Water Journal February 2015

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Page 39


Conference Report Day Two Our keynote speaker on Day Two was Captain Timothy Rowe of the Australian Army. Captain Rowe spoke of his time leading combat engineering regiments in combat situations and in humanitarian and disaster relief operations within Australia and overseas. He spoke of the important role that military engineers play in the establishment of battlegrounds, and in particular the provision of safe drinking water to the troops on the ground.

Keynote speaker, Captain Timothy Rowe.

Captain Rowe spoke of the unique challenges faced by his teams in accessing and purifying water, particularly in natural disaster zones or in areas of conflict, where traditional water supplies were unavailable or polluted. The presentation certainly put some of our urban water challenges into perspective and allowed me to reflect on the fantastic quality of water and wastewater services in this country. We really are truly fortunate to live in Australia. The high standard of presentations continued on Day Two covering topics such as membrane filtration, instrumentation and control techniques, energy efficiency and drinking water supply management. At the conclusion of the day, the Operators Challenge had a flurry of last-minute entrants who had obviously put some thought into efficient strategies in the assembly of the pipework. Times smashed through the two-minute barrier and several teams recorded sub 1:50 times. In the end, Cheryl Marvell and Murray Thompson were declared the winners with a time of 1:42. Their strategy, communications and teamwork were clearly more effective than the other entrants’, making them the inaugural winners of this challenge. The standard of the presentations at the conference was outstanding, so the organising committee decided to award prizes to three winners:

From left: Tony O’Neill (CH2M Hill), Iain Fairbairn (Sydney Water), Sally Rewell (Sydney Water), Cheryl Marvell (Sydney Water), Murray Thompson (MTWS) and Richard Scott (SA Water). • Best Paper/Presentation – Jon Theobald, South East Water, Victoria. • Runner-up – Jennifer Dreyfus, Allwater, South Australia. • Highly Commended – Scott McPhee, Water Corporation, Western Australia. CH2M Hill, who have been an enduring supporter of the Operations Network and our conferences, generously sponsored the awards.

Technical Tours The conference wrapped up with some highly educational technical tours. One group took the opportunity to visit the Northern Wastewater Treatment Plant, providing an overview of wastewater and recycled water treatment and some of the particular challenges operators face in the tropical regions of Australia. A second group visited Mossman Gorge; they were escorted by local indigenous people who spoke about their unique connection to the land and the rainforest, and the importance that water plays in the rainforests and coastal areas of Far North Queensland.

Acknowledgements We would like to thank our sponsors: IBM, Aurecon, CH2M Hill and Konnect. We could not hold an event such as this without your support and it was gratefully received – we hope we will see you return again next time. AWA’s Operations Specialist Network Committee is made up of people who volunteer their time and effort to ensure the area of operations is profiled on the national water industry stage. The committee is comprised of Richard Scott (Co-Chair, SA Water), Cheryl Marvell (Founder, Sydney Water), Tony O’Neill (CH2M Hill), Matthew Bowman (Water Corporation), Sally Rewell (Sydney Water), Steven Little (Water Corporation) and Peter Vogelaar (Spirac). The success of the conference is due to the hard work of the committee members and the staff at AWA. In particular, I would like to thank current and former AWA staff Amy English, Kirsty Blades, Michael Seller, Laura Evanson and Kym Wuyts for organising this event and helping the committee over the last two years. I would also like to thank Murray Thompson for his support and wisdom.

Operators Challenge Winners, Cheryl Marvell and Murray Thompson.

It’s now time to begin preparations for the 2016 conference. We have had a fantastic run of conferences in Sydney (2010), Darwin (2012) and now in Cairns. Make sure you keep an eye out for the next one in 2016!

FEBRUARY 2015 water