and is operated by Water Infrastructure Group as a public-private partnership, established under the Victorian Government’s Partnerships Victoria program. The latest evolution of the Black Rock facility involves the recent commissioning of an advanced recycled water plant. The

new recycled water plant will provide high-quality Class A recycled water for residential, industrial, agricultural and community uses in Armstrong Creek and Torquay North. PROJECT SCOPE

The design process culminated in the following key features of the Black Rock recycled water plant project: • A six million-litre storage tank to balance the secondary effluent decanted intermittently from the existing water reclamation plant. The storage was covered to reduce the amount of algae growth in the secondary effluent; • A feed pump station for the UF membrane system. The submersible feed pumps were located in the secondary effluent channel of the existing water reclamation plant; • A building to house the main switchboard, control room, and the UF, RO and UV equipment. Further information regarding the key process equipment is provided later in this paper;

• A chemical receiving and dosing facility. Chemicals used in the plant include sodium hypochlorite, aqueous ammonia, sodium hydroxide, sulfuric acid, antiscalant, sodium meta bisulfate, citric acid and surfactants; • Tanks for the storage of UF filtrate and RO permeate. The tanks have been designed to maximise the residual head from the UF and RO systems, thereby minimising downstream pumping requirements; • A chlorine contact tank to further disinfect the blended stream of UF filtrate and RO permeate. The target salinity of this blended stream is 500 mg/L TDS, or approximately two-thirds RO permeate and one-third UF filtrate; • An upgrade to the site’s existing high voltage electricity network, including a new switch room. With regard to planning approvals, a Works Approval was obtained from the Victorian EPA and a planning permit to remove a small amount of native grass was granted by the local council.



Effluent quality discharged to the ocean was significantly improved and high-quality water became available for recycling. Currently, the water reclamation plant has an average dry weather capacity of 70 million litres per day and peak wet weather capacity of 210 million litres per day. The current average dry weather flow is around 50 million litres per day, which is around five million litres per day less than before the commencement of the NWP project.



As the existing water reclamation plant has been online since 1996, Barwon Water had a significant amount of secondary effluent quality data available for the development of the feedwater specification to the recycled water plant. In addition to this historical data, additional sampling and testing was undertaken during the detailed design phase. Both sets of data were verified and consolidated before being added to a model that took into account the predicted increase in the Black Rock influent concentration associated with the NWP project. The modelled results formed the specification for the feedwater quality guaranteed by the UF, RO and UV equipment vendor.


In addition to the feedwater specification, a detailed study of the expected change in outfall quality was undertaken during the design phase of the project. The existing water reclamation plant has a licence from EPA Victoria to discharge secondary effluent via a 1.2 kilometre ocean outfall. A key

Figure 4. The Black Rock site.


design objective of the recycled water plant was to ensure the existing licence would continue to be met following the commissioning of the recycled water plant. A model was developed to determine the impact of the change in influent and any subsequent effluent quality associated with the NWP project as well as the waste streams generated from the recycled water plant’s UF and RO systems. The study concluded that the implementation of the recycled water plant, coupled with the expected changes resulting from the NWP project, would comply with the existing licence limits. Moreover, the changes in outfall effluent characteristics were determined to pose a low risk to the existing marine ecosystem in the vicinity of the outfall. CONSTRUCTION

John Holland mobilised on site in December 2011 and commenced earthworks in January 2012. Civil works were mostly completed by July 2012, including key interface works to connect the existing water reclamation plant to the new recycled water plant. These

interface works required an 18-hour shutdown of the existing water reclamation plant on a day of typical low inflow. The majority of mechanical and electrical works were completed in December 2012, with the high voltage upgrade energised in January 2013. Commissioning activities commenced in February 2013. Approximately 100,000 hours were worked on-site during the construction phase without any lost time injuries, medically treated injuries or environmental incidents.

COMMISSIONING The commissioning process for both projects followed four major steps: • Pre-commissioning: short-term mechanical and electrical testing, measurement and adjustment of all equipment; • Unit testing: on completion of the pre-commissioning of system components, the equipment within the system is set to operate continuously as far as practicable to confirm reliable operation;


Technical Papers • System commissioning: the process • of testing the operation of all subsystems and the integration of the overall plant process; • Performance testing: two seven-day • confirm performance tests to confi rm the requirements of the contract are achieved. Each performance test verified was assessed and verifi ed by an independent reviewer. At the NWP project, commissioning first commenced on the BNR reactor fi rst with the introduction of trade waste and sewage in August 2012. Stabilisation of the BNR process occurred relatively quickly. Following commissioning of the UF, RO and UV systems, three controlled performance tests were performed over the entire plant to assess performance against the contracted limits. Coincidentally, several catchment issues were encountered during performance testing, including toxic shock loads from an unknown source. The BNR and aeration plant recovered quickly from these events. Both projects included near identical equipment for the UF, RO and UV systems. Combined procurement achieved savings to the capital cost efficiencies and effi ciencies in commissioning, operation and training. For both projects, the commissioning process of these systems was undertaken over a period of approximately four months.

• Automatic backwash systems; • • Membrane clean-in-place systems • – both preventive maintenance cleans (occurring at daily or two-day intervals), as well as recovery cleans (occurring on a three-to-six week interval) that are employed to control membrane fouling;

filtrate UF fi ltrate supplies the RO system, which is based on a single-pass, twostage process, operating at an overall recovery of 75 per cent. Two RO trains have been installed with 2.8 million litres per day permeate capacity per train. The design for the RO system is based on an flux average fl ux of 18L/h/m2 utilising Toray TML20N-400 membranes. Each RO train is served by a dedicated high-pressure feed pump. A total of three high-pressure feed pumps has been installed, with the two duty pumps being supported by a shared standby pump. The high-pressure feed pumps are fed by low-pressure feed pumps filters. via a set of four duty cartridge fi lters. filters The cartridge fi lters have a rating of 10 microns, and provide extra protection to the RO membrane in the case of breakage filtration fibres. of UF fi ltration fi bres. The RO system is only included in the recycled water plant to reduce salinity and has not been used to achieve any Class A validation credits. The RO system includes the following components: •• Automatic dosing of antiscalant to control scaling in the RO system; •• Automatic dosing of sulfuric acid to control pH at 6.5 or below; •• Automatic dosing of sodium meta bisulfite bisulfi te to prevent accidental chlorine transfer onto the RO membranes; flushing •• Automatic fl ushing systems, to be initiated in the case of RO train shutdown; •• Membrane clean-in-place systems (manually initiated with automatic operation). The UV disinfection system, supplied by ITT-Wedeco, is designed to meet a protozoa and bacteria reduction of 2.0-log. filtrate The blended stream of UF fi ltrate and RO permeate is passed through the UV reactor that utilises low pressure, high output lamps. Two reactors have been installed to provide duty/standby redundancy. final The fi nal treatment process at the recycled water plant is the chlorine disinfection system, consisting primarily of a chlorine contact tank (one at Black Rock, two at NWP for separate product streams). The system has been designed to achieve 4-log inactivation of enteroviruses.

HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT ENVIRONMMENT RISK MANAGEMENT Due to the nature of the types of uses of Class A recycled water, careful management of the health and environmental risks was critical. Moreover it was a requirement of the relevant state regulators – the Department of Health and the EPA. In addition to the supplies to the refinery, refi nery, some examples of Class A recycled water uses approved by Barwon Water at Armstrong Creek and Torquay North include: flushing; •• Toilet fl ushing; •• Washing cars; •• Watering gardens, including vegetable gardens; •• Filling water features; fields •• Irrigating sporting fi elds and municipal areas; •• Watering plants in retail nurseries; •• Dust suppression; fighting. •• Fire fi ghting. Health RISKS risks HEALTH

Human health risks were assessed in a number of ways. A quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) was conducted before the design of each treatment system to establish the health-based performance targets necessary to meet regulatory requirements. The QMRA makes a quantitative assessment of the health risks, based on a range of intended (and unintended) exposure scenarios for Class A recycled water from each treatment system. A hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) process was used throughout the design phase to identify the potential hazard(s) associated with proposed treatment processes. The HACCP process results in the development of a management system that effectively controls the potential hazards and reduces the health risks associated with recycled water to an acceptable level. The results of the QMRA determined the log reduction values (LRV) required from both projects. These LRVs, coupled with the requirement for salt reduction, led to the selection of UF, UV and chlorination processes.


water WATER reuse REUSE

The UF system was supplied by Pall Australia. Pre-formed chloramines are dosed just before the UF Feed Strainers to provide bio-fouling control. The UF Feed Strainers protect the UF membrane system from any detritus that may damage the membranes. Feed water recovery from the strainer system is 99 per cent. The UF utilises Pall Australia’s LOA-6210 membranes, which achieve a 4-log reduction of virus, protozoa and bacteria. The UF system operates at an flux average fl ux of 32L/h/m2 and achieves an average feed water recovery of 90 per cent to produce 8.2 million litres per day and 9.6 million litres per day at the NWP and Black Rock respectively. The UF system includes the following features:

•• Automatic off-line membrane integrity monitoring in the form of pressure decay testing, and continuous filtrate monitoring in the form of fi ltrate turbidity monitoring.



Environmental risks associated with Class A recycled water use by the customer were assessed in a number of ways throughout the life of the project. During the design phase, land capability assessments were conducted in order to specify design requirements for the treatment plant to protect the receiving environment. This ensures that the recycled water produced is of a quality that reduces the environmental risk to an acceptable level. Where water is supplied to an individual customer using greater than one million litres per day – in Barwon Water’s case, the refinery – that customer is required to develop and submit an Environment Improvement Plan (EIP) to the EPA. An environmental risk assessment was also conducted for both projects to assess the environmental risks associated with treatment and transfer systems. Overall, the level of risk posed by Class A recycled water to the environment from the two treatment systems was found to be negligible.


CHALLENGES AND LEARNINGS Both projects had many challenges. With regard to the NWP, delivering a joint project between a public authority and a private party took considerable effort and time. From concept, the NWP took 10 years to complete. Extensive joint risk analysis aided the development of commercial agreements between the partners and informed the risk allocation for the delivery contract to most efficiently apportion risk. Research and market sounding for the hybrid delivery model ensured that the contract was sufficiently attractive to the market. During the planning and delivery phases of the NWP project, provision for appropriate odour and noise control was fundamental to the success of a sewer-mining project located adjacent to residential communities. As explained earlier, changes in catchment quality occurred between design investigations and commissioning at the NWP. This risk may have been mitigated through an extended pilot plant program. Despite co-ordination challenges associated with combining the procurement of key process equipment for the two projects, significant


commercial and operational efficiencies have been obtained compared to separate contracts. A key challenge associated with recycling projects that involve desalination technologies is the effect on downstream water recycling schemes where the saline waste stream is discharged to sewer. In this case, Barwon Water was presented with little choice but to install an additional RO plant at its Black Rock facility. Without this further RO plant, existing and future recycled water schemes would not be viable, owing to unacceptably high salt levels. Specific to Black Rock were the challenges associated with construction taking place on an existing operational site. Some of the key risks included unknown and unidentified services, interfaces with existing infrastructure and works occurring around operational activities. These risks were well managed, with extensive service location investigations carried out during the detailed design phase, planning workshops prior to key interface works, regular communication and planning meetings between the project team and the operational department, and a permit system for works in the vicinity of the operational assets. A major learning from the two projects was good communication practices with the regulatory agencies responsible for endorsement and approval of the supply of Class A recycled water. Both the Department of Health and the EPA were consulted early in the conception of the projects, and then regularly throughout the design, construction and commissioning phases. The outcome of this good communication was a relatively straightforward approval process, without any surprises.

CONCLUSION The unique challenges faced by Barwon Water and the refinery have been successfully met through the delivery of the NWP and Black Rock recycled water plant projects. The EPC procurement model adopted by Barwon Water has facilitated a robust design, construction price certainty, and the delivery and commissioning of two complex projects without any major problems.

The projects have provided Barwon Water a significant boost in its water recycling capabilities. The projects form a critical part of Barwon Water’s approach to integrated water cycle management, complementing traditional surface water collected in reservoirs, groundwater extraction from two major borefields, water conservation and working with local government to explore opportunities and solutions for stormwater capture, treatment and use.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT The Authors wish to acknowledge the assistance of Joe Adamski, Paul Northey, Peter Morgan, Adam Polkinghorne, David Greaves, Darshit Dalal and Emily Rahles Rahbula of Barwon Water and Peter Aberle of the Shell Geelong Refinery. Engineering, procurement and construction was managed by John Holland. The detailed design was completed by Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR) and Montgomery Watson Harza (MWH).

THE AUTHORS Adam Cunningham (email: Adam.Cunningham@ has 10 years’ experience in the water industry. Adam commenced his career in the operational group of Barwon Water in 2002 and for the past five years has worked in the major projects department as project manager for the $61 million Anglesea Borefield project and $42 million Black Rock Recycled Water Plant project. Adam has a Bachelor of Environmental Engineering Degree and a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from Deakin University, and a Masters Degree in Commercial Law from the University of Melbourne. Peter Stapleton has 15 years’ experience in water, petroleum and environment services industries. Since joining Barwon Water in 2008, Peter has acted as project manager for the Northern Water Plant Project. Peter has also assisted in the early development of the Black Rock Recycled Water Plant project and other capital projects. Peter has a Bachelor of Engineering (Environmental) from RMIT Melbourne.


Technical Papers

MANAGING EXTREME RISK TANKS IN REMOTE ABORIGINAL COMMUNITIES New methodologies for managing infrastructure past its normal operational lifespan L Wallace, E Pattison, J Carpenter

ABSTRACT In February 2012, a remote community in the Kimberley region experienced a catastrophic failure of its potable water elevated storage tank. This marked the emergence of a new paradigm in understanding, assessment and management of the risks and consequences of ageing infrastructure in remote communities. Assessment of the risks has led to new methodologies for managing infrastructure past its normal operational lifespan.

serving from source to disposal. The assets are also at varying stages of their lifecycle, with many operating long past the operational lifespan. Owing to funding limitations, asset upgrades and replacement are continuously assessed and reprioritised to mitigate risk to communities.

This paper outlines the process undertaken to manage extreme risk tanks across the program, following an unprecedented failure of an elevated tank. The failure was predominantly linked to end of operational life, which had not previously been perceived as a likely event. The paper uses a case

Furthermore, a reprioritisation of assets for replacement and forward planning for remote community infrastructure has resulted. In using the lessons learnt from the failed tank and the reprioritisation of assets, the program has determined that there are a number of tanks at extreme risk of failure that are not considered safe to operate, repair and maintain under normal everyday procedures. Management plans are in place to mitigate the risks for each of these tanks until a permanent replacement can be funded.


Asset management in the RAESP communities faces many challenges, particularly due to the remote location, which results in the essential services provided being islanded systems


Parsons Brinckerhoff manages the Remote Area Essential Services Program (RAESP) on behalf of the Western Australia (WA) Department of Housing. The program is responsible for delivering potable water, wastewater and power services to 91 of the largest remote Aboriginal communities in the Kimberley, Pilbara, Western Desert and Goldfields regions of WA. Parsons Brinckerhoff works with three Regional Service Providers (RSPs) to deliver these services. The RSPs are the teams who work on the ground in communities to repair and maintain assets.

Figure 1: RAESP regions and Aboriginal communities.



Technical Papers

Figure 3: Kimberley elevated tank failed in February 2012

Figure 2. The elevated tank pictured from outside in March 2011, appears in reasonable condition. study to demonstrate the practical approach used to safely operate and maintain extreme risk infrastructure in a resource-constrained environment.



In February 2012, a remote community in the Kimberley region experienced a catastrophic failure of its 220kL, 12m-high, elevated potable water storage tank. This incident raised a spectre of a significant risk to public health and safety throughout the program. A repeat event presents a real risk of serious injuries or, in the extreme, fatalities, as well as significant damage to community infrastructure and complete disruption of water supply. The incident marked the emergence of a new paradigm in understanding, assessment and management of the risks and consequences of ageing infrastructure in remote communities. The key focus, following the initial incident response and reconnection of water supply, was the re-assessment of risks associated with tanks across the program. This led to a re-evaluation and re-prioritisation of tanks targeted for replacement and, therefore, changes to capital replacement planning for the communities.


The re-prioritisation of the tanks was based on the key failure mechanisms determined from the initial tank incident investigation. Through this investigation, it was determined that there are a number of tanks to be considered as Extreme Risk Tanks across the program. These tanks are identified as being unsafe to operate, repair and maintain under normal everyday procedures. Management plans have, therefore, been implemented to mitigate the risks for each of these tanks until a permanent replacement can be funded. Following lessons learnt from the tank failure incident the program has worked to develop: â&#x20AC;˘ New standards for identification and assessment of risk; â&#x20AC;˘ Emergency response procedures; â&#x20AC;˘ Modified operations and maintenance arrangements for extreme risk tank assets.

THE INCIDENT In February 2012 a 220kL, 12m elevated tank at a community in the tropical north of WA ruptured, causing extensive damage to the adjacent area and infrastructure, including tank stand, fencing, vegetation and access road. No injuries occurred.

Figure 4. The failed elevated tank. The elevated tank was approximately 30 years old, based on anecdotal evidence. A detailed tank inspection had been undertaken during tank cleaning in 2010. The tank-cleaning program was carried out by divers with certification to enable a detailed inspection report to inform identification of faults, enabling future repairs and maintenance tasks. The dive company utilised for these inspections undertakes similar inspections across the country for state and territory utilities. The inspection report provided a detailed assessment both internally and externally of the tank, platform and stand. Through this inspection a number of concerns were raised; however, these items were not perceived to represent significant risk to the tank, nor result in complete tank failure. At that stage there was no precedent of complete tank failure across the state. The tank, platform and structural assessment ranked components of the tank from 1 to 5, 1 being excellent to very good and 5 being very poor or failed. In the internal inspection component only two components of the tank scored a rating of 4, meaning poor condition. The remaining 13 components all ranked 3 or better, meaning they were in fair to good condition. The two components ranked as 4 were the beams


Technical Papers

Figure 5. Example of rusted internal tank structure. and roof structure framing. Both of these components were identified as having severely rusted away. At the time the tank was not identified as being at risk of structural failure. As such, based on earlier risk assessment, other tanks throughout the program took precedence for immediate replacement, as they were considered to be of higher priority. This particular tank was identified for replacement, however, funding was not sought for the immediate financial year and replacement was earmarked for future funding.



Immediate incident investigation and determination of failure mechanisms;


Utilisation of new information to reassess the condition of all tanks in the program to identify other extreme and high-risk tanks;


Following re-prioritisation, instate immediate remedial measures and new operational procedures on all tanks assessed as being at high and extreme risk of failure;


Reprioritised tank replacement program;

Figure 6. Corrosion on the weld seam.

Recommend hazard identification process for other essential service assets based on precedence of complete infrastructure failure due to end of operational life.


A detailed incident investigation to determine the specific cause of the failure was undertaken. The findings of this identified the key failure mechanisms to dictate the immediate remedial action required at ageing elevated tanks across the program. These tanks were reprioritised as at extreme risk of failure. From the incident investigation it was determined that the roof, walls (shell), floor and welds joining were all degraded to an irreparable state. The strength of a tank is dependent upon the integrity of the materials and construction of the components above, and as all of these components were severely degraded the internal weight of the water within the tank caused the catastrophic failure. It was determined that the likely mechanisms for degradation of the components included: Roof The roof purlins were exposed to humid conditions. The design did not promote adequate ventilation to reduce the humidity. Several of the purlins were

rusted through, and had collapsed in 2011. Subsequent short-term remedial works were undertaken to secure the roof, to prevent further damage and preserve water quality. Liner and Shell The shell was exposed to coastal conditions and humid weather, resulting in external corrosion. In addition, between the internal surface of the walls and the PVC liner, water was able to enter through minor leaks in the PVC liner. The tank did not allow for leak detection or drainage and, as such, corrosion progressed without early detection. Welds The welded joint between the floor and shell was exposed to water leaking undetected from the PVC liner. Severe corrosion was evident around the circumference of the joint. The actual point of rupture, resulting in the catastrophic failure of the elevated tank, was located at the weld seam between multiple points of the wall seam and ring beam of the tank. Welded joints are considered to introduce weakness to the structure. When multiple plates are joined, the point of connection has a considerably higher stress than the rest of the welded join and, therefore, in light of the significant degradation of the tank this was a point of weakness in the tank structure.



Following re-instatement of essential services at the community the program focused on the following steps:



Technical Papers the desktop prioritisation. The site investigations confirmed the extreme-risk tanks identified; however, through these reviews a number of additional tanks were also highlighted as at extreme to high risk of failure. INSTATE IMMEDIATE REMEDIAL MEASURES ON ALL TANKS ASSESSED AS BEING AT HIGH AND EXTREME RISK OF FAILURE

Following the desktop risk assessment a list of extreme- and high-risk tanks were identified and verified by the RSPs. The tanks were required to remain online to maintain water supply to the remote communities, despite being identified as having Extreme Risk of Catastrophic Failure. To minimise risk to community and operators the following procedures were incorporated into the operation of these tanks until tank replacement can be completed. Immediate actions for elevated tanks: Figure 7. Sagging of the platform. The tank stand structure was also slightly sagging and may have contributed to the incident by increasing stress to the welded floor to wall joints. It is important to note that the age of the tank is a significant contributing factor to the above symptoms. It is estimated that the tank was over 30 years old and had surpassed its design life by approximately 10 years.



The tank failure identified gaps in the existing risk assessments because prior to this event it was not deemed that catastrophic failure would occur. In light of this the critical asset condition indicators identified through the incident investigation were utilised in conjunction with existing data to re-evaluate the risk of failure tanks across the entire program. A revised risk assessment and multi-criteria analysis to rank tanks was undertaken. A prioritised list of tanks was developed through the reevaluation of risk ratings based on the following information: • Historical tank assessment reports; • Water quality data; • Known major modifications or recent changes to the structure;



Reduce water levels to minimum operational levels – water tank level to maintain a minimum level of six hours peak supply and 50% of the tank capacity if possible;


Floats and cables to be adjusted for operation at minimum levels, ensuring work is carried out in accordance with ongoing general access for maintenance processes.

• Anecdotal evidence or outstanding problems raised for each tank. The tank assessment reports included an assessment of 42 components for each tank and structure. Of these, 22 were considered relevant for the prioritisation as they were associated with the failure mechanisms identified in the incident report. Each tank received a score for each category, however, the categories were not weighted evenly. The tank assessment reports accounted for 60% of the overall resultant risk factor, as these were the most detailed and comprehensive asset information available. Anecdotal evidence catered for 20% of the resultant risk factor and the remaining two categories 10 % each. The results of asset condition assessment of all the tanks in the 91 communities were listed in order of risk and consequences of failure, with an ultimate % risk of failure prioritising all tanks across the program. Through this process a number of tanks were found to be at extreme risk of failure, however, the tanks across the RAESP communities range from high risk to brand new. The tank prioritisation enabled a strong case to seek emergency funds for replacement of extreme risk tanks across the program. In addition, field verification of existing assets was requested from the RSPs to confirm

Immediate actions for ground tanks: 1.

Reduce water levels for operation to 50% of the tank capacity, ensuring this does not reduce the community total storage to less than two days of Annual Average Daily Demand;


Floats and cables to be adjusted for operation at minimum levels, ensuring work is carried out in accordance with ongoing general access for maintenance processes.

Ongoing general access for maintenance: 1.

Unless advised otherwise, access to the tank compound is to be limited to necessary requirements only, as determined by the RSP (i.e. water quality failure, imminent tank maintenance).


Before entering the tank compound a visual inspection is to be completed by the RSPs or visiting personnel. A specific checklist was developed that focused on the key failure mechanisms and the checklist was to be completed


Technical Papers before undertaking any work on the tank or surrounding structure. Obvious changes to infrastructure were to be assessed prior to accessing the site. The site needed to have no major changes since the last inspection prior to commencing works or inspections. 3.

For any works on the tank, water levels are required to be reduced to minimum level; this is to be done only via normal consumption or hydrant operation. Understandably, this will take a longer period than normal, however, it will significantly reduce the risk of tank collapse as floor scours increase risk of failure.

Note: Where hydrants are not available, new hydrants are to be installed at appropriate locations. 4.

The tank compound must not be entered during the emptying or re-filling process.


Water tank levels are not to be reduced further than 20% capacity.


The community must be notified in advance of any works due to water reduction required.

Ideally, access to the tanks and water compounds would have been prohibited, however, due to day-to-day operational requirements this could not occur. An example is the need to remediate a microbiological water quality failure to manage the risk to public health through poor water quality in the drinking water supply. In this instance, upon notification of a failure, the RSP is required to attend the site and disinfect the water supply system via dosing of chlorine to the tanks and flushing the distribution lines. HAZARD IDENTIFICATION PROCESS FOR OTHER ESSENTIAL SERVICE ASSETS

In light of this situation and to adequately manage these risks, Parsons Brinckerhoff has developed a program-

wide hazard identification process. This will re-evaluate the management of infrastructure from source to disposal for all components of the essential service delivery. The process will ensure that risks associated with ageing infrastructure are further assessed. The outcomes will drive future planning and prioritisation of key infrastructure replacement and maintenance.


replacement. As per the short-, medium- and long-term responses to the Kimberley incident, the priorities are: 1.

Securing water supplies for communities;


Providing a safe working environment for the RSPs;


Securing funds for the upgrade and replacement of extreme risk tanks. Due to the extensive identification


of risk around the extreme-risk tanks

The resource-constrained environment that the program operates within means that managing extreme risk tanks is more than simply prioritisation and

replacement of 10 tanks. However, given

funding has been secured for the the limited funding available for capital replacements the life of assets must be maximised wherever possible.



The catastrophic failure of the elevated tank has highlighted the risks present in the remote communities. This type of tank failure was unprecedented and identified that the continued use of assets that are beyond their operational lifespan may result in such unacceptable consequences. Prior to this event it was not perceived that maintaining assets beyond their operational lifespan posed risks beyond that of service interruption, quality of supply or injury when accessing/maintaining the asset.

Figure 8. An example of a brand new tank.


Technical Papers To ensure new assets are constructed to guarantee maximum life expectancy, the program has compiled the lessons learnt through the tank failure to update the tank specification. In addition, preventative maintenance items have been incorporated into the repairs and maintenance program to extend the life of existing assets. These include items such as: • Early identification and rectification of leaking liners; • Installation/repair of tank roof vents to minimise humidity in the tank; • Frequent tank cleaning and assessment to identify significant changes in tank condition. Risks to community health and safety are mitigated by implementing operational and maintenance changes and closely monitoring the condition of assets in the short term. Where high-risk assets are identified to have no temporary contingency available, these are identified as extreme risk and escalated for funding where possible. Through working closely with the Department of Housing and the RSPs, Parsons Brinckerhoff is able to collect the required data and implement operational changes, to identify assets for priority allocation of funds.




The implementation of a new Asset Management Framework for RAESP in 2013 will enable a fresh approach to managing risk, as the program will have a deeper understanding of their assets. This will enable improved forward planning, accuracy in design data and confidence in asset condition data. In addition, the asset management decisions will be part of the integrated framework, which will achieve the program objectives in delivering essential services to remote communities. Following the tank failure and subsequent investigations the program has an improved understanding of risk associated with tanks and maintaining assets beyond end of operational life. For tanks, this has resulted in a reprioritised list of tanks through collection of asset condition data gathered by the RSPs. The operational, maintenance and design risks have also been identified and


mitigated. For the program the incident has enabled a new approach to managing ageing infrastructure that is being implemented across other potentially high-risk assets. This has resulted in a heightened awareness of the real risk in remote communities and the need to secure recurrent capital funding for critical remote asset replacement. CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT INITIATIVES

In order to address the critical issues the program currently faces in relation to extreme and high-risk infrastructure, a number of continuous improvement initiatives are in place, including: • Use of extreme-risk tank safety checklists prior to entering water compounds; • Planning capital works and maintenance projects to manage prioritised high-risk assets across the program; • Working with the RSPs to determine innovative approaches to prevent full service interruption due to failure of assets; • Implementing improved asset condition-monitoring processes; • Higher standard of safety across the program; • Fewer breakdowns due to higher investment in preventative maintenance activities. Through implementation of these items there is a continued focus on service delivery improvement across the program.

CONCLUSION This paper demonstrates how the program has managed extreme- and high-risk assets and ageing infrastructure in a resource-constrained environment following the catastrophic failure of an elevated tank. In light of the tank failure the key focus of the program has been the re-evaluation of tanks and high-risk infrastructure. The incident has changed the perceived risk associated with managing infrastructure beyond its operational life span. From the incident investigation following the tank failure, it was determined that the roof, walls (shell), floor and welds were all degraded to an irreparable state. The strength of a tank is dependent upon the integrity of the materials and the construction of the components above and, as all of these

components were severely degraded, the internal weight of the water within the tank caused the catastrophic failure. The condition assessment of this tank did not identify it as at extreme risk of failure. Retrospectively the key mechanisms have been identified to prioritise future tanks accordingly to ensure tanks in extreme risk of failure are identified and managed until funding for replacement can be secured.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The Authors would like to thank the Western Australian Department of Housing, Kimberley Regional Service Providers, Pilbara Meta Maya and Ngaanyatjarra Services for their assistance in compiling this paper.

THE AUTHORS Louise Wallace (email: is a Mechanical Engineer with nine years’ experience in the water, rail and mining industries. Louise has managed two programs of tank replacements and a number of smallscale water treatment projects for WA’s Department of Housing. Louise is currently involved in the bigger picture, planning work assessing capacity and delivering service extensions in remote Aboriginal communities in WA. Liz Pattison (email: PattisonE@pbworld. com) is an Environmental Engineer with seven years’ experience in the water industry. Liz has experience in operational management, project management, water and wastewater planning and hydraulic modelling. Liz is currently on maternity leave but has been the Operations Manager in the Remote Area Essential Servicing Program, overseeing the day-to-day operations of essential services across 91 remote Aboriginal communities in WA. Julia Carpenter (email: is a program manager with over 19 years of strategic planning and project management experience. Julia managed the Remote Area Essential Services Program for five years on behalf of WA’s Department of Housing. She has worked across Australia leading a range of projects and programs involved in natural resource management and remote area infrastructure.


Technical Papers


INTRODUCTION The microbial quality of recreational water may be adversely affected by stormwater runoff and sewer overflows. Recent flood events in Australia have highlighted the need for a rapid detection method for determining the microbial safety of recreational waters. The intestinal enterococci group typically includes the species Enterococcus faecalis, E. faecium, E. durans and E. hirae. In addition, other Enterococcus species and some species of the genus Streptococcus (S. bovis and S. equinus) may occasionally be detected by routine testing methods; however, these Streptococcus species do not survive long in water and are unlikely to be detected. Enterococci are indicators of faecal pollution, however some enterococci found in water can occasionally originate from other habitats (AS/NZS 4276.9:2007). Faecal streptococci and enterococci have shown a clear dose–response relationship to disease outcomes equivalent to E. coli (Wade et al., 2003). The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council Guidelines for Managing Risks in Recreational Water (2008) state that recreational waters should be protected against direct contamination from faecal material of human or animal origin and recommend

detection of enterococci to assess the microbial risk to public health. The Australian/New Zealand Standard Method (AS/NZS 4276.9:2007) for the detection of enterococci in water uses Slanetz & Bartley agar for isolation and enumeration, followed by bile aesculin azide agar for confirmation, and takes approximately 48 hours to produce a confirmed result. This duration is not ideal when public health is at risk. Two alternative methods are Enterolert® and USEPA Method 1600: Enterococci in Water by Membrane Filtration using membrane-Enterococcus Indoxyl-ß-D-Glucoside Agar (mEI). Both methods produce confirmed enterococci results in 24 hours. We performed a parallel study using the USEPA Method 1600 with Australian/ New Zealand Standard method 4276.9:2007 to assess the equivalence of methods for enterococci detection and enumeration from recreational waters in Queensland, Australia.

METHOD A parallel study was carried out using the USEPA Method 1600 and AS/ NZS Method 4276.9:2007 to assess equivalence for enterococci detection and enumeration from 75 recreational water samples in Queensland, Australia. Samples included freshwater, marine and

brackish water samples (n = 60), and ocean water samples (n = 15) in the Sunshine Coast region. Known positive and negative reference cultures were used to demonstrate expected colony morphology on the chromogenic agar. Positive control cultures used were E. faecalis (NCTC 775) and Streptococcus bovis (ATCC 9809), while negative cultures used were S. aureus (ATCC 25923) and B. subtilis (ATCC 6633/NCTC 10400). Reference cultures of E. faecalis were used to seed each batch of samples analysed. An E. faecalis BioBall(TM) (bioMérieux, North Ryde, New South Wales, Australia), supplied with a certificate of analysis, consisting of 30 cfu/ball (±3sd), was added to a sterile phosphate buffer solution (100 mL) and filtered at the end of each filtration run. Six years’ worth of Z-score data from 2094 Inter-laboratory proficiency samples was provided by IFM Quality Services Pty Ltd, an A2LA accredited service provider of proficiency testing programs and reference materials (Ingleburn, New South Wales, Australia ( Numbers of enterococci detected by each method were compared in accordance with the International Standard – ISO 17994: 2004(E),

Table 1. Reference strain characteristics. Reference Culture


Morphology USEPA Method


2mm black halo

2mm blue halo

S. aureus (ATCC 25923)


No growth

No growth

B. subtilis (ATCC 6633/NCTC 10400)


No growth

No growth

Streptococcus bovis (ATCC 9809)


1mm black halo

1mm blue halo

E. faecalis (NCTC 775)

*BAAA: Bile aesculin azide agar. Blackening produced by aesculin hydrolysis.



AS/NZS Method*


Technical Papers difference in the number of indigenous enterococci detected in the recreational water samples using USEPA Method 1600 and AS/NZS Method 4276.9:2007 (p <0.001).



Enterolert® was not included in this study; that has been done previously by Adcock and Saint (2001). However, national inter-laboratory proficiency data was available and was used for assessment. Enterolert gave lower recoveries than membrane filtration methods in inter-laboratory proficiency samples, with 96.63% of results from membrane filtration samples being within the acceptable range compared to 88.42% of samples when using Enterolert. Only 13.55 % of Enterolert samples produced results within the expected range compared to 63% of samples analysed using membrane filtration. This demonstrates a need for further research into the use of Enterolert for Australian conditions (Table 2).




(a) Slanetz and Bartley agar (AS/NZS 4276.9:2007). (b) Bile aesculin azide agar (BAAA) - aesculin hydrolysis (AS/NZS 4276.9:2007). (c) Aesculin hydrolysis as viewed from back of BAAA. (d) mEI agar showing blue halos (USEPA Method 1600). Figure 1. Colony colour and morphology of intestinal enterococci on Slanetz and Bartley, Bile aesculin azide agar and membrane-Enterococcus Indoxyl-ß-DGlucoside Agar. Water Quality – Criteria for establishing equivalence between microbiological methods and Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed-ranks test.

RESULTS The mean recovery for the seed on the Slanetz and Bartley agar was 90 cfu ± 3.88 cfu, while on the mEI agar it was 93 cfu ± 9.4 cfu. Colony colour, morphology and growth characteristics of control isolates subcultured onto the Slanetz and

Bartly, BEAA agar and mEI agar plates are shown in Table 1 and Figure 1. For field samples processed in parallel, the ISO 17994: 2004 (E) two-tailed evaluation determined that USEPA Method 1600 had a higher recovery (xL >0) than AS/NZS Method 4276.9:2007 with an acceptable standard deviation of 10 % (ISO 17994: 2004). A two-tailed Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed-rank test showed that there was a significant

The USEPA method was more sensitive than the AS/NZS method for the recovery of enterococci from spiked samples and the detection of indigenous enterococci in recreational water samples. Enterococci that produce a blue halo by the USEPA method inlcude E. faecalis, E. faecium, E. avium and their variants. The disadvantage with the use of BAAA in the AS/NZS method compared to mEI in the USEPA method is that the large size of the black aesculin hydrolysis halo can overlap with other colonies, making it difficult to distinguish between colonies that do or do not hydrolyse aesculin, resulting in possible false positives. In comparison colonies with blue halos on mEI could be unambiguously detected. Individual colonies producing blue halos were easily determined on the mEI agar. The USEPA method is less labourintensive and less time-consuming than the AS/NZS reference method, as it uses only one agar and does not require a secondary confirmation step once familiarity with the sample source and matrix has been developed.

Table 2. Inter-laboratory proficiency samples. No of samples tested

Lower recovery %

Higher recovery %

Produced expected result %

Results within acceptable range %







Membrane Filtration







Test Method

IFM Quality Services Pty Ltd, Australia



Technical Papers CONCLUSION Results from this study demonstrate that the detection and enumeration of enterococci in water samples by USEPA Method 1600 is a suitable alternative to the AS/NZS 4276.9:2007 standard method for recreational water quality analysis. This method will allow for confirmed enterococci results to be reported within 24 hours of starting sample analysis. The faster turnaround and ability to quickly respond to public health safety issues should be attractive to public health authorities, water agencies and analysts.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Thanks to John and Ingrid Flemming from IFM Quality Services Pty Ltd, Australia, for providing inter-laboratory proficiency data.

REFERENCES Adcock PW & Saint CP (2001): Development of Glucosidase Agar for the Confirmation of Water-borne Enterococcus. Water Research, 35, pp 4243–4246.

US Environmental Protection Agency (2002): Method 1600: Enterococci in Water by Membrane Filtration Using MembraneEnterococcus Indoxyl-ß-D-Glucoside Agar (mEI). 2002. Office of Water (4303T), 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20460. EPA-821-R-02-022. International Standard – ISO 17994: 2004 (2004): Water Quality – Criteria for Establishing Equivalence Between Microbiological Methods. ISO Copyright Office, Case Postale 56 – CH-1211, Geneva 20, Switzerland. Australian Standard Method AS/NZS 4276.9:2007 (2007): Water Microbiology. Method 9: Enterococci – Membrane Filtration Method (ISO 7899-2:2000, MOD). Council of Standards Australia, Sydney, Australia.


Dr Tracey Wohlsen (email: tracey. is the Supervising Microbiologist at the Unitywater laboratories in Queensland, Australia. She has worked in the water analysis industry for over 20 years, including working for the Queensland Department of Health.

Australian Government. National Health and Medical Research Council (2008): Guidelines for Managing Risks in Recreational Water. Attorney General’s Department, Robert Garran Offices, National Circuit, Canberra, ACT, 2600.

Her priorities have been to protect public health safety by ensuring laboratory testing methods are capable of determining water quality to meet the appropriate guidelines for drinking, recreational and environmental waters in the most efficient manner.

Wade TJ, Pai N, Eisenberg JNS & Colford JM Jr (2003): Do US Environmental Protection Agency Water Quality Guidelines for Recreational Waters Prevent Gastrointestinal Illness? A Systematic Review and Metaanalysis. Environmental Health Perspectives, 111, 8, pp 1102–1109.

Tracey is a member of the Australian Society for Microbiology, a member of the Australian Standards FT-20 committee, and is a NATA Technical Assessor for Water Microbiology and Cryptosporidium and Giardia testing.



Water Business


the specific business strategies, Sulzer is geared for profitable growth.

Sulzer is adapting its organisational structure to support its key markets strategy. Sulzer Turbo Services will be combined with the service activities for pumps into a new Services Division. This will create a leading provider of services for rotating equipment. New pumps and related systems, including spares, will form the Pumps Equipment Division, with three regional business units offering engineered pumps for the oil and gas and the power markets. A new Water Business unit will combine all products and services for the water and wastewater market segments (as part of the Pumps Equipment Division).

Sulzer CEO Klaus Stahlmann said, “The new operational structure with a Services Division and a Water Business unit is a next important step in the implementation of our strategic decision to focus the company’s activities in three attractive key markets – oil and gas, power, and water. Integrating all services for rotating equipment into one division will help us to increase sales and improve profitability. The integrated Water Business unit will strengthen our position for profitable growth in the large and attractive water market. Together with the Pumps Equipment Division and Chemtech, Sulzer will be a leading supplier of both equipment and services for our three key markets.”

The streamlining and integration of central group functions is making good progress. With the strategy focused on serving three key markets, covering both equipment and services, leveraging assets and capabilities across the businesses and

The new Services Division of Sulzer will combine the services for turbines, compressors, motors, and generators currently provided by Sulzer Turbo Services with the services for pumps, currently provided by Sulzer Pumps. As a leading

provider for services for rotating equipment with sales of approximately CHF 800 million (pro forma 2012), the Services Division will be present with around 100 service locations around the globe. Its key drivers for profitable growth in the future are: • Leveraging its combined geographical footprint by expanding local service portfolios where local market potential exists; • Gaining synergies through a combined sales force that offers the full range of services for rotating equipment; • Leveraging the combined customer base, and actively identifying service needs of current customers for other rotating equipment; • Providing bundled service offerings in the form of overhaul and repair services for combinations of rotating equipment (e.g., motors and pumps); • Offering long-term service agreements for combinations of rotating equipment; • Improving capacity utilisation with growth and making use of operational synergies. The new Water Business unit integrates the wastewater pumps business, the engineered pumps for water transport and production, and the process pumps business for the general industry. The new unit with sales of approximately CHF 700 million (pro forma 2012) is globally active with around 100 sales and service locations worldwide. With an addressable water market for its products and services of estimated CHF 18 billion, the new business unit has strong opportunities for profitable growth. In order to leverage this potential, a clear business strategy has been defined and will now be put into place over the next two years:

Key safety and installation instruction on demand

water december 2013


water Business • Strengthening the market focus with a clear approach by market segment, prioritising the most important market segments. This includes leveraging cross-selling opportunities, e.g., to actively market clean water pumps to existing municipal wastewater customers, or wastewater products to industrial customers. • Increased cross-selling of the strong combined product offering into other segments of the water market, and further strengthening the product offer with, for example, energy-saving pumps and compressors. • Improving the cost base by leveraging the global manufacturing network and combined purchasing power as well as improving the efficiency and effectiveness of sales processes. The engineered pumps and systems for oil and gas and for power will form the realigned Pumps Equipment Division, which also includes the Water Business unit. The portfolio ranges from highly engineered bespoke products to standard products and spare parts. A dedicated focus on the equipment business, continued technology leadership, strong customer relations, and the global manufacturing network are key success factors. Customer benefits are reliability in demanding applications, reduced energy consumption through high efficiency, and a global footprint supporting efficient manufacturing. Major growth opportunities have been identified in the oil and gas market in areas like floating production, storage, and offloading units (FPSOs); oil pipelines; and growing hydrocarbon processing markets, for example in Russia.

With a distinctive, strong product portfolio based on static separation and mixing technologies, the Chemtech division is well positioned in attractive markets worldwide. Further profitable growth will build on an innovation pipeline with strong growth potential, a global footprint to benefit from local market demand and to improve the cost base, and the successful integration of acquisitions. The new organisational structure will be implemented as of January 2014. For more information please go to

ITS: NEW NAME, SAME VALUES & SERVICE The directors and management of ITS are pleased to formally announce a change to the ITS Trenchless brand. Effective immediately, our company name will change from ITS Trenchless Pty Ltd to ITS PipeTech Pty Ltd. ITS has evolved to offer its clients much more than just trenchless technology, as the existing name describes. We are now involved in the day-to-day delivery of traditional excavation projects, large-scale term maintenance contracts, not to mention exploring some new technologies soon to be released, which fall outside the traditional trenchless industry. In acknowledgement of ITS’ expanding technical portfolio, ITS Trenchless will now be renamed as ITS PipeTech Pty Ltd to better reflect our broad range of capabilities. Please note that except for the change in name, the existing shareholders, senior management and corporate details including ABN, ACN and banking details remain unchanged.

PENTAIR HELPS SECURE WATER SUPPLIES FOR REMOTE NORTHERN TERRITORY COMMUNITIES Reliable water supply is a key infrastructure challenge for communities in the arid and subtropical areas of Australia’s Northern Territory. The Government’s 2030 Plan identifies key indigenous growth towns throughout the Northern Territory to upgrade facilities such as schools, health centres, stores, and so on, which with proposed developments all contribute to an increase in water demand. Nick Day, Water Infrastructure Project Manager at Pentair’s Darwin office, explained that these projects provide a reliable, continuous potable water supply. “Pentair is providing essential water infrastructure and it’s really satisfying to see how this makes a difference for the people in these communities. It’s also a great example of what we can achieve leveraging the strength of Pentair’s total product and service offering with Pentair Southern Cross Squatter tanks, and Pentair Water Solutions pipe, fittings and valves. “We’re currently delivering significant water supply infrastructure on Milingimbi Island, 440 kilometres east of Darwin. We’ve built a three-kilometre 250mm PVC rising main from an expanded borefield to supply three Southern Cross Stainless Steel

ITS management and staff look forward to continuing the strong relationship with our valued clients during this phase of the company’s evolution. For more information please go to

december 2013 water


water Business Squatter tanks with a collective capacity of 1.2 million litres. One tank is being installed on a 15-metre-high stand designed by Southern Cross to provide water pressure for household connections.” Other projects delivered by Pentair as part of the 2030 Plan include Nguiu (Bathurst Island), with a 1.8ML Southern Cross Squatter tank and 2.5km of DN375 rising main. The unique modular design of the Southern Cross Squatter Tank enables the tank to be easily transported and assembled in these remote locations. Pentair’s new Darwin office is also supplying 15kms of SINTAKOTE® steel pipe and fittings for the Jenkins Road and Howard Springs water mains in Darwin, as well as Vanessa triple offset valves and over 500 Biffi actuators the Ichthys liquefied natural gas processing facility. You can view a short movie showing installation of one of the Southern Cross Stainless Steel Squatter tanks on Milingimbi Island on Water Infrastructure Group’s YouTube channel: watch?v=JlUO3HpyCGY

HOW EFFICIENT CAN WATER MANAGEMENT BECOME IN THE FUTURE? There is no doubt that efficient water management is becoming a significant priority for water utilities and governments across the globe. This is evident in the finding that 93 per cent of utilities are increasing investment in their water infrastructure to meet supply challenges, according to research from the Economist Intelligence Unit and Oracle. Great news considering the same study also found that almost 40 per cent of water utilities believe demand for water will outstrip supply by 2030. Smart water meters can play a critical role in addressing demand for water, which is being driven by growing populations, developing economies, changing climate patterns, and rapid urbanisation. The device has the ability to identify and resolve inefficiencies in water use through enabling utilities to analyse water flows in near-real time, which can help conserve supplies by providing customers with the right tools to monitor usage and detect leaks. For example, consumers who see evidence of excess consumption by comparing area averages will be more motivated to seek advice for conservation techniques. Furthermore, smart meters allow water utilities to analyse and correlate data from various sources, including acoustic, and pressure, which in turn provides the ability to identify pattern changes in water usage and minimal flows.

HYDROVAR, the modern variable speed pump drive is taking pumping to a new level of flexibility and efficiency.

Call us to discuss your applications: Melbourne 03 9793 9999 Sydney 02 9671 3666 Brisbane 07 3200 6488 Email: Web: DELIVERING PUMPING SOLUTIONS

water december 2013

A great example of the profound impact smart water meters can have on water management can be taken from Veolia’s m2o city project, which was launched in 2011. The initiative specialises in remote environmental data and water meter reading services, and enables the gathering and management of

data related to water usage. The program means companies and real estate managers can keep a check on year-round usage across a number of properties in real-time, and ensures customers are invoiced for exact water usage. Additionally, customers are automatically notified of any abnormal consumption. However, unlike smart meters for energy, smart water meters are not yet mandatory, and while it’s encouraging to see utilities investing in the devices, they cannot satisfy demand for water on their own. There are other considerations that should be taken on board, such as investing in geographic information and supervisory control and data acquisition technologies, and network, asset and pressure management tools. Such technologies help in maintaining and operating the various components of the water network, and are equally important in ensuring the compliance, availability and performance of all the infrastructure’s assets. We all probably would agree that smart water meters are crucial to the future of water management, but water utilities must remember that the device is just one component of an effective system. By building a comprehensive network featuring smart water meters, with supporting technologies, water utilities can be better equipped to combat the growing demand for water and feel more confident that a future where water is readily available for all is possible. Oracle Utilities delivers software applications that help utilities of all types and sizes achieve competitive advantage, business performance excellence and a lower total cost of technology ownership. The business is working with utilities to help prepare them for the smart metering and smart grid initiatives that enhance efficiency and provide critical intelligence metrics that can help drive more informed energy and water usage decisions for consumers and businesses. A key factor in this preparation is Oracle Utilities’ industry-specific technology, which is designed for utilities looking to


Water Business enhance business processes, adapt more nimbly to market deregulation, meet everevolving customer demands and deliver on environmental conservation commitments. The technology, which includes customer care and billing, network management, work and asset management, mobile workforce management and meter data management applications, integrates with Oracle’s industryleading enterprise applications, business intelligence tools, middleware, database technologies, as well as servers and storage. For more information please go to

SENSOR DRIVE SATELLITE LEVEL TRACKING The Bintech Sensor Drive Satellite unit provides a versatile, self-contained, reliable solution for remote tank level measurement. The Sensor Drive Satellite range offers many solutions for remote measurement and monitoring. The SDS 6100 range is based on high-end, highly reliable and accurate sensors coupled with a satellite communication module. To reduce even further reliance on local infrastructure, a solar-powered version is available in addition to 24VDC and 240VAC.

Satellite Communication Module To transfer level measurement or switching alarms from remote location, our SDS range comes with a satellite transceiver, used to log data and reports via satellite and providing a reliable solution for long distance links in remote locations. For shorter links, please refer to our radio product, SDR 6010/6020. The satellite host allows the user to retrieve data using a web browser. The satellite unit also provides at any time the GPS coordinates of the current location of the sensor. This functionality is a key asset for management of a fleet of tanks, e.g. mobile tanks used for fuel delivery.

switching points with different switching actions to choose from. As an alternative, we offer the well-proven, state-of-the-art ultrasonic level transmitters from Pulsar. These level transmitters provide the full range of functions used in continuous level measurement, i.e. volume calculation, history, datalogging, alarms, etc. The satellite communication module establishes a permanent communication link with the level transmitter and provides almost real time level measurement, level alarms and instant access to measurement history.

Power Various options are available for powering our remote Sensor Drives: 24VDC, 240VAC and a solar power supply. The solar power supply option provides a reliable solution for remote sites with no or unreliable power supply. The internal battery allows for up to three days of use with minimal solar charge.


Level Sensor The Sensor Drive Satellite can be fitted with the classic, simple and highly reliable Magnetic Float Switch. This sensor is a contact level switch, offering up to four

For more information please go to www. or phone 1300 363 163.

Water suppliers across Australia have partnered to develop the National Business Water Efficiency Benchmark (NBweb) website tool. This tool was initiated by Australian water suppliers who collectively gathered water use data by working with their business customers on water efficiency programs. The tool will enable different business sectors to access consistent and

All the right connections for the water industry. Whether it’s for drinking, irrigation or industry, Australia’s climate and reliance on water has produced some of the world’s most innovative suppliers of water products and services. Now there’s an online tool that brings all these suppliers together in one central location. ICN’s Water Directory is a pivotal connection point for project and procurement managers looking for the best water industry suppliers in our region. This comprehensive directory has a powerful search function that allows you to find suppliers with capabilities that exactly match your needs. Combine this with the experience and knowledge of ICN’s consultants and you can be sure you’ll never miss an opportunity to find the perfect partner. Start exploring Australia’s ICN Water Directory today at

december 2013 water


water Business reliable water use benchmarks. Access to the website is free and any business or organisation can calculate their own benchmark and compare their water use to that of similar businesses. Data gathered from thousands of water uses has created benchmarks for a range of sectors including hospitals, swimming pools, hotels, caravan parks, schools, shopping centres, dairy farming and various manufacturing activities. Lorraine Nelson, Manager Sustainable Water Use, South East Water and Project Manager for NBweb, says the website will help businesses understand their water use by enabling them to compare their water use with other similar businesses. Lorraine adds that water suppliers from around Australia have made this project possible by providing financial support, staff time and data. Development of the website was led by South East Water with assistance from City West Water and SA Water. Funding was provided by the project partners and the Smart Water Fund. Other partners include: The Australian Water Association (AWA); Barwon Water (Victoria); Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) (Victoria); Hunter Water (New South Wales); Power and Water Corporation (Northern Territory); Sydney Water (New South Wales); Water Corporation (Western Australia); Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA); Western Water (Victoria); and Yarra Valley Water (Victoria). Benefits of benchmarking Business Benefits • Benchmarks enable businesses to compare their water use with other like businesses; • Businesses can use the NBweb website to calculate their own business benchmark; • Benchmarking enables businesses to better understand their own water use; • Engage with established best practice water use guidelines for business sectors.

FIGHT AGAINST FIRE Fire is terrifying in its speed and ferocity and ‘firies’ need every weapon they can get. Aussie Pumps’ new “Water Wall” adds a new dimension to fire-fighting and personal protection. The Aussie Water Wall creates a 300m2, 12–15m high wall of water jets from just one hose. The effect of such a concentrated impact can be used to stop fire in its tracks or isolate a dangerous situation. “The applications for this new technology are endless,” said Aussie Product Manager, Brad Farrugia. “We’ve seen it used in applications from creating firebreaks to chemical control.” The Aussie Smart Hose is designed to be used in containment situations. It can prevent fires spreading by creating a firebreak, and can protect adjacent sensitive environments from heat damage. It can also be used in an isolating capacity in applications like fuel and hazmat refilling work or decontamination. The necessity of keeping personnel out of harm’s way in these situations is critical. “One Water Wall can deliver a water safety barrier into a high-risk situation,” explained Farrugia, “This not only protects operators but allows human resources to be deployed more efficiently,” he claimed. Water Wall can also be used to deliver extinguishing and wetting agents, disinfectant and other chemicals. Jetting vapours and liquids can assist in the absorption of hazardous heavy gases. Chemicals can be introduced to the watermist to neutralise a dangerous environment. The Water Wall consists of 20m of 75mm Duraflex hose with 25 high-grade steel, interchangeable, nozzles. The weight is 16kg and it is flexible enough for rough terrain,

Aussie Pumps’ “Water Wall” isolates a dangerous fire or chemical spill without jeopardising personnel. including steps and rugged bushland. Sections can be locked together for extended coverage. Counter pressure generated by the nozzles prevents twisting so the hose is self-stabilising. The water can be jetted horizontally or vertically and jets can be sealed off using dummy plugs. Water capacity is up to 1550 lpm depending on the pressure available and the nozzles used. Storz couplings are optional. “Water Wall has had a lot of attention from fire-fighters already,” said Farrugia, “and we expect the mining and oil and gas sector, chemical and other industries to be interested.” Water Wall is ideally suited for use with high pressure/high flow pumps such as Aussie Fire Chief or Mr T fire-fighters. The Fire Chief has a maximum flow of 450 lpm and head of up to 75m (107psi). Aussie Mr T has maximum flow of 450 lpm and max head of 90m (128psi). The Aussie Smart Hose is part of Australian Pump Industries’ fire-fighting and safety range. For more information on these and other Aussie products please call 02 8865 3350 or visit

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Water Supplier Benefits • An agreed benchmark framework across a range of business sectors; • Knowledge to assist business customers improve their water efficiency; • Having a tool to assist water resource planning; • Saving costs through resource sharing between partner organisations. Project Manager Lorraine Nelson encourages all water suppliers to participate. See for more information.

water december 2013

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M ade in ia l s u A tra

Water Journal December 2013  
Water Journal December 2013  

Our cover story this issue looks at how climate change will impact on the water industry, plus you’ll find a range of articles and technical...