Water Journal June 2013

Page 1


Volume 40 No 4 JUNE 2013

JouRNal of the austRaliaN WateR associatioN

RRP $16.95

Conference & Exhibition Round-Up – see our Special Report, page 39

PLUS > Odour Management > Small Water & Wastewater Systems > Integrated Planning > Water Resources Planning & Management

A new teAm tHAt wILL deLIver tHe worLd’s best ductILe Iron pIpeLIne system

Pentair Water Solutions has formed an alliance with Saint-Gobain PAM to provide ductile iron pipeline systems with shorter lead times, new products and cutting edge technical expertise for the water industry throughout Australasia. This new alliance will provide over 200 years of experience in cast iron pipe manufacture, supply, construction, operation and maintenance. The trusted brands TYTONXCEL and TYTONXTREME will continue, still featuring the unrivalled TYTON® rubber ring joint. Pentair’s commitment to exceeding customer expectations in delivery are now matched with PAM’s dedication to quality through product excellence. PENTAIR.COM/WATERSOLUTIONS



Contents regular features From the AWA President

A Time Of Growth And Possibilities Graham Dooley


From the AWA Chief Executive


Building A Better Future For Our Industry Jonathan McKeown


water journal MANAGING EDITOR – Anne Lawton Tel: 02 9467 8434 Email: alawton@awa.asn.au TECHNICAL EDITOR – Chris Davis Email: cdavis@awa.asn.au

My Point of View

The Power Of Collaboration Anne Barker



8 14

Industry News AWA Young Water Professionals Reaping The Rewards From Ozwater Jo Greene


AWA News


Water Business

New Products and Services


Advertisers Index


CREATIVE DIRECTOR – Mike Wallace Email: mwallace@awa.asn.au ADVERTISING SALES MANAGER – Kirsti Couper Tel: 02 9467 8408 (Mob) 0417 441 821 Email: kcouper@awa.asn.au NATIONAL MANAGER – PUBLISHING – Wayne Castle Email: wcastle@awa.asn.au CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER – Tom Mollenkopf EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT – Despina Hasapis Email: dhasapis@awa.asn.au EDITORIAL BOARD Frank R Bishop (Chair); Dr Bruce Anderson, AECOM; Dr Terry Anderson, Consultant SEWL; Dr Andrew Bath, Water Corporation; Michael Chapman, GHD; Wilf Finn, Norton Rose Australia; 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 journal@awa.asn.au for a copy of our 2013 Editorial Calendar.

Study tour participants at Hattah Lakes, Mildura.


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: cdavis@awa.asn.au AND journal@awa.asn.au

feature articles A Talking Journey

The Murray–Darling Dialogues On Development Study Tour Leila Macadam


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: journal@awa.asn.au


• General Feature Articles, Industry News, Opinion Pieces & Media Releases: Anne Lawton, Managing Editor, email: journal@awa.asn.au

volume 40 no 4

MSABI Water Point Special

A Summary Of The MSABI Water Point Program Dale Young

Skills Transformation For Operational Staff For Modernised Gravity Delivery Systems Geoffrey Enever


special report

• Water Business & Product News: Kirsti Couper, Advertising Sales Manager, email: kcouper@awa.asn.au

Ozwater’13 Conference & Exhibition Report: Part 1 A round-up of the proceedings of our premier water event Chris Davis


Membranes & Desalination Workshop


Water Quality Monitoring & Analysis Workshop


AWA 2013 National Awards


technical papers



Volume 40 No 4 JUNE 2013

JouRNal of the austRaliaN WateR associatioN

RRP $16.95

Conference & Exhibition Round-Up – see our Special Report, page 39

PLUS > Odour Management > Small Water & Wastewater Systems > Integrated Planning > Water Resources Planning & Management

Cover The Ozwater’13 Conference & Exhibition, which took place at the world-class Perth Convention Centre in May, was a tremendous success. Please turn to page 39 for Part 1 of our comprehensive report written by Technical Editor Chris Davis, followed by Workshop Reports and Announcements of our 2013 Award Winners.

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: journal@awa.asn.au

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: journal@awa.asn.au, Web: www.awa.asn.au COPYRIGHT Water Journal is subject to copyright and may not be reproduced in any format without the written permission of AWA. Email: journal@awa.asn.au DISCLAIMER Australian Water Association assumes no responsibility for opinions or statements of fact expressed by contributors or advertisers.

JUNE 2013 water

Introducing a new way of creating more sustainable infrastructure. What is IS? IS (Infrastructure Sustainability) is Australia’s only comprehensive rating system for evaluating sustainability across the design, construction and operation of infrastructure. IS has been developed and is administered by the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA). IS aims to: • help in scoping whole-of-life sustainability risks for projects and assets, enabling smarter solutions that reduce risks and costs • foster resource efficiency and waste reduction, reducing costs • foster innovation and continuous improvement in the sustainability outcomes from infrastructure • build an organisation’s credentials and reputation in its approach to sustainability in infrastructure Tenix has been awarded the first design rating for two wastewater treatment plants it is building in North Queensland. To find out more, go to www.isca.org.au

First in Australia to receive an Infrastructure Sustainability rating. “I am proud to be part of a company that is building sustainability into its infrastructure projects and helping to protect the Great Barrier Reef”. Simon Mackenzie, Senior Project Manager

Tenix has been awarded Australia’s first IS (Infrastructure Sustainability) rating for its design of two wastewater treatment plants. The IS scheme is Australia’s only comprehensive scheme for evaluating the sustainability of the design, construction and operation of infrastructure. Simon is overseeing the upgrade of the wastewater treatment plants for the Whitsunday Regional Council in North Queensland. To find out how go to www.tenix.com/whitsunday

Whitsunday Wastewater Treatment Plants Upgrades Tenix has been awarded a contract by Whitsunday Regional Council to design and construct two wastewater treatment plants, at Cannonvale and Proserpine, in North Queensland. Tenix was awarded the contract for the ability to provide end-to-end design, construct and operations of the two plants. Following construction, Tenix will operate and maintain the upgraded plants under a long-term contract with the Council.

Tenix is a leading delivery partner to owners of gas, electricity, water, wastewater, heavy industrial and mining assets across Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific. We design, construct, operate, maintain and manage assets and systems to deliver optimal results for owners and their customers.

www.tenix.com NSW +61 2 9963 9600 VIC +61 3 8517 9000 QLD +61 7 3804 9800 WA +61 8 6595 8000 SA +61 8 8345 8900 NZ +64 9 622 8600


From the President


I am honoured to have taken over from Lucia Cade as President of AWA, effective from the close of Ozwater’13 in May. Every two years, AWA has a change of President, a number of Directors retire by rotation and a number of new Directors join the Board. This ensures that there is a constant rejuvenation of our leadership and that our Board reflects the changing water industry in which we work. Lucia has contributed substantially to AWA and the industry, and as our first female President has both led and served our Association with great distinction. I am pleased that Lucia will continue on the Board for one more year as Past President. Our three retiring Directors, Paul Freeman, Mark Bartley and Peter Burgess, have served with enthusiasm, skill, commitment and wise judgement, and we thank them unreservedly for their contributions. Meanwhile I am delighted to welcome four new Directors: Carmel Krogh, Mark Sullivan, Mal Shepherd and John Graham. All were elected last November and took office at close of OzWater‘13. Their insights at our Board table will be refreshing and most welcome. AWA also said a warm goodbye at the end of May to our CEO, Tom Mollenkopf, who served with eminence for over six years. Over this period, in addition to managing all of the organisation’s programs and activities, Tom lifted AWA’s profile in the eyes of Government, the media and the general public, and in-sourced the delivery of Ozwater and the production of Water Journal. Tom and the AWA team have delivered all these initiatives with commitment and skill. Thank you Tom, for your friendship and sustained hard work over your period as CEO.

water JUNE 2013

Our new CEO, Jonathan McKeown, joins us at a time when we face the challenges of a changing Association and a changing industry. Jonathan has big shoes to fill, but is well practiced in both industry associations and business. Once again our annual Ozwater Conference & Exhibition was a resounding success. I love the warm greetings that are exchanged there; they are testimony to the depth of collegiality and friendship that characterises the water industry. Our YWPs in particular have an infectious enthusiasm that I enjoy immensely. While Ozwater is an obvious highlight in our calendar, AWA continues to seek new ways to support the industry and its people. For individual members, the Board is considering a certification scheme for water industry professionals and practitioners. Our intention is to recognise competence in the sector, encourage professional development and add value to AWA membership. For corporate members, we aim to package up our whole of industry know-how under the waterAUSTRALIA banner as a product for valuable export. Other countries do it successfully and so should we! For our research and technology members, I am aware of how difficult it is to source funding for this underpinning and essential work. I look forward to sharing some ideas with the Board based on my observations from other industries. Meanwhile we have a new CEO to get settled in and a refreshed Board to work with. It will be a busy time as we get back to work after OzWater’13. See you in Brisbane for OzWater’14. Please put it in your diaries now – it will be a beauty I am told!


From the CEO


Since joining AWA at the end of May I have already discerned the high regard that members have for the organisation, and the commitment and dedication of AWA staff. President Graham Dooley, Immediate Past President Lucia Cade, and my predecessor Tom Mollenkopf, have all been generous with their time to ensure a smooth transition and a warm welcome. AWA offers plenty of value – from the highly professional Ozwater Conference & Exhibition and other key events, through professional development and skills training, industry development programs, and technical and policy analysis, all supported by a large number of enthusiastic and committed volunteers within our Specialist Networks and State Branches. I look forward to working with the Board to develop AWA in its next phase of growth. My own background has been in business and associations, first as an international trade lawyer, then in commercial roles in manufacturing, international project management, the farming sector and international management consulting. While not a water specialist I have experience in preparing water master plans and water projects delivered across Asia and the Middle East, funded by the Australian Government, Asian Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank and the World Bank, in areas such as agriculture, urban water resources management, saline water usage and environmental protection. For the past six years I have been based in Asia delivering productivity improvement programs and investment and Asian market entry strategies for corporate clients from Asia, Europe and Australia. These markets are expanding rapidly and their appetite for improved infrastructure, technology, management knowhow and products should not

be underestimated. The water industries across these markets have been recognised as a key determinant for future prosperity. With increasing urban migration, industrial expansion and intensive agriculture there is a huge demand for international cooperation in developing the region’s water sectors. I am keen to see how AWA can help our members benefit from this massive Asian development. Meanwhile, in my capacity as CEO my focus will remain on how we can provide services with tangible commercial and personal benefits to our members. Water is a major global issue and Australia faces its own challenges and opportunities in this regard. How our industry meets them will be determined by how effectively the sector unites to represent and promote its own interests. I look forward to ensuring AWA remains the platform of choice for the Australian water sector to achieve the best outcomes. The challenge for AWA itself, of course, is to constantly improve how we operate as a modern industry association and how we add value for our members. To be a truly relevant association today we need to ensure that: • We present a well-researched stance on national and state policy issues affecting the water industry; • We offer our members the most pertinent and commercially beneficial services; • We expand interaction both with and between our members to ensure that AWA remains a vital link for all those in the water industry. As I meet you, our members, I look forward to hearing your views on AWA and discovering how together we can build a stronger future.

JUNE 2013 water


My Point of View

THE POWER OF COLLABORATION Anne Barker, Managing Director, City West Water Anne Barker was appointed as City West Water’s Managing Director in November 2002. She practised law before gaining broad management experience with Myer Stores and the ANZ Banking Group. Prior to joining City West Water, Ms Barker was the Executive Manager of the Commercial and Revenue divisions at SPI Powernet, where she gained extensive experience working in a regulated utility environment. She is currently Chair of Whitelion and Open Family Australia, and Smart Water Fund, a Director of Water Services Association of Australia and member of the Board of LeadWest. Most of us are spending a lot of time thinking about water prices, whether as consumers or, like me, as a retailer who has to convince their customers that a hefty price increase is not a bad thing. So these thoughts then lead to what levers we can pull to keep price increases to a minimum or even reduce future prices. My background is a varied one, and my current role is my first in the water industry. I have worked in many different industries, none which rate close to the water industry for sheer intellectual complexity (this is a good thing, and is why I am still here 10 years later). I have also never worked in an industry which collaborates as effectively as the Australian water industry. We collaborate on knowledge and on our experiences, good and bad. We share critical parts, and regularly second staff to learn from each other. By leveraging our ability to collaborate into higher order elements of our business, we could see significant real cost savings which over time could accumulate into real price decreases.

water JUNE 2013

Innovation in Technology One area of potential is IT systems. Growth of our customer base and the opportunities for better decision-making offered by new technologies have impelled many of us to reassess our systems. To date there has been very little sharing of IT systems in the water industry, but that is starting to change. There are a number of examples where the water industry in Victoria is dipping its toe into this pool of latent benefit for our business and our customers. South East Water ran an innovation seminar last year, where it demonstrated a number of its own proprietary systems to the industry and offered to make them available at no cost. VicWater is shortly running a follow-up seminar where other water businesses will do the same thing. The industry is collaborating to understand the potential of Intelligent Water Networks, sharing the cost of development and piloting. The cost of new technology can be significant, and 20 to 50 per cent of this cost can be in the early phases of projects. City West Water has strong relationships with Yarra Valley Water, South East Water, and Victorian Regional Water Authorities who are happy to share this information and meet to discuss these opportunities quarterly, and when new needs arise. Some examples are the provision to Yarra Valley Water by City West Water of the source code for EMIS, our Trade Waste System, all the documentation, research and content of our Request For Information for the Asset Management phase of our current Oracle Program, as well as the design for the recently implemented corporate intranet.


My Point of View Yarra Valley Water provided City West Water with their Clear SCADA design and configuration documentation and source code for our SCADA Enterprise Program. This has provided a significant benefit to the design phase of the project, which we will realise in an earlier delivery than we would have had previously (possibly two to three months). We are now talking to them about Oracle Customer Care & Billing, which they recently put in place.

Building Trusting Relationships This kind of collaboration is not simple; very little connected with business systems is simple. Beneficial collaboration requires amenable and capable managers who are prepared to invest the time to understand another business and who can develop strong, trusting relationships. They need a supportive exec, not overburdened with “not invented here” syndrome. But these collaborations can deliver real savings to our businesses, and should be pursued. The Victorian Government’s strategy Securing Victoria’s Economy, released in December 2012, focuses in part on Victoria having the most cost-competitive government sector. One mechanism for achieving that objective is an ICT strategy. Among other targets is the following: “The Government will design and upgrade ICT systems and associated business processes to encourage re-use and interoperability. Agencies will re-use and share solutions, and engage in joint procurement where requirements are closely aligned.” The Government is developing implementation plans for delivery of the strategy. It offers great potential for the public sector, and, done well, fantastic business opportunities for the IT industry. The examples of collaboration I have mentioned, while delivering significant cost savings, are still at quite a superficial level. There are much deeper benefits to be had if we are brave enough to dive deeper into the place beyond collaboration. As always when I can’t think of the right word, I google it. Googling “deeper than collaboration” did not get me a word, but Wikinomics gave me some really good suggestions:

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.

At Hach, we are trying to re-think wastewater analysis. Help us bust common wastewater myths at: bustmyths.com

In fact, the research indicates that companies might benefit from a more disciplined approach to defining and executing a collaboration strategy. Increased rigour could enable organisations to attain greater success and value from collaborative ventures – and better prepare them for the increased challenge of collaborating as the business environment becomes more globalised, communication becomes more virtualised, and the workforce absorbs an increasingly tech-savvy demographic. and The research shows that few businesses adequately articulate the value and need for trust, or share and formalise the critical components of trust; rather, they have focused more generically on codes of corporate governance and ethics. Moreover, few companies give trust a paramount role in internal efforts, though the research suggests that trust is far from complete even among people in the same function or organisation. – The role of trust in business collaboration: An Economist Intelligence Unit briefing paper sponsored by Cisco Systems (2008) These concepts strike a real chord with me, and suggest sign posts for a path to deep-dive collaboration, which is an environment I believe the Australian water industry could thrive in, delivering quite spectacular value to its customers.

JUNE 2013 water



International Officials have announced that construction work on what is slated to be the world’s biggest hydroelectric project will commence in October 2015 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The announcement of a formal commencement date comes after officials from the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa met in Paris.

The majority of the nine billion people on Earth will live with severe pressure on fresh water within the space of two generations as climate change, pollution and over-use of resources take their toll, scientists have warned. The world’s water systems would soon reach a tipping point that “could trigger irreversible change with potentially catastrophic consequences” more than 500 water experts warned as they called on governments to start conserving the vital resource.

USAID has released its first global water and development strategy, which stresses that sustainable use of water is critical in saving lives, promoting sustainable development and achieving humanitarian goals. The strategy aims to save lives and advance developments through improvements in water supply, sanitation and WASH programs, and through sound management and use of water for food security.

To better understand how bacteria impact the environment a former University of California, Riverside graduate student spent nearly a year building a system that replicates a human colon, septic tank and groundwater and “fed” the colon three times a day during week-long experiments to simulate human eating. Ian Marcus, who recently earned his PhD from the UC Riverside Bourns College of Engineering, says discussion of the research often leaves people a bit perplexed.

Thames Water has announced that MWH Global will assume the role of Program Manager, participating in its ‘Super Alliance’ of industry leading organisations. The Alliance will deliver a £2 to £3 billion program of works developing and enhancing Thames Water’s asset base in the Asset Management Program (AMP6) regulatory period.

A study in which authors compared the water supply histories of four cities – San Diego, Phoenix, San Antonio and Adelaide, Australia – says the lessons learned were not just looking to urban water conservation, recycling and desalination as solutions. According to the study, saving just five to 10 per cent of agricultural irrigation in upstream watersheds could satisfy a city’s entire water needs.

National The first Sustainable Australia Report has been welcomed by the Minister for Water, Tony Burke, as a major contribution to the Government’s efforts to achieve a sustainable Australia. Developed by the National Sustainability Council, the report includes a set of sustainability indicators to be reported against every two years, including natural capital – climate, atmosphere, natural resources, water, waste, land, ecosystems and biodiversity.

water JUNE 2013

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority has announced the regional community representatives set to take on new roles as members of the Basin Communities Committee. The new members will formally start their roles on 1 July 2013, which will involve providing a community perspective to the Murray–Darling Basin Authority on Basin-related matters.

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) says it is considering a number of changes to its water quality policy to make it easier for people to comply. Under the current policy, local councils, businesses and primary producers must meet specific water quality criteria for any waste discharged into waterways. However, the authority’s Steven Mudge says it wants to change the policy to bring the state in line with national guidelines. He says it is looking at creating more flexible rules. The EPA is reviewing and responding to submissions on the proposed changes.

The nation’s largest irrigator, the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder (CEWH), has told a Senate Estimates hearing it has delivered 2,359 gigalitres of water to the environment in its first five years of operation. The CEWH manages and deploys the Commonwealth’s vast parcel of water, worth $1.89 billion, for environmental purposes throughout the Murray–Darling Basin. It was allocated 2,812 gigalitres of water over the same five-year period. Of the water that was not delivered, some was lost to evaporation, some has been carried over and some will yet be used this year.

The Australian Greens and NSW farmer Penny Blatchford are calling on the ‘old’ parties to support the Greens’ campaign to give landholders the right to say no to coal seam gas mining on their land. Australian Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne said Tony Abbott, Warren Truss and Julia Gillard were refusing to stand up for landholders who don’t want coal seam gas mining on their land.

Australian farms used a total of 9,007 gigalitres of water in 2011–12, a 19 per cent increase on the previous year; 8,174 gigalitres (91 per cent) of this was for irrigation. The area irrigated increased by nine per cent to 2.1 million hectares. Cotton accounted for 25 per cent of all irrigation water used, and 19 per cent of the area irrigated in Australia. Seventytwo per cent of irrigation in Australia occurred within the Murray–Darling Basin in 2011–12. Consecutive years of good seasonal rainfall resulted in an increase in water availability for agriculture in the Basin. Across Australia, most agricultural water was sourced from irrigation channels.

New South Wales The NSW Government has released the NSW Floodplain Harvesting Policy to improve floodwater management and provide more certainty for irrigators. The policy provides a framework to manage water extraction from floodplains for the benefit of irrigators and the environment.

NSW Minister for Finance and Services, Greg Pearce, has announced a $32 million upgrade to the Warriewood Wastewater Treatment Plant is complete. Mr Pearce said the upgrade was vital to meet the longterm population growth expected in Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

1,000 ML / day capacity pump station Hattah Lakes Environmental Flows Project

A hands-on intelligent approach Comdain Infrastructure is a leading national infrastructure construction and maintenance services business specialising in the water, irrigation and gas sectors. We place importance on professional excellence and best practice in all aspects of our construction and maintenance services work, most particularly on safety. Our water capabilities include design and/or construction of major pipelines, distribution and reticulation networks, pump stations, treatment plants, civil, mechanical and electrical works, automation control, network maintenance and emergency response. Current & Recent projects include: Goulburn-Murray Water (VIC) Hattah Lakes Environmental Flows Project: Construction of seven 750mm pump columns, a 2100mm RCP, 900mm PE branch pipeline, large regulating structures, penstock gates and levee banks. Scan this QR code to view the project video from The Hattah Lakes Environmental Flows Project

Intelligent Doers, Dependable Delivery comdaininfrastructure.com.au

State Water Corporation (NSW) NSW Metering Managing Contractor: Planning and installation of over 1200 river and groundwater extraction meters. Yarra Valley Water (VIC) Kalkallo Industrial Recycled Water Main: Construction of 4.8km OD337 to OD419 MSCL and 1.1km OD355 to OD450 PE recyled water main. Works include 5 bores including a 290m long continuous 710mm encasement bore under the Hume Fwy and works within environmentally sensitive areas. Queensland Urban Utilities (QLD) Panel member for the provision of Design and/or Construction of Water and Sewerage Reticulation Systems. Capital projects include open trench and trenchless construction of water and sewer mains and associated works.


CrossCurrent A joint groundwater monitoring project between the NSW Office of Water and the University of New South Wales has commenced, NSW Water Commissioner David Harriss has announced. Up to five shallow alluvial monitoring bores will be drilled in Namoi Valley, close to Manilla, Quirindi and Currabubula to add to the existing alluvial groundwater monitoring network across the Namoi Catchment.

Work is now underway to install wastewater equipment on Cowan properties as part of a $20 million Cowan Wastewater Scheme. Sydney Water General Manager of Infrastructure Delivery, Ian Payne, said the commencement of the Scheme was great news for the local community and environment.

A $94 million water treatment plant that will save about two billion litres of drinking water every year has been officially opened at Corio. The Northern Water Plant treats sewage and trade waste from Geelong’s northern suburbs to produce Class A recycled water for the Shell Geelong Refinery. It will save about five per cent of Geelong’s current annual consumption, while the high-quality recycled water will also be available for other uses.

Over 30,000 South East Water customers in Melbourne have made the switch to secure online self-service, with access to view and manage their account 24/7. Launched in November 2012, ‘mySouthEastWater’ gives customers the freedom to log on, view and make changes to account information without the need to call during business hours.

A new Charles Sturt University Food, Soil and Water Research Centre will be built by Charles Sturt University (CSU) in partnership with Port Macquarie-Hastings Council at CSU’s proposed greenfield campus site in Port Macquarie. The centre’s main aim will be to help Australia address challenges and economic opportunities in providing food and water for an ever-increasing global population.

South Australia New research to expand the use of water recycling for irrigating South Australia’s vineyards has been initiated by the Australian Water Recycling Centre of Excellence. Led by the South Australian

MidCoast Water’s Water Recycling and Reuse Program has won the 2013 Recovering, Recycling and Reusing category at the Institute of Public Works Engineers Australia, NSW Division, Excellence Awards. Over $6 million has been invested in the project by the Australian Government to secure water supplies for towns on the mid-north coast of NSW, through the reuse of over 430 million litres of treated wastewater a year.

Hunter Water’s massive tree-planting project (one of the largest seen in the Hunter region) is nearing completion. Planted around Grahamstown and Chichester Dams, the trees will offset carbon emissions produced from the operation of recycled water plants with the added benefit of long-term water quality improvements.

Research and Development Institute (SARDI) and co-funded by the Goyder Institute for Water Research, the project is collaborating with the local viticulture industry and the University of Adelaide to demonstrate the economic and environmental value of water recycling to Australia’s agri-food industry.

Queensland Groundbreaking research to develop new guidelines to assess air quality in mining regions is underway between The University and Queensland and INCT-ACQUA, a research institute supported by three leading institutions in Brazil. The collaboration between UQ and the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development

Victoria In what will be an Australian first, Yarra Valley Water is developing an innovative waste-to-energy facility in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. The facility will convert organic waste destined for landfills into energy, reducing energy costs, waste to landfill and greenhouse gas emissions. “Instead of treating our sludge as waste, we’re treating it as a product with value that can be reused to create and capture methane gas resulting in significant environmental and cost benefits,” says Mr Tony Kelly, Managing Director Yarra Valley Water.

(CNPq) and the Foundation for Research Support of the State of Minas Gerais (FAPEMIG) will take a holistic approach to generate data to provide comprehensive environmental and human health risk assessments in mining areas.

Tasmania Seventeen-year-old Tasmanian college student Declan Fahey, who is in Year 12 at Hellyer College in Burnie, will represent Australia in a world water competition in Stockholm. His paper, which is on the subject of groundwater salinity, has implications for world food production and won him the Australian Stockholm Junior Water

The Victorian Government has announced $16 million to kickstart a major modernisation of the Macalister Irrigation District (MID) over the next three years, with a co-contribution of $16 million from irrigators.

water JUNE 2013

Prize. “I’ve been carrying out this investigation since I was in Year 7 and I did it again this year for a local science fair,” Declan said. “My teachers thought I should have a bit of a go at this one. It just goes to show that science can take you anywhere.”


succEss Supporting UN World Day to Combat Drought & Desertification, 17 June 2013

spEciAlisTs iN DEsAliNATiON & WATER REusE sOluTiONs DESALINATION • 6 million Australians currently have access to drinking water when required from desalination plants designed and built by Degrémont Australia • Degrémont Australia, together with our partners, operate and maintain desalination plants with a combined capacity of over 590 MLD REUSE • 13 wastewater and stormwater recycling plants and schemes operated and maintained by Degrémont Australia and our partners • Degrémont Australia, designed and built the Pimpama Recycled Water Plant, a key part of the first Class A+ recycled water development in South East QLD




Western Australia Water Corporation has introduced high-tech BEM (Broadband Electro Magnetic) imaging as part of an extensive pipe assessment program to be rolled out across the city of Perth. The new technology will ensure a reduction in leaks and bursts.

New drought policy is designed to manage the risks climate change conditions pose to successful crop production in WA. The grain belt has experienced a 20 per cent decline in rainfall over the last several decades, more than any other wheat-growing region in Australia.

ACT The old Cotter Dam has taken its final breaths, disappearing beneath the water of the enlarged Cotter Dam after providing Canberra with drinking water for the last 100 years. The new 80-metre dam will hold 78 gigalitres of water for the Territory and is expected to boost Canberra’s water capacity by about 60 per cent.

Member News

Arup has launched a new Economic Consulting offering, following the acquisition of the Strategic Economics Consulting Group (SECG). The expanded offering will place a particular emphasis on the various regulation markets and, in particular, the water sector.

Ms Julie McLellan has been appointed Healthy Waterways’ new Chief Executive Officer. She brings with her more than 25 years’ experience in senior management in the water industry and an extensive background in water management. Ms McLellan will join Healthy Waterways from the start of July as she closes a chapter as former Executive Director, Strategy and Growth, at Queensland Urban Utilities.

National Water Week takes place 20–26 October this year. The week is about raising community awareness about current and future water issues and taking action to protect our vital water sources. This year’s theme is ‘Liveable Communities’, in which sustainable water management is a key component.

AWA is concerned about the Federal Government’s recent proposal to limit tax deductibility to $2,000 for work-related selfeducation expenses. Jonathan McKeown, AWA CEO, said that this announcement poses a severe threat to professional education in Australia, and in particular will have a significant impact on the Australian not-for-profit sector being able to provide the breadth and quality of its current training offerings.

Developed by a team from Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM) and CSIRO, Australia’s National Atlas of Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems (GDEs) has won the 2013 Geospatial World Application Excellence Award for Environment Protection and Monitoring.

URS has appointed David Fuller as Office Manager in its Tatura office. David has over 30 years’ experience in delivering water and catchment projects across Victoria, NSW, Queensland, SA and Tasmania.

Melbourne Water’s recently completed Eastern Treatment Plant Tertiary Upgrade project has won the Water/Wastewater Project of the Year award at the Global Water Summit in Seville, Spain. Each year, the Global Water Awards are presented at the Global Water Summit, the major business conference for the water industry worldwide.

Aurecon is developing sustainability strategies to improve the financial and environmental performance of new mixed-use development in Shanghai–Mapletree Minhang Development Project. Roger Manho, Technical Director, Buildings Shanghai said, “Through smart engineering we can achieve energy savings equivalent to powering 1875 homes, reduce CO2 emissions equivalent to planting 200 trees and save water to the equivalent of 15 Olympic-size swimming pools over a year.”

Delivering innovative water, wastewater and reuse solutions.

water JUNE 2013

2-wire Transmitter


Tx -

+ 2-wire Transmitter Tx -




Input ch. 1

Output ch. 1


Input ch. 2

Output ch. 2


I, U



I, U





I, U













230 V AC


Industry News

Nubian Announces Partnership With Nirosoft Nubian Water Systems has announced its strategic partnership with Nirosoft, an RWL Water Group company and global provider of water treatment solutions for the industrial, manufacturing, municipal, power and resources sectors. The partnership is part of Nubian’s strategy to build a facilitycentric, end-to-end water solutions company in Australia that will drive water balance and reduce Australia’s water footprint. Commenting on the partnership, Barry Porter, CEO of Nubian Water Systems, said:“Nubian is now the only company in Australia that can claim to provide total water solutions. We can now take water from its source, optimise its value through recycling, and see it through to its environmentally sustainable discharge. “Nirosoft is a leader in providing membrane-based water treatment solutions, and combining their expertise with Nubian’s leadership in recycling and disinfection will allow us to offer the market a truly unique proposition.” Owned by the RWL Water Group, a fully integrated holding company founded by Ronald S Lauder, Nirosoft specialises in the design, manufacturing and operation of advanced water treatment systems. Nirosoft’s state-of-the-art membrane technology is also used to create ultra-pure water, essential to the manufacturing industry, especially in the food and beverage, electrical and pharmaceutical sectors where ultra-pure water is essential in the creation of safe products and consumables. CEO of Nirosoft, Avi Bonibay said: “We are in the business of providing advanced water treatment solutions wherever they are needed. Nirosoft is focused on creating a global water business that will meet the growing need for clean water. “We feel the best way to bring our solutions to the Australian market is to partner with a local company that has the same ideals and objectives as Nirosoft. It is clear to us that, not only is Nubian a leader in providing innovative solutions to the Australian market, the company is also committed to providing water wherever it is needed.” Gary Zamel, Nubian’s Executive Chairman commented: “Both Ronald Lauder and I recognise that there is an urgent need for

sustainable water solutions globally and we see an opportunity that managing urban water requires. Nirosoft has a deep and strong understanding of Australia’s water needs and we have the expertise to penetrate the Australian market. “This partnership between Nirosoft and Nubian Water Systems strengthens economic ties between Israel and Australia. We are glad to work together in protecting the world’s most precious resource — water.” Nirosoft has thousands of systems implemented globally including 30 here in Australia, including power stations in Cape Preston, the Australian Air Force and the Australian Antarctic Station. “When organisations with water-intensive applications go to suppliers for complete facility solutions, they find that companies usually specialise in only one technology, whereas the key differentiator with Nubian is that we provide an end-to-end approach,” says Nubian’s Barry Porter.

Managing Ageing Infrastructure Assets Critical To Global Water Delivery Global water services are potentially at risk from the challenges associated with ageing assets and infrastructure as water companies struggle to balance budgetary constraints with the need for ongoing capital investment, according to a report issued last month by insurance broking and risk management consultant Marsh. In 2013 Water Industry Insurance and Risk Benchmarking Report, which analyses the risk and insurance trends of water companies across four continents, asset failure was ranked as the top risk facing water companies globally for the eighth consecutive year. According to Marsh’s report the average Total Cost of Risk (TCOR), which measures the performance of an organisation’s risk management and insurance program, experienced by the global water industry rose by 10 per cent in 2012. Attributed to challenging insurance market conditions and self-insured losses in 2012, Marsh expects the average TCOR for the global water industry to decline in 2013 as a result of a more benign insurance cycle. Simon Gaunt, Managing Principal in the Global Power and Utilities Practice at Marsh, commented: “Asset upgrades are required globally to replace ageing systems, in order to manage the risks associated with extreme weather events more effectively and to deliver on community expectations of a secure and sustainable water supply. However, challenging economic conditions, especially in those territories that are dependent on government funding, are continuing to constrain the ability of water companies to fund infrastructure projects. “In the absence of significant investment, water companies are adopting a risk-based approach to prioritising their asset management programs and capital expenditure in order to protect the integrity of their supplies.”

Caption: Left to right: Henry Charrabé , President and CEO, RWL Water; Michael (Miki) Tramer, Nirosoft’s VP Global Sales & Marketing; Gary Zamel, Executive Chairman Nubian Water Systems; Barry Porter, CEO Nubian Water Systems.

water JUNE 2013

Marsh recommends water companies embed these risk-based asset management programs within their broader management systems. This approach can be complemented by enhancing security at critical locations and relocating moveable plant to reduce damage risk. The introduction, development and delivery of emergency and disaster planning and training can also be highly effective.


Industry News

Bilfinger Water Technologies: A New Connection Passavant-Geiger GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bilfinger SE, has acquired Johnson Screens, a global leader in screening products for water infrastructure, wastewater treatment, hydrocarbon processing and general filtration. Passavant-Geiger GmbH and Johnson Screens Inc will form the Bilfinger Water Technologies Group, under which the companies can unite, complement one another and present their individual features to the market. Johnson Screens manufactures mechanical components for the separation of solids from liquids and gases and also offers related services from 11 locations around the world. The products are used for the extraction and treatment of drinking water. They also play an important role in wastewater treatment and refining applications for oil and gas as well as other industrial applications. As a result of the take-over, Passavant-Geiger will double its output volume in the water and wastewater sector. In his statement, Joachim Foerderer, Passavant-Geiger CEO and CEO of the future Bilfinger Water Technologies explained: “The strategic importance of this merger of two leading international companies is apparent not only from a glance at the key figures. With the integration of Johnson Screens we continue our global growth strategy and strengthen our position in the international competition over the long term.” With locations in Europe, North and South America, Africa, Asia Pacific and Australia, the new group has a strong global footprint, creating new sales opportunities for its established brands such as Passavant, Johnson Screens, Geiger, Airvac, Diemme, Roediger, Noggerath and Screenex. Further important advantages are presented by the new access to important growth markets in the US, Brazil, India, South Africa and Australia. This new chapter in the corporate history of Passavant-Geiger and Johnson Screens Inc also enables new opportunities for comprehensive system solutions in many sectors such as the combination of innovative water well and treatment technologies.

Pasteurisation Trial To Produce Recycled Water New research to demonstrate the effectiveness of pasteurisation for disinfecting recycled water has been initiated by the Australian Water Recycling Centre of Excellence. Pasteurisation, a long-established process used worldwide to disinfect and treat milk, involves the rapid heating and cooling of food, usually liquid, for a short period of time. The project, to be conducted at Melbourne’s Western Treatment Plant, will use the same process to treat wastewater to a very high standard. It is expected that the water produced will be suitable for crop irrigation, livestock drinking and industrial use. The project will be led by a team from Victoria University with support by the Australian Water Quality Centre, Melbourne Water, WJP Solutions and two US-based companies, Pasteurisation Technology Group and Carollo Engineers.

The project will test the effectiveness of pasteurisation for the Australian water industry and its potential to reduce energy and operational costs compared to conventional water disinfection processes. It will involve an efficient heat exchange system that can capture and re-use waste heat. Australian Water Recycling Centre of Excellence CEO Mark O’Donohue says: “If successful, the project will demonstrate that pasteurisation can reduce treatment costs and energy requirements, and simplify the recycled water disinfection process, under rigorous conditions required by Australian Departments of Health.” Pasteurisation is a standard process within the food industry, and the technology is robust and mature. Its application to wastewater treatment has recently been made viable by the use of modern heat recovery technology. Dr Peter Sanciolo, who is leading the research, said: “By utilising waste heat from burning biogas (a waste by-product of water treatment) or from engines generating electricity on-site to run the water treatment plant, pasteurisation disinfection technology may prove cost effective compared to purchasing electricity from the grid and using conventional disinfection treatments such as membrane filtration, ultraviolet light and chlorine.” Pasteurisation for recycled water has been successfully trialled in California at the Santa Rosa‘s Laguna and the Ventura Wastewater Treatment Plants. Both US project partners, Pasteurization Technology Group and Carollo, worked on the pilot plant and this will bring technical expertise to the Australian trial. The Australian Water Recycling Centre of Excellence aims to enhance the management and use of water recycling by investing in research into practical solutions for securing Australia’s future water supply. The Centre is funded by the Australian Government through the Water for the Future initiative.

Innovation Supports Recycled Water Plant At Pakenham The official opening of the new Pakenham Water Recycling Plant provides residents with cheaper recycled water in their homes for toilet-flushing and garden watering. Now a further 2,000 homes in new estates of south-east Melbourne will have the option of two sources of water, thanks to AECOM’s innovative engineering solutions at the plant. AECOM’s Chris Boyd. AECOM provided the technical solution to convert the water recycling plant into a state-of-the-art facility enhancing the quality of recycled water from Class C to Class A for residential use. Technical engineers from AECOM’s UK, Canada and New Zealand teams worked on the South East Recycled Water Alliance comprising South East Water, Transfield Services and AECOM. The Alliance has undertaken a $110 million, four-year program to upgrade Somers Sewerage Treatment Plant, construct three Class A water recycling plants (Pakenham, Mt Martha and Somers) and construct a bio-solids treatment and solar dryer facility at Mt Martha. Rex Dusting, General Manager Infrastructure for South East Water, said: “South East Recycled Water Alliance has brought

JUNE 2013 water

its worldwide expertise to enable the project to successfully deliver improved environmental outcomes and greater opportunities for water recycling for SE Water’s customers.” AECOM’s role included the design, feasibility and options assessments, geotechnical investigations, detailed design for construction, procurement support, technical advice South East Water Managing Director Kevin during construction, plant Hutchings at the official opening of the plant. commissioning support services, stakeholder and community consultation, statutory planning services and ongoing operational support. AECOM Group Leader – Water, Chris Boyd, said: “By utilising technology to recycle our precious water resource, we are helping our clients and the community access cheaper recycled water.” The new plant provides a capacity of 4ML per day (four million litres, which is almost two Olympic-sized swimming pools) with a future capacity of 8ML per day.

Let’s Talk About … A Sustainable Australia A new report released by the National Sustainability Council marks the start of a new, national conversation about sustainability, says the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA). “We applaud the work of the National Sustainability Council and welcome Sustainable Australia 2013: Conversations with the Future, which underscores the fact that securing Australia’s sustainable future is in the best interests of all its citizens,” says the GBCA’s Executive Director of Advocacy, Robin Mellon. “The report emphasises that sustainability is not simply a matter of ensuring we protect our natural environment. True sustainability means ensuring that future generations have at least the same quality of life as we have enjoyed. “To secure a sustainable Australia, we must address a complex web of economic, social and environmental factors – from improving housing affordability, employment and education opportunities, to reducing car dependence and rates of obesity, as well as building resilience and adapting to climate change,” Mr Mellon says. “To sustain the wellbeing of the Australian people over the long term, we must find new ways of supporting economic growth without degrading the environment. This means accelerating innovation, investing in research and embracing sustainable development,” Mr Mellon adds. “We welcome the report’s findings that, with population growth in Australia expected to be largely accommodated in our cities, we can expect increased pressure on natural resources and added stress on existing infrastructure. In this context, we must focus our attention on policies and programs that support the design and delivery of more sustainable, productive and livable communities. “The report is a timely reminder that decisions and actions we take now will determine whether the next generation of Australians can expect the same opportunities and quality of life that their parents and grandparents have enjoyed. We must work together to ensure that future generations are able to enjoy the benefits of a strong economy, a prosperous and inclusive society and a healthy environment. This report should be read by every single Australian so that they understand their place in and their contribution to Australia’s sustainable future,” Mr Mellon concludes. Sustainable Australia 2013: Conversations with the Future can be downloaded from: www.environment.gov.au/nationalsustainabilitycouncil

water JUNE 2013




PLANTS. Throughout the world, our irrigation systems can be found hard at work in the agricultural industry, providing water- and energy-efficient solutions for landscaping, aquaculture, livestock and brewing. Thanks to a far-reaching distribution network, we can offer you unmatched support — wherever you’re located. So let’s solve your irrigation challenge with market-leading systems and know-how that help you cut energy, maintenance and life cycle costs. Together, we’ll tackle agriculture’s biggest challenges. Visit www.lowara.com.au/irrigation.

xyleminc.com | Lowara | Goulds Water Technology © 2013 Xylem Inc. Lowara is a trademark of Xylem Inc. or one of its subsidiaries. Goulds is a registered trademark of Goulds Pumps, Inc. and is used under license.


Industry News

No-Dig Down Under Comes To Sydney

Delegates will also be offered a range of social and networking opportunities, including the Exhibition Opening, Sydney Harbour Cruise, and Gala Dinner and Awards Evening. For more information please contact Conference Organiser Tori McLennon at tmclennon@gs-press.com.au, phone +61 433 700 711, or go to www.nodigdownunder.com.

In September 2013, the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre will play host to international trenchless event, No-Dig Down Under. The whole-of-industry event will provide over a thousand delegates from around the world with insights into innovative and new trenchless techniques. This forum will provide the tools necessary to position trenchless professionals at the forefront of the industry.

What Australians Want From Their Cities

No-Dig Down Under 2013 is the 31st international conference and exhibition of the International Society for Trenchless Technology (ISTT), which was established to advance the science and practice of Trenchless Technology for the public benefit and promote education, training, study and research in this field. Delegates will learn how to enhance their products and services by learning about the role trenchless technology plays in reducing carbon emissions, reducing occupational health and safety risks, and protecting the environment and existing infrastructure. With over 70 per cent of the three-streamed technical program comprised of international speakers, delegates will have the opportunity to hear from speakers from 18 different countries, covering case studies such as water mains rehabilitation in the UK, pipeline rehabilitation in Europe and sewer main condition assessment in the United States, as well as case studies from Australasia.

When deciding where to live, Australians are going back to basics, ranking access to healthcare, jobs and emergency services as their top three priorities, according to a report released recently by MWH Global. MWH Global commissioned the study to examine what Australians want from the cities they live in now and into the future. The survey, of more than 1,000 people, looked at why Australians live where they do and assessed the importance placed on a range of factors including employment, infrastructure, aesthetics, education, culture, food, environment, healthcare and essential services. Australia was revealed as an overwhelmingly urban nation, with 48 per cent of people saying that in an ideal world they would choose to live in an urban major city or outskirts, and a further 21 per cent expressing a preference for a regional centre or small city. Australia regional director of government and infrastructure at MWH, Mark Bruzzone, says: “The rise of technology and evolution













TOLL FREE 1300 363 163 water JUNE 2013



It’s dry at the top.

INVIZIQTM is changing the way people view pressure sewer systems. Our innovative engineering includes the industry’s first and only Dry Well design, coupled with a reliable transducer level sensor and intuitive control system. We developed our intelligent PSS with performance, reliability, durability, control and value built into every unit. Learn more at www.inviziq.com

InviziQ offers Dry Well design, the first and only PSS alternative delivering clean access to the system motor and other working parts of the unit.


Industry News of culture may have created a more sophisticated society in many ways, but it’s the basic needs such as being healthy, secure and safe in where they live that matter most to Australians.”

Understandably, for a country where it’s often a limited resource, water was ranked as the most important infrastructure need in choosing where to live, followed by electricity and roads.

The research found that the key drivers motivating people to live in cities and regional centres are: having access to essential services and amenities (65 per cent); being in close proximity to family and friends (58 per cent); and job opportunities (52 per cent).

“Australians clearly value the need for safe and reliable provision of water; a key priority for the whole country when faced with the ongoing effects of climate change, increased urbanisation and continuing population growth,” Mr Bruzzone says.

Australians living in rural or remote areas identified better transport links (57 per cent); better access to healthcare (53 per cent); more opportunities for work (46 per cent); and proximity to family and friends (45 per cent) as important factors that would improve their quality of life.

“Interestingly, there is still a major stigma associated with drinking recycled water, with almost two-thirds of Australians (64 per cent) willing to pay a 10 per cent premium to have drinking water without recycled sewage in the network. Education around both the necessity and safety of different water supplies is a high priority in order to ensure we are able to maintain a sustainable water supply.”

“A key concern of Australians, whether they live in the outback or a big city, is the ability to quickly and easily access what they need, whether it’s a trip to the doctor, getting to work in the morning or visiting friends and family. Not surprisingly, over 90 per cent consider high-quality roads as an important priority in choosing where they want to live. “With over half (57 per cent) of people willing to move to an area that provides them a higher quality of living, getting the basics right will be hugely important to maintain and enhance thriving communities across our nation.” Despite 70 per cent of people currently living in a major city or its outskirts, four in 10 city dwellers wanting to live in a regional, rural or remote area. However, money may be a crucial factor preventing those considering an escape to the country, with 51 per cent concerned that their income would fall if they relocated out of a major city.

The research also investigated what people are looking for in the future of our cities. “The message from Australians was loud and clear: access to safe tap water for drinking was ranked as the most important aspect of where people will live in 30 years, highlighting the need to ensure that quality water and supporting infrastructure is available.” Renewable energy and a drought-proof water supply were ranked second and third. “Nine in 10 Australians also believe that unused crown land and government-owned buildings should be used to generate electricity using solar and wind power, suggesting an expectation that government should be doing more to take on the task of transitioning to renewable energy provision.”



Water Infrastructure Group's award-winning Virtual Control Room MELBOURNE SYDNEY ADELAIDE BRISBANE PERTH

water JUNE 2013

Peter Everist Hugh McGinley Harvey Dunkley Rob Ashton Brian Fenton

03 9863 3535 02 9895 1522 08 8348 1631 07 3712 3680 0417 329 078

Peter.Everist@pentair.com.au Hugh.McGinley@pentair.com.au Harvey.Dunkley@pentair.com.au Rob.Ashton@pentair.com.au Brian.Fenton@pentair.com.au



Young Water Professionals

Reaping the Rewards from Ozwater Jo Greene – AWA YWP National Committee President

First I’d like to say a big thank you to the Ozwater’13 Committee for hosting a fantastic conference in Perth this year. It was a busy but thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding few days. Perth is a beautiful city, and the facilities at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre are world-class. We kicked off with the Young Water Professionals workshop on Monday; I then spent Tuesday as Assistant Chair in the Water Reuse and Stormwater stream. This was followed by the YWP breakfast on Wednesday morning, I presented my paper in the afternoon, attended the Gala Dinner that night, in addition to acting as Assistant Chair at the conclusion of presentations each day, then finished by giving an address at the Closing Ceremony on Thursday. This year’s Ozwater theme was: Competing for Water in a Climate of Change. Reflecting this, the theme of the YWP workshop was: Valuing Our Scarce Resource: Competition for Water in Remote and Regional Areas. We heard from three speakers: Doug Brown, Hydrogeologist in Mine Water Management, Peter McAllister, Regional Manager, North West Region Water Corporation, and Danielle Brunton, WASH Specialist, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). All three speakers were inspiring, but of particular note was Danielle’s account of her time overseas working with refugees in camps and trying to provide water and sanitation to thousands of displaced people. Following the speakers there were some games to break the ice and we then formed groups for an interactive session to discuss the needs of each part of the community, and ways in which communities in regional areas can work together

water JUNE 2013

to implement sustainable water management practices. We were entertained by the ‘greenies’ group and the ‘residents’ group, who had made placards and spent quite a bit of time shouting slogans at the prospective ‘developers’. The opportunity to act as Assistant Chair was very rewarding. The standard of the 10 presentations I attended on Tuesday was high. Attendance was good and the question and discussion time following each speaker was always stimulating. The purpose of the meetings held at the end of each day was to get the Assistant Chairs to communicate the key messages and themes that they had picked up through their day in each stream. I then collated these on Thursday to go into my address at the Closing Ceremony. I was excited to present my first paper at conference. Titled Effectiveness and Opportunities in Water Efficiency During Non-Drought in the Lower Hunter, it described three studies that were commissioned by my employer and that I had project managed. It was well received, with lots of questions and some interesting discussions offline the next day. The Gala Dinner was the perfect opportunity to frock up and network, and as always the food and entertainment were spectacular. Congratulations to Kate Simmonds, winner of the AWA Young Water Professional of the Year Award, which was presented on the night. The award was presented to Kate for her contributions to the water industry through her role on the AWA Victorian Branch Committee, her service on the Sustainability Specialist Network, as well as her professional achievements with CH2M Hill Victoria.


AWA News

JUNE 2013 water


awa News

URBan wateR pRiCing RefoRm: ReQUest foR feedBaCK Over recent years, there has been a general increase in prices for urban water services across Australia, both to fund investment in new and upgraded assets and meet the increased costs to operate and maintain ageing assets. Increased prices have resulted in a corresponding increase in media focus and public concern. Against this backdrop, AWA’s Water Management Law & Policy Specialist Network believes there is a strong case to refocus attention on the merits of pricing reform, such as cost reflective pricing, in a way that leads constructive industry communication and supports the continuation of the COAG reform agenda that commenced in the mid-nineties. Pricing reforms aimed to improve water efficiency and the performance of the industry as a whole, including protecting consumers from excessive prices in natural monopoly markets. AWA’s Water Management Law & Policy Specialist Network proposes to publish a position paper on the reform agenda for urban water pricing. The paper will advocate a ‘back-to-basics’ approach (which will demystify the economic jargon) to encourage a broader understanding of the merits of the reform agenda and promote perseverance with their implementation even through times of price rises. Such an approach would seek to simply explain concepts such: • ‘Cost reflectivity’ and how transparency of inputs promotes lower prices; • ‘Cross-subsidising’ and how it distorts investment decisions leading to higher prices. The position paper would also seek to review key milestones and publications associated with the development of pricing policy and place key pricing concepts into context. These publications include: • COAG Strategic Water Reform Framework (1994); • National Water Initiative (2004); • National Water Initiative Pricing Principles (2010); • Recent publications by the Productivity Commission, Infrastructure Australia and the National Water Commission. Approaching the 20-year anniversary of the COAG strategic water reform framework, there is an opportunity to re-engage with the reform process and encourage appreciation of the benefits achieved to date and the opportunities still available through continued commitment to the delivery of these strategic industry-wide reforms. To ensure the position paper accurately reflects the views of AWA members, your feedback is sought. Please email Grant Leslie, National Manager – Programs and Policy, at gleslie@awa.asn.au by 20 July 2013.

water JUNE 2013

Best WATER JOURNAL papeR Congratulations to Tim Foster, a researcher at the School of Geography and Environment, University of Oxford, UK and Dr Brieana Dance, a medical practitioner at the Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, NSW, for winning the Best Water Journal Paper from June 2012 until May 2013. Their paper, entitled: ‘Water-Washed Diseases and Access to Infrastructure in Remote Indigenous Communities in the Northern Territory’, was published in the July 2012 edition (p 72). The Best Water Journal Paper Award is given in honour of Guy Parker, a chemist and bacteriologist, and one of the founders of AWA, and is awarded for originality, relevance and presentation. A letter of congratulations and award certificates have been sent to the authors.

Branch news new south wales NSW BRANCH SEMINAR SERIES The NSW Branch held its second seminar of the NSW Branch Seminar Series on Wednesday 15 May. The seminar explored the key issues for the water sector, from rising energy costs to the commencement of the Carbon Tax in July 2012. As a major user and generator of power, how has the sector responded, and how is this shaping infrastructure planning and key investment decisions? We would like to thank the delegates who attended and the event sponsor, Aquatec Maxcon, for supporting the event. We also thank the presenters – Bob Robinson from Sinclair Knight Merz, Graeme Watkins from MidCoast Water and Wayne Jackson from Sydney Water. We look forward to presenting the next seminar, Asset Management and Ageing Infrastructure, on Wednesday 24 July in Newcastle.

NSW Heads of Water Gala Dinner Registrations for NSW Heads of Water Gala Dinner are now open. This premier event brings together leading water professionals for an evening of networking with colleagues and peers, enjoying fine food and drinks, and celebrating the water sector.

NSW Branch Water Industry Awards Open Soon The NSW Branch Water Industry Awards open next month. These awards have been designed to acknowledge the best of the best in the NSW Water Sector, as well as recognise exceptional achievements in a range of project and individual categories. Building on past success, the 2013 Awards are in line with the AWA National Awards and provide the opportunity for the NSW winners to enter in the National Awards, which are presented at Ozwater each year. Please visit the AWA website for more information on award categories and selection criteria.

15th NSW Engineers & Operators Conference – Call for Papers The 15th NSW Engineers & Operators Conference has opened the Call for Papers. This year’s event will take place at the Novotel, Sydney Olympic Park from 28–30 October. The theme for this year’s conference is ‘Doing More With Less While Keeping The Customer Satisfied’.


awa News

Who but Aquatec Maxcon can provide Nereda® technology in a waste water plant? 75% smaller footprint than conventional plants


Reduced CAPEX and embodied carbon

Enhanced settling properties


No membranes or clarifiers

25% energy reduction & improved dewaterability


Reduced Whole of Life cost

Excellent effluent quality


Chemical free Bio P and Bio N removal

Nereda® optimised controller


Robust, operator friendly performance

Aerobic granular biomass

60,000EP Epe WWTP

Enhanced settleability

The Triple Bottom Line... Reduced capital expenditure. Reduced operating costs. Reduced Carbon Footprint.

AQUATEC MAXCON We treat water properly Ipswich - Head Office 119 Toongarra Road Ipswich QLD 4305 P: +61 (0) 7 3813 7100 F: +61 (0) 7 3813 7199

Adelaide 41-47 Unit 5C O’Sullivans Beach Road, Lonsdale SA 5160 P: +61 (0) 8 7002 6900 F: +61 (0) 8 7002 6999

Be a leader by using world’s best technologies based on proven science & engineering

Sydney 8 Charles Street St Marys NSW 2760 P: +61 (0) 2 8603 5200 F: +61 (0) 2 8603 5299

Melbourne 6/64 Oakover Road Preston VIC 3072 P: +61 (0) 3 9480 8000 F: +61 (0) 3 9480 8099

www.aquatecmaxcon.com.au | enquiries@aquatecmaxcon.com.au Aquatec Maxcon can also look after your Potable Water Treatment needs. Come visit us at WIOA Bendigo (Stand #125) — 4 & 5 September 2013 JUNE 2013 water


awa News In this constrained cost environment operators of water and wastewater infrastructure are being asked to continually optimise and look for smarter, cheaper ways of delivering services while keeping customer service levels the same or improved.

• Date: Friday, 12 July 2013

This conference will address ways in which NSW operations staff are meeting and coping with these challenges. For more information about the presentations being sought, please visit the AWA website.

• Dress: Cocktail/Lounge Suit

aCt ACT Branch Water Industry Awards The ACT Branch Water Industry Awards have been developed to promote the outstanding work achieved by individuals and organisations in the water sector. The 2013 award winners will be automatically entered into the National Award category to compete on a national level and presented at Ozwater’14. Nominations for the awards open next month and we encourage you to visit the website for more information about the award categories and selection criteria. Please contact actbranch@awa.asn.au for more information.

Queensland 2013 Gala Dinner & Awards Night Save the date! The Queensland Gala Dinner & Awards Night is the key networking event in the water industry calendar. Join over 500 industry leaders to celebrate the organisations and individuals who will be honoured for their achievements while enjoying a spectacular night with great food and wine.

water JUNE 2013

• Venue: Ballroom Le Grand, Sofitel Brisbane Central • Time: Pre-dinner Drinks from 6.45pm, Dinner: 7.30pm to 11.30pm

• Cost (includes canapés, three-course meal, drinks and entertainment): AWA Members – $175; Non-Members – $195; Corporate Table of 10 – $1750; Sponsored Young Water Professional Table of 10 – $1750. For more information please contact Sharon Ible, Queensland Branch Manager, at sible@awa.asn.au – or you can register online at www.awa.asn.au

Qwater’13 Conference: Call For Papers Now Open The QWater’13 Organising Committee is pleased to open the Call for Papers for this year’s conference. The conference provides a forum for discussing and sharing water-related stories that are unique and relevant to Queensland. For more information about the presentations being sought, please visit the AWA website and check under Events. Sponsorship and Trade Exhibition opportunities are also available. Due to popular demand, this year’s event will take place at the Novotel Twin Waters Resort, Sunshine Coast on 8–9 November. Please contact Sharon Ible, Queensland Branch Manager, at sible@awa.asn.au

AIRVAC is as committed to our products as we are to our customers. 27

AWA News

Today, most products are disposable and designed to have built-in short life cycle limits. Not at AIRVAC. We have been working nearly 40 years to develop products that are more reliable and last longer. We understand choosing an AIRVAC vacuum sewer system requires a lifetime commitment from you. More importantly, it demands a lifetime commitment from us. AIRVAC is focused not only on making superior products, but also on developing fullservice, long-term customer relationships. We do this by providing support and service every step of the way including assistance with the planning, design, construction and operation of your vacuum sewer system. At the heart of every AIRVAC Vacuum Sewer System is the vacuum interface valve shown above. The development of this technology has made the advantages and flexibility of vacuum liquid conveyance possible. Although this valve represents our latest technology, many of our first valves are still in operation today.


DVD online

We are developing our technology and our relationships to last a lifetime.

THE economical and ecological wastewater collection system.

Go to airvac.com to learn more about AIRVAC support and services. WaterCon:

63 Kurnall Road, Welshpool, WA 6106, Australia Tel: (08) 9248 1234 • Email: watercon@watercon.net.au

Corporate Office:

4217 N. Old U.S. 31, Rochester, IN USA 46975 • Tel: (574) 223-3980

JUNE 2013 water


awa News

new memBeRs AWA welcomes the following new members since the most recent issue of Water Journal

new CoRpoRate memBeRs

new indiVidUaL memBeRs


ACT B Trevathan; S Sabalingam; J Campbell;

Corporate Bronze

Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority

NSW S Hood; R Sturrock; C Andrews

Taggle Systems

NT T Attwood


QLD A Mount; A Rechenberg; D Power; C Bendall; E Newton; S McComber; V King; K Musgrave; R Aspey; T Pettiford; T King

Corporate Bronze

Maranoa Regional Council

VIC Corporate Platinum

Programmed Facility Management

SA M Lobban; M Howland; T Gardner; G Adkins; J Harri

VIC R Lovatt; D Myat; T Freeman; M Porter; L Farci; R McKenzie; M Waymark; S Pridmore; W Guthrie; J Gaha; C Boyd; A May; J Tawadros

new stUdent memBeRs

WA R Laird; S Rudd; S Windsor; D Moran; S Atkinson; J Tan; K Bandla; A-E Buma; A Hinchliffe; A Toomey; J Greenslade

QLD B Tindall

new oVeRseas memBeRs P La Roche, New Zealand; P Tomlinson, UK; D Lundy, New Zealand; W Novalia, Indonesia

NSW A Branch WA M Langsa

YoUng wateR pRofessionaLs NSW M Sutton; R Santiago QLD J Buchanan TAS N Ali

June Tue, 25 Jun 2013

NSW Women in Water Breakfast, Sydney, NSW

July Mon, 1 Jul 2013 – Wed, 3 Jul 2013

Membranes and Desalination Conference 2013, Brisbane, QLD

Mon, 1 Jul 2013 – Wed, 3 Jul 2013

Asia Pacific Water Recycling Conference 2013, Brisbane, QLD

Wed, 3 Jul 2013

ACT Water for the Future, ACT Legislative Assembly

Fri, 5 Jul 2013

VIC – Ceramic Membrane Trial Workshop, Eastern Treatment Plant, Bangholme, Victoria

Tue, 9 Jul 2013

VIC – An Evening with the Regulators, 50 Lonsdale St, Melbourne

Wed, 10 Jul 2013

SA Branch Technical Seminar – Joint Water Wednesday Event with University of Adelaide, University of Adelaide, SA

Fri, 12 Jul 2013

TASSAL Site Tour, Tasmania

Fri, 12 Jul 2013

QLD Gala Dinner & Awards Night, Brisbane, QLD

Tue, 16 Jul 2013

VIC Breakfast Seminar, Melbourne, VIC

Wed, 24 Jul 2013

NSW Seminar Series – Seminar 4, Asset Management and Ageing Infrastructure, Noahs on the Beach, Newcastle, NSW

august Fri, 2 Aug 2013

SA Branch Annual Conference, Adelaide Convention Centre, SA

Fri, 2 Aug 2013

NSW Heads of Water, Ivy Ballroom, Sydney, NSW

Wed, 7 Aug 2013

QLD Monthly Technical Meeting, Brisbane, QLD

Wed, 14 Aug 2013

NSW Seminar Series – Seminar 5, Wastewater Treatment: New Horizons, Innovations and Challenges, UTS Aerial Function Centre, Sydney, NSW

Thu, 22 Aug 2013

Victorian 51st Annual Dinner, Palladium at Crown, Melbourne, VIC

Wed, 28 Aug 2013

NSW YWP Mentoring Breakfast, Sydney, NSW

Thu, 29 Aug 2013 – Fri, 30 Aug 2013

North Qld Regional Conference, Townsville, QLD

Thu, 29 Aug 2013

TasWater’13, Wrest Point Convention Centre, Hobart, TAS

water JUNE 2013


awa News

In the tradition of groundbreaking innovations comes…

Flygt Experior

Welcome to a new era in wastewater pumping. Where engineering excellence and a pioneering spirit combine with an unmatched understanding of your needs. The result is Flygt Experior, a uniquely holistic experience that combines state-of-the-art hydraulics, motors, and controls. Today, Flygt Experior combines N-technology hydraulics and its adaptive functionality, premium efficiency motors and SmartRun – the all-new intelligent control. Flygt Experior comes from years of listening to you and applying our knowledge and expertise, to develop the most reliable and energy-efficient wastewater pumping. It is therefore the ultimate in our commitment to you.

Flygt Experior™. Inspired by you. Engineered by us. Tel 13 19 14 www.xylemwatersolutions.com/au

JUNE 2013 water


Feature article

A TALKING JOURNEY Leila Macadam shares her experiences as part of a Murray–Darling Dialogues on Development Study Tour, a two-week road trip in which participants visited Aboriginal Nations in the Murray–Darling Basin. CONNECTING TO COUNTRY “Our traditional management plan was, ‘don’t be greedy, don’t take any more than you need and respect everything around you’. That’s the management plan – it’s such a simple management plan, but so hard for people to carry out,” explained Tom Trevorrow, Ngarrindjeri elder and our host at Camp Coorong near the mouth of the Murray River (MDBA, 2013). Sadly, ‘Uncle’ Tom passed away in April of this year, but his lessons on Aboriginal perspectives on resource management – particularly water resource management – will stay with every person he took “on-Country”. The opportunity to be hosted by Uncle Tom, and many other Aboriginal community leaders and elders, was provided by the Murray-Darling Dialogues on Development Study Tour, held by Engineers Without Borders Australia (EWB) each October. In each place we visited, traditional knowledge and values around land and water management in the Basin were shared in an open dialogue between engineering industry professionals, Traditional Owners and other stakeholders in the Murray-Darling Basin. The 2012 Murray-Darling Dialogues on Development was a twoweek road trip in which 13 participants, including three facilitators from EWB, had the opportunity to visit Aboriginal Nations along the Murray-Darling Basin. My position on the trip was sponsored through the GHD-EWB corporate partnership, as was that of a participant from the Yorta Yorta Nation. Our group was hosted on-Country with eight different Aboriginal communities across Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. We covered 4700 kilometres! Through this experience, our initial beliefs were challenged as we were educated in cultural heritage, Aboriginal connection to land, and Aboriginal natural resource management. For me, it was a whole new way of observing and valuing the Australian landscape. As I built my elementary education in Aboriginal culture, I was impressed by the sustainability ingrained in even the most basic of Aboriginal concepts such as totems. Participants explored how best these ‘re-recognised values’ might be embedded in Australian land management practice and policy.

water JUNE 2013

An interactive map of the study tour where you can find photos, videos and stories with each Nation (see For further information).

AN INTIMACY OF UNDERSTANDING Aboriginal Australians have been following sustainable water and land management practices from when they first arrived on the continent more than 60,000 years ago. Aboriginal Nations have a deep and ingrained understanding of how best to thrive in Australia’s climate of extremes, droughts and floods. Not only do Aboriginal Australians understand survival and sustainability in the Australian landscape; to them, the land and water hold cultural and spiritual value. At Camp Coorong with the Ngarrindjeri, at Haywood with the Gunditjmara and while camping in the Grampians we heard local Dreamtime stories that explained the creation of the land, water and Aboriginal people. Every Nation has different beliefs, and each culture reflects the country that is local to them. They understand that all people are a part of the landscape and that survival depends on respecting and supporting that landscape.


Feature article

“I don’t think I can be far away from the river, because the river… is in my blood. It is part of me. I was born on the river. I have lived on the river all my life and I am an elder now. We are all part of the food chain, and that’s why I feel a part of it – well I am... The river gave us life, the river fed us,” says Agnes Rigney, Ngarrindjeri woman (2004). The sustainability and custodianship evident in Aboriginal cultural practices is a direct reflection of this perspective. Jai Allison, facilitator on the trip and previous field volunteer with EWB, observed this well. “The miner sees resources. The hydrologist sees watercourses. What Uncle Tom at the Coorong showed us was an unfathomable intimacy of understanding of the species and the interactions of environment and biodiversity that gives natural resource management a whole new meaning.”


Historically, Aboriginal stories and traditional resource management practices have been ignored by governments and settlers in attempts to recreate European landscapes and values in the new, typically arid landscape (Cathcart, 2009). This has pervaded Australian policy ever since. The growing empowerment of Aboriginal Australians as they fight to become stakeholders on their lands and waters is changing this, with policy makers and regulators increasingly required to listen to Indigenous perspectives on water management. This has been largely driven by the will of Aboriginal communities to obtain sufficient water to sustain the land in line with their cultural values. As opportunities are explored for making livelihoods “on-Country” communities are also beginning to appreciate how the commercial value of water can help their culture thrive by avoiding the fragmentation of moving elsewhere for work.

The age-old ability of Aboriginal people to interact with land and water in such an integrated and sustainable fashion means that there are few lasting traces of their habitation. This is an impressive feat compared with today’s infrastructure-based approach to success. Yet it is this limited physical evidence that challenges the ability of Aboriginal Nations to prove their long-term connection with the land. It is unsurprising and somewhat ironic that their missing links into Australian resource management policy are method and quantification.

Consultation, such as that by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) and the CSIRO, undertaken regarding the impacts of the new Murray–Darling Basin Plan, highlights the current challenges that Aboriginal communities face in accessing water allocations. Foremost of these is the ideological issue of reconciling marketdriven competition with the intangible aspects of Aboriginal water values (CSIRO, 2010). This is reflected in the current lack of method to quantify Aboriginal water usage, specify Aboriginal water

Our trusty four-wheel drives with the red dirt and blue sky of Murra Murra Station.

Learning about water resource management at the Hattah Lakes Environmental Flows Project, hosted by GHD in Mildura.

JUNE 2013 water


Feature Article mid-2013 and seeks to create a comprehensive reference of known Aboriginal water uses and values, projects and methodologies that have described the cultural values of water. Both national and international examples will be collated (MDBA, 2013).

COLLABORATION FOR AUSTRALIAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT Communities are acutely aware of their position and rights within Australian land and resource policy, as well as the challenge of maintaining and reclaiming Aboriginal culture, one of the oldest continuous cultures on the planet (Australian Geographic, 2011). During our visits, elders spoke in depth about their own efforts to rehabilitate their land and collect “rigorous and defendable” data in ways that are Dialogues participants taking a trip in locally painted canoes on Nebine Creek, meaningful to regulators. Inspiring examples of Murra Murra. this are Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation’s (YYNAC) cultural mapping project and Kooma requirements and estimate the relative benefit of this water use Traditional Owners Association Inc’s revegetation project. compared to competing stakeholders. Australian water policy requires that States and Territories “have regard to Aboriginal values in water resources management”, but this is reliant on a measure of Aboriginal values that can be incorporated in resource planning processes (Jackson et al., 2010). “Cultural flow” is a new term developed to describe the water required to support Aboriginal values and cultural practices. This should not be confused with environmental flow, although the latter has traditionally been considered by regulators as adequate to support both (MDBA, 2013). The National Native Title Council has commenced the National Cultural Flows Research Project to begin the process of quantifying cultural flows. Component 1 is to be completed

SOME OF THE PLACES THE TOUR VISITED Murra Murra The Dialogues group spent three days visiting Murra Murra Station, land owned and managed by Kooma Traditional Owners Association Inc (KTOAI). Murra Murra is located on 40 kilometres of the Nebine Creek, and is south-east of Cunnamulla, SouthWest Queensland. Since regaining their land through a decade of Native Title process, KTOAI has been working on a number of initiatives including a revegetation project in partnership with Melbourne Water Corporation in Victoria, and solar power and amenities provision with EWB. The last is currently seeking funding to progress to construction. Slowly, KTOAI is achieving its aims of creating a refuge of culture and natural heritage, and providing opportunities for Kooma people to reconnect with traditional lands. Uncle Dave, a Kooma (Gwamu) elder, led our cultural heritage tour on-Country, proudly sharing stories and evidence of his people’s habitation of the land. Grinding grooves on top of natural rock formations that their ancestors used as fish traps were one tangible mark that we all marvelled at. When the river flowed across the rock formation, fish would become trapped underneath, creating a ‘natural refrigerator’ that food could be plucked from as needed. This reflected the belief to only take what you need, when you need it.

water JUNE 2013

As we travelled down the Murray-Darling Basin on our own “talking journey” each community had new lessons to share with the Dialogues group on natural resource management and were similarly interested in what the participants’ organisations had to offer in turn. Suggestions included helping Aboriginal communities to better understand the potential impacts of projects proposed for their land, and opportunities for sustainable technology on-Country. Non-Aboriginal Australia has a huge opportunity to listen and learn from these stories, beliefs and practices to facilitate healthier and more culturally rich landscapes and waterways. Likewise, Aboriginal Australia can learn how cultural beliefs correlate to or

Camp Coorong After a long drive south through Broken Hill, we continued past Mannum in South Australia to Camp Coorong at the mouth of the Murray River. This is a place where Aboriginal and nonAboriginal alike can learn Ngarrindjeri traditions. Uncle Tom shared a wealth of knowledge about Australian political history and resource management from the perspective of his Nation. During a tour on-Country, he identified an abundance of native plants and described their uses as food and traditional medicine. Today, this area is a seed bank, supplying revegetation projects in other areas of South Australia. He explained which plants in particular help to keep salinity down, and how to pull up yucca for a drink if you get stuck in the bush. Uncle Tom discussed his belief that healthy, clean water for the Coorong should be an essential part of their Native Title rights, to keep both the land and the culture alive. “You can’t attach dollars to the water – it’s been sustaining the land for thousands of years”. Equally, he recognised that irrigators see the water as sustaining their lifestyles too; it’s not only Aboriginal people that rely on it now. For Aboriginal people, sustaining the landscape is about sustaining their culture and vice versa. One example that Uncle Tom clarified for us was that of having plants and animals as group and personal totems, or Ngaitji in the Ngarrindjeri language. This practice created a sense of custodianship,


Feature Article For further information on the Murray-Darling Dialogues on Development Study Tour, please visit our interactive map: www.ewb.org.au/explore/initiatives/dialogues/dialogues-ondevelopment-murray-darling-interactive-map.

REFERENCES Australian Geographic (2011): DNA Confirms Aboriginal Culture One of Earth’s Oldest. www.australiangeographic.com.au/journal/AboriginalAustralians-the-oldest-culture-on-Earth Cathcart M (2009): The Water Dreamers: The Remarkable History of our Dry Continent. Text Publishing Company. Melbourne, 2009. 327 pp, illus. Review: www.publish.csiro.au/?act=view_file&file_id=HR10005.pdf. CSIRO (2010): Water for a Healthy Country, Sustainable Yields Projects, The Murray Darling Basin, page 6 of 9. Effects of Change in Water Availability

Experiencing the significance of water on-Country at Murra Murra. can be enhanced by today’s science and engineering. This two-way learning can take place at a personal level, an industry level and a governmental level. Only through furthering and encouraging these types of discussions and collaborations will Australia accelerate its process towards truly sustainable resource management in this unique environment. As Lee from YYNAC says, we have a powerful opportunity to combine “Western science and Aboriginal knowledge to provide a better outcome for Country.”

THE AUTHOR Leila Macadam (email: leila.macadam@ghd.com) is a Civil Engineer in Waterways & Water Resources for GHD in Brisbane, and a volunteer with the EWB Queensland Region. The opinions expressed in this article do not directly reflect those of GHD, but are derived from Leila’s experiences on the Study Tour.

avoided the pitfalls of over-hunting and resulted in the maintenance of species diversity and respect for habitat.

Lake Condah Heywood is within the land of the Gunditjmara people. The area is famous for the ancient Aboriginal engineering of eel traps that, combined with an abundant environment, allowed their ancestors to stay in the area year-round. Other nations tended to move around on their land as resources shifted. The eel traps were part of a complex series of channels and water diversions within the volcanic rock and have been dated to 7,500 years old. Tom Day, CEO of Gundij Mirring Aboriginal Corporation, hosted us on a visit to the eel traps in Kurtonitj Indigenous Protected Area (IPA). He explained how the Corporation was seeking World Heritage Listing for the eel traps. Another project was the re-filling of Lake Condah, which was drained for agricultural activities in the 1950s. This project, aided by GHD, Alluvium Consulting, the Department of Sustainability and Environment and Armistead Earthmoving, saw a weir and regulator installed to retain water and reinstate the functioning of the eel traps. The community played a key role in the construction process and the industry partners were honoured with a Civil Contractors Federation Earth Award. Tom believes that a journey of interaction between organisations is the key in Traditional Owners being transitioned from irrelevance, to token relevance, to consultation, to sitting in partnership.

on Indigenous People of the Murray-Darling Basin. www.csiro.au/en/ Organisation-Structure/Flagships/Water-for-a-Healthy-Country-Flagship/ Sustainable-Yields-Projects/MDBscience/Effects-of-change-in-wateravailability-on-Indigenous-people-of-the-Murray-Darling-Basin.aspx. Jackson S, Moggridge B & Robinson C (2010): Summary of the Scoping Study: Effects of Change in Water Availability on Indigenous People of the MurrayDarling Basin. CSIRO: Water for a Healthy Country Flagship Report Series. Murray Darling Basin Authority (2013): What We Do, Working With Others, Aboriginal Communities, Cultural Flows. www.csiro.au/en/OrganisationStructure/Flagships/Water-for-a-Healthy-Country-Flagship/SustainableYields-Projects/MDBSY/MDBSY-indigenous-water-report.aspx. Tonini K (2013): Yorta Yorta To Welcome Expert Team (April 2013). www.mmg. com.au/local-news/echuca/yorta-yorta-to-welcome-expert-team-1.15617. Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation (2012): Yorta Yorta: World Leaders: Fact Sheet. www.yynac.com.au/cms/resources/fs3worldleaders.pdf.

Barmah Forest Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation (YYNAC) is based in Shepparton and Barmah, Victoria. It was actually our first host in the Dialogues experience; our pre-departure training in September occurred at their Yenbena Aboriginal Training Centre and in Barmah National Park, where they are co-managers with Parks Victoria. YYNAC partners with a number of organisations that offer their skills pro-bono to further YYNAC’s aspirations for their land and community. These organisations include EWB, GHD and David Lock Associates. In addition to a day of cross-cultural awareness led by Shane Charles, Lee Joachim from YYNAC dropped by to tell us about YYNAC’s world-class geographical information systems (GIS) project studying the effects of climate change on Yorta Yorta cultural heritage. Through a combination of ‘talking journeys’, where elders walk the land recollecting stories and memories about land and resources, story collation, photography and mapping, Lee and his team are making a record of cultural values that can then be used as a basis for assessing the effects of a varying climate in the region (YYNAC, 2012). The project receives assistance from Brown University in the USA and the World Bank, as well as Monash and LaTrobe Universities locally (Tonini, 2013). That night, we camped out in the peaceful Barmah Forest, a RAMSAR-listed site with unique wetlands.

JUNE 2013 water


Feature article

MSABI WATER POINT SPECIAL A summary of the MSABI water point program Written by Dale Young, founder of MSABI

The Kilombero Valley is a flood river delta bordered by mountain ranges in Tanzania in East Africa. The mountains act as a large catchment for rainfall that flows by gravity down the mountains via either surface rivers and streams or underground aquifers. There are large groundwater reserves in the region.

through a specially sorted gravel pack and screen. A pump test is performed to ensure adequate water – if not we continue drilling.

A MSABI-led survey of over 1,200 water points found that 80% were either river/stream or open wells, with the average depth of an open well only 4.5m. The problem with these water sources is that they are often highly polluted. In villages, deep pit latrines are a serious problem, acting like tea bags and diffusing faeces into shallow aquifers. Another issue is that these water sources often become non-productive during the dry season as the water table lowers.

Next a cement sanitary seal is installed. The cement seal is matched to an underlying clay layer and acts as a plug, preventing polluted shallow aquifer water from reaching the safer deeper water. The final step is the installation of a rope pump and construction of a concrete apron with Figure 3. A typical shallow open well in a rural area of drainage. We use locally the Kilombero Valley. manufactured rope pumps because they are simple, easy to use and, most importantly, easy to repair. Local production creates jobs and ensures a local supply chain of affordable spares.

Figure 1. Local human and environmental interactions that impact on aquifer water quality.

We aim to provide a quality service and have spent the last four years instilling a strong work ethic in our drill teams. Drillers are paid on a contract basis – the more jobs they complete the more


Faecal Contamination (FCU/100ml) versus Water Source






Figure 4. Simple integrated WASH solutions to protect the environment and provide safe water.


0.00 open well

closed well

rope pump

Figure 2. A water quality study in the Kilombero Valley, partnered between MSABI and the University of Arizona, clearly shows the difference between open well water quality and closed boreholes with hand pumps. MSABI boreholes aim to target deeper aquifer water separated from surface and pit latrine pollution. We target 28m – a depth we have found to provide plentiful clean and safe water year round. There is no point in drilling deeper as it only increases the cost of the water point. Our boreholes are drilled manually using a simple rotary percussion method called “Rota Sludge” drilling. We drill a 6” borehole and install a 4” PVC casing. Water enters the casing

water JUNE 2013

money they make. This can create motivation to take short cuts, which often lead to failures. Drillers are penalised heavily if they are caught cheating. Further, from very early on they know that business ownership will be transitioned to them – so poor work will result in no community demand and, therefore, no work/business. To improve our quality and management systems we have recently implemented a streamlined 12-point Quality Assurance (QA) program. The QA program covers all aspects of a new water point job: • Community Water Point Application Forms • Environmental Assessment Forms • Water Point Installation Contracts


Feature article

Figure 5. MSABI subsidy program for new water points (USD1: TZS1,600). Class

Money TZS

Group* Private shared* Private compound




6 x persons up to 2 weeks

Food and housing for MSABI drill team up to 2 weeks

Contribution Monetised TZS

% of Total Cost







300,000 Sand Bricks Gravel Water

600,000 3,900,000

• MSABI – Subcontractor Contracts • Manufactured Pump Inspection Forms • Drilling Logs • Contractor Installation Records • Drilling Completion Forms • Quality Inspection Forms • Subcontractor Project Completion Reports • Water Quality Records • Project Completion Reports. The program is demand driven – which means community clients must first decide they would like a water point and then come to the MSABI office and apply. In doing so, control over group formation, land issues, ownership and management is decided and controlled

by local community members. Groups contribute money, materials and labour. The water points have a tiered subsidy supported by donors. Ideally, there would be no subsidy gap – and we would have a free market business. There is a balance between quality, affordability and accessibility to basic needs. Our current cost to drill a new water point and install a rope pump is TZS 3.9 million (USD2,500), which is nearly five times the annual per capita GDP of Tanzania (USD540, 2011 World Bank). Is it fair for a family to have to save five years’ per capita GDP for access to clean and safe water – particularly in rural areas where there are fewer jobs and lower average salaries? Further, relate this to traditional NGO budgets for water points (of similar standard to MSABI), which are upwards of USD15,000! There are many possible responses to the affordability issue – from gifted to non-subsidy loan approaches. What we are doing is trying to match the money contribution for our service to the market price for

THE AUTHOR Dale Young is a water and wastewater engineer with 12 years’ experience in the industry. Through support from GHD in the Community Corporate Responsibility program he founded MSABI in 2009.

ABOUT MSABI MSABI is a water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) program that aims to improve the health and wellbeing of rural populations in the Kilombero Valley of Tanzania. The organisation is pioneering progressive and innovative hardware and software systems that create independence and ownership of local WASH service delivery businesses. Interventions are integrated and tailored to meet the specific environmental, engineering and social needs of local communities. The program is complemented by health and engineering research, which enables MSABI to develop, test and validate new systems and technologies with potential for global scalability. In four years of operation, MSABI has installed 275 new water points, providing safe water to an estimated 60,000 disadvantaged rural Tanzanians. MSABI education teams have reached more than 225,000 people through school and community education activities. The sanitation program has installed 40 wastewater treatment systems for private individuals and schools, providing safe sanitation to 8,000 people. In collaboration with the Upendo Women’s Group the program has developed and released to market locally manufactured water filter pots with the capacity to produce 300 filters per month. MSABI has also mapped and assessed more than 1,200 existing water points, allowing identification of underserviced areas and more focused and targeted interventions. The program’s research activities have resulted in over 10 published papers to date. Today MSABI has a growing team of 65 staff of whom >90% are Tanzanian.

JUNE 2013 water


Feature Article a locally constructed open well and/or shallow auger drilled borehole. The community, therefore, has the market option to select – and if they decide on MSABI they still have to make the additional material and labour contributions which, when monetised, are significant. Overall, a community group contributes 24% of the total cost of a new water point – which is still equivalent to the annual per capita GDP. Can you imagine setting aside one year of salary for water? Community groups and families are eligible for the subsidy if they contractually agree to share water to the broader community. MSABI encourages them to sell water and create a small business. This provides a steady income – and when the pump needs repair the owner has an added financial incentive to get it back working as quickly as possible. Selling 50 x 20L buckets per day at TZS50 (USD0.30) per bucket equates to USD45 revenue per month. Thus, in theory, the water point asset can be repaid within 12 months for a community group. In summary, we have found that this model provides the right balance for strong community ownership with many layers of vestment to increase operational sustainability of water point assets. In 2012 we introduced a micro-insurance program for pumps. Clients can pay a monthly premium and in return MSABI will guarantee spare parts and repair of any pump failures. We have made this micro-insurance compulsory for all schools requesting a water point, after experience showed a lack of ownership and effective management of school water points. Seemingly a controversial measure, we have had great compliance by schools resulting in pumps staying operational and children being guaranteed water.

We are also currently in the middle of rolling out maintenance hubs in key village areas with the aim of improving access to skilled technicians and reducing travel and transport expenses. These hubs will provide a proactive maintenance service, visiting each registered water point every two weeks – a service we have labelled “True Life Maintenance”. The objective of MSABI is to act as a capacity-building hub for the creation and transition of sustainable private sector water supply and maintenance services. In March 2013 we completed a 12-month soft handover of our water drilling services. Two of our existing field managers, who have been with MSABI since the beginning in 2009, “purchased” the business comprising six rigs and 20 staff. These staff and the business are subsequently divested from MSABI and the organisation contracts them to fulfil any community drilling services under our existing subsidy program. The contractors are responsible for implementing the 12-point QA system. The role of MSABI is to facilitate matching community clients and monitoring and evaluating the QA system. The organisation is also advocating the recommendation that the subsidy gap is paid through Tanzanian Government contributions, thus closing the external donor funding reliance. For further discussion pieces please refer to the following web links: tanzaniawater.blogspot.com.au/2011/08/water-and-sanitationsolutions-fit-for.html; and www.msabi.org/#!downloads/cmm5

Delivering world class water infrastructure projects • Specialising in small to large diameter pipeline projects • Pump stations and storages • Water, Sewer and Recycled Water EPC, D&C and construction projects Phone: +61 (0) 3 8848 1888 | Fax: +61 (0) 3 8848 1899 | Email: info@nacap.com.au

water JUNE 2013


Feature Article

SKILL TRANSFORMATION FOR OPERATIONAL STAFF FOR MODERNISED GRAVITY DELIVERY SYSTEMS By Geoffrey Enever, Head of Customer Service, Goulburn-Murray Water BACKGROUND The publicly owned open earthen irrigation channel system within the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District in Northern Victoria is being modernised under a $2.1 billion project funded by Victorian state and Federal governments, and rural and urban water users. This modernisation has seen a dramatic change in the physical and operational landscape. Key changes include the automation of regulating structures, metering points and system rationalisation/reconfiguration requiring a change in the way operations and maintenance are undertaken. To operate and maintain this system requires retraining and reskilling of the workforce. The Northern Victorian Irrigation Renewal Project was set up and charged with delivering the project, of which the primary aims are to: deliver 425GL of water savings; improve service to rural water users; facilitate regional development through upgrading and rationalisation of the 6,000km system operated by Goulburn-Murray Rural Water Corporation (G-MW); and reduce the footprint of the publicly owned network. In July 2012 the control and responsibility of the project was transferred to Goulburn-Murray Water (G-MW) and is now managed by the G-MW Connections Team.

THE STORY SO FAR Since the early 1900s the delivery of water in gravity irrigation areas of northern Victoria has remained basically the same – manual operation of level and flow control structures by adding/removing timber bars or lifting/opening gates and, finally, manual operation of the Dethridge meter wheel which has been the predominant metering device. These are “Passive” assets that require human intervention to operate manually and all of these operations are physically demanding and pose considerable health and wellbeing risks to operators and customers. The timber drop-bar regulating structures are being replaced with fully automated flume gates that remove the need for manual operation, are remotely monitored and, therefore, reduce in-field surveillance. Dethridge meters are being progressively replaced with a series of electronic meters that will be remotely operated and monitored, remotely monitored only or operated manually onsite with on-site meter reading required. While the onsite requirement remains with some meters, these sites have vastly improved operating controls and access that reduce risk to staff and customers. These modernised assets are dynamic and operate largely independently of human intervention; however, they do require a higher level of preventative maintenance and a quicker response to any issues that could interrupt the delivery of water to customers or cause damage due to failure of the asset. To maintain service delivery standards G-MW is required to reequip and retrain its staff to operate this fully automated and modernised system.

DISCUSSION AND ACTIONS The modernisation of the irrigation network was planned and developed by the Victorian Government, and to ensure it is implemented and the full benefits are achieved G-MW has engaged with staff to develop a plan for the operation of the system and training for staff involved in the operation of these new dynamic assets. As modernisation is implemented G-MW has reduced operational staff numbers, generally through natural attrition, and at the same time is progressively enhancing the skills of the remaining and new staff. A reduction in staff has also seen an increase in the area of responsibility for an individual field employee to monitor and this requires support and constant liaison with staff in the central monitoring team. Field staff require new skills to ensure that G-MW can provide an efficient, responsive and cost-effective delivery system and for repairs to be undertaken promptly on the automated assets to maintain customer confidence and satisfaction. Staff are undertaking training in Level I, Level II and Level III automation. This includes basic maintenance requirements (Level I), and fault detection methods and basic electronic repair skills (Level II). Some staff will progress to Level III, which will see them undertake more technical inspection and repair of sites. These staff are supported by 24-hour remote monitoring of the system, an inhouse electrical team and Rubicon Australia staff. Training is being provided by qualified electrical staff from G-MW’s Mechanical and Electrical support team and the G-MW Training facility based in Tatura, with support from Rubicon. This training will take staff from managing a passive and labour-intensive system to monitoring and maintaining a modern, dynamic and sophisticated modernised delivery system. To facilitate this training, G-MW in partnership with Rubicon Australia has established a small classroom equipped with the latest components that staff are required to inspect, diagnose and repair. This facility will allow G-MW staff to undertake training in a controlled environment with hands-on instruction and guidance. One difficulty is that the system is being implemented on a “live” system that needs to be operated in conjunction with the manual system. The planned upgrade of the network will be rolled out over a period of seven years. This will require staff to gain new skills while maintaining their previous manual operation skills. To ensure that the training is implemented appropriately in the field and ensure a high standard of maintenance and delivery, it is necessary to equip staff with the correct equipment. The old metal “bar hooks”, paper-based meter reading sheets and wooden “measuring sticks” are replaced with Field Computing, Multi Meters and other electrical equipment. Vehicles have required the addition of fixed tool compartments to ensure equipment is available at all times. An improved level of access to sites for 24-hour accessibility is also required.

JUNE 2013 water

Creating tomorrow’s water solutions today In a rapidly developing world, now more than ever Australia’s future is dependent upon the effective and efficient management of water. UGL continues to meet large scale urban, regional and industrial development challenges in designing and delivering comprehensive integrated infrastructure solutions. Clients benefit from UGL’s established systems and procedures ensuring safety and quality while minimising impact on the environment and community. UGL is a leader in all facets of water and wastewater engineering, construction, and operations and maintenance services. UGL is proud sponsors of the AWA’s Victorian Branch 51st Annual Dinner held 21 August, Palladium at Crown, Southbank.


Ozwater Report To be supplied Turesday

Ozwater Report To be supplied Turesday

Ozwater Report To be supplied Turesday

Ozwater Report To be supplied Turesday

Ozwater Report To be supplied Turesday

Ozwater Report To be supplied Turesday

Ozwater Report To be supplied Turesday


Feature Article Ozwater Report

MEMBRANES & DESALINATION WORKSHOP Presented by the National Centre of Excellence in Desalination and the AWA Membranes and Desalination Specialist Network More than 70 Ozwater’13 delegates were given a behind-the-scenes look into the successful delivery of Australia’s newest desalination plants at this workshop, led by National Centre of Excellence in Desalination Australia CEO Neil Palmer. The workshop explored the refinancing and lease of Sydney Water’s $2.3 billion plant to a Canadian-Australian superfund consortium, detailed South Australian Water’s holistic management of its cutting edge Adelaide Desalination Project, and examined the workings of Western Australia’s competitive alliance process championed by the Water Corporation for the state’s two desal plants. Workshop participants heard from US desalination expert Tom Pankratz of Global Water Intelligence about the rapid rise of alternative project delivery models growing seawater desalination since 1998. Mr Pankratz said total capacity of current projects worldwide stood at around 25.5 million3/day, and he outlined the project delivery models used in 12 countries such as the five Build Own and Operate Transfer (BOOT) plants in Israel. Mr Pankratz said the popularity of Build Own and Operate (BOO) plants enabled owneroperators to “own the cow, sell the milk”, and often included the onsite construction of an independent power supply. Sydney Water (SW) Capital and Procurement Manager Daniel Hunter told Ozwater delegates about the tight timeframe process of shortlisting three bids from an initial 85 to remove $1.8 million debt incurred for its Kurnell Desalination Plant from SW and the NSW Government’s balance sheets in 2011–2012. This enabled the freeing-up of capital needed to finance other infrastructure while ensuring the 250mL/d Sydney plant would be able to produce high-quality drinking water for up to 15 per cent of the city’s needs and could be expanded in the future to 500mL/d. Mr Hunter said the new large, world-class asset was ‘ring-fenced’, ‘de-risked’, included pipeline and offered decent return in order to attract the interest of large superfunds. Ontario Teachers Pension Plan and Hastings Fund Management won the bidding process. South Australia Water’s Project and Operations Director, Milind Kumar, told workshop participants not to believe media reports falsely claiming that the state’s 100GL/a Adelaide plant had been mothballed. In fact the $1.8 billion plant – which was doubled in capacity during construction to be able to provide half of the city’s needs from a climate-independent source – has so far supplied 35 billion litres into the water grid and set new environmental benchmarks for plant infrastructure. As part of SA Water’s genuine collaborative approach to contracting, care of staff and robust stakeholder engagement, each worker on the Adelaide Project was encouraged to perform to highest standards and thanked individually for their contribution. Local indigenous culture, flora and fauna were recognised in the design and content of the plant’s unique interpretation centre for the public, which is booked solidly for tours.


NCEDA scientist Professor Michael Porter from Deakin University and Tom Pankratz, Editor of GWI’s Water Desalination Report and member of NCEDA’s Commercialisation Advisory Committee. Success included engaging head-on with risk to “unlock hidden opportunity”, creating processes to support critical staff and activities, good communication of the “big picture”, and key decision rationale to get “100 per cent alignment”. Mr Kumar said the ADP had been officially recognised by many trade and water associations in Australia and internationally, and featured the world’s largest ultra-filtration pre-treatment system to improve reverse osmosis membrane life and reduce operational costs. More than 600 local businesses were involved in the construction with over 10,000 workers onsite. The plant has so far been visited by more than 16,000 members of the public. WA Water Corporation Principal Project Manager, Chris Davie, spoke about the two-year process to develop a competitive alliance for WA’s desal plants – the Southern Seawater Alliance (SSWA). He detailed the successful knitting together of a project alliance leadership team, which seconded staff and operated on a basis where “win-win or lose-lose were the only acceptable outcomes”, and decisions were made on a unanimous “best for project basis” in a solutions-focused, no-blame culture. Risk was embraced, understood and managed effectively. NCEDA-funded researchers Professor Michael Porter from Deakin University and Professor Jennifer McKay from the University of South Australia also spoke about their new projects investigating better water governance and policymaking surrounding the hundreds of small desalination operations scattered across the country, and the need to raise the importance of desalination as necessary insurance integrated within broader bulk water supply networks. Professor Porter’s modelling in collaboration with Griffith University simulating over 100 years’ alternative scenarios of drought and desalination with different pricing, financing and desal investment regimes will be featured at AWA’s Membranes and Desalination Conference in Brisbane in July. Following discussion and questions from participants, Director of Victoria University’s Institute for Sustainability and Innovation Professor Stephen Gray wrapped up the workshop with a summary of each speaker’s main points.


Ozwater Report

WATER QUALITY MONITORING AND ANALYSIS WORKSHOP Presented by AWA’s Water Quality Monitoring & Analysis (WQMA) Specialist Network Changing environmental conditions, pressure to improve the efficacy of our processes and the risk of shock loads of contaminants entering the system all mean there is a growing need for the development of online sensors for the water, wastewater and reclaimed water areas of the industry. The development and application of online monitoring has the potential to give a rapid indication of changes in quality and allow action to be taken to help minimise the impacts on treatment processes, water quality incidents and customer inconvenience. During the Ozwater’13 Conference, AWA’s Water Quality Monitoring & Analysis (WQMA) Specialist Network organised a workshop on the subject of ‘Online Water Quality Monitoring – The Voice of Experience, Meeting the Challenges and Removing Barriers to Implementing Online Monitoring Schemes’. The workshop was opened by the co-chair of the WQMA Specialist Network, Chris Chow (SA Water) who set the scene, explaining that the workshop had been built on the outcomes from the 2011 Intelligent Sensors, Sensor Networks and Information Processing (ISSNIP) Water Quality Workshop in Adelaide. Tung Nguyen (Sydney Water) then provided a snapshot of the water industry’s experience with online monitoring, as well as detailing some of the current research initiatives, including information on the project ‘Compendium of Sensors and Monitors and Their Use in the Global Water Industry’. This project, managed by the Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) on behalf of the Global Water Research Coalition (GWRC), will identify and document information on the types, costs (capital and operating), and real-world experiences with the use of sensors in the water/wastewater industry and synthesise this information in an online compendium.

It is expected that the completed database will be of use for utilities in deciding whether to use sensors, which types to use for their particular need, benefits they can expect, how to overcome challenges, and what costs to expect. AECOM is currently working with utilities in Asia-Pacific to survey their use of sensors in different applications. Facilitator Gareth Roeszler (Water Quality Research Australia) introduced the interactive portion of the afternoon and asked the capacity crowd to consider issues in four key topic areas: 1.

Instrument Selection;


Equipment Issues;


Data Transfer and Management; and


Key Challenges in Implementation – Drivers and Benefits.

Significant discussion surrounded these issues and was ably guided with assistance from Chris Chow, Tung Nguyen, Rob Dexter (DCM Process Control), Richard Stuetz (UNSW), Jeff Charrois (Curtin University), Chris Saint (University of South Australia) and Luke Zappia (Water Corporation). Each table reported their discussions back to the group and the session was wrapped up by Jeff and Chris. The results of the discussions, including those from the ISSNIP workshop and the contribution of the WERF Global Sensors project, are currently being compiled into a position paper from the view of the water industry as end user, engineering consultancy companies and university research teams as service provider. The paper will be made available to network members and workshop attendees upon completion. To ensure you receive a copy of the paper, visit the AWA website, go to ‘Manage Your AWA Account’, and select ‘Water Quality Monitoring & Analysis’ as one of your specialist networks. For further information contact Laura Evanson, Program Manager – Specialist Networks, on levanson@awa.asn.au


Winners of the AWA National Water Awards 2013 AWA congratulates all the winners of the National Water Awards that were presented at Ozwater’13 in May.


Research Innovation Award Winner: National Research Centre for Environmental Toxicology, The University of Queensland - What’s In Our Water? Bioanalytical Tools For Assessment of Micropollutants, Mixtures and Transformational Products From Sewage To Drinking Water

Project Innovation Award Winner: State Water Corporation and Water for Rivers for the Computer Aided River Management System (CARM)

Program Innovation Award Winner: Bulk Water Alliance for their Enlarged Cotter Dam Fish Management Program Sponsored by: ALS Environmental

Water Industry Safety Excellence Award Winner: Water Resources Alliance

Supported by: Water Services Association of Australia


National Undergraduate Water Prize Winner: Caroline Auricht, Lisa Blinco, Nina Hurr, Stefanie Tiggemann, University of Adelaide Sponsored by: CH2M HILL


Water Professional of the Year Winner: Jurg Keller, Australian Water Management Centre

Young Water Professional of the Year Winner: Kate Simmonds, CH2M Hill Sponsored by: Surco Solutions

Research and Development Award Winner: Mike Burch, SA Water


Best Ozwater’13 Paper Winner: Andrew Watkinson – Of Droughts and Flooding Rains: Impacts of Extremes on Groundwater-Surface Water Connectivity

Best Ozwater’13 Poster Winner: Thomas Ransome, Development of a Protocol for Odour Management and Characterisation in WWTPS

To find out more about the AWA National Water Awards and how you too could be a winner visit www.awa.asn.au/awards

ADVERTORIAL Water is a precious resource and effective water storage is essential in today’s economic climate. Australia’s hot sun and dry winds contribute substantially to evaporation of above ground storage facilities effectively reducing the amount of available water. Aqualab Scientific is recognised as a leader in the environmental industry, supplying quality brands that customers have known and trusted years.in the Aqualab Scientific is recognised as afor leader environmental industry, supplying quality brands that customers have known and trusted for years. Aqualab Scientific is recognised as a leader in the Water Quality Instruments environmental industry, supplying quality brands that as afor leader Aqualab Scientific is recognised customers have known and trusted years.in the environmental supplying quality brands that Water Qualityindustry, Instruments customers have known and trusted for years.

Water Quality Instruments Water Quality Multiprobes

measure and store temp, Water Quality Instruments

Water Level Water Level Water Level Water Level

Water Level Water Level Water Level

pH, conductivity, LDO Water Qualitydissolved Multiprobes (luminescent measure self-cleaning and store temp, oxygen), pH, conductivity, LDO turbidity, chlorophyll a, Water Quality Multiprobes (luminescent dissolved bluegreen algae, redox, depth measure andrugged store temp, oxygen), self-cleaning etc... in one housing. pH, conductivity, LDO turbidity, chlorophyll a, Water Quality Multiprobes (luminescent dissolved bluegreen algae, redox, measure and store temp,depth Sensors oxygen), self-cleaning etc... in one rugged housing. pH, conductivity, LDO turbidity, chlorophyll a, (luminescent dissolved bluegreen algae, redox, depth oxygen), self-cleaning Sensors etc... in one rugged housing. turbidity, chlorophyll a, bluegreen algae, redox, depth etc... inone onerugged rugged housing. etc.. in housing. CBS Compact Bubbler Level Sensors Sensor Low Maintenance, low power with an intelligent Senors Sensors CBS pumpCompact strategy, Bubbler no pumpLevel Sensor Low Maintenance, maintenance or lubrication low powerSDI-12, with an4-20mA. intelligent required. CBS pumpCompact strategy, Bubbler no pumpLevel Sensor Low Maintenance, maintenance or lubrication RLS Radar Level low with anSensor intelligent required. SDI-12, 4-20mA. CBSpower Compact Bubbler Level Contactless andno energypump pump Sensorstrategy, Low Maintenance, efficient water maintenance orlevel lubrication low power with an intelligent RLS Level measurement. Flat antenna required. SDI-12, 4-20mA. noSensor pump pumpRadar strategy, Contactless and energyand inconspicuous design maintenance or lubrication efficient water level housing diving bell SDI-12, 4-20mA. required.using RLS Radar Level Sensor measurement. Flat antenna principal. 35m range SDI-12, Contactless and energyand inconspicuous design 4-20mA, RS-485. efficient water level housing using diving bell RLS Radar Level Sensor measurement. Flat antenna principal. 35m range SDI-12, Contactless and energyData Loggers and inconspicuous 4-20mA, RS-485. efficient water level design housing using diving bell Flat antenna measurement. principal. 35m rangedesign SDI-12, and inconspicuous Data Loggers 4-20mA, RS-485. housing using diving bell principal. 35m range SDI-12, 4-20mA, RS-485. Data Loggers Diver Data Loggers have become an industry standard

in the measurement of water Water Level Data Loggers

Diver Datasalinity Loggers level and in have become an industry standard groundwater and surface in the applications. measurementThe of water water Diver Data Loggers level and salinity in have pressure transducer, become an industry standard groundwater and surface temperature sensor, salinity in the Data measurement of water water applications. Diver Loggers have sensor, data logger The and level and salinity in pressure transducer, become an industry standard battery are integrated into groundwater and surface temperature sensor, salinity in the measurement of water a single robust device. water applications. sensor, data logger and level and salinity in The pressure transducer, battery are integrated into groundwater and surface temperature sensor, salinity a single robust device. water applications. The sensor, logger and pressuredata transducer, battery are integrated into temperature sensor, salinity a single data robust device. sensor, logger and battery are integrated into a single robust device.


sales@aqualab.com.au www.aqualab.com.au 02 9894 4511 sales@aqualab.com.au www.aqualab.com.au

02 9894 4511 www.aqualab.com.au www.aqualab.com.au sales@aqualab.com.au sales@aqualab.com.au sales@aqualab.com.au 02 9894 4511 02 02 9894 98944511 4511

With this in mind Sekisui SPR have introduced Cross-wave to the Australian market, a unique underground water storage solution. Cross-wave has been used extensively in Japan since 1998, its simple design and ease of installation have led to over 75 million litres of water being stored to date for reuse in Homes, Schools, Parks, Gardens and Industry. Cross-wave is made from recycled and virgin polypropylene with a design that requires minimum space during transport and provides 95% usable storage space upon installation (meaning 1 Cubic Meter = 950 litres of water storage space). Cross-wave’s unique geometric interlocking modular design means that it will accept traffic loading up to 25t, allowing for the full use of the surface area above for parks, sports grounds or even car parking space. It also means no more stagnant ponds or unsightly tanks using valuable surface area.

Installing Cross-wave is simple. Just excavate a pit to the required cubic storage capacity, line the pit with Geo Fabric and Liner Membrane then simply stack the Cross-wave modules. At just 7.3kgs per module there is no heavy lifting, complex site assembly or costly concrete or steel, with Cross-wave it is just stack and go. Once stacking is complete and water inlet and outlets have been connected simply wrap the stacked modules in the Liner Membrane and Geo Fabric, backfill and compact the area. Cross-wave can be used for Water Storage, Flood Control and Aquifer Recharge and areas can be as big or small as required.

For more inFormation please visit our web site: http://sekisui-techno-molding.jp/eng/products/cw/index.html or to discuss your particular project please contact: Cliff Cekavicius, Sekisui Asia Pacific phone: +61 8 8260 8000 email: cliffc@sekisuispr.com.au

technical features

Climate-Resilient Water: Groundwater Of Droughts And Flooding Rains

A Watkinson et al.


EC Sivret et al.


G Finke, M Walsh & D Whyte


S Kizito, G Thorne & M-L Yau


B Asquith & J Eggleton


Implementing gas chlorination and fluoridation in six remote indigenous communities in NT B McDowall, R Wagland & A Dysart


Impacts of extremes on groundwater-surface water connectivity

Odour Management Beyond H2S: Chemical Characterisation Of Sewer Odour Emissions

Results of a long-term monitoring program conducted for sewers in Sydney

Odour Control At The South Caboolture Sewage Treatment Plant

Performance testing of the upstream ductwork extraction and air treatment system

Small Water & Wastewater Systems Delivering Drinking Water As Part Of The Remote Area Essential Services Program

Designing functional treatment facilities for unsupervised operation in remote communities

Comparison Of Decentralised And Centralised Wastewater Servicing Approaches A case study of the Park Orchards Backlog Area in Victoria

Delivering Package Gas Chlorination And Fluoridation In The Top End

Integrated Planning Integrated Urban Water Management In The Water-Sensitive City

This icon means the paper has been refereed

MF Dobbie & RR Brown


AM Hassanli & D Pezzaniti


A Pannikar, P Gehrke & T Wilson


Systems, silos and practitioners’ risk perceptions

Rural Water Management Crop Irrigation Scheduling In South Australia: A Case Study

Water management assessment in a subsurface drip-irrigated processing tomato field

Water Resources Planning & Management Predicting The Drought: The Needs And The Haves

The benefits of a comprehensive drought-monitoring and prediction service

Forestry Water Policy In South Australia: A Case Study

Water management assessment in a subsurface drip-irrigated processing tomato field


C Xu, J McKay & G Keremane



An aerial view of the South Caboolture sewage treatment plant.




Technical Features

OF DROUGHTS AND FLOODING RAINS… Impacts of extremes on groundwater-surface water connectivity A Watkinson, M Bartkow, M Raiber, M Cox, A Hawke, A James

ABSTRACT Significant flooding in South-East Queensland in 2011 led to a change in the water quality risk profile for total dissolved solids at several water treatment plants (WTPs). Potential causes were assessed via 3D modelling. Groundwater baseflow to local creeks sourced from bedrock formations with high TDS was identified as the major cause. Little can be done to remediate this without major changes in groundwater management or engineering solutions; however, such information and ongoing use of 3D visualisation models will allow Seqwater to develop better operational plans for flood-related processes.

INTRODUCTION Seqwater is a Queensland Government statutory authority responsible for ensuring a safe, secure and reliable water supply for almost three million people across South-East Queensland and providing essential flood mitigation services. It also provides irrigation services to around 1,000 rural customers in five water supply schemes. The authority is one of Australia’s largest water businesses with the most geographically spread and diverse asset base of any capital city water authority in the country. With operations that extend from the New South Wales border to the base of the Toowoomba ranges and north to Gympie, Seqwater manages more than $9 billion of water supply assets and the natural catchments of the region’s major water supply sources. These assets include dams, weirs, conventional water treatment plants, and climate-resilient sources of water through the Gold Coast Desalination Plant and the Western Corridor Recycled Water Scheme. Twelve of the largest treatment plants are connected by a 600km-long pipeline network that allows water to be transported across the region. The catchments feeding Seqwater’s water supplies span approximately 1.4 million ha, of which Seqwater owns


Figure 1. Map of the study area showing the model domain (orange) and main water bodies and infrastructure. very little (< 5%), mostly land either underwater or directly adjacent to water bodies. Human activity in the time since European settlement has left a significant environmental footprint on the watersheds. Only about one-quarter of the original vegetation in the region remains intact, although much less occurs along rivers and streams in some catchments. The hydrology of catchments has also been substantially altered through the construction of dams and weirs, and also by changes in land use and vegetation coverage. Land use and the proportion of protected areas are also highly variable and the majority of water managed by Seqwater is from open catchments, much of which is open to public access with urban, peri-urban, recreational and agricultural use. For much of the first decade of the 21st century, South-East Queensland was experiencing a prolonged drought that placed significant pressure on the quality and quantity of its water supplies. The drought broke in 2009 and in early 2011 the region experienced unprecedented rainfall that resulted in widespread flooding. This dramatic change presented Seqwater with many

additional challenges to provide safe drinking water and significantly altered the water quality risk profiles at our water treatment plants (WTPs). Some of these water quality changes were immediate and obvious and have since returned to baseline conditions. However, there were also some more subtle changes in water quality that have increased in significance over time. An example of such a change is total dissolved solids (TDS) in source water to a major regional WTP of the area. Lake Wivenhoe (1,100GL) is the region’s largest single water supply and provides water to the Wivenhoe Recreational (0.125ML/day), Lowood (19ML/day), Mt Crosby Eastbank (650ML/day) and Mt Crosby Westbank (250ML/day) WTPs via a 65km natural conduit, the Mid-Brisbane River (Figure 1). The Mid-Brisbane River is fed by a number of smaller tributaries and closer to the dam wall has a confluence with Lockyer Creek. Following the floods a significant increase in TDS (as measured by EC) was seen at WTPs downstream of the confluence of the Brisbane River and Lockyer Creek (Figure 2). This was directly associated with an increase in EC


model domain selected for this current study covers part of the Laidley Sub-Basin of the Clarence-Moreton Basin (CMB), and the eastern edge of the CMB in the model area is marked by the West Ipswich Fault, which is a major structural boundary.

Wivenhoe WTP


14/1/11 - Flood

800 600

Lowood WTP

The drainage system morphology (Figures 1 and 4) shows the geological control over the course of the MBR, notably of the resistant basement rock to the north-east. The development of well-defined meanders is largely within softer sedimentary rocks (e.g. sandstone) and has associated in-filling by alluvium (Figure 4).

Mt Crosby WTP

The subdivision of stratigraphic units in the Clarence-Moreton Basin, including the model domain, is shown in the stratigraphic column in Figure 4, based on Wells et al. (1994). The distribution of these bedrock formations in the area of the study is shown by the 3D geological model in Figure 4. The distribution of bedrock outcrop is an important factor in both surface water and shallow groundwater chemical character.

400 200 0

1000 800 600 400 200 0 1200 1000 800



The GVS (Groundwater Visualisation System) software supports an interactive model that allows interrogation of complex 2D and 3D displays to compare surface and subsurface data and correlation with geology and drainage morphology, as well as monitoring locations (James et al., 2010). Major elements that were built into the model include a digital elevation map of surface topography (LIDAR, STRM and bathymetry maps consisting of approximately 360 million data points), climate data (>20 stations with up to 100 years data), stream flow and water quality (up to 30 years, spatially and temporally variable), hydrogeology (2,300 bores with lithographic and stratigraphic data) and geology (Hawke et al., 2012).

400 200










Figure 2. Change in EC in raw water at Wivenhoe Recreational, Lowood and Mt Crosby (Eastbank) WTPs following the 2011 floods. Red lines indicate average ECs before and after the flood event. post-flood in Lockyer Creek (Figure 3); this was distinct from impacts in the upstream dam as no changes in EC were seen at the Wivenhoe WTP (Figure 2). This increase in TDS presented a greater risk for the WTPs to meet both water quality specifications and regulatory requirements for treated water. The result was increased costs through process changes and the blending of water within the grid network. The Lockyer catchment hosts significant vegetable cropping, contributing over 35% of Queensland’s production of processing crops (Cox et al., 2005). Due to the substantial irrigation water requirements, a number of recharge and diversionary weirs were built throughout the catchment to enable recharge of the surrounding 25 alluvium for groundwater extraction.



Water Ht Height (O’Reillys Weir) 1600

ECO'Reilly's (O’Reillys Weir) 20

1400 1200

Water Ht (m)

This paper explores the investigation undertaken by Seqwater in partnership with the Queensland University of Technology to establish the source of the TDS change, establish possible timeframes for the issue and identify possible remedial actions. Key to this investigation was the development of a Groundwater Visualisation System (GVS) model to enable the interpretation of complex data networks and their spatial relationships.

For the model domain a range of publicly available information has also been collated and included as surface layers, such as roads, watercourses, and surface storages and lakes. These data are incorporated in the 3D model, and are also overlain on the surface topography. Also of significance is the variation in the extent and volume of the alluvium, which can be seen in Figure 4. From these detailed data, a regional-scale 3D geological model of the lower Lockyer Valley and Mid-Brisbane River catchment was constructed using the 3D geological software Gocad. It integrates both stratigraphic and lithofacies information.

15 1000 800 10 600 400












Much of the bedrock underlying the alluvial aquifers in the lower Lockyer and Mid-Brisbane River (MBR) region are part of the Clarence-Moreton Basin, which is a sub-basin of the Great Artesian Basin. The

Conductivity (uS/cm)

Conductivity ( S/cm)



Figure 3. Change in EC following the 2011 floods in the Lockyer Creek at O’Reillys Weir. Red lines indicate average ECs before and after the flood event.




Technical Features



Technical Features

Figure 4. 3D geological model (left) developed using GoCad. Overview looking north-east towards Wivenhoe Dam, showing the surficial (mapped) geology, major watercourses and the main subsurface geological layers. Pink area is the ancient regional basement rocks underlying the Clarence-Moreton Basin formations; these old (Paleozoic) rocks outcrop in the east of the area as the uplifted D’Aguillar Ranges (5 x vertical). Stratigraphic column (right) of major geological units in the Mid-Brisbane River model domain, based on Wells and O’Brien (1994) and showing generalised water-bearing character. Hierarchical Cluster Analysis (HCA) was applied to enable a more controlled assessment of analytical data and for identification of hydrochemical patterns. Also, the use of multivariate statistical analysis has several advantages in comparison to graphical interpretative tools such as Piper plots or scatter plots. Often, the usefulness of graphical methods is limited due to the absence of objective criteria to distinguish different groups of waters, and the separation into distinct hydrochemical facies can be qualitative rather than quantitative (Raiber et al., 2013). Further, graphical techniques can lack clarity where large datasets are displayed and only allow the inclusion of a limited number of variables (e.g. major ions and no option to include EC or pH). Here, for example, NO3 is included. In order to understand the physical and chemical processes that control groundwater evolution in relation to the geological framework, the results of the multivariate statistical analysis are in this project placed into the spatial context of the GVS model. Ten variables (Ca, Mg, Na, K, HCO3, Cl, SO4, NO3, EC and pH) were selected for multivariate statistical analysis. Some of the sites, and especially those that are part of the Queensland Government


groundwater monitoring network, have multiple results from different years. Prior to the multivariate statistical analysis, all variables except for pH were logtransformed to ensure that each variable more closely follows a normal distribution (Cox et al., 2012). More than 2,300 bores with lithological records have been identified in the model domain. These groundwater bores are mostly within the alluvial aquifers the major source of irrigation water. Lithological data from the DNRMregistered bores (groundwater database) have been compiled and sorted. The quality of these data is highly variable and a detailed assessment has been conducted as a preliminary step to the development of the integrated 3D hydrogeological model. Following data quality checks, the lithological descriptions from the bores (i.e. downhole geological logs) have been categorised into different lithological sub-classes. Depth to bedrock has also been identified where bores intersect the sedimentary formations underlying the alluvial aquifer. This depth is used in the development of the 3D geological model and specifically to determine the thickness of the alluvium and variations within it.

In addition to records from DNRMregistered groundwater bores, records from stratigraphic bores (e.g. Geological Survey of Queensland) and petroleum bores (e.g. DNRM) have been compiled. These latter drillholes are usually in bedrock and typically have reliable geological (lithological) logs. All the bore geological logs (DNRM, stratigraphic holes and petroleum holes) have been grouped into different stratigraphic classes for the development of geological boundary surfaces. Using this approach, each boundary surface represents the top of a geological unit.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Development and interrogation of the model has enabled the identification of data gaps and further monitoring requirements that were not evident through standard review processes. Data obtained and integrated in the GVS model and its backend database confirm that the largest amount of data, both surface water and groundwater, is within the Lockyer Valley. The gaps in data for this section of the Middle Brisbane River are evident, and this is an important factor that needs to be addressed. Analysis of available data has shown that some of the time series data files are limited – for example, turbidity.

It is noted that turbidity is a valuable parameter in water quality management of this type, and the monitoring network should be expanded. This further demonstrates gaps in the distribution of monitoring sites. This has shown the value of the development of visualisation models to ensure appropriate monitoring of complex natural systems for best practice management. THE GEOLOGICAL MODEL AND RELATIONSHIP TO HYDROGEOLOGY AND HYDROCHEMISTRY

Important features to look for in this investigation are the physico-chemical values in the main rivers, notably the Brisbane River and Lockyer Creek (when flowing), in comparison to the smaller tributaries and their sub-catchments. Resulting from the Hierarchical Cluster Analysis (HCA), six distinct hydrochemical groups have been identified in the lower Lockyer Valley and MBR catchment (Figure 5). The data shows that the different clusters have variable concentrations of the different parameters and, consequently, different ion ratios. The map of the spatial distribution of HCA-derived water quality groups shows that there are at present no samples that could be included in the cluster analysis in the MBR alluvium due to the lack of registered bores or groundwater observation bores in this area. Comparing this hydrochemistry with the geological framework of the different sub-catchments of the Lockyer Valley and MBR catchment suggests that geology is the major driver of these differences. The geological model (Figure 4) shows the relative relationships of different geological units and major structural elements in the model domain, and also highlights how these are related to the course of streams such as Black Snake Creek, Plain Creek, Lockyer Creek and the Brisbane River. The Woogaroo Subgroup (oldest unit of the Clarence-Moreton Basin) crops out at the surface in the northern part of the model domain (Figure 4), including the surroundings of the Wivenhoe Dam. It is down-faulted to depths of up to approximately 700m below the ground surface in the centre of the model domain. The Woogaroo Subgroup groundwater is recharged in the north-west of the model domain. The Subgroup is considered to be a good aquifer (Figure 5) with high recharge rates due to its highly permeable

Figure 5. Spatial distribution of HCA-derived water quality groups in the Lockyer Valley and Mid-Brisbane River catchment. sediments. The rapid infiltration of groundwater means that residence times in the unsaturated zone are low and that the potential for an evapotranspirative enrichment of dissolved solids in the soil zone prior to recharge to the aquifer is very small (Raiber, unpublished data). As a result, groundwater contained in the Woogaroo Subgroup is generally of good to very good quality. The significance of the Woogaroo Subgroup as a good aquifer is also reflected in the good quality (i.e. low salinities) of water contained in the Buaraba Creek and its alluvium, which is partly used to sustain water supply in the Atkinson Dam. The salinity of these ground- and surface waters is generally well within drinking water quality limits. Buaraba Creek receives high rates of good quality (low TDS) baseflow from its alluvial sediments; this is baseflow from the highly permeable sandstones of the Woogaroo Subgroup (Cox et al., 2012). West of the West Ipswich Fault, other stratigraphic units including the Gatton Sandstone are also down-faulted significantly. The Gatton Sandstone forms the bedrock underlying the alluvium throughout much of the model domain (Figure 4). The Gatton Sandstone has a low permeability and is probably best described as a low permeability aquifer. Because of its hydraulic properties, there is probably only limited exchange of groundwater between the Gatton

Sandstone and the alluvium in most areas under “normal� conditions. However, as the Gatton Sandstone thins out and pinches out against the Woogaroo Subgroup (Figure 4) towards the northern part of the model domain, groundwater discharges upwards into the alluvium in some areas; this may have led to the numerous swamps in the area between Lake Clarendon and Lake Atkinson (Raiber et al., 2013). Continuous pumping of the alluvium during the drought resulted in a significant lowering of groundwater levels within the alluvium; however, water levels in the Gatton Sandstone remained relatively unchanged. As a result, head reversal with a potentially higher hydraulic head in the Gatton Sandstone than in the alluvium may have increased upwards discharge from the Gatton Sandstone into the overlying alluvium. Groundwater contained within the Gatton Sandstone of the model domain is probably primarily recharged in its outcrop areas in the ranges surrounding the Lockyer Creek catchment. Some groundwater that follows more regional flowpaths may also have been recharged closer to the Great Dividing Range or through the overlying basalts. Because of the poor hydraulic properties and thick regolith that has developed on the Gatton Sandstone, the infiltration rates of rainfall to this unit are very small. As a result, there are long residence times




Technical Features



Technical Features of the clay-rich alluvium, the primary source of baseflow to these creeks is the poor-quality (high EC and TDS) groundwater of the exposed bedrock. As a result, the surface water composition in these creeks and the groundwater in these alluvial valleys are similar to the groundwater contained within the Walloon Coal Measures, Koukandowie Formation and Gatton Sandstone. Locally, this is further aggravated by shallow water levels (e.g. in the lower part of the Plain Creek alluvial valley). These features also suggest that there are sub-artesian discharge zones for the bedrock units (especially Gatton Sandstone) and the shallow water tables also promote additional increases of salinity due to evaporation. DRIVERS OF WATER QUALITY CHANGES IN THE LOWER LOCKYER CREEK AND BRISBANE RIVER

Figure 6. A) Cross-section through Central Lockyer Valley showing the groundwater level and groundwater salinity at bore location 14320635 in May 2007 (drought); and B) groundwater level and groundwater salinity at bore location 14320635 in September 2011 (post-flood) showing alluvial recharge and likely returns of relatively saline baseflow to creeks. of infiltrating rainfall in the unsaturated zone and water is subjected to substantial evapotranspiration. This process causes the generally brackish to saline groundwaters of the Gatton Sandstone. Similarly to the Gatton Sandstone, the Koukandowie Formation and the Walloon Coal Measures are also likely to have lower permeabilities and are recharged in a similar way. The Koukandowie Formation is also classified as a lowpermeability aquifer, although coarser sandstones are present in some areas. The Walloon Coal Measures are generally considered as an aquitard (Figure 4), however, sandstone intervals within the Walloon Coal Measures can promote groundwater flow in some areas, in particular towards the basin margins. This water is commonly used for stock supply. As a result of the generally fine-grained composition of the Walloon Coal Measures and the Koukandowie Formation, recharge to these formations is slow and the quality of groundwater is also generally very poor with high TDS. In the model domain, the Koukandowie Formation and the Walloon Coal Measures are present only in the southern part, where they dip steeply towards the


south-west (Figure 4) to form a major depositional centre below the Bremer Valley that contains more than 1,500m of sediments. Despite their limited extent in the model domain, the occurrence of the Koukandowie Formation and the Walloon Coal Measures are highly significant for the groundwater chemistry in the lower Lockyer Valley and Middle-Brisbane Catchment. Figure 4 shows that the headwaters of both Black Snake Creek and Plain Creek are composed of these units, which is the major reason for the high salinities measured in these creeks. There are no Main Range Volcanics present in the Black Snake Creek and Plain Creek sub-catchments (Figure 4), and the catchments of the south-east of the model area, Black Snake Creek and Plain Creek, as well as other smaller creeks in this area (e.g. Sandy Creek), are incised from their headwaters to confluence (with the Lockyer Creek and Brisbane River) into the Walloon Coal Measures, Koukandowie Formation and the Gatton Sandstone. As noted, these formations are characterised by poor hydraulic properties and contain brackish to saline groundwater. Consequently, apart from minor diffuse recharge through the surface

As described, the major control of groundwater chemistry and quality in the creeks of the Lockyer Valley and in the other alluvial valleys is the nature of the contact with the underlying bedrock, as well as morphological factors such as topographic gradient. This is also likely to cause the increase of groundwater salinities observed in the lower Lockyer Valley and in the Brisbane River following the floods. There were clear changes in water chemistry from drought to floods and post-flood in the lower Lockyer catchment and Plain Creek sub-catchment. During the drought, groundwater levels in the alluvial valleys of Black Snake Creek, Plain Creek and other smaller creeks in the area were too low to produce any significant baseflow. As a result, these creeks did not flow during the drought and there was no, or very little, input of brackish or saline water from these creeks into the Lockyer Creek and Brisbane River. Following the floods, groundwater levels in these creeks have risen due to this recharge event. An example crosssection (Figure 6) through the central Lockyer Valley where Gatton Sandstone is underlying the alluvium, which is approximately 30m thick, shows the change from drought to flood. Groundwater levels were low and mostly very close to the base of the alluvium. Continuous pumping during the drought induced upwards discharge of bedrock water in the alluvium, highlighted by an EC of >20,000 ÎźS/cm measured at bore site 14320635 in 2007 at the height of the drought. Following the floods, the groundwater levels have recovered substantially (Figure 6). As a result,

groundwater levels are now near or above the base of the Lockyer Creek, increasing the potential for groundwater baseflow into the creek. While the groundwater is now substantially fresher, the groundwater EC is still high (generally brackish to saline) compared to pre-flood surface water levels. In the smaller sub-catchments such as Plain Creek, Black Snake Creek or Sandy Creek, the principal source of baseflow to the creeks in this area remains brackish to saline water originating from the Walloon Coal Measures, Koukandowie Formation and the Gatton Sandstone. Because of the geomorphology of these subcatchments, the recharge to the alluvium from underlying bedrock is an important source and the nature of baseflow to the creeks will remain unchanged. However, depending on climatic variations, the rate of baseflow and, therefore, the volume of stream flow will vary. The measurements by Seqwater suggest that the increases of salinity observed in the lower Lockyer Creek and Brisbane River are periodic, i.e. appear as pulses. This suggests that the salinity increases are probably the result of increased streamflow from creeks, ie. following higher rainfall events. In order to further confirm this and determine which creek(s) are driving this change, additional monitoring of creeks in this area is required and will be built into the exisiting monitoring program.

CONCLUSIONS This study demonstrates that changes seen in the source water quality of two WTPs on the Mid-Brisbane River can be attributed to the reconnection of groundwater to surface water in the Lockyer Creek catchment following significant recharge after the 2011 floods. This understanding was achieved through the development of a Groundwater Visualisation Systems (GVS) model that allowed the analysis and interpretation of a complex and diverse dataset. The integrated model has enabled Seqwater to identify specific areas in the catchment to monitor and set targets to ensure WTP operation is able to meet supply and quality requirements. Further work will look at developing more complex understanding of identified subcatchments to look for remedial options and alternate management strategies to deal with future events and scenarios. The GVS model will be essential to this planning and option study. Note: This paper won Best Paper at Ozwater’13 in May.

THE AUTHORS Dr Andrew Watkinson (email: Andrew.Watkinson@ seqwater.com.au) is Principal Coordinator – Catchment Water Quality at Seqwater, Queensland. Andrew has over 10 years’ experience in water quality risk management and strong research interests in environmental microbiology, environmental toxicology and their application to the drinking water industry. Dr Michael Bartkow is a Senior Research Scientist with the Research, Science and Technology group at Seqwater. Michael coordinates the delivery of research projects related to the management of catchments, water storages and treatment services to ensure the quality and quantity of the region’s water supplies. Dr Matthias Raiber joined the Groundwater Hydrology group of CSIRO Land and Water as a Research Scientist in May 2013 after completing a postdoctoral research fellowship at the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training and Queensland University of Technology (QUT). Malcolm Cox is Professor of Hydrogeology in the School of Earth, Environmental & Biological Sciences at QUT. He has over 30 years’ experience in groundwater, notably conceptual hydrogeological models and hydrochemistry. Amy Hawke is currently a teacher at Kelvin Grove State High School. She previously worked for the Institute for Future Environments at QUT, specialising in advanced scientific visualisation and interaction, web and database technologies. Allan James works for the Institute for Future Environments at QUT, specialising in software engineering encompassing object-oriented systems, advanced scientific visualisation and interaction, web and database technologies.

Cox M, Raiber M, James A & Hawke A (2012): Groundwater/Surface Water Conceptual, Hydrological and Water Quality Models: MiddleBrisbane River and Subcatchments. Institute for Future Environments, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane. Technical Report. Hawke AE, Raiber M, James AR & Cox ME (2012): Midddle Brisbane River and Linville Areas: 3D Visualisation and Management Tool. Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane. Groundwater Visualisation System (GVS) 3D Model and Documentation (DVD). James A, Hawke A, Cox M & Young JA (2010): GVS: A Flexible, Low-end, 3D Visualisation Framework for Enhancing Conceptual Groundwater Models for Community, Management and Simulations. Groundwater 2010. Canberra: 1pp. Raiber M & Cox ME (2013): Linking ThreeDimensional Geological Modelling and Multivariate Statistical Analysis to Define Groundwater Chemistry Baseline and Identify Inter-Aquifer Connectivity Within the ClarenceMoreton Basin, Southeast Queensland, Australia. Proceedings EABS IV, Brisbane. Wells AT & O’Brien PE (1994): Lithostratigraphic Framework of the Clarence-Moreton Basin (with an appendix on drill hole stratigraphy). In Wells AT and O’Brien PE (Eds) Geology and Petroleum Potential of the Clarence-Moreton Basin, Australian Geological Survey Organisation Bulletin, 241, pp 4–47.



Odouridder & OdaVent


Biofiltration Systems • Biological treatment of hydrogen sulphide (H2S) and volatile organic compounds • Innovative patented design • Proven H2S removal efficiency >99% • Modular and transportable construction • Small footprint • Low capital and life cycle costs • Long media life (3-5years). No hazardous waste • Environmentally sustainable technology • Complies with WSA121 Industry Standard for Biofilters for Odour Control • Above and below ground systems available

Applications: Control and treatment of foul odours from wastewater pump stations, discharge manholes, air-valve pits, main sewers, treatment plant inlet works

REFERENCES Cox ME & Wilson AS (2005): Use of Geochemical and Isotope Plots to Determine Recharge to Alluvial Aquifers: Lockyer Valley, Queensland, Australia. ISMAR 2005, International Conference of Recharge. Berlin, Germany: 8 pp.

E-mail: info@odatech.com.au www.odatech.com.au

odours….controlled naturally




Technical Features



Technical Features

BEYOND H S: CHEMICAL CHARACTERISATION OF SEWER ODOUR EMISSIONS Results of a long-term monitoring program conducted for sewers in Sydney EC Sivret, B Wang, G Parcsi, S Kenny, H Bustamante, RM Stuetz

ABSTRACT While abatement based upon H2S has addressed many sewer odour issues, a range of malodorous compounds emitted from sewers may not be effectively removed by existing odour abatement processes and can cause odour complaints. A long-term monitoring program was conducted for sewers located in Sydney to improve understanding of the composition of sewer emissions and better inform odour abatement process selection and operation. Several reduced sulfur compounds (carbon disulfide, methyl mercaptan, dimethyl sulfide, dimethyl disulfide and dimethyl trisulfide) were consistently identified in the sewer emissions in addition to H2S. The sewer air was observed to contain a wide variety of volatile organic compounds that, although expected to be nonodorous at the concentrations found, can negatively affect performance of odour abatement processes. The primary implication for odour abatement is that a wider range of odorous sulfur compounds should be considered at the abatement process design stage and during operational evaluation. Furthermore, the potential exists for non-odorous VOCs to interact with odour abatement processes, which could impact upon odour abatement performance. Future work will assess the importance of VOC interactions with odour abatement processes.

INTRODUCTION Population growth and decreases in sewage discharges over the past 10–20 years have led to increased likelihood of odour (and corrosion) events in sewers (Zornes et al., 2011). Coupled with rising environmental expectations and propensity for the populace to complain about odours, sewer system operators face a growing need to provide proactive and effective management of odorous emissions.


A recent survey of the Australian wastewater industry (Sivret and Stuetz, 2010) indicated that H2S was the dominant odorant utilised for sewer odour abatement process design and process monitoring. This is not unique to Australia. A range of other compounds are, however, emitted from sewers that may not be efficiently removed by existing odour abatement processes and are potential causes of odour complaints. Many non-odorous compounds are present alongside odorous compounds in sewer emissions. The potential exists for these compounds to impact on abatement process performance. To advance the management and control of odour emissions from sewers (in particular the design and operation of odour abatement processes), an understanding of the range of compounds present in sewer emissions is needed to enable subsequent investigation of their fate within odour abatement processes. To provide a better understanding of the range of odorants and non-odorous compounds present in sewer emissions a long-term sampling program is being conducted in Sydney as part of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Sewer Corrosion and Odour Research (SCORe) Linkage project.

METHODOLOGY The monitoring program consisted of collecting gas samples between January and June 2011 from 12 sites operated by Sydney Water in Sydney. The monitored sites included a range of wastewater types (residential and commercial wastewater, along with some sites receiving trade waste discharges), sewer structures (pumping stations, sewer lines, merging stations, upstream and downstream ends of siphons, and sewage treatment headworks) and chemical dosing treatments (undosed, ferrous chloride, magnesium

hydroxide, and combined ferrous chloride and magnesium hydroxide) which are representative of conditions present in the Sydney sewerage system. This monitoring period captured the peak sewer emissions commonly observed during the summer (January to March), as well as the tail-off in emissions that occur during early autumn. Samples were collected on a weekly basis from each of the sites during the summer period, and then on a bi-weekly basis thereafter, with between eight and 14 sampling events at each of the monitoring sites. Duplicate samples for both volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and sulfur compounds were collected simultaneously from each of the sampling locations. VOC samples were collected by absorption into Tenax TA sorbent tubes, with the tubes being conditioned and verified contaminant-free prior to use. These samples were then analysed using a gas chromatograph equipped with a mass spectrometer detector (GC-MS). The mass spectrometer was operated in continuous scan mode to allow the identification and subsequent quantification of as wide a range of VOCs as possible. A subset of the VOC samples was analysed using combined mass spectrometry and olfactory analysis (GC-MS/O) to identify key VOCs (from an odour perspective) present in the sample. In the GC-MS/O system (Figure 1), the eluent from the gas chromatograph is split between a mass spectrometer operating in scan mode and an olfactory detector port (ODP). Two different operators were used for the olfactory analysis, with each operator assessing one of the duplicate samples. The operators assessed the eluting compounds exiting the olfactory detector port in terms of character (assigning an odour descriptor) and intensity.


Technical Features to each analyte of interest is converted to a quantitative result using a compound specific calibration factor based upon pure chemical standards.

Poor absorption of smaller sulfur compounds (including H2S) onto commercially available sorbents combined with the inherent instability of most sulfur compounds (particularly mercaptans) during thermal desorption from the sorbents required the collection of gas samples into Tedlar sample bags, which were then sent back to the laboratory for analysis. Sulfur compounds present in the gas samples were assessed quantitatively using a gas chromatograph equipped with a specialised sulfur cold trap and a sulfur chemiluminescence detector. The sulfur chemiluminescence detector provides highly sensitive detection of sulfur compounds at odour threshold concentrations. All sulfur compound samples were analysed within 24 hours of collection. ASSESSMENT OF ODOROUS SULFUR COMPOUNDS IN SEWER EMISSIONS

A limited range of sulfur compounds (H2S, carbon disulfide, methyl mercaptan, dimethyl sulfide, dimethyl disulfide, and dimethyl trisulfide) were consistently identified in the samples. A typical SCD response for the samples analysed is provided as Figure 2, with the abundance representing the detector response to the analytes. The area of the response

A summary of the range of specific sulfur compound concentrations measured during the sampling program compared to reported odour threshold values (OTVs) is provided in Table 1. The OTVs have been presented as a range due to the significant variability in reported values that is associated with a lack of standardised OTV assessment techniques. Furthermore, odour threshold values assess a specific compound in isolation, and do not account for the potential compound interactions (such as antagonistic or synergistic effects) that occur between odorants in complex mixtures like sewer emissions. As a result, OTV values should be used with care and considered on an order of magnitude basis to evaluate the potential for specific compounds to be odorous. When comparing to the OTV value range (van Gemert, 2003) the measured concentrations of all the sulfur compounds were greater than or within the reported OTV range. This indicates that these compounds are probably odorous at the concentrations encountered in the sewer emissions. The implication for odour abatement is that a wider range of sulfur compounds may be responsible for sewer odour complaints and should be considered in the design and specification of odour abatement processes.

A wide range of VOCs (935 compounds, with 585 appearing in more than one sample) were identified in the 254 VOC samples that were collected during the sampling period. A shortlist of key compounds of interest (based on both abundance/frequency of appearance and odorous potential) was generated for subsequent quantitative analysis. Identifying Dominant VOCs Concentrations of specific VOCs present in the collected samples were quantified and ranked based upon their abundance for each of the 12 sites studied. The top 10 compounds in terms of abundance for each of the sites were then compared (Figure 3) to differentiate between compounds that were consistently observed at most sites (general indiacators of sewer VOC emissions), and those that were dominant for small numbers of sites (indicators of local conditions). In general, the dominant VOCs were aromatics, halogenated hydrocarbons, and terpenes. The observed halogenated hydrocarbon compounds are generally attributed to trade waste solvent discharges (Escalas et al., 2003; Ndon, Randall and Khouri, 2000). Investigation of the specific sources of these compounds within the networks was beyond the scope of this work. Several terpenes (α-pinene, limonene, and eucalyptol) were frequently detected in the samples. These compounds are commonly associated with fragrance additives, particularly those used in cleaning products. As seen in Figure 3, a reduced set of VOCs consistently dominated the range of sewer sites studied. In particular, toluene, m/p xylene, tetrachlorotehylene, and limonene were dominant compounds at most of the sites. Eucalyptol and α-pinene (both odorous compounds)

Table 1. Sulfur compound concentrations in sewer emissions. Concentration (µg/m3)

Odour Threshold Value (µg/m3)1

Hydrogen sulfide

708 – 3400

0.21 – 270

Carbon disulfide

25.3 – 101

70 – 180

Methyl mercaptan

300 – 380

0.0003 – 38

Dimethyl sulfide

31.0 – 124

0.3 – 160

Dimethyl disulfide

3.9 – 47.0

1.1 – 78

Dimethyl trisulfide

10.5 – 84.0

0.06 – 7.5


Figure 2. Sample SCD analysis of a gas sample collected from a sewer.


LJ van Gemert (2003)



Figure 1. Combined chemical and olfactory analysis to identify key odorants.

While methyl mercaptan and its associated decay products (dimethyl sulfide, dimethyl disulfide, and dimethyl trisulfide) were identified in the samples, ethyl mercaptan and its associated decay products were not detected at any of the sampling sites. Ethyl mercaptan is not an odorant of concern for the sewers represented by the sampling sites.



Technical Features


were consistently identified at most of the sites (although not often in the top 10) and were included in subsequent analysis.

samples as a screening study to identify potentially odorous VOCs. A sample ion chromatogram with an overlaid odour stimulus chromatogram (the intensity of Identification of Odorous VOCs in the odour identified by the operator at Sewer Emissions GC-MS/O analysis was the ODP is rated on a scale from 0 to 1) conducted on a subset of the collected is provided as Figure 4. Where possible, odour Table 2. Key VOCs in sewer emissions. descriptors (i.e. what the Dominant odour smells like) were Identified Category Compound Compound by recorded by the analyst. Odorant Abundance Figure 4 illustrates an Limonene ü ü important consideration Terpene Eucalyptol ü when utilising combined chemical and sensory α-pinene ü analysis. In this case, Toluene ü ü for Peak b, the mass Ethylbenzene ü spectrometer identified ethylbenzene as Aromatic m/p-xylene ü being the compound Naphthalene ü responsible for the Benzaldehyde ü “yeasty” odour observed Halogenated by the operator. This Tetrachloroethylene ü ü Hydrocarbon is not the expected

characteristic odour for ethylbenzene, which is typically described as “melting plastic” or “burnt”. It is likely in this case that at least two compounds are eluting from the gas chromatograph at the same time, with the ethylbenzene being dominant by concentration but not necessarily by odour. Cross-checking identified compounds and odour descriptor pairs with the characteristic odours based on pure standards is an important quality control step that is nescessary to prevent misidentification of odour-causing compounds in samples. Typical descriptors associated with the samples were chemical (solvent, chemical, burning, melting plastic), sulfury (sulfurous, rotten egg, rotten cabbage), pine or citrusy/fruit in nature. Based upon the odour descriptors and identified compounds, a subset of priority odorants was identified, with the characteristic odour descriptor(s) presented in parentheses: • Ethylbenzene (melting plastic, burnt); • Naphthalene (solventy); • Benzaldehyde (mushroomy); • Limonene (lemony); • Toluene (solventy); • Alpha pinene (piney • Tetrachloroethylene (characteristic – sweet).

Figure 3. VOC abundance ranking and frequency of appearance in gas samples collected from sewers.

VOC Selection for Quantitative Evaluation A list of VOCs of interest from sewer emissions for quantitative assessment (Table 2) was developed by combining the dominant VOCs identified by abundance (which may interact with odour abatement processes) with the odorous VOCs identified from the combined gas chromatography and olfactory analysis (which may contribute to odours from sewer emissions). Some overlap existed between these two lists, in particular limonene, toluene and tetrachloroethylene. A summary of the measured VOC concentrations across all of the sites monitored, along with the appearance frequency (% of samples from that site where a specific compound was identified) is provided as Table 3. Average concentrations for specific VOCs were generally of similar order of magnitude across the sites, with a smaller subset of sites expressing significantly greater or lower concentrations.

Figure 4. Sample GC-MS/O analysis of gas sample collected from a sewer.


Limonene, α-pinene, eucalyptol, m/pxylene, tetrachloroethylene and toluene


Technical Features

Table 3. Concentrations of key VOCs in sewer emissions. Odour Threshold Value (µg/m3)1

Detection Frequency (% of Samples)


0.19 – 256

230 – 105000



0.05 – 81.4

100 – 43000



0.13 – 624

56 – 55000


0.04 – 126

400 – 78000



0.05 – 156

3 – 2000



0.04 – 208

52 – 86000



0.26 – 30.4

7 – 200



4.3 – 14000

8100 – 12000



0.05 – 209

600 – 590000




LJ van Gemert (2003) 2 Concentration on an as limonene basis 3 Concentration on an as toluene basis 1

were consistently present at all of the sites and represent typical VOC emissions from sewers that could interact with odour abatement processes. Napthalene and benzaldehyde were generally present at all sites, but at lower frequencies (typically less than 50% of the sampling events), and thus likely linked to specific discharge episodes. The peak tetrachloroethylene concentrations (up to 14 mg/m3) were observed at three of the sites during a small number of the total sampling events, and were likely associated with specific discharge episodes. In general the average measured VOC concentrations (Table 3) were within or below the reported odour threshold value ranges (van Gemert, 2003), therefore thay are not expected to be significant contributors to odour emissions from sewers. Their importance would be that they can interfere with odour abatement processes. This is particularly relevant for adsorptionbased processes such as activated carbon that is commonly applied for sewer odour abatement. Because of the low polar nature of some VOCs, it is highly likely that they will compete with the adsorption of highly odorous sulfur containing compounds by activated carbon.

CONCLUSION A wide range of sulfur compounds and VOCs were observed during long-term monitoring conducted at 12 sewer sites in Sydney. Characterisation and quantification utilising chemical analysis and olfactory analysis has identified a list of key sulfur compounds (H2S, carbon disulfide, methyl mercaptan, dimethyl sulfide, dimethyl disulfide and dimethyl trisulfide) and VOCs (α-pinene, limonene,

ethylbenzene, eucalyptol, m/p-Xylene, tetrachloroethylene and toluene) being consistently emitted from sewers. From an odour perspective, the identified reduced sulfur compounds (carbon disulfide, methyl mercaptan, dimethyl sulfide, dimethyl disulfide, and dimethyl trisulfide) were potentially odorous at the concentrations measured at the sites. The implication for odour abatement is that a wider range of sulfur compounds (and not solely H2S) should be considered at the abatement process design/specification stage and during performance assessment. With the exception of some shortterm elevations of tetrachloroethylene at a minority of the sites, the VOCs were not expected to be significant odorants at the concentrations measured in the sewers. Including VOC abatement as part of odour abatement systems is thus not expected to result in any signfiicant direct reduction in odour emissions from sewers. While not direct causes of odour, the potential exists for VOCs to interfere with odour abatement processes (in particular activated carbon), resulting in premature odour breakthrough. To support sewer network operators in selecting the most appropriate odour abatement technology, future work will focus on tracking the fate/removal of VOCs and sulfur compounds in conventional odour abatement processes to determine their significance with regards to odour abatement process selection and design.

THE AUTHORS Dr Eric C Sivret (email: e.sivret@unsw.edu.au) is a Senior Research Associate and the Odour Program Manager at the UNSW Water Research Centre. Bei Wang (email: b.wang@unsw.edu.au) is a PhD candidate in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. Dr Gavin Parcsi (email: g.parcsi@unsw. edu.au) is a Research Associate and the leading analytical chemist at the UNSW Water Research Centre’s Odour Laboratory. Shaun Kenny (email: shaun.kenny@ sydneywater.com.au) is Team Leader – Service Delivery Division with Sydney Water. Dr Heriberto Bustamante (email: heri. bustamante@sydneywater.com.au) is Project Manager – Business Strategy & Resilience Division with Sydney Water. Professor Richard Stuetz (email: r.stuetz@unsw.edu.au) is Co-Director of the UNSW Water Research Centre (www. water.unsw.edu.au) at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.

REFERENCES Escalas A, Guadayol JM, Cortina M, Rivera J & Caixach J (2003): Time and Space Patterns of Volatile Organic Compounds in a Sewage Treatment Plant. Water Research, 37, 16, pp 3913–3920. Ndon U, Randall A & Khouri T (2000): Reductive Dechlorination of Tetrachloroethylene by Soil Sulfate-Reducing Microbes Under Various Electron Donor Conditions. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 60, 3, pp 329–336. Sivret E & Stuetz R (2010): Sewer Odour Abatement Practices – An Australian Survey. Water Journal, 37, 7, pp 77–81.


van Gemert LJ (2003): Odour Thresholds: Compilations of Odour Threshold Values in Air, Water and Other Media. Oliemans Punter & Partners, Netherlands, 378p.

This work was supported by the Australian Research Council Sewer Odour and Corrosion Research (SCORe) Linkage Project LP0882016, with industry support from Barwon Regional

Zornes G, Williamson A, Bustamante H, Eyles W & Mohanathasan MV (2011): The Effect of Reduced Consumption and Catchment Activities on Sewage Transport and Treatment. Ozwater’11, Melbourne.



Concentration (µg/m3)


Water Corporation, Gold Coast Water, Hunter Water Corporation, Melbourne Water Corporation, South Australian Water Corporation, South East Water Corporation, Sydney Water Corporation, Veolia Water Australia, Water Quality Research Australia and Water Corporation Western Australia.



Technical Features

ODOUR CONTROL AT THE SOUTH CABOOLTURE SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANT Performance testing of the upstream ductwork extraction and air treatment system G Finke, M Walsh, D Whyte

BACKGROUND Unitywater’s South Caboolture Sewage Treatment Plant (Queensland) was recently upgraded at a cost of $48.2 million to cater for growth in the residential, commercial and industrial areas of Caboolture, Upper Caboolture, Morayfield and Bellmere. Given the plant’s proximity to nearby residents, it was imperative that odour emissions be effectively controlled to avoid any odour nuisance to the surrounding community. An odour control facility (OCF) was installed, comprising the covering, and extraction and treatment of foul air from: the inlet works, the balance tanks and the selector zones of the four Sequencing Batch Reactors (SBRs). Aromatrix Australia was chosen to design, supply, install, commission and carry out performance testing of the upstream ductwork extraction and air treatment system.

DESIGN PARAMETERS Inlet design loads and the required stack discharge gas stream qualities are listed in Tables 1 and 2.

TECHNOLOGY The odour control facility consists of a first-stage biotrickling filter system followed by a second-stage activated carbon polishing system prior to discharge of treated air through an eight-metre high ventilation stack. Biotrickling filters are cost-effective and environmentally sustainable compared to most other forms of treatment and operate by the absorption of pollutants into an aqueous phase which is recirculated either continuously or intermittently over packing material. The absorbed pollutants are oxidised by micro-organisms living on the packing. The control of pH is easily achieved and


Table 1. Inlet design loads for each area of the process at South Caboolture STP. Airflow (m3/hr)

Average Load (H2S ppm)

Peak Load (99.9th percentile) (H2S ppm)

Inlet Works




Balance Tank





SBR 1 & 2




SBR 3 & 4




Average into OCF




Note: SBR = Sequencing batch reactor

Table 2. Required stack discharge quality. Contaminant

Maximum discharge concentration

Hydrogen sulphide (H2S)

0.1 ppm

Odour (OU)

500 OU

so reaction processes that result in the formation of acids, or ammonia and nitrates (through the oxidation of nitrogen based organic compounds) do not create the same problems as other biological treatment methods (e.g. compost or soil bed biofilters). Upstream humidification of the air stream is not required and, in most cases, neither is pre-filtration, as particulates and minor grease deposits are readily removed during periodic wastage of recirculation fluid. Unlike wet chemical scrubbers, biotrickling filters do not require the use of hazardous and expensive chemicals for treatment, nor do they have the same problems associated with their disposal. In comparison, the only ‘chemical’ required to be dosed into the system is a non-hazardous nutrient solution required for bacterial growth where potable water is used as the feed water. Only minor dosing rates are required (e.g. 5–20 L/d depending on the facility size and incoming load) to provide the trace compounds required for effective

bacterial growth. Where reclaimed water is available as the water feed source after, say, secondary or tertiary wastewater treatment stages, this generally has sufficient nutrients so additional nutrient dosing is not required and can be eliminated. At the South Caboolture plant, reclaimed water is currently used, obviating the need for nutrient dosing. The pH of the waste stream (“blowdown”) produced by the biotrickling filters is low, at around 2–3. Although this may sound alarming, it is a mild acid in comparison to the strong concentrated acids associated with chemical scrubbing systems. At the South Caboolture plant, this waste stream is returned to the plant inlet works. The volume of waste produced is very low compared to the incoming wastewater flow and, as such, does not have an adverse impact on the pH of the receiving flow or downstream wastewater treatment processes. After treatment through the single bed biotrickling filters (gas retention time = 10 sec), the air is directed through an in-line air heater, which raises its temperature by 5°C, resulting in a 25% reduction in relative humidity. This reduction in humidity reduces the potential for condensation to occur as the air passes through the activated carbon filters. This is desirable, as any moisture present in the gas stream will


Technical Features

Spray Header Media Bed

Sequencing Batch Reactors 1 & 2

Sump Liquor

pH analyser

Inlet Works Balance Tank


Sequencing Batch Reactors 3 & 4


Extraction Fan 1

Recirculation Pumps



Nutrient Dosing Pumps

STACK Extraction Fan 2



Water Supply BIOTRICKLING FILTER 2 Blowdown

Recirculation Pumps

Figure 1. Process flow schematic. take up pore spaces within the carbon media, reducing its capacity to adsorb the remaining contaminants and, thereby, reducing the carbon bed life. Dual-bed activated carbon filters (gas retention time = 3.5 sec) are employed as the second-stage polishing system in order to achieve the stringent outlet odour concentration of 500 OU. Activated carbon removes odorous pollutants via the

process of adsorption in which molecules are trapped by the internal and external surfaces of the carbon. It is particularly effective in the removal of long-chain molecular compounds and adds further robustness to the overall approach.

PERFORMANCE TESTING The odour control facility was commissioned in February 2012. Performance testing was delayed

The removal efficiencies of hydrogen sulphide, mercaptans, dimethyl sulphide, VOCs and odour, measured through the biotrickling filters, were 99.99%, >99.3%, >99.1%, 96.0% and 96.2% respectively. This demonstrates the ability of biological systems to achieve removal efficiencies higher than most other treatment methods available. Figure 2 shows graphically the hydrogen sulphide removal performance through the biotricking filters. The large surface area available within the packing media results in a substantial population of bacteria. This, together with other specific operating parameters such as the recirculation rate, pH range and wastage rates, enables highly varying inlet loads to be effectively treated.

Table 3. Performance test results. Parameter

Min (ppm)1

Ave (ppm)1

99.9th%ile (ppm)1

No of Samples

Std Dev

Average Removal Percentage (based on inlet)

Discharge Specification Requirement (ppm)1


Inlet to Biotrickling Filters H2S – gas logger






Mercaptans – Tubes3






DMS – Tubes3









Odour (OU)











Outlet of Biotrickling Filters/Inlet of Activated Carbon Filters H2S – gas logger2B







Mercaptans – Tubes







DMS – Tubes3





















Odour (OU)


Outlet of Activated Carbon Filters/Stack Outlet H2S – gas logger2















Mercaptans – Tubes








H2S – Tubes3 3














Odour (OU)









Notes: 1. Concentrations in ppm(vol) unless specified 2. Sampling/analysis via Odalog™ continuous gas loggers (A=0-50ppm; B=0-2ppm) 3. Analysis via Gastec™ adsorption tubes 4. Analysis via MiniRAE 2000™ gas detector



until February 2013 due to the need for testing to be undertaken during summer conditions. Hydrogen sulphide, mercaptans, dimethyl sulphide, total volatile organic compounds (VOC) and odour were measured during the testing regime. Table 3 presents a summary of the testing results.



Technical Features

An aerial view of the sewage treatment plant. 50




















0 13/02/2013 5:00

13/02/2013 10:00

13/02/2013 15:00

13/02/2013 20:00

14/02/2013 1:00

14/02/2013 6:00

14/02/2013 11:00

Total OCF energy consumption (kWh/d)

Removal Efficiency

Inlet / Outlet Hydrogen Sulphide Concentration (ppm)

A close-up of the odour control facility. Biotrickling Filter - Hydrogen Sulphide Removal Performance Table 4. Energy consumption.


Date / Time

Inlet H2S (ppm)

Outlet H2S (ppm)

Removal Efficiency

Figure 2. Hydrogen sulphide removal efficiency through the biotrickling filters. Figure 2 shows that short-term increases in loads of around six times can be adequately dealt with without breakthrough being observed. Further treatment was achieved through the activated carbon filters with outlet concentrations for hydrogen sulphide, mercaptans, dimethyl sulphide and VOCs of <0.005 ppm, <0.005 ppm, <0.01 ppm and <0.1 ppm respectively. The outlet odour concentrations measured were all below the limit of detection (<20 OU) as measured by the Australian Standard for odour measurement (AS4323.3). There was no water usage during the 24-hour performance trial as neither of the biotrickling filters was in the flush stage of operation. The biotrickling filter flush is controlled by the pH of the recirculation fluid. When the pH reaches


the low set point, make-up water is added. This causes the biotrickling filter sump to fill to the overflow level, flushing out accumulated metabolites and raising the pH of the recirculation fluid. When the pH reaches the high level set point, the make-up water flow is stopped. Bacterial action on the gas stream gradually forces the pH back down to the low pH set point and the flush cycle repeats. The cycle observed at the South Caboolture plant consists of a ‘no water’ usage period of a few days followed by a ‘water supply’ pH correction period of several hours. The exact durations depend on the load into the biotrickling filter and, therefore, they vary throughout the year. The energy usage recorded for the 24-hour performance trial is summarised in Table 4.







CONCLUSION The odour control facility employed has utilised the latest technology in biological and carbon-based treatment in order to achieve effective removal of air pollutants extracted from covered areas of the sewage treatment plant. The facility has achieved its objective of eliminating odour nuisance to the surrounding community and represents a valuable asset to Unitywater.


Gary Finke (email: gary.finke@aromatrix. com.au) is Managing Director of Aromatrix Australia. He has more than 20 years’ experience in the water industry specialising in wastewater and air treatment. Michael Walsh (email: mike.walsh@ unitywater.com) is Project Manager, Infrastructure Planning and Capital Delivery for Unitywater. He has more than 30 years’ experience in the water industry specialising in sewage treatment plant upgrades. Dougal Whyte (email: dougal.whyte@ jhg.com.au) is Project Manager, Water & Environment, for John Holland. He has over 20 years’ experience in the construction industry with the majority in water.

World class experience—local presence

A leader in odour impact assessment and development of innovative and sustainable odour control solutions for municipal and industrial sources

Complete range of services available, from investigations to commissioning Odour Sampling and Monitoring

Corrosion Prediction for Sewer Systems

• Development of sampling plans

• Prediction of sulphide levels by modelling

• Odour monitoring to determine impacts

• Development of cost-effective corrosion and odour mitigation strategies

Odour Impact Assessment

Design of Odour Control Systems

• Odour dispersion modelling for existing, upgraded and new facilities

• Control for plant and collection systems

• Odour control master planning to develop wholeof-life strategies for your facilities

• Focus on sustainable solutions such as biological systems

• Extensive odour emissions database covering various process units to minimise sampling requirements

• Design and optimisation of chemical systems Contact: Josef Cesca: 02 9950 0218 josef.cesca@ch2m.com Jeff Mann: 02 9950 0233




Technical Features

DELIVERING DRINKING WATER AS PART OF THE REMOTE AREA ESSENTIAL SERVICES PROGRAM Designing functional treatment facilities for unsupervised operation in remote communities S Kizito, G Thorne, M-L Yau,


ABSTRACT On behalf of the West Australian Department of Housing, Parsons Brinckerhoff manages essential services to remote Aboriginal communities as part of the Remote Area Essential Services Program. One such service is the supply and delivery of drinking water that complies with the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines 2011. The design of systems to treat contaminated water in remote communities proves to be far more problematic than systems required for urban areas. The type of technology selected for the communities is restricted due to: the vast distance to services from the community, limited availability of water sources in quality and quantity, and the community capacity for service maintenance. The ideal solution for a water treatment process for a remote community is for the process to require minimal maintenance, produce no waste stream, have a minimal footprint, and be able to withstand the harsh environment. With consideration for all the previously mentioned factors, and with the ideal treatment process in mind, treatment systems designed are often creative and unique. The selection and installation of unsupervised treatment units in four remote Aboriginal communities are presented in this paper as a comparative case study.

INTRODUCTION Since 2005, Parsons Brinckerhoff has managed the Remote Area Essential Services Program (RAESP) on behalf of the West Australian Department of Housing (Housing), ensuring water, and wastewater and power services are delivered to 91 remote Aboriginal communities. The program’s objective is to supply water that complies with the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG) to the communities. In some communities,


water treatment technology is required to lower or raise identified water quality parameters to acceptable drinking water levels. The selection of a suitable water technology depends on the water quality and remoteness of the communities. It was found the final treatment system designed must fit the following remote area treatment plant criteria: • Improve water quality to align with ADWG 2011; • Require minimal human intervention, power consumption and footprint; • Require little or no pre-treatment; • Produce no waste stream; • Be easy to operate and maintain; • Can be unsupervised for up to six weeks (Regional Service Providers (RSP) routinely visit extreme remote communities every six weeks to manage their services); • Can be remotely monitored, so the RSP can quickly identify issues with the water treatment plant; • Be cost-effective to construct, maintain and operate. Four different communities, each of which has its own water quality issue, will be presented in this paper. It will detail a brief background of each community’s water quality, discuss the final design of the system installed, explain the system’s operational and maintenance requirements, and evaluate the system’s operational success.

CASE 1: ARSENIC REMOVAL WATER TREATMENT SYSTEM The community in this study is located in the Kimberley region of Western Australia and has three production bores. Two low-yielding bores supply

the community with potable water. The third, high-yielding bore was taken offline due to elevated levels of arsenic. The RAESP program was trying to bring the third bore back online and lower the arsenic levels to satisfy the community’s growing demand for water. The community’s arsenic levels were tested and found to be as high as 0.02 mg/L, double the 0.01 mg/L limit the ADWG recommends for health. DESIGN REQUIREMENTS

A treatment assessment was completed to identify the best treatment available that will not only satisfy the remote area treatment plant criteria, but also meet the specific design requirements for this community. The design requirements for this community are as follows: • No regeneration of material; • Use the pressure from the bore without requiring additional pumps to drive the treatment. Treatment options considered included reverse osmosis (RO), ion exchange, an in-situ groundwater treatment system and coagulation followed by filtration. However, the final design of the system is based on adsorption. Adsorption was selected as it meets all criteria. Figure 1 shows the plant process flow diagram. The media used was DOW Company’s Adsorbsia AS600. The plant was sized based on the following: • 12-month media replacement cycle – once exhausted, the media is disposed of in landfill after it has been tested and has passed the US Environmental Protection Agency’s toxicity characteristic leaching procedure (TCLP) extraction protocol; • Worst-case scenario of 0.025 mg/L of arsenic in the bore supply flow rate for 24 hours per day.


Technical Features

Waste to leach drain

Water from bore Storage Tank 5µm cartridge filter

Media filter

Backwash line

Figure 1. Arsenic removal water treatment unit process flow diagram.

the water sampling and monitoring program, and consultation with the Department of Health, it was identified that water treatment was required. The historic results showed a gradual increase of one of the parameters monitored to ADWG 2011 levels. DESIGN REQUIREMENTS

A treatment assessment was completed to identify the best treatment available that will not only satisfy the remote area treatment plant criteria, but also meet the specific design requirements for this community. The specific design requirements for this community are as follows:

• Supply a duty-standby configuration. Other treatment options were explored, including RO, electrodialysis reversal (EDR) technology, and flocculation/sedimentation. The ion exchange (IX) technology was preferred due to its ability to fulfil all criteria. The plant was sized based on the resin having an estimated lifespan of two years. Furthermore, the resin regeneration had to be regenerated on site. To install the system required a number of other elements to form a part of the operation of the treatment unit. These include the following: Figure 2. Containerised arsenic water treatment unit. Arsenic-laden water is pumped from the bore into a 5µm cartridge filter that removes particulates and increases the adsorption unit’s run cycles. The water is then transferred through a pressure vessel containing the Adsorbsia AS600 media. Arsenic is adsorbed onto the media, allowing for treated water to continue into the elevated storage tank. The media unit should be backwashed quarterly; backwashing is initiated manually. Treated water drawn from the elevated storage tank will expand the media, using a total of five bed volumes. The backwash is suitable for disposal in leach drains as it contains little or no arsenic species. The complete system is installed in a 3.1 m (L) x 2.44 m (W) x 2.59 m (H) shipping container (Figure 2), which is customised with an access hatch above the pressure

vessel so media is easy to remove and replace. To date, since commissioning the system on site in September 2012, the contaminated bore has contained levels of arsenic below the ADWG, due to the bore remaining offline for a long time. However, sample results do confirm that, at detectable levels of arsenic, the system was able to lower concentrations to a non-detectable level and, therefore, produce ADWG-compliant potable water. As far as operation and maintenance go, Parsons Brinckerhoff has not received any negative feedback from the RSP and there have been no operating failures to date.

CASE 2: WATER TREATMENT PLANT The nominated project in this case is the installation of an ion exchange (IX) treatment unit in a remote Aboriginal community in the Pilbara region. Through

• Supply and installation of satellite communications for remote monitoring, network access, phone line; • Supply all materials and complete installation of all telemetry/float switches required for an adequate supply of potable water to the community through the supply chain, from bores to reticulation. The added elements required to install the ion exchange treatment unit allowed the following: • Remote monitoring of tank water level, pump and plant operation, and alarm triggers for system malfunction; • Automated start and stop of the bore pumps, chlorine disinfection unit and ion exchange plant; • The duty-standby configuration, which allows an element of redundancy, easier maintenance and less



• Have a high water recovery ratio due to the high water demand in the community, which has put a strain on the groundwater source;


Technical Features


Pressure Relief VSD

Raw Water Tank

50kL Elevated Tank

Feed Pump











Vessel 1 Ion Exchange

Vessel 2 Ion Exchange



Sample Point Treated Water Tank

Sample Point Sample Point Scuttle Valve

Scuttle Valve



Figure 3. Ion exchange water treatment unit process flow diagram. interruption of treated water supply to the community; • Reduced requirements to manage an additional waste stream as a result of installing a water treatment unit. The final IX unit designed is shown in Figure 3. Float switches in the product tank trigger the IX to be either on/off, which then triggers pumping of water to the IX unit from the groundwater tank. Once water passes through the IX unit, the targeted water quality parameter ion is exchanged with chloride ions, and the level of targeted ion is reduced. Treated water is then delivered to the product tank before it is transferred

into the elevated storage tank where it is disinfected with chlorine. Water is stored in the elevated tank until the community requires water (or as needed, i.e. house taps on/off). The system is installed in a 6.05 m (L) x 2.44 m (W) x 2.59 m (H) shipping container (Figure 4), which allows the system to be protected from vandalism and the harsh environment. To date, the treatment unit is producing drinking water that complies with ADWG. The design: • Minimises additional strain on the groundwater source; • Provides a sustainable supply of water to the community by using a treatment process that only loses a small amount of water; • Enables remote monitoring and minimal on-site attendance of the treatment unit, which reduces the program’s operating costs; • Provides a continuous treated water supply to the community through reduced risk of plant shutdown via the duty-standby configuration.

As far as operation and maintenance go, Parsons Brinckerhoff has not received any negative feedback from the RSP and there have been no operating failures to date.

CASE 3: NITRATE REMOVAL WATER TREATMENT SYSTEM A common issue across a number of communities located in the Pilbara and Kimberly regions of Western Australia is high nitrate in the groundwater bores. The bore water nitrate levels can be as high as 130 mg/L during the long dry period when the bore draws from the groundwater source and the most nitrates are present. The ADWG for infants is <50 mg/L of nitrate and the limit required is <20 mg/l. Associated with the nitrate, many of the sites have total dissolved salts (TDS) above the ADWG limit of 650 mg/l. Experience of using reverse osmosis to reduce the TDS within the communities and a number of small systems in Western Australia has shown nitrate rejection is in the region of 50 to 60% and not the >95% predicted by various modelling programs. The RAESP project has investigated using biological processes to reduce nitrate to within standards. Two communities were used to trial a process, but the outcome has been low removal rates and too sensitive to change and, therefore, unreliable. Due to the success of Case Studies 1 and 2, the option of using highly selective ion exchange resin for nitrate removal has been investigated. Treatment can vary from a sole ion exchange unit per bore or treating a number of bores and, through supply management, blend with the other bores to lower the level of nitrate across the system. Table 1 provides indicative costs used in the process selection. Another factor that was taken into consideration was the wastewater volume from the ion exchange resin compared with the waste volumes from an equivalent RO process. Over a six-

Table 1. Process comparison costs.

Figure 4. Ion exchange water treatment unit in the container.


EDR treatment

RO treatment

Ion exchange

Capital cost D&C




Installation and related upgrade costs









Technical Features week operation period the ion exchange process would waste only 2.5% of the equivalent RO brine waste stream. This small volume of wastewater can be easily handled through solar evaporation. Selective resin to remove nitrate is being considered for three remote communities at the time of writing.

and modelling suggested that lime would provide the best results. To install the system required a number of other elements to form a part of the operation of the treatment unit. These include: • Supply and installation of satellite communications for remote monitoring, network access and phone line;



In addition to the remote area treatment plant criteria, the communities also require the system to supply a dutystandby configuration. Treatments considered to deal with the pH issue included calcite filters and various other chemicals. The main concern was the ability to stabilise the bore,

• Dust filters installed on the bag splitter and on the silo unit; • <1.0% lime solution; • Automatic flushing of dosing lines when dosing stops. The final design is depicted in the process flow diagram in Figure 5. A bag splitter containing lime is transferred to a silo where the lime is crushed and added to a dilution tank (Figure 6 shows the silo unit). A mechanical mixer is installed in the dilution tank to allow for the solution to be well blended. The solution is then dosed into the pipeline from the bore to ground storage tank. The pipeline also contains a static mixer. The amount of lime solution to be dosed into the pipeline is controlled by the pH analysers installed at the outlet pipe of the ground storage tank. Treated water is then delivered to the community supply. STORAGE TANK


Parsons Brinckerhoff has managed the design, procurement and installation of four treatment units for four communities that have different water quality issues. The first community had levels of arsenic in its drinking water that did not comply with ADWG. Process options investigated included reverse osmosis, coagulation followed by filtration, an in-situ groundwater treatment plant, ion exchange and adsorption. Adsorption was selected, with the media designed to be removed and replaced annually, and the media backwashed during the RSP’s servicing routine. The second community experienced water quality that was not compliant with ADWG. Treatment options considered included RO, electrodialysis reversal technology (EDR) and flocculation/sedimentation. The ion exchange (IX) technology was preferred











Figure 5. Lime dosing pH control water treatment unit process flow diagram.

Figure 6. Lime silo and solution tank arrangement.



The system presented in this section is relevant to many remote communities. Across the 91 remote communities, final water stability is a common issue, which covers scaling in high hardness areas and corrosion in low pH bores. For low pH bores, a system that is containerised and uses lime has been developed. Lime plants are common in water treatment globally. There are issues related to using lime, typically with blocking pipework as a result of settlement at low velocities and dust. With these issues in mind, the remote community containerised plant is able to operate differently due to the flow requirements.

• Humidity within the container, which is controlled using a central air-conditioning unit;

CONCLUSION Water treatment systems in West Australian Aboriginal remote communities require specific design criteria for reliable, unsupervised operation. The remoteness of these communities usually means they get serviced by relevant Regional Service Providers (RSPs) every six weeks, so the systems must be able to successfully treat water to Australian Drinking Water Guidelines 2011 standards, as well as able to operate unsupervised. The criteria established for the treatment system designs require minimal maintenance, a minimal waste stream, minimal footprint, and the ability to withstand the harsh environment.


Technical Features because it could fulfil all criteria. Design of the plant was based on the resin having an estimated lifespan of two years, with the capability for on-site regeneration. The system is installed in a shipping container to protect the plant from the harsh outback environment, as well as from vandalism.


The next community has high nitrate levels in their bore supply; after an options analysis, an ion exchange system was selected to be installed as it was able to meet all criteria. The system is sized such that regeneration of the resin is carried out during the RSP’s servicing routine. The last treatment system designed for remote communities is a lime dosing pH control system. A common water quality issue throughout remote communities is the final water stability, which covers scaling, increased hardness levels and low pH in bores. The lime dosing helps control pH, which addresses the scaling potential of the water. The installation of the above water treatment plants demonstrates that designing functional water treatment systems suited to the remote

communities can result in the supply of water compliant with the ADWG 2011. The Western Australian Department of Housing can, therefore, meet the water objective of the Remote Area Essential Services Program, which is managed by Parsons Brinckerhoff, better supporting the delivery of essential services to the remote Aboriginal communities in Western Australia.

THE AUTHORS Susan Kizito (email: skizito@pb.com.au) is a Water Engineer with Parsons Brinckerhoff. She has worked as the Water Quality Manager for the Remote Area Essential Services Program managing water quality across 91 remote aboriginal communities. She currently manages projects within the Program aimed at improving water quality in the Program in addition to day-to-day management of the Water Quality Program requirements. She has experience in water quality, water treatment, wastewater and water resource management.

Gary Thorne (email: GThorne@pb.com.au) is a Principal Water and Process Engineer at Parsons Brinckerhoff. Gary has over 35 years of national and international experience in Process Engineering. His role covers conceptual, front end engineering design and detailed design and he is actively involved with construction, commissioning, testing and operation within the water, mining, petroleum and gas industries. Mei-Leng Yau (email: YauM@pbworld.com) is a Water and Process Engineer at Parsons Brinckerhoff with a Chemical Engineering degree. Mei has experience in designing and review for the treatment of problematic water, for remote communities in Western Australia. Some of these processes include arsenic removal, nitrate removal, iron removal and fluoride reduction. Mei has an interest in utilising new technology to design environmentally sustainable treatment systems.



All our Products provide Safe, Fast and Economical Solutions to Odour Problems, Maintenance & Repair Schedules and Workplace Health & Safety Issues. All McBerns Brands are Designed & Manufactured in Australia.


McBerns Pty Ltd

Working JUNE Towards a Safer Work Place and Better Environment! WATER 2013 KUNDA PARK QLD AUSTRALIA

PH: 61 7 5445 1646



FAX: 61 7 5445 1743


Members of

A U T O W E L L W A S H E R ™


Technical Features

COMPARISON OF DECENTRALISED AND CENTRALISED WASTEWATER SERVICING APPROACHES A case study of the Park Orchards Backlog Area in Victoria B Asquith, J Eggleton


The project involved development, testing and life-cycle cost analysis of alternative long-term wastewater servicing strategies to conventional reticulated sewerage that involved the retention, upgrade and, in some cases, replacement of existing on-site systems. The case study identified that implementation of a series of practicable upgrades to existing on-site systems had the potential to achieve significant improvement in health and ecosystem protection. This has significant implications for the Victoria Sewerage Backlog Program, given the rising costs to deliver reticulated sewerage to these areas.

INTRODUCTION YVW is considering alternative approaches to provide a sustainable wastewater management service other than conventional reticulated sewerage. Ideally, these alternatives would deliver an equivalent level of ecosystem and health protection as reticulated sewerage. However, as a minimum YVW is considering the potential for lowercost solutions to deliver a satisfactory improvement in performance based on the legislative objectives set out in the State Environmental Protection Policy (SEPP) – Waters of Victoria. Park Orchards was selected by YVW as a case study to evaluate the potential for alternative servicing scenarios based on community concern over the provision of reticulated sewerage and estimated

capital costs. The project aimed to evaluate the potential to retain some level of on-site management of sewage from Sewerage Backlog Areas, using the Park Orchards Backlog Area (RA0039) as a case study. The project involved field and desktop evaluation of natural and built conditions within the Study Area and construction of numerical models to estimate the capability of existing on-site systems to meet ecosystem and health protection objectives. Following characterisation of existing conditions, the maximum receiving capacity (via land application) of lots within the Study Area was estimated through comprehensive spatial analysis and modelling. The outcomes of these tasks allowed a number of potential wastewater servicing scenarios to be examined to test the potential for long-term containment of wastewater on-site. These scenarios involved the hypothetical upgrade of existing on-site systems where on-site containment was considered possible. Sites not considered capable of full on-site containment were assessed under partial containment and connection to sewerage scenarios. The outcomes of this analysis were used to classify each lot in the Study Area based on the potential for full, partial or no on-site containment of wastewater. They also allowed consideration of the relative benefits of different upgrade scenarios in comparison to the existing case and full connection to sewerage. Finally, consideration was given to the relative cumulative impacts of on-site systems both between servicing scenarios and compared to background (i.e. nonwastewater) loads.

PARK ORCHARDS STUDY AREA The Park Orchards Backlog Area contains approximately 1,250 existing on-site wastewater management systems. The majority of Park Orchards is located within the Study Area along with a small part of Ringwood North and Warrandyte South. It is located on the north-eastern fringes of Melbourne approximately four kilometres south of the Yarra River. The Park Orchards Study Area is located within the rolling hills of the Yarra hinterland at an elevation range of 60–150 metres AHD with local relief of 10–50 metres typical. Slopes on crests and ridges are typically 0–15%, while mid- to lower slopes are 10–50%, creating significant constraints to the land application of effluent. Park Orchards has a temperate climate with warm summers and cool winters. Mean temperatures range between 6 and 26°C. Average annual rainfall and pan evaporation for the site are 832mm and 1205mm respectively. The site experiences moderate rainfall in autumn and spring, compounded by a significant drop in plant water demand. The climate does place limitations on the capacity for vegetation to utilise effluent from on-site systems, particularly from April to September. Soils are typical of those formed on uplifted Silurian sedimentary geology. Total soil depth is highly variable, with the profile consisting of weak to moderately structured loams grading to clays to a depth of 0.5–1 metre common. Subsoils displayed some potential for sodicity. Phosphorus sorption capacity was moderate to very high. The Park Orchards Study Area contains a network of incised ephemeral watercourses (largely a result of the erosion of the sedimentary parent material) that eventually drain to the



The evaluation of the relative benefits, costs and risks between centralised and decentralised wastewater servicing strategies can be challenging for water utilities. This paper presents one costeffective approach that has been tested by the authors on behalf of Yarra Valley Water through a case study for Park Orchards in Victoria.


Technical Features Yarra River via Andersons Creek and Mullum Mullum Creek. Beyond the Study Area both Mullum Mullum and Andersons Creek meander northward through the low hills and alluvial plain to the Yarra River. Existing water quality (summarised in Table 4) data was limited but indicated that nutrient and pathogenic indicator concentrations are elevated in comparison with Low Risk Trigger values and EPA Victoria Environmental Quality Objectives.



This study involved the use of GIS analysis and environmental modelling to evaluate the capacity for on-site containment of wastewater. BMT WBM has built a spatially and temporally varying model of the Park Orchards Study Area that takes into account: • Climate (rainfall, temperature, evapo-transpiration); • Topography (slope, elevation); • Soil characteristics (depth, hydraulic and chemical properties); • Vegetation (transpiration, nutrient uptake); • Hydrology (rainfall-runoff, soil water balance); • Background pollutant loads (stormwater quality); • Land use (imperviousness, background pollutant loads); • Wastewater generation (water use data); • On-site system characteristics (for a limited number of typical system types); and • Catchment attenuation of pollutants (accounting to proximity to receiving waters). This model has the ability to continuously simulate the key processes governing the performance of on-site systems over extended periods (i.e. decades). As a result, information on containment of wastewater on-site and the proportional contribution of on-site systems to nutrient and pathogen loads was able to be estimated. Once the existing (or base) case was characterised, the model was used to test a number of hypothetical wastewater management scenarios to determine the relative change in on-site containment potential and off-site impacts.



A Geographical Information System (GIS) workspace was established that allowed the range of available data to be interrogated and used to broadly characterise the subject site. It also assisted in targeting the field investigation program towards critical information gaps. The key data gaps with the potential to influence study outcomes are as follows:

The approach was comparable to the LCA procedures set out in the EPA Victoria Land Capability Assessment for On-site Domestic Wastewater Management, Publication 746.1 (2003). However, given that this study involved consideration of land capability based on limited field data and broad-scale spatial information, the approach was modified to account for the inherent uncertainty associated with a broad-scale (non-site specific) assessment.

• It was originally thought that LiDAR data would be available to create a highly accurate Digital Elevation Model (DEM). However, this proved unfeasible. As an alternative, a DEM was created from the 1-metre contour data and then refined to account for the influence of the reticulated stormwater system and roads.

The process, structure and rating system adopted for this LCA follows a slightly altered framework compared to that outlined in EPA Publication 746.1 (2003). Lots have been classified as Low, Medium, High or Very High Hazard.

• Published soil landscape mapping was not made available for this study. This did not prove to be a significant impediment to the accuracy of study outcomes. Local soil variation (not identifiable in broad-scale mapping) was significant and little would be gained from the availability of landscape mapping.

An evaluation of allotment area available for effluent management was required in order to estimate the capacity for on-site containment of wastewater. A statistical analysis has been undertaken of a representative sample of allotments from within Park Orchards to identify:

• Similarly, field soil investigations involved a limited number of observation sites to assist with development of soil parameters. There will invariably be site-to-site variation in soil characteristics that have not been accounted for in this assessment. • Limited site-specific data on the nature and extent of existing on-site systems was available. A range of assumptions were made to enable the systems to be modelled. • No suitable streamflow, water quality or wastewater discharge data was available that was suitable for full parameterisation/calibration of the models. LAND CAPABILITY ASSESSMENT AND MAPPING

BMT WBM has completed a Land Capability Assessment (LCA) for the Park Orchards Study Area. The purpose of the LCA was to collect a range of biophysical information for assessment of the potential for on-site wastewater management. Site and soil characteristics were then used to identify and rate conditions with the potential to limit the performance of on-site wastewater systems.


• The relationship between allotment size and proportion of lot available for effluent management; and • The relationship between allotment land capability and the land capability of available area. Raw available area was considered to be the land remaining on each sample allotment, after subtracting the area occupied by development and required separation distances. An assessment was undertaken of a representative sample of allotments within the Study Area. A total of 139 allotments were assessed to determine the capacity to provide available area for on-site wastewater management. The assessment was undertaken through orthophoto investigations and GIS creation of buffers around the abovementioned objects. Statistics on the area of land and proportion of total lot area occupied by each component (inclusive of buffers) were recorded for analysis. Statistics obtained from this assessment were analysed to identify any patterns or relationships between lot size and area available for effluent Land Application Areas (LAAs). A scatter plot of lot size and the proportion of the


Technical Features lot unavailable for effluent management was created to determine an overall relationship that could be applied to the entire Study Area. Further statistical analysis was undertaken to determine the proportion of raw available area for each sample lot that was identified as Very High Hazard (VHH) through the Land Capability Mapping. For the 139 sample lots the ratio of VHH area to lot size was compared against the ratio of VHH area to the Raw Available Area polygon for that lot.


Stormwater quantity and quality modelling was completed in order to evaluate the relative contribution of on-site systems within the Study Area to catchment nutrient export. The Model for Urban Stormwater Improvement Conceptualisation (MUSIC) was applied to estimate continuous hydrology and runoff water quality for the catchment. A MUSIC model was prepared for the existing catchment scenario. Stormwater quality modelling was undertaken to develop an appreciation of the catchment water balance and estimate stormwater pollutant loads for representative parameters. Estimation of runoff volumes and loads of common stormwater pollutants including Total Suspended Solids (TSS), Total Phosphorus (TP) and Total Nitrogen (TN) was completed. The MUSIC modelling approach applied to assist in estimating existing ‘background’ pollutant loads for the catchment is described in the following sections. WASTEWATER MANAGEMENT SYSTEM PERFORMANCE

Water, nutrient and pathogen modelling has been undertaken using Decentralised Sewage Model (DSM). The Decentralised Sewage Model (DSM) is a GIS-based decision support tool designed to assess and compare a range of wastewater servicing options from onsite sewage management to conventional

Adoption of a daily continuous water, nutrient and pathogen modelling approach is considered a superior approach to calculation of minimum land requirements using a lumped monthly water balance. Monthly water balances are a very conservative (but simple and quick) tool for sizing new effluent land application areas. They operate on the principle that a significant factor of safety is being built into the design to account for unforseen operational issues or short-term peak loading.

upgrade rules was developed based on the experience of BMT WBM, liaison with YVW and MCC and the outcomes of field investigations. These rules considered the following factors in assigning an upgrade or replacement on-site system option to a site: • A broad upgrade/replacement logic; • Typical site and soil conditions, existing development conditions (house layouts etc) and other constraints to on-site system siting and construction; • Logical and cost-effective approaches to improve the performance of the existing systems (i.e. value for money); • Avoiding alteration to systems likely to already be achieving full or high proportions of on-site containment; • Minimising direct off-site discharge wherever possible.

When coupled with a design wastewater flow based on five to six persons (900–1,080 litres/day), the lumped monthly approach produces minimum land area sizes that are typically two to four times the required size under average conditions.

The key factor determining the nature of adopted upgrade/replacement options was the potential for on-site containment of wastewater. For the purposes of DSM modelling on-site containment was defined as follows.

Such an approach is neither realistic nor necessary when considering the potential for on-site containment in an existing area such as the Park Orchards Study Area. A total of five wastewater servicing scenarios were evaluated using the DSM:

An on-site wastewater management system can be considered to be achieving full on-site containment where off-site discharge (overflow) or hydraulic failure (surcharge) of land application systems is calculated to be zero for the entire 30-year DSM simulation.

• The existing case;


• Scenario 1A – Upgrade Existing Systems to Best Practicable Option (no Reticulated Sewerage); • Scenario 1B – Upgrade Existing Systems to Best Practicable Option (with Reticulated Sewerage for lots with limited to no potential for onsite containment); • Scenario 2A – Replace Existing Systems with Best Practice Option (No Reticulated Sewerage); and • Scenario 2B – Replace Existing Systems with Best Practice Option (with Reticulated Sewerage for lots with limited to no potential for onsite containment). To allow construction of a DSM model for each of the alternative servicing scenarios, a logical set of


Average annual flows and loads from DSM scenarios and MUSIC (background) loads were combined to generate an overall mass balance model for the Study Area for each scenario. Based on the average annual flows and loads the average annual pollutant concentrations exported from the Study Area under each scenario can also be calculated. The frequency of overflow/ surcharge is often used as a measure of performance for on-site systems. Based on the frequency of overflow/surcharge a series of on-site containment maps were produced for each scenario. The criteria for the on-site containment maps is presented in Table 1 (see overleaf).



The identified relationship was consequently applied to all study lots to calculate the VHH area present within the Raw Available Area. This VHH area was then excluded from the Raw Available Area to calculate the Final Available Area for each allotment in the Study Area.

gravity sewerage with central treatment and reuse/disposal. The DSM was developed jointly by BMT WBM and Whitehead & Associates Environmental Consultants. It has the capacity to rapidly assess the long-term environmental/ human health performance of wastewater systems, in addition to assisting in the concept design and costing of various servicing options.


Technical Features The results compare favourably to measured long-term water quality when consideration is given to broader land use and pollutant attenuation during streamflow.

Table 1. Criteria for on-site containment maps. Overflow/Surcharge (>0) Frequency (% of years)

Potential for On-Site Containment


Potential for full containment


Potential for partial to full containment



Limited potential for partial containment


No potential for containment

The results of DSM and Study Area mass balance modelling are summarised in Table 5–Table 6 and Figure 2–Figure 6. The focus of results is on long-term average conditions as they are most representative of long-term performance. Temporal variation in on-site system and background pollutant loads was evaluated and found to be limited.


Table 2. Land capability for Park Orchards. Hazard Class


Land Area (ha)


Low Hazard




Medium Hazard




High Hazard




Very High Hazard







Annual stormwater flow and pollutant load estimates were obtained from the MUSIC modelling for existing development conditions. The results are summarised in Table 4 with modelled concentrations compared to recent mean water quality for Mullum Mullum and Andersons Creek.

A summary of the breakdown of land capability for the Study Area is provided in Table 2 and Figure 1. It can be seen that the majority of the Study Area was classified as High to Very High Hazard with respect to land capability. The two dominant constraints across the Study Area were slope and the shallow, sodic upper slope soils. These constraints were compounded where a site was in close proximity to a watercourse or environmentally sensitive zone (ESO) such as the 100 acres. LOT AREA AVAILABLE FOR EFFLUENT MANAGEMENT

This assessment used allotment size and land capability as the determining factors in estimating available area. The results of the Final Available Area analysis (i.e. including consideration of land capability) are presented in Table 3. It is important to recognise the limitations of the available area assessment conducted as part of this Study. Results should only be considered an approximation of available area given the relatively poor correlation between allotment size and available area. Limited field and desktop groundtruthing of available area has been undertaken by BMT WBM. The groundtruthing found the predicted available area to be approximately correct in the majority of cases. There were, however, allotments identified where Final Available Area was underestimated or overestimated. Overestimation of available area was less common, making the results relatively conservative.


Figure 1. Final land capability map.

Table 5 summarises the key statistics relating to on-site containment for each scenario. It can be seen that even under existing conditions, approximately two-thirds of allotments/existing onsite systems are likely to meet the containment criteria or have potential to meet the criteria. However, this proportion increases to 96% under Scenario 1A (best practicable upgrades – no reticulated sewerage).


Technical Features

Table 3. Final available area statistics for Park Orchards. Range

Table 4. Existing scenario modelling results.

Number of Lots


Load (ML or kg/yr)

Mean Annual Concentration (mg/L)

Mullum Mullum Creek (mg/L)

Andersons Creek (mg/L)























<100m2 100–300m 2

This relates to the conservative nature of a soil-moisture monitoring system being used to schedule effluent application, where for sites where containment was not possible effluent (albeit highly treated) was directed to stormwater more often. Once these systems are removed (under Scenario 2B, where approximately 21% of allotments are connected to sewer) a very high level of service is achieved based on results of the modelling.

OUTCOMES A number of useful outcomes have been obtained from this Study. An improved understanding of the constraints to sustainable on-site wastewater management has been gained through land capability mapping and an analysis of available area for effluent land application. The Park Orchards Study Area is highly constrained with respect to land capability with key issues being slope, shallow soil and sodic subsoils in the upper to mid- slopes. This is further compounded by the small to medium allotment size and substantial existing development

Table 5. Summary statistics for on-site containment capacity. Classification






Full Containment






Partial/Full Containment






Partial/No Containment






No Containment






Note 1: Percentage of existing systems retaining some level of on-site effluent application under each scenario.

Table 6. Indicative upgrade program. Scenario 1A

Scenario 1B

Scenario 2A

Scenario 2B

No Change

423 (34%)

135 (11%)

Retain ST/SSI

470 (38%)

456 (37%)

64 (5%)



382 (31%)


149 (12%)



123 (10%)





81 (7%)


Retain ST/SSI/ OSD



171 (14%)


12 (1%)


16 (1%)



284 (23%)


268 (22%)

AST/OSD Connect to Sewer


PT: Primary Treatment; ST: Secondary Treatment; AST: Advanced Secondary Treatment; SSI: Subsurface Irrigation; LPED: Low Pressure Effluent Dosing; OSD: Off-site Discharge.

However, land capability restrictions

observed on some sites (tennis courts, swimming pools, large dwellings).

along with the documented limitations to

Notwithstanding, the majority of existing

the available area analysis mean a more

allotments are likely to contain some

detailed Land Capability Assessment

suitable land for effluent land application

(LCA) should be completed for any

(200–400 m2 typical).

site where long-term on-site sewage

Table 7. Summary of indicative cost estimates for alternative servicing scenarios. Scenario 1A

Scenario 2A









Capital (per lot)






Operational (p.a.)






25yr NPV






NPV (per lot)











Costs as % of (NPV) Reticulated Sewer


Reticulated Sewer High



Results for Scenario 1B (where onsite systems were only retained where full containment under typical loading was achieved) suggest that sewerage connection would be required for approximately 27% of allotments. Scenario 2A (best practice upgrade – no reticulated sewerage) produced a poorer performance in terms of on-site containment than 1A.



Technical Features management is planned to be retained as an alternative servicing scenario


Existing on-site systems are a moderate to significant contributor to catchment nutrient loads and present a significant risk to human health. Systems that involve partial or full off-site discharge account for the majority of this impact. Removal of as many offsite discharges as possible is the single most effective management strategy for wastewater impacts. Opportunities to maximise the land application of effluent (at sustainable loading rates) should be identified on a lot-by-lot basis.

Figure 2. Average annual nitrogen export.

Alternative Wastewater Servicing Scenario 1A (Best Practicable Option) has been identified as a highly effective approach to managing wastewater impacts. The approach does carry some potential risk with respect to the constructability of LPED trenches (slopes and shallow soil). Alternative Wastewater Servicing Scenario 2A (Best Practice Upgrades) is likely to offer limited benefit for almost double the capital cost. However, a higher number of best practice upgrades may be necessary should the construction of LPED systems prove not to be feasible for some sites.

Figure 3. Average annual phosphorus export.

Alternative Wastewater Servicing Scenarios 1B and 2B (combined onsite and sewerage solutions) are not identified as cost-effective management options. Limited additional benefit is provided with respect to ecosystem and health impacts. A choice between full reticulated sewer and total on-site wastewater management (with some ongoing off-site discharge where necessary) is likely to be preferable. Existing on-site systems are a minor contributor to nitrogen and a moderate contributor to phosphorus loads exported from the Study Area. A reduction in non-wastewater nutrient loads would be required to reduce average annual concentrations to a level comparable with EPA EQOs. There is a limit to the effectiveness of investment in improving on-site systems or, in fact, provision of sewerage services from a nutrient management perspective.

Figure 4. Average annual virus concentration.


A number of potential on-site wastewater management solutions have been considered as part of this Study. Concept drawings and descriptions are provided for further consideration of feasibility. Implementation of an


Technical Features Alternative Wastewater Servicing Scenario (something between 1A and 2A) is likely to cost in the order of $6,500–$14,700 per lot. The framework for design, construction, ownership and operation of on-site systems under an alternative servicing scenario requires careful consideration. The outcomes of this Study are based on an assumption of centralised management and ownership.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS BMT WBM wishes to thank Yarra Valley Water for allowing this case study to be published. Thank you to Manningham City Council for provision of highly valuable data and guidance. We also thank Glenn Marriott from Landsafe AgChallenge for assistance with this project. Figure 5. On-site containment map – existing.


Ben Asquith (email: ben.asquith@ bmtwbm.com.au) is an Associate with BMT WBM Pty Ltd. Ben has worked within the public and private sector in the field of small-scale and decentralised water management for the last 13 years and is on the AWA Small Water and Wastewater Specialist Network Committee.

Joshua Eggleton (email: Joshua.Eggleton@ bmtwbm.com.au) is an Engineer with BMT WBM Pty Ltd with experience in small-scale and decentralised water management and flood modelling.


Figure 6. On-site containment map – Scenario 1A.

EPA Victoria (2003): Land Capability Assessment for On-site Domestic Wastewater Management, Publication 746.1.



The definition and interpretation of “on-site containment” is complex and requires liaison with EPA Victoria. Requiring zero hydraulic failure of land application systems over their design life would be grossly conservative and inequitable with other regulatory targets for the frequency of pollutant or stormwater discharge to waterways.


Technical Features

DELIVERING PACKAGE GAS CHLORINATION AND FLUORIDATION IN THE TOP END Challenges in implementing gas chlorination and fluoridation in six remote indigenous communities in the Northern Territory B McDowall, R Wagland, A Dysart


ABSTRACT This paper focuses on the challenges associated with the design, delivery, commissioning and ongoing operation and maintenance of package gas chlorination and fluoridation plants in six remote communities in the top end of the Northern Territory. The project has progressed from design and construction of six complete systems through to commissioning and operation of combined gas chlorination/fluoridation facilities in three communities. It is expected that all six communities will be operating by mid-2013. Of the six communities, three are accessible only by sea or air. Three communities can be accessed by road for a limited window during the dry season of three to four months. For the remainder of the year they are cut off by flood waters and accessible by air and/or sea only. Major design considerations were related to location, lack of trained operational staff, limited communications with Darwin, logistical issues with installation and chemical deliveries, and limited access to emergency services.

INTRODUCTION Power and Water Corporation’s Remote Operations division is responsible for providing power, water and sewerage services to 20 Territory Growth Towns and 52 remote communities. These communities are sparsely located across the Northern Territory and are very small, with populations of less than 3,000 people in each. These communities experience challenges in providing and maintaining a supply of safe drinking water. The challenges include remoteness, with long distances from support centres, considerable climate variability, plus limited technical capacity


and expertise to operate and maintain drinking water supply systems.

with the ongoing operation of the sodium hypochlorite systems, including:

Each remote community has a dedicated Essential Services Officer (ESO) who is responsible for day-today operation of the community’s power, water and sewerage services. The education level of ESOs varies from minimal literacy levels to trade qualifications. The ESOs carry out a diverse range of regular tasks as part of the operation and maintenance of the essential services, including water quality testing, diesel generator servicing and meter reading for retail services.

• Degradation of free available chlorine: Sodium hypochlorite is typically delivered to the sites with 12.5% active chemical. The active chemical is highly susceptible to decay, particularly with longer periods of storage in hot conditions. This is a particular problem in Northern communities where restricted access during the wet results in bulk deliveries which are then susceptible to decay. While on-site dilution is sometimes carried out to reduce decay rates, the large volumes of chemicals make it impractical to dilute all the product when it is delivered; and it is not cost effective to purchase lower concentrations to help reduce degradation rates.

As part of the continous improvement of the quality of drinking water supplied across the remote communities, Power and Water has identified a need to install new disinfection and fluoridation systems in priority communities.


• Formation of chlorate as a by-product of sodium hypochlorite degradation that can become a contaminant in the drinking water: The level of chlorate present in the delivered and stored sodium hypochlorite will vary with the quality and age of the delivered product, storage time and storage conditions. Communities that store sodium hypochlorite solution for more than three months undiluted are more likely to experience problems with the formation of chlorates.

While the use of sodium hypochlorite has been able to largely meet the objectives of disinfection over the last 10 years, the increasing size of some of the communities and the significant investment proposed for the Territory Growth Towns required more reliable and efficient disinfection systems to replace ageing sodium hypochlorite systems. The new disinfection systems needed to overcome a number of issues that were becoming increasingly problematic

• OH&S, transport and handling of sodium hypochlorite: The design and operation of the sodium hypochlorite systems did not include appropriate transport and handling to protect operators. Upgrading these systems to be compliant with existing standards requires significant investment, and each site requires individual transport arrangements, which add to the complexity and cost of upgrades.

The implementation of these systems in the first six Territory Growth Towns is being achieved by integrating and funding the project as part of the delivery of other significant water infrastructure investment. The investment in water supply systems would result in the existing disinfection systems becoming redundant, providing an opportunity to implement the new systems and maximise project efficiencies.


Technical Features GAS CHLORINATION

Gas chlorination systems were identified as the most appropriate alternative disinfection system to overcome the problems with the existing sodium hypochlorite systems. Power and Water completed a strategic review of all 72 locations using a set of guidelines to determine potential sites that would be suitable for the installation of gas chlorination. This has guided the development of long-term plans to progressively replace existing sodium hypochlorite systems with gas chlorination in the majority of the Territory Growth Towns and a limited number of the remote communities over the next few years.

At about the same time as the review was conducted on the sodium hypochlorite replacement, a number of communities identified a need for water fluoridation through Regional Partnership Agreements and Local Implementation Plans, and late in 2010 the Department of Health released a position statement identifing that: “Water fluoridation should be extended to all people living in communities with a fixed population of 600 or more living in areas where naturally occurring fluoride is less than 0.5mg/L” To meet the emerging needs for water fluoridation the design and installation of these systems was combined with the gas chlorination systems to maximise project efficiencies and help improve health outcomes in communities. DELIVERY OF CHORINATION AND FLUORIDATION SYSTEMS

Power and Water put together a contract for the Supply, Install, Commissioning and Servicing of gas chlorination and fluoridation facilities in a bid to provide a streamlined approach to project delivery. The contract was intended to provide a consistent design and included installation in the first priority communities that had confirmed funding.Further systems could also be ordered through the contract as more funding becomes available in the future. This approach is consistent with Power and Water management

Figure 1. Location of the six communities. philosophies in which infrastucture is based on standard designs to maximise operation and maintenance efficiencies and ensure safety obligations are met. This project was awarded to WestWater NT in October 2011. The initial six communities are spread across the northern region of the Northern Territory, which is classified as wet-dry tropics, susceptible to cyclonic conditions. There are three location groups with distinct access challenges. Three of the communities are located on islands. Warrumyanga (Nguiu) is located on Bathurst Island, which is part of the Tiwi Islands group 80km north of Darwin. Angurugu and Umbakumba are on Groote Eylandt, 650km east of Darwin. These communities are accessible by sea or air only.

Regular air transport services do exist for some of these remote areas, however, these are in high demand and chartering of small aircraft is often the only option to attend site. Barge services to these locations are also in high demand, with competition for access with larger corporations a constant challenge. The locations of these communities pose great logistical challenges in providing water treatment services. Particularly, restricted access during the wet season makes them highly susceptible to the degradation issues associated with long sodium hypochlorite storage periods. This makes these communities ideal candidates for the first round of chlorine gas installations. See Figure 1 for a map of the location of the communities.


Maningrida is located on the Central Arnhem coast, approximately 350km east of Darwin. Wadeye, otherwise known as Port Keats, is a 415km drive south-west from Darwin. Road access to both communities is restricted by flood waters for much of the wet season and access from Darwin during that time is by air or sea only.

The remote nature of these sites makes construction and testing of dosing facilities difficult on site. To overcome these issues it was determined that the unit should be fitted out and factory tested in a controlled environment prior to delivery to site.

Gunbalanya (Oenpelli) is located 330km east of Darwin, on the border of Kakadu and Arnhem Land. Although only a short distance from the major centre of Jabiru (60km), the community is cut off from road access for a large part of the year by flooding of the East Alligator River. Crossing of this river, at the famous Cahill’s Crossing, is not possible for up to eight months each year.

Two standard chlorine systems were developed – firstly, a system consisting of one 920kg drum and one 70kg cylinder. The drum would be used until empty, at which time the standby cylinder would take over, allowing time for Power and Water to coordinate replacement of the drum. Using historical flow data and a conservative chlorine dose assumption of 1.5mg/L, the 920kg drum was projected





The majority of communities that were identified as suitable for the installation of gas chlorination extract their water from shallow groundwater sources that have naturally low fluoride levels.


Technical Features


taken from a flow meter on the water main, validated by in-line flow switches. Reagent free chlorine and fluoride analysers were installed for the purpose of alarming only and had no control functions, aside from shutting down the system in the event of dosing error.

Figure 2. Gas chlorination and fluoridation plants installed in Maningrida. to last for approximately one year in the communities of Nguiu, Wadeye, Maningrida and Gunbalanya. Chlorine gas deliveries would therefore occur only once per year. The second system consists of two 70kg cylinders. These systems require more frequent changeover, with one cylinder projected to last approximately one month. This system is to be installed in Angurugu. The fluoride system selected was the Prominent FluorSat 5-500 Sodium Fluoride Saturator System. This unit is a relatively new design, and this is the first time that such units have been installed in the Northern Territory. Sodium fluoride powder is stored in sealed 5kg containers with screw-cap lids. The powder is loaded by removing the lid and screwing into the saturator. A small knife is then used to cut the edge of the seal, allowing the fluoride powder to fall into the saturator. A flushing system then cleans the container, leaving it safe to go to landfill. The unique nature of the chemical loading system is well suited for operation by staff with minimal chemical handling experience; however, full PPE (personal protection equipment) is still required when loading the fluoride powder.



The chosen material of construction was a pre-cast moulded concrete building. These buildings were chosen for their cyclone resistance, durability, long life span, resistance to vandalism, and ability to be constructed off-site and then delivered as a fully functional plant. The major drawback with this type of building is the weight. The chlorination building, constructed of pre-cast concrete with a solid floor and roof, weighed 26 tonnes while the fluoride building weighed 16 tonnes. This posed a challenge during transportation and installation. The buildings were manufactured in Sydney and transported to Darwin by road. The moulded pre-cast nature of the buildings, with significant reinforcement, enabled the buildings to be capable of withstanding the rough roads up to Darwin and they arrived with only minor cosmetic damage. Figure 2 shows the units installed in the community of Maningrida. PROCESS DESIGN

The remote location of the plants, with minimal operator attendance, required a simple control system. It was determined that a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) would be used to allow for maximum functionality in the minimum amount of space. The chemical dosing processes within themselves are relatively simple, with a run signal

An Operator Interface Panel (OIP) was used for the day-to-day control of the plant. The OIP was designed with two stages. A front screen, consisting of a simple flow diagram, showed the dose rates and main flow rates. Within this front screen is also a link to a trends page and alarm list. The only control function allowed for in this front page is adjustment of chlorine dose rate. All other control elements are within secondary pages, restricted by passcode access. Only operational staff with knowledge of this passcode are able to modify the plant operation or modify fluoride dose rate. The intention of this set-up is to allow ESOs to gain experience with using OIPs, but limit the functionality of the system to monitoring, alarm notifications (and, therefore, trouble shooting) and chlorine dose rate adjustment. The Northern Territory does not have fluoridation legislation or design guidelines, so the design of the Victorian Code of Practice for Fluoridation of Water Supplies was followed. SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS

The gas chlorination system was designed in line with Australian Standard AS2927:2001, Storage and Handling of Liquefied Chlorine Gas. According to the standard, a system with less than 1,000kg of liquified chlorine gas connected for use should be located at least 25m from a protected area (such as a dwelling or public building). Power and Water recognises that immediately attending to a chorine gas leak would be problematic. The systems were therefore designed with a number of safety features that operate without the need for operator attention. Each chlorine storage room is fitted with two chlorine gas leak detectors. These leak detectors trigger alarms at 2 and 5ppm. The 2ppm leak will trigger an external audible alarm. This alarm will clear if the chlorine concentration falls back below 2ppm. A 5ppm concentration will trigger an Emergency Shutdown Device (ESD) and an external flashing light. The flashing light will not turn off unless manually reset by the operator. If an ESO attends site and sees that the external


Technical Features

red light is flashing they will know that a major leak has occurred and must then immediately contact PWC. The ESDs shut off the chlorine drum and cylinder at the valve using compressed air. It was determined that no UPS would be included in the system due to additional maintenance requirements. Therefore the ESDs were fitted with four hours of battery backup. In the event of an extended power outage, a low voltage alarm would trigger the ESDs to ensure the system is never left unprotected. Both the chlorine and fluoride buildings are fitted with natural and mechanical ventilation. Each chemical storage room has an exhaust fan located near floor level. It was decided not to include for automatic operation of the fans to reduce the amount of complexity in the system. Instead, each fan has a switch located next to the point of entry. These fans are accompanied by signage indicating that they must be switched on at least two minutes before entry. In addition to the mechanical ventilation, each chemical storage room is fitted with a grill, and each ceiling is fitted with a whirly bird to induce natural ventilation. The control room is fitted with an air-conditioner and door grill. This is considered necessary to maintain optimum operating temperatures for the PLC in the harsh NT climate. The chlorine system operates under vacuum. In the event of a chlorine leak, or the triggering of the ESDs, the chlorinators continue to run until a low chlorine level is detected by the analyser.

The purpose of this is to ensure that all chlorine contained in the dosing lines is cleared and not left to disperse into the room.

In the case of Angurugu, the chlorination site could not be located outside a radius of 800m, therefore the cylinder approach was adopted.

Despite these safety features, the effective evacuation of people in the unlikely event of a leak can be problematic in remote areas and a conservative buffer distance from the installations has been adopted where possible. The distance was determined based on applying a safety factor (two times) to the distance required for the chlorine gas to disperse for each of the sized systems. The distance chosen for 920kg drum systems was 800m. The 70kg systems would be used in systems closer to the communities, a minimum of 300m.

In Gunbalanya, the signifiant access restrictions where the community is isolated for three to four months of the year, resulted in a 920kg plant being selected for a site despite not being able to acheive the 800m buffer distance. OPERATIONAL MONITORING

The majority of sites have limited access to reliable telecommunications. System Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) programs have been developed for the chlorine plants that directly mimic the OIPs in each control room. These programs are to be integrated

Figure 4. Inside the Maningrida gas chlorine storage and dosing room.



Figure 3. Inside a fluoride dosing room.


Technical Features


into the SCADA computers that are generally located in the power stations of each community. Due to a lack of reliable communications of the local telecommunications networks, it is not possible to view this SCADA network offsite for the majority of these systems. Power and Water is currently working through a project to integrate the SCADA of each community into the Remote Operations SCADA Network. This network is a mix of DET Satelllite network and the Government’s Fibre Network. This is a long-term project that is in its infancy and will enable the automation of data collection, and access to these sites over the network by the Power and Water service co-ordinators. Until such time, viewing of the SCADA is only possible within the community. To overcome the issue of lack of visibility, a web-based telemetry system has been installed in each unit that is able to generate alarms that are sent to the ESO and Power and Water operational staff via email and text messages. This system can also access trends generated from the PLC. This system uses either Next G or Satelite Phone systems. The web-based system generates alarms for 2ppm and 5ppm leaks, Total Chlorination Failure and Total Fluoridation Failure. Upon receiving such an alarm, Power and Water personnel will contact the ESO and talk him through fault finding. In the case of Total Failure alarms, the ESO is directed to attend site and investigate the OIP to determine the cause of the alarm. In the case of chlorine leak alarms, a PWC staff member will take responsibility for remedial action and the ESO will be directed to evacuate site.

process lasted for some six to eight hours and, in some cases, were under difficult conditions imposed by the large tides at the beach landing. With careful planning and safe execution the delivery process did overcome all adversities.

the following organisations which contributed greatly to this project: the Department of Health (Oral Health) for driving the fluoridation project and Oral

With the handover of the functioning systems to operational staff, the challenges in operating such systems continue. The removal of sodium hypochlorite removes some major operational challenges; however, new challenges do arise.

introduction of fluoridation to community

The day-to-day tasks carried out by the ESOs to maintain disinfection are reduced, however the addition of fluoridation adds new knowledge and tasks. ESOs must be trained in the safe handling and operation of chlorine gas and fluoride systems. Power and Water is continuing to work through options to determine the most effective method for delivering of chlorine gas drums to these remote areas.

Water Quality and Treatment team and

The systems are under a six-monthly maintenance contract with West Water NT. However, the ESOs complete regular checks to look for any signs of wear and tear or abnormalities, which are reported to Power and Water for immediate action. The development of the SCADA network and ability to monitor system performance will be a huge development in the operation of these systems. This will remove the sometimes difficult task of fault-finding via telephone discussion and allow more experienced operational staff to monitor alarms and trends over time.


Site installation and commissioning was relatively simple due to Factory Acceptance Testing (FAT) off-site. The major difficulties experienced with the installation were to do with the logistics of delivery.

Despite the challenges in implementing a project of this size under difficult logistical conditions, a moderately simple system has been developed that can now be used across a number of remote sites in the Northern Territory.

Meeting design criteria for the buildings to be cyclone-resistant, vandalproof and long-lasting in construction did pose some challenges with transport.

Upon completion of this project, the communities of Maningrida, Wadeye, Wurrumiyanga, Angurugu and Gunbalanya will no longer battle with the issues surrounding sodium hypochlorite disinfection in isolated areas.


The Authors wish to acknowledge



With the exception of Gunbalanya, all units have been delivered to site by sea. It was necessary to charter a dedicated barge to transport the two buildings on their respective trailers with prime movers, along with a 110-tonne crane, a trailer of counter weights and a frontend loader. The unloading and placement


The introduction of fluoridation to five remote communities is a huge leap forward in the provision of oral health services to the communities of Maningrida, Wadeye, Wurrumiyanga, Angurugu and Umbakumba.

Health Promotions for promoting the members; the Anindilyakwa Land Council and Groote Eylandt Bickerton Island Enterprises for funding the Groote Eylandt fluoridation plants; PWC’s Remote Operations unit, particularly the Water and Sewerage Operations teams, the Infrastructure Delivery Teams.

THE AUTHORS Dr Bridget McDowall (email: bridget.mcdowall@ osmoflo.com.au) is is a Chemical Engineer with nine years of experience in the Australian water industry. Bridget managed this project while working as a Senior Water Treatment Engineer in Power and Water Corporation’s Remote Operations unit, based in Darwin. Reg Wagland (email: rwagland@ww.net.au) is the General Manager of WestWater Enterprises. He has expertise developed over 54 years in the water industry commencing with his electrical apprenticeship at the Sydney Water Board. He also has extensive knowledge in the area of industrial instrumentation and automatic process control gleaned from many years of experience in the iron ore and alumina industries. Amy Dysart (email: amy.dysart@ powerwater.com.au) has been with Power and Water Corporation for over eight years and has been responsible for managing and planning for water and wastewater in service in the remote communities of the NT for most of that time.

REFERENCES www.workingfuture.nt.gov.au/growth_towns.html Victorian Code of Practice for Fluoridation of Drinking Water Supplies, www.health.vic.gov. au/environment/fluoridation/code.htm


Technical Features

INTEGRATED URBAN WATER MANAGEMENT IN THE WATER-SENSITIVE CITY Systems, silos and practitioners’ risk perceptions MF Dobbie, RR Brown

SUMMARY Integrated urban water management within the water-sensitive city will involve a mix of centralised and decentralised water systems, with different water sources, depending on the particular biogeographical, social and political context of the city. This will require a whole-ofsystem approach to water management, in contrast to the traditional system of water supply, sanitation and drainage, managed separately.

Using data collected from 620 practitioners in a national online survey, we have shown that practitioners do associate benefits with each of the water supply systems that might comprise the water-sensitive city. Overall, they perceive slight to moderate general risk with each, but moderate to significant cost-related and political risks with many. Perceptions of a suite of 15 specific risks vary across the industry, particularly with primary qualification, stakeholder group and work area, reflecting communities of practice. Social learning is suggested as a process mechanism to reveal, consider and address these different risk perceptions, which might otherwise

SYSTEMS AND SILOS: CHALLENGES FACING THE AUSTRALIAN URBAN WATER INDUSTRY Water management is an ancient practice that has been integral to the development of cities. As cities develop over time, they can be expected to move through different physical and ideological states, associated with different water management objectives (Figure 1 – Brown et al., 2009). These city states form a nested continuum, each shaping and influencing the next one, accommodating new objectives. The first three states, examples of which can be seen around the world (Jeffreys and Duffy, 2011), are the water supply city, the sewered city and the drained city. However, the multiple pressures of climate variability, urban population growth, ageing infrastructure and increasing

environmental concerns have created new objectives for sustainable urban water management. These demand that cities move beyond the drained city. To meet these objectives, three city futures, also cumulative, have been identified. The waterways city provides social amenity and environmental protection by managing point and diffuse source pollution. The water cycle city also acknowledges the limits of natural resources by providing diverse fit-forpurpose water sources and promoting water conservation and waterway protection. The water-sensitive city builds on this by adding considerations of intergenerational equity and resilience to climate variability. Many Western cities are shifting towards the waterways city (Brown et al., 2009; Jeffreys and Duffy, 2011). However, the water-sensitive city represents the most resilient and sustainable water management future (Wong and Brown, 2009). It is the transition to the water-sensitive city

Figure 1. Transition framework of city states with different water management objectives, extending from water supply city to water-sensitive city. Reproduced from RR Brown, N Keath and THF Wong (2009): Urban Water Management in Cities: Historical, Current and Future Regimes, Water Science and Technology, Vol 59, 5, pp 847–855, with permission from the copyright holders, IWA Publishing.



Communities of practice, which might currently operate as silos, delivering one water service, will be required to collaborate in multi-disciplinary and potentially multi-sectoral teams across the system, to deliver multiple services. Unacknowledged risk perceptions held by these different communities of practice towards the different water supply options might impede their implementation. Thus, it is important to understand if risk perceptions (i.e. subjective responses to hazards) differ within the Australian urban water industry, and what personal and professional factors might influence them, in order to enhance the success of collaborative efforts.

compromise integrated urban water management and the transition to the water-sensitive city.


Technical Features that research attention is focused in the Co-operative Research Centre (CRC) for Water Sensitive Cities.


Water management within the watersensitive city would be integrated across the three traditional regimes of water supply, sanitation and drainage, to provide multiple water sources from both centralised and decentralised systems at different scales, for fit-forpurpose use. It would support the provision of ecosystem services within the city and beyond it, by addressing additional issues of environmental quality and waterway health, visual and physical amenity, and intergenerational equity in multifunctional, liveable landscapes. It would contribute to the development of communities that both accept and demonstrate sustainable practices. Such integrated urban water management (IUWM) demands a wholeof-system approach, at a catchment scale or more (Roy et al., 2008). It presents to the water industry the challenge to design each system anew, depending on the geographical location (e.g. geology, topography, local ecosystems), prevailing climate, and the needs of the residents (Burn et al., 2012). Collaboration and interdisciplinary practice are essential in IUWM. Engineers, ecologists, landscape architects, planners, natural resource managers, environmental scientists, economists, business managers and others are involved in “an interplay of technical systems, socio-political contexts, professional praxes and biophysical realities” (Fryd et al., 2012, pp 865–866). In this process, the various disciplinary skill bases, beliefs, values and attitudes might not be explicit, in contrast to those working within the traditional streams who have long-established practices based on shared knowledge and understanding (Moglia et al., 2011). Such communities of practice can operate as silos, with little communication outside their own membership. Working collaboratively across an integrated system can be expected to challenge these silos. In addition, IUWM challenges the implicit promise of largely risk-free water supply services offered by traditional water system management (Brown et al., 2009). Instead, it requires the management of water services, and the associated risks, to be shared between government, businesses and community.


WHY RISK PERCEPTIONS? Although the concept of IUWM is now accepted, its application has been largely limited in Australia to demonstration sites of new technologies and methods for design and decision-making (Mitchell, 2006). In turn, the advancement of IUWM by such experimentation has been limited, attributed by some water practitioners to their risk perceptions associated with fear of the consequences of failure (Farrelly and Brown, 2011). Furthermore, water practitioners in Australia and the UK perceived political risks associated with adopting alternative water systems (Brown et al., 2011), which is essential for IUWM. These studies support the suggestion that professionals are subject to risk perceptions (Slovic, 1999). Risk perceptions are acknowledged to have a role in risk management (e.g. Long and Fischhoff, 2000; Pollard et al., 2004; Renn, 2008). To date, studies of risk perceptions towards alternative water systems and water sources that might comprise the water-sensitive city have concentrated on lay communities (e.g. Po et al., 2005; Dolnicar and Schafer, 2006; Gardiner et al., 2008; Hurlimann and Dolnicar, 2010). There have been no studies of Australian urban water practitioners’ risk perceptions. Other perceived risks, in addition to fear of consequences of failure and political risks, might be associated with IUWM. Risk perceptions, though, might not be shared within the water industry but vary within and across communities of practice, reflecting different disciplines or professional activities. Studies in North America have shown that risk perceptions of occupational health scientists, toxicologists and nuclear industry representatives, including scientists and engineers, differed with discipline and industrial affiliation (Lynn, 1986; Kraus et al., 1992; Barke and Jenkins-Smith, 1993; Slovic et al., 1995; Stedman, 2004; Stedman et al., 2005). The relationship of risk perception and professional affiliation has been interpreted in terms of cultural cognition (Kahan and Braman, 2006). This theory suggests that risks are perceived in a manner consistent with an individual’s sense of identity and supported ideologies, derived from attitudes, values, beliefs and knowledge. Formal academic training and associated definitions of risk underpinning each discipline (Althaus, 2005) are fundamental to cultural cognition.

In addition, within an organisation, shared perceptions might develop through a process of social network contagion, whereby attitudes, knowledge or behaviours are filtered through the group’s structure and particular mix of cultural “norms, expectations, knowledge and behavioural support” (Scherer and Cho, 2003, p. 262). Within the Cities as Water Supply Catchments program of the Centre for Water Sensitive Cities, now part of the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities, we were interested in whether Australian urban water practitioners perceived different risks associated with different water systems. Traditional urban water management accompanying the progression to the drained city has typically evolved as three separate regimes, for water supply, sanitation and drainage. These management regimes persist in the water industry. Thus, we were also interested in whether practitioners in these different regimes (acknowledging that some practitioners may have worked across more than one), with different training, undertaking different roles, in different communities of practice, might perceive risks differently. Different risk perceptions might challenge the collaborative and interdisciplinary practice required for IUWM. However, if risk perceptions do differ, strategies can be developed to facilitate IUWM and the transition to the water-sensitive city.

OUR STUDY We collected data through a survey, which was posted online between September 2010 and April 2011. The survey, which had been trialled with water practitioners from each of the mainland capital cities and revised following feedback, had four sections (Dobbie et al., 2012a). The first section asked respondents about their personal and professional details. The second section explored the practitioners’ support for different uses of water from different sources and for 13 different water systems in different development contexts and perceived general risks associated with them. ‘General’ risk was not defined but the question was phrased to imply an overall risk. Alternative water systems were not limited to innovative or ‘green’ technologies. Included among the mix of water systems were both centralised systems, such as new dams


Technical Features FINDINGS

Table 1. Perceived net benefit, support for no use and perceived general risk of different water supply systems that might comprise the water-sensitive city. Mean and standard deviation (±s.d.) are given. N, sample size. Superscripts indicate paired comparisons (T-test) that were not statistically significantly different; by inference, all other paired comparisons differed significantly. System/Technology

Net benefit* N=363

Support for no use N=444

General risk* N=444

Rainwater tanks

2.05k (±0.91)


0.60 (±0.66)

1.40abcd (±0.86)


1.24df (±0.76)

Stormwater harvesting technologies

2.03k (±0.85)


0.94bg (±0.71)

Sewer mining

1.29efg (±0.87)


1.55 (±0.84)

1.77 (±0.95)


0.98abc (±0.74)

Aquifer storage and recovery

1.49djlm (±0.90)


1.05c (±0.73)

Direct potable reuse schemes

1.37aeij (±0.99)


1.58 (±0.96)

Indirect potable reuse schemes

1.65h (±0.95)


1.22ef (±0.87)

Rural–urban pipelines

1.38bgil (±0.94)


0.72h (±0.70)

Regional pipelines

1.53chm (±0.94)


0.70h (±0.72)

Seawater desalination

1.18f (±1.04)


0.89ag (±0.94)

New dams

0.99 (±1.04)


1.21de (±1.09)

On-site greywater systems

Third-pipe systems


First of all, we analysed the data from the survey to reveal the frequency distributions of responses and the mean and median values of rated data. We present here just a subset of the results, focusing on perceived net benefit, support for different uses of different water sources, support for the implementation of different water supply systems in different development contexts, and perceived risks. More detail can be found in Dobbie and Brown (2012, 2013) and Dobbie et al. (2012a, 2012b, 2013). Overall, the respondents associated some benefits with each of the water supply systems, as reported in Table 1. Most perceived benefits differed statistically significantly between systems. For example, rainwater tanks and stormwater harvesting were perceived as statistically more beneficial, and new dams less beneficial, than all other systems. The benefit of seawater desalination was statistically less than for all other systems except sewer mining, with which it was equal.

*Perceived net benefit and perceived general risk were scored as 0, no benefit/risk; 1, slight benefit/ risk; 2, moderate benefit/risk; 3, significant benefit/risk.

In all, 620 practitioners from Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney as well as regional areas of each mainland state, commenced the survey, with 40% completing it. This completion rate is similar to the response rate commonly achieved with online surveys (Cook et al., 2000). More importantly, the response representativeness was satisfactory: the socio-demographic characteristics of the practitioners completing the survey were very similar to those commencing it.

These attitudes reflected the practitioners’ support for the fit-forpurpose use of different sources of water, suitably treated (Figure 2). Overall, practitioners most supported the use of stormwater and rainwater. These water sources had the lowest response for no application. In contrast, at most 50% of practitioners supported desalinated seawater or blackwater for a particular use, and these water sources received the highest response as unsuitable for any use.

100 90 80 70

Frequency (%)

Centralised reticulated water supply and wastewater systems and traditional stormwater systems were also rated. The survey also asked respondents to rate each system for net benefit. The final section explored attitudes towards the different water systems, including issues of ownership, management and trust to manage risks. The survey concluded with a question about the constraints imposed by the current centralised systems.

We analysed the data using the statistical package SPSS 20 with two objectives in mind: to understand the attitudes and risk perceptions of the respondents as a group; and to reveal how these varied with the practitioners’ personal and professional characteristics. Did the practitioners differ in their attitudes and perceived risks of the various water systems that might comprise the water-sensitive city? Can these differences be attributed to different communities of practice?

60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Natural surface catchment water Drinking




Non-potable indoor household

Environmental flows



Recycled wastewater

Outdoor household



Public open space

No application

Figure 2. Support for different end uses for different sources of water. Adapted from Dobbie et al. (2013).



and seawater desalination plants, and decentralised systems, such as rainwater tanks and stormwater harvesting and treatment systems. In the third section, respondents rated each alternative water system for 15 specific types of risk that the literature (e.g. Fane et al. 2005; Baggett et al., 2006; Schäfer and Beder, 2006) suggested might be associated with them.


Technical Features context: yet, for seawater desalination, both perceived general risk and benefit were significantly lower. Factors other than perceived benefit and risk must influence this attitude. Indeed, analysis of perceived specific risks of the alternative water systems revealed a more complex situation than the perceived general risk suggested (Table 2).

Mean perceived risk

3 (SigniďŹ cant risk)

2 (Moderate risk)

1 (Slight risk)

0 (No risk)

Recycled wastewater

Treated stormwater


For drinking, natural surface catchment water was most favoured, followed by groundwater, rainwater, seawater, recycled wastewater, stormwater, greywater and blackwater (Figure 2). This trend was also evident in the perceived general risk of the different uses of rainwater and treated stormwater and wastewater (Figure 3). Risks associated with uses of rainwater were less than those for treated stormwater, which in turn were less than those for treated wastewater.

There was an inverse relationship between net benefit and perceived risk: as perceived benefit increased,


It is helpful to put these results in context by comparing them with the specific risks of the current centralised systems. These risks were generally perceived to be slight to moderate. Not surprisingly, public health risk for each was among the lowest risks. The highest were perceived environmental and flooding risks associated with traditional


3 (SigniďŹ cant risk)

90 80 70

2 (Moderate risk)

60 50 40

1 (Slight risk)

30 20 10 0

0 (No risk)

No risk

Slight risk

Moderate risk

SigniďŹ cant risk

Mean perceived general risk

Figure 4. Perceived general risk of alternative water supply systems. Adapted from Dobbie et al. (2013).

Mean perceived general risk

Perceived general risks of the various water systems and/or technologies were consistent with the low support for uses of recycled water involving close contact and their risks. Nevertheless, mean perceived general risk of any of the water systems and/or technologies was less than moderate (Figure 4). Again, the practitioners perceived systems involving treated wastewater, i.e. direct potable reuse schemes and sewer mining, to be most risky. Rainwater tanks, interconnector pipelines, seawater desalination and stormwater harvesting technologies had the lowest perceived risk. Most of these perceived risks differed significantly between systems (Table 1). Exceptions included the perceived risks of third-pipe systems, seawater desalination and stormwater harvesting.

perceived risk generally decreased (Table 1). In contrast, there was no consistent relationship of either perceived net benefit or perceived general risk with the belief that the systems should not be implemented in any development context (Table 1). For example, 30% of respondents did not support the use of direct potable reuse schemes in any development context, and mean perceived general risk for this system was significantly higher than for all systems except sewer mining, although perceived benefit was not the lowest. Compare this with the higher proportion not supporting seawater desalination in any

Frequency (%)


Figure 3. Perceived risk of different end uses for different sources of water. Adapted from Dobbie et al. (2013).

Cost-related and political risks stand out in the risk profiles of many of the systems. A minimum of 50% of respondents perceived significant political and capital cost risks with new dams, significant capital cost risk with seawater desalination and significant political risk with direct potable reuse schemes. In addition, at least 50% of respondents perceived moderate capital cost risks with either type of interconnector pipeline, aquifer storage and recovery, stormwater harvesting and each of the systems involving recycled wastewater except onsite greywater systems. A similar proportion perceived moderate maintenance/operations cost risks with new dams, rural-urban pipelines, aquifer storage and recovery, stormwater harvesting schemes and recycled water systems except indirect potable reuse schemes. Respondents perceived lowest specific risks associated with rainwater tanks.


Technical Features they do and what they know. Results for four water systems, which operate at different scales and with different water sources, were compared between groups of practitioners to see if there were any differences in risk perceptions based on groupings that could be understood as communities of practice. Some statistically significant differences were revealed, where perceived risk varied with age group, years of experience, stakeholder group, work area and primary qualification. Perceived general risk of stormwater harvesting systems varied with work area and qualification. For example, respondents working in sewerage and water supply perceived significantly higher risk than did those working in stormwater/waterways, land developers and total water cycle managers. In addition, total water cycle managers perceived significantly higher risk than did land developers.

Legend: ME, median value Mean ≥ 2; ME=3 Mean ≥ 2; ME=2 1≥ Means < 2; ME=2 1≤ Mean < 2; ME=1 Mean < 1; ME=1

Table 2. Perceived specific risks of different water supply systems. Adapted from Dobbie et al. (2013). Results are coded for ease of interpretation. Both means and median (ME) values are represented. Increasing shading represents increasing perceived risk. DPRS = direct potable reuse schemes; IPRS = indirect potable reuse schemes; ASR = aquifer storage and recovery. stormwater systems, for which more than 50% of practitioners perceived a moderate or significant risk. Next highest were capital cost and maintenance/ operations cost risks for each centralised system, with 40–45% of practitioners perceiving moderate or significant risks (Dobbie et al., 2012a).

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN GROUPS OF RESPONDENTS The results from the analysis of aggregated data possibly hide differences in perceived risks between the various communities of practice among urban water practitioners: where they work, who they work for, what

Perceived specific risks associated with seawater desalination, indirect potable reuse schemes and stormwater harvesting systems also differed significantly between some groups (Table 3). Number of years of experience influenced environmental risk of seawater desalination. Age group influenced perceived risk of constrained future innovation for indirect potable reuse schemes. Stakeholder group influenced technological failure risk of stormwater harvesting systems. Work area influenced risk of constrained future innovation of seawater desalination, and public health risk, risk of loss of reputation and political risk of stormwater harvesting technologies. Qualification influenced environmental, management failure, technological failure and aesthetic risks of seawater desalination plants, risk of loss of reputation for indirect potable



For the most commonly held primary qualifications, respondents qualified in engineering or biological science perceived significantly higher risks associated with stormwater harvesting than did environmental scientists and design professionals (urban designers, architects and landscape architects) (Figure 5). More than 50% of biologists perceived a moderate risk, at least, and 20% perceived a significant risk. Respondents with qualifications in natural resource management, physical science or business/economics also perceived significantly higher risks than did design professionals.


Technical Features


3 (Significant risk)


Frequency (%)


2 (Moderate risk)

60 50 40

1 (Slight risk)

30 20 10 0

Mean perceived general risk


0 (No risk)

No risk

Slight risk

Significant risk

Mean perceived general risk

Moderate risk

Figure 5. Mean and frequency distribution of perceived general risk of stormwater harvesting systems, with primary qualification. Adapted from Dobbie and Brown (2013). Only results for the seven most common qualifications are presented.


3 (Significant risk)


Frequency (%)

80 70

2 (Moderate risk)

60 50


1 (Slight risk)

30 20

10 0

0 (No risk)

No risk

Slight risk

Significant risk

Mean perceived risk

Moderate risk

Figure 6. Mean and frequency distribution of perceived risk of drinking treated wastewater, with stakeholder group. Adapted from Dobbie and Brown (2013).


Mean perceived risk


reuse schemes, and environmental, flooding and aesthetic risks of stormwater harvesting systems. Thus, practitioners working with government or water utilities perceived higher risks associated with decentralised systems and recycled water sources. Similarly, practitioners working with water supply and sewerage perceived higher risks with decentralised systems, notably reputation loss and political risks associated with stormwater harvesting. Engineers perceived less risk with the centralised system of seawater desalination and higher risk with the decentralised system of stormwater harvesting. Biologists (respondents were not asked their specialisation within biology, but it is likely that many biologists within the water sector are microbiologists) also perceived higher risks with stormwater harvesting. In contrast, graduates of natural resource management perceived higher risks associated with seawater desalination. Engineers also perceived higher risks of reputation loss associated with indirect potable reuse schemes. Similarly, perceived risk of different uses of both treated stormwater and wastewater differed significantly with years of experience, qualification and stakeholder group (Dobbie and Brown, 2013). In addition, work area influenced perceived risk of different uses of treated stormwater, and age and work type influenced perceived risk of some uses of treated wastewater. The youngest and least experienced respondents perceived significantly less risk in the use of treated wastewater than did other practitioners. Experience similarly influenced perceived risk of different uses of treated stormwater, with the least experienced respondents consistently perceiving less risk than the most experienced respondents across most uses. Respondents trained in design perceived significantly less risk with the use of treated stormwater than did biologists, physical scientists and business/economics graduates. Researchers, either in terms of stakeholder or work type, consistently perceived significantly less risk in the use of either treated wastewater or stormwater, even for uses involving very close personal contact. For example, they perceived significantly less risk in drinking treated wastewater than did respondents who worked for state government, water utilities or consultancies (Figure 6).


Technical Features

Table 3. Specific risks of seawater desalination, indirect potable reuse schemes and stormwater harvesting systems, which varied statistically significantly with practitioners’ personal and professional characteristics. Relative risk perceptions of the different groups are also given. Adapted from Dobbie and Brown (2013). System

Seawater desalination

Indirect potable reuse scheme

Sociodemographic variable with significant effect

Relative risk perception

Risk of constrained future innovation

Work area

stormwater/waterways, sewerage>water supply


nrm>eng., phys. sci.; env. sci.>eng., phys.sci.

Years’ experience

2-5, 11-15>20+

Risk of management failure


nrm>eng., biol.sci; env. sci.>eng., biol.sci., bus/eco.

Technological failure risk


nrm, env. sci, design.>eng., bus/eco.; design>biol.

Aesthetic risk


nrm>eng., phys.sci.

Risk of constrained future innovation

Age group

25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64>18-24

Risk of loss of reputation


eng.>nrm, env. sci, bus/eco; phys.sci.>env. sci., bus/eco.

Technological failure risk

Stakeholder group

state or local govt, water utilities, researchers, academics> land developers, consultants; water utilities>ngo

Public health risk

Work area

sewerage>land developers; water supply >stormwater/ waterways, land development, total water-cycle management

Risk of loss of reputation

Work area

water supply> stormwater/waterways, land development, total water-cycle management

Political risk

Work area

sewerage>land developers, total water-cycle managers; water supply> stormwater/waterways, land development , total water-cycle management

Environmental risk



Flooding risk


nrm>env.sci.; biol>eng, env. sci, phys. sci, bus/eco, design

Aesthetic risk


eng.>bus/eco.; biol>eng., nrm, env. sci., phys. sci., bus/ eco., design

Environmental risk

*biol, biological science; bus/eco, business/economics; design, architecture, urban design, landscape architecture; eng, engineering; env. sci., environmental science; nrm, natural resource management; phys sci, physical science.

MANAGING DIFFERENT RISK PERCEPTIONS OF DIFFERENT COMMUNITIES OF PRACTICE TO FACILITATE IUWM IN THE WATER-SENSITIVE CITY This study has shown that Australian urban water practitioners associate benefits with alternative water systems that might be components of IUWM in the water-sensitive city. Collectively, they perceived cost-related and political risks with many of them. As communities of practice within the industry, differing in training and area of professional activity, they perceived different specific risks associated with systems at different

scales with different sources. Many of these risk perceptions can be understood as expressions of familiarity, or the lack of it.

and/or costs of water systems can allow fuller comparison of innovative, unfamiliar systems with traditional, familiar systems (Gleick, 2003; Lai et al., 2008).

Perceived capital cost, maintenance/ operations cost and commercial risks apply in the management of all water systems (Pollard et al., 2004; Willetts et al., 2007). In fact, perceived capital cost risks of existing centralised systems in this study were equal to or higher than for some decentralised systems (Table 2). Nevertheless, these risks suggest the importance of evaluating the nonmonetary benefits of the newer water systems. Inclusion of non-monetary social and environmental benefits

Similarly, political risk can apply to any water system. In this study, the perceived political risk of new dams was one of the highest, as shown in Table 2, which might work in favour of the implementation of alternative supply systems. The source and nature of this political risk is not revealed in this study. It might be associated with a disenchanted electorate that politicians could face in choosing to construct new dams to which the electorate was opposed. Alternatively, it might be the risk of



Stormwater harvesting

Specific risk


Technical Features disapproval or lack of support from politicians for the water practitioners if they recommended the construction of new dams. Nevertheless, it brings to mind the recent controversy raised by the Federal Oppositions’ draft policy discussion paper that proposed 100 new dams in Australia (Benson, 2013).


Political risk was also very high for systems using treated wastewater, especially direct potable reuse schemes. Communication between all stakeholders, particularly between water practitioners and community and political decision-makers, is critical to alleviate concerns that might contribute to many of these political risks. Trust in the water industry is important to acceptance of an innovative water system by a community (Nancarrow et al., 2010). If such trust is in place, political controversy might be avoided, in turn reducing political risk. The suite of specific risks that were perceived differently by the practitioners appear to reflect their current roles and responsibilities within the water industry, their familiarity with the different systems and the challenge that the alternatives might pose to their professional training, expertise and experience. Therefore, the patterns of perceived risks can be understood as reflecting their different communities of practice within the water industry. State and local government and water utilities have been primarily responsible for management of the traditional centralised water systems, focusing on protection of public health. Scientific and technical management has dominated, led by engineers, concerned with public safety, efficiency and ease of expansion. This context could explain why practitioners working with government or water utilities might perceive higher risks associated with decentralised systems and recycled water sources, and why practitioners working with water supply and sewerage might perceive higher risks with decentralised systems, notably reputation loss and political risks associated with stormwater harvesting. It makes sense that engineers perceive less risk with the centralised system of seawater desalination and graduates of natural resource management perceive higher risk, and that engineers perceive higher risks of reputation loss associated with indirect potable reuse schemes. The challenge lies in managing these perceived risks to enable the collaborative and interdisciplinary practice that IUWM demands.


IUWM in the water-sensitive city will be an iterative process involving different communities of practice. Communities will increasingly need to incorporate more horizontal modes of management practice, working across the system. At the same time, they will need to maintain best practice in their own discipline or work area within the IUWM. They will need to embrace complexity and uncertainty. Risk must necessarily be a part of this process, both risk assessment and risk perceptions. As a strategy to facilitate such a collaborative, interdisciplinary process, the water governance literature has been converging on the idea of social learning in adaptive management (e.g. McDaniels and Gregory, 2004; Pahl-Wostl, 2007; Cundhill and Rodela, 2012). Through social learning, different risk perceptions among all stakeholders, including water practitioners, can be revealed and acknowledged. Critical reflection can be enabled and strategies developed to cope with multiple forms of risk perception. Social learning can also be extended to involve the vast mix of energy, transport and city planners and other communities of practice that might be involved in the design and implementation of the water-sensitive city.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The Authors wish to thank the water practitioners who generously gave their time in completing the online survey. They also acknowledge, with thanks, funding from CSIRO and the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities to support this research.

THE AUTHORS Dr Meredith Dobbie (email: meredith.dobbie@monash. edu) is a Research Fellow in School of Geography and Environmental Science, Monash University, Monash Water for Liveability and CRC for Water Sensitive Cities. Rebekah Brown (email: Rebekah.brown@monash. edu) is a Professor in School of Geography and Environmental Science, Monash University, Director of Monash Water for Liveability, Program Leader – Society, CRC for Water Sensitive Cities.

REFERENCES Althaus CE (2005): A Disciplinary Perspective on the Epistemological Status of Risk. Risk Analysis, 25, 3, pp 567–588. Baggett S, Jeffrey P & Jefferson B (2006): Risk Perception in Participatory Planning for Water Reuse. Desalination, 187, 1-3, pp 149–158. Barke RP & Jenkins-Smith HC (1993): Politics and Scientific Expertise: Scientists, Risk Perception, and Nuclear Waste Policy. Risk Analysis, 13, 4, pp 425–439. Benson S (2013): Tony Abbott’s Bold Water Plan Leaked. The Daily Telegraph. www. news.com.au/national-news/nsw-act/ tony-abbotts-bold-water-plan-leaked/storyfndo4bst-1226577466336. Brown R, Ashley R & Farrelly M (2011): Political and Professional Agency Entrapment: An Agenda for Urban Water Research. Water Resources Management, 25, 15, pp 4037– 4050. Brown RR, Keath N & Wong THF (2009): Urban Water Management in Cities: Historical, Current and Future Regimes. Water Science & Technology, 59, 5, pp 847–855. Burn S, Maheepala S & Sharma A (2012): Utilising Integrated Urban Water Management to Assess the Viability of Decentralised Water Solutions. Water Science & Technology, 66, 1, pp 113–121. Cook C, Heath F & Thompson RL (2000): A Meta-Analysis of Response Rates in Webor Internet-Based Surveys. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 60, pp 821–836. Cundhill G & Rodela R (2012): A Review of Assertions About the Processes and Outcomes of Social Learning in Natural Resource Management. Journal of Environmental Management, 113, pp 7–14. Dobbie MF & Brown RR (2012): Risk Perceptions and Receptivity of Australian Urban Water Practitioners to Stormwater Harvesting and Treatment Systems. Water Science & Technology: Water Supply, 12, 6, pp 888–894. Dobbie MF & Brown RR (2013): Transition to a Water-Cycle City: Sociodemographic Influences on Australian Urban Water Practitioners’ Risk Perceptions Towards Alternative Water Systems. Urban Water Journal, in press. Dobbie MF, Brookes KL & Brown RR (2012a): Australian Urban Water Practitioners’ Risk Perceptions Towards Alternative Water Systems. CSIRO Water for a Healthy Country Flagship, Australia. ISSN 1835-095X. Dobbie MF, Brookes KL & Brown RR (2012b): Risk Perceptions of Australian Urban Water Practitioners Towards Alternative Water Systems, Including Stormwater Harvesting and Quality Treatment Systems. Report for The Centre for Water Sensitive Cities, Monash University, April 2012. ISBN 978-1921912-09-2. Dobbie MF, Brookes KL & Brown RR (2013): Transition to a Water-Cycle City: Risk Perceptions and Receptivity of Australian


Technical Features Urban Water Practitioners. Urban Water Journal. in press. Dolnicar S & Schafer AI (2006): Public Perception of Desalinated Versus Recycled Water in Australia. Faculty of Commerce – Papers. Wollongong, University of Wollongong. Fane S, Willetts J, Abeysuriya K, Mitchell C, Etnier C & Johnstone S (2005): Decentralised Wastewater Systems: An Asset Management Approach. Water Asset Management International, 1, 3, pp 5–9. Farrelly M & Brown R (2011): Rethinking Urban Water Management: Experimentation as a Way Forward? Global Environmental Change, 21, 2, pp 721–732. Fryd O, Dam T & Jensen MB (2012): A Planning Framework for Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems. Water Policy, 14, 5, pp 865–886. Gardiner A, Skoien P & Gardner T (2008): Decentralised Water Supplies: South-East Queensland Householders’ Experience and Attitudes. Water Journal, 35, 1, pp 53–58. Gleick PH (2003): Water Use. Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 28, pp 275–314. Hurlimann A & S Dolnicar S (2010): Acceptance of Water Alternatives in Australia – 2009. Water Science & Technology, 61, 8, pp 2137–2142. Jeffreys C & Duffy A (2011): The SWITCH Transition Manual. Dundee, University of Abertay Dundee.

Kraus N, Malmfors T & Slovic P (1992): Intuitive Toxicology: Expert and Lay Judgments of Chemical Risks. Risk Analysis, 12, 2, pp 215–232. Lai E, Lundie S & Ashbolt NJ (2008): Review of Multi-Criteria Decision Aid for Integrated Sustainability Assessment of Urban Water Systems. Urban Water Journal, 5, 4, pp 313–327.

Renn O (2008): Risk Governance: Coping With Uncertainty in a Complex World. London, Sterling, Earthscan.

Lynn FM (1986): The Interplay of Science and Values in Assessing and Regulating Environmental Risks. Science, Technology & Human Values, 11, 2, pp 40–50.

Roy AH, Wenger SJ, Fletcher TD, Walsh CJ, Ladson AR, Shuster WD, Thurston HW & Brown RR (2008): Impediments and Solutions to Sustainable, Watershed-scale Urban Stormwater Management: Lessons from Australia and the United States. Environmental Management, 42, pp 344–359.

McDaniels TL & Gregory R (2004): Learning as an Objective Within a Structured Risk Management Decision Process. Environmental Science & Technology, 38, 7, pp 1921–1926. Mitchell V (2006): Applying Integrated Urban Water Management Concepts: A Review of Australian Experience. Environmental Management, 37, 5, pp 589–605. Moglia M, Cook S, Sharma AK & Burn S (2011): Assessing Decentralised Water Solutions: Towards a Framework for Adaptive Learning. Water Resources Management, 25, pp 217–238. Nancarrow BE, Porter NB & Leviston Z (2010): Predicting Community Acceptability of Alternative Urban Water Supply Systems: A Decision Making Model. Urban Water Journal, 7, 3, pp 197–210. Pahl-Wostl C (2007): Transitions Towards Adaptive Management of Water Facing Climate and Global Change. Water Resources Management, 21, pp 49–62. Po M, Nancarrow BE, Leviston Z, Porter NB, Syme GJ & Kaercher JD (2005): Predicting Community Behaviour in Relation to Wastewater Reuse. What Drives Decisions to Accept or Reject? Water for a Healthy Country National Research Flagship. Perth, CSIRO Land and Water. Pollard SJT, Strutt JE, Macgillivray BH, Hamilton PD & Hrudey SE (2004): Risk Analysis and Management in the Water Utility Sector: A Review of Drivers, Tools and Techniques. Process Safety and Environmental Protection, 82, 6, pp 453–462.

Schäfer AI & Beder S (2006): Relevance of the Precautionary Principle in Water Recycling. Desalination, 187, 1-3, pp 241–252. Scherer CW & Cho H (2003): A Social Network Contagion Theory of Risk Perception. Risk Analysis, 23, pp 261–267. Slovic P (1999): Trust, Emotion, Sex, Politics, and Science: Surveying the Risk-Assessment Battlefield. Risk Analysis, 19, 4, pp 689–701. Slovic P, Malmfors T, Krewski D, Mertz CD, Neil N & Bartlett S (1995): Intuitive Toxicology. II. Expert and Lay Judgments of Chemical Risks in Canada. Risk Analysis, 15, 6, pp 661–675. Stedman RC (2004): Risk and Climate Change: Perceptions of Key Policy Actors in Canada. Risk Analysis, 24, 5, pp 1395–1406. Stedman RC, Davidson DJ & Wellstead A (2005): Erratum to “Risk and Climate Change: Perceptions of Key Policy Actors in Canada” by Richard C Stedman, in Risk Analysis, 24, 5, 2004. Risk Analysis, 25, 1, p 225. Wenger EC & Snyder WM (2000): Communities of Practice: The Organizational Frontier. Harvard Business Review, 78, 1, pp 139–145. Willetts J, Fane S & Mitchell C (2007): Making Decentralised Systems Viable: A Guide to Managing Decentralised Assets and Risks. Water Science & Technology, 56, 5, pp 165–173. Wong THF & Brown RR (2009): The Water Sensitive City: Principles for Practice. Water Science & Technology, 60, 3, pp 673–682.

There are surprising opportunities when you work in water


Kahan DM & Braman D (2006): Cultural Cognition and Public Policy. Yale Law & Policy Review, 24, 1, pp 149–172.

Long J & Fischhoff B (2000): Setting Risk Priorities: A Formal Model. Risk Analysis, 20, 3, pp 339–352.

Managed by

Search no longer! Searching for the beSt S St candidateS for your company?

Searching for the late lateSt job opportunitieS in the water Sector? opportunitie

Visit www.h2oz.org.au


Technical Features

CROP IRRIGATION SCHEDULING IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA: A CASE STUDY Water management assessment in a subsurface drip-irrigated processing tomato field in the North Adelaide Plains


AM Hassanli, D Pezzaniti



Subsurface drip irrigation is increasing in South Australia. Efficient irrigation management of this system requires a reasonable estimation of crop evapotranspiration (ETc). A common approach for estimating ETc is to multiply a crop coefficient (Kc) by a reference evapotranspiration (ET0). A monitoring program was developed to assess a typical subsurface dripirrigated processing tomato field in the North Adelaide Plains, South Australia, emphasising estimation of the daily dual Kc and ETc using different approaches and comparing results with the applied water.

South Australia (SA), the driest state in the driest inhabited continent, has experienced extreme pressure on its water resources in recent years. Irrigation water accounts for around 67% of Australian’s total available water (Keremane and McKay, 2006). Subsurface drip irrigation (SSDI) as an efficient irrigation strategy is rapidly gaining acceptance in horticulture (Meyer, 2008) and cropping industries (Stork et al., 2003) in this country. Providing an effective allocation of scarce water to meet rapidly growing demands is a growing challenge that water managers and water policy makers are facing.

During the initial growth stage the dual Kc ranged from 0.49 to 0.61 with an average of 0.55. During the growth stage the Kc increased consistently, reflecting the increase in canopy coverage, and ranged from 0.53 to 1.34 with an average of 0.94. During the midgrowth stage, the Kc ranged from 1.17 to 1.38 with an average of 1.27, and for the late stage it reduced considerably and ranged from 0.92 to 0.71, with an average of 0.81. The ETc using the direct climate data from an adjacent station with the developed daily dual Kc and the recommended Kc was 910 and 951mm. The average historical values were 834 and 885mm, while it was 752mm using the Hydrus model. The yields and water use efficiency (WUE) were 127.8tha-1 and 14kgm-3, respectively.

Evapotranspiration and cropcoefficient information is required for efficient irrigation management and optimum water allocation. SSDI delivers water and fertiliser to crops with higher precision than the traditional systems (Stork et al., 2003), and provides a more efficient delivery system if water and nutrient application are managed properly (Camp, 1998). Hanson and May (2006a) examined the Kc of processing tomatoes in the San Joaquin Valley of California irrigated with drip and sprinkler irrigation systems. They concluded the average Kc ranged from 0.19 at 10% canopy coverage to 1.08 for canopy coverage exceeding 90 per cent.

The results indicated that irrigation scheduling based on weather, plant and soil observation experiences coupled with a simple monitoring program can provide a successful field management strategy. This is particularly useful for remote areas where access to new technologies and monitoring tools is limited. Keywords: Daily dual Kc, crop water requirements, weather, plant and soil observation, tomato, SA.


Hassanli et al. (2009, 2010) used the approach of Allen et al. (1998) and adjusted the corn and sugar beet crop coefficients irrigated with subsurface and surface drip irrigation to the local conditions. Cetin et al. (2008) evaluated the potential water saving and yield improvement using canopy coverage for tomato drip-irrigation scheduling. They concluded that their method could improve the yields. Car et al. (2010) developed a photo image processing system using custom software to generate a crop

groundcover percentage to estimate Kc from canopy coverage. Trout et al. (2008) used satellitederived measurements of Normalised Vegetation Index (NDVI) and crop canopy coverage to estimate Kc for a number of crops. Primary Industries and Resources, South Australia (PIRSA, 2008) recommended a set of monthly Kcs based on the FAO56 (Allen et al., 1998), and fitted to Southern Hemisphere crop calendars for South Australia. The recommended monthly Kcs for September to February (the tomato growth season) were 0.6, 0.63, 0.96, 1.15, 1.12 and 0.90, respectively. Clark et al. (1993) used a lysimeter and identified a set of Kcs ranging from 0.15 to 1.1 in Southwest Florida. Mofoke et al. (2006) applied the peak water requirements under continuous-flow drip irrigation using FAO Penman-Monteith approaches and used a peak Kc of 1.1 for tomato grown in Nigeria. Stevens et al. (2003) reported that crop salinity responses are influenced by climate variation, irrigation and agronomic management. It was also found that soil salinity in the North Adelaide Plains (NAP) as a result of long-term recycled water reuse with a higher salt content is a concern. It is believed the salinity in some locations in the NAP is influenced by rainfall leaching of the topsoil, but it was found that rainfall is insufficient to leach out the lower depths. There is a need to understand the amount of effective rainfall coupled with irrigation depth and irrigation management to achieve effective leaching and prevent salt accumulation within the root zone, and to keep the salinity level below the crop salinity threshold. The aim of this study was to evaluate water management of a subsurface dripirrigated processing tomato field subject to the grower management strategy based


Technical Features

Table 1. The average long-term (1972–2009) and the study period climate components affecting ETc for the study area (ABM, 2009). Climate components Rainfall (mm)










max T (Cº)






min T (Cº)











RH (%) Wind speed (km/hr)























































































* Indicates the climate components in the study period (from October 2008 to February 2009) ** The second values in the last column (bolded figures) indicate the mean in year 2008


Each drip line (16mm) was equipped with an automatic flushing system that released the initial flow (about one litre) prior to reaching the operating pressure. The system was also equipped with four auto-flushing disk filter units with back flushing activated every 20 minutes. Irrigation water applied was monitored using an electromagnetic flow meter equipped with a logger. The soil was sandy clay loam at 0–55 cm (percentages

reference evapotranspiration (ET0) based on the Penman Monteith (Allen et al., 1998) approach. 2.

During the monitoring period the crop was fertigated: prior to flower setting (first 5–6 weeks) 15kgha-1 per week calcium nitrate and 20kgha-1 urea; and, after flower setting, 10 kgha-1 per week of potassium nitrate and 15kgha-1 of calcium nitrate and 10 kgha-1 of urea fortnightly. In addition, prior to planting 250kgha-1 of phosphorus pellets was applied to the soil. In total, 180kgha-1 calcium nitrate, 180kgha-1 urea, 120kgha-1 potassium nitrate and 250hgha-1 phosphorus were applied. The amount of applied water was recorded by an electromagnetic meter. To calculate tomato water requirement, different approaches were used and compared: 1.

The direct local daily climate data from the adjacent station was used and an Excel spreadsheet was developed to determine the daily dual Kc and daily


The CROPWAT model (Smith et al., 1998) was utilised to estimate ET0 using the historical average climate data with the daily dual Kc and the recommended single Kc for the study area. The Hydrus-1D model (Šimůnek et al., 2008) after calibration for the study area.

The estimated ETcs (ETc= Kc × ET0) were then compared with the applied irrigation water. FAO56 guidelines for tomatoes in arid and semi-arid climates and in-situ canopy coverage percentage were used to develop the tomato growth stage lengths (initial stage 30 days, developing stage 40, mid-stage 40 and late stage 20 days). The initial calculated values of Kcb (crop-based coefficient) for the initial, mid- and late-growth stages were 0.16, 1.1 and 0.7, respectively. The

120 y = 0.8858x - 2.7392 R2 = 0.9312

100 80 60 40 20 0 0








Days after transplantation Figure 1. Canopy coverage against the days after transplantation.



A commercial tomato farm located in the North Adelaide Plains, 30km north of central Adelaide (latitude: 34º, 71’S; longitude:138º, 62’E; altitude:17m) was the experimental field. The main climate components influencing ETc for the long term (37 years), including the study period, are shown in Table 1. The Edinburgh RAAF weather station adjacent to the experimental field (700m) was used for climate data. Tomato plants with a density of 16,667 plants per ha were transplanted manually on 14 October 2008 and harvested on 20 February 2009 in an experimental field of 12,060m2 area. The irrigation water was sourced from an open pond supplied from an aquifer located 120m below ground level. The SSDI system consisted of lateral dripper lines spaced 1.5m apart and buried at a depth of 5–10cm below the ground surface alongside the crop rows. Both the dripper spacing and plant spacing along the rows were 0.4m. The average flow rate of the drippers was 5.3 Lh-1 at an operating pressure of 220 kPa.

of sand, silt and clay were 51.2%, 16% and 32.90%, with an infiltration rate of 8 mmh-1 and bulk density of 1.36 gcm-3). The depth below 55cm was a compacted semi-permeable layer.

Crop canopy coverage (%)

on water requirement estimation with different approaches. Salinity, yields and WUE were also within the scope of study.



Kcb for the mid- and late-growth stages was then adjusted to account for local climate conditions, using wind speed, relative humidity and plant height (Allen et al., 1998).


The guidelines (Allen et al., 1998) to estimate the Ke (evaporation coefficient) for drip irrigation with slight adjustments were adopted. Collected in-situ data was used to find the most suitable (fittest) equation for canopy extension to estimate the Ke during the growing season. As shown in Figure 1, the canopy coverage was between 1.6% on the sixth day of transplantation and 100% from the 107th day of transplantation.

The variation of the estimated dual Kc and the locally recommended Kc (PIRSA, 2008) are shown in Figure 2. The largest difference between Kc and Kcb was observed in the initial growth stage where evapotranspiration was predominantly in the form of soil evaporation. During the initial growth stage the dual Kc ranged from 0.49 to 0.61, mostly due to the evaporation from the soil surface. The average recommended Kc for this stage was 0.76. Ke

The daily dual Kc consisted of Kcb and Ke calculated according to Equation 1:

Irrigation water scheduling was carried out by the grower, based on the weather observations and soil and crop appearance. Accordingly, irrigation at the initial growth stage was carried out at three to four days and, during the other stages, at one to two days based on the weather variation. In total, 800mm water at 52 events with average application of 15.4mm (9.23 litres per plant) was applied. The soil water balance within the root zone and the leaching status was evaluated using Equation 2:



Where D is percolated water beyond the root zone (mm), P is precipitation (mm), I is irrigation water (mm), and ∆Wrz is the change in water content within the root zone over the growing period (mm).

Where DU is the distribution uniformity (%); Qlqa is the average flow rate of the emitters in the lowest quarter of all measured flow rates (Lh-1), and Qa is the average flow rate of all the emitters (Lh-1). The WUE and irrigation water use efficiency (IWUE) were calculated by dividing the fresh tomato yield weights by the seasonal ETc and the seasonal irrigation water applied, respectively.


0.90 0.70 0.50 0.30 0.10 -0.10









Days after transplanting

Figure 2. Daily crop coefficients against days after transplantation. During the growth stage the Kc increased consistently, reflecting the increase in canopy coverage. Its values ranged from 0.53 to 1.34 with an average of 0.94, as shown in Figure 2. PIRSA (2008) recommended an average of 1.05 for the single Kc for this stage. During the mid-growth stage, the dual Kc ranged from 1.17 to 1.38 with an average of 1.27. The dual Kc for drip irrigation for this stage was reported between 0.92 and 1.30 with an average of 1.06, and also 1.02 to 1.14 with an average of 1.08 by Hanson and May (2006a) for California. PIRSA recommended an average of 1.13 for this stage for South Australia. The dual Kc for the late stage showed a considerable reduction. It ranged from 0.92 to 0.71 with an average of 0.81. An average of 0.55 was reported by Hanson and May (2006a) and 0.9 by PIRSA for this stage. In this study, a polynomial equation closely fitted the relationship between canopy coverage and crop coefficient with an R2 of 0.93 as shown in Figure 3. As illustrated, the Kc decreased slightly from 0.6 at the early initial growth stage to nearly 25% canopy coverage. This slight reduction could be due to the plant recession after 1.6

The SSDI performance was evaluated by measuring the pressure drop along the drip lines and distribution uniformity measuring the flow rates from 48 emitters, according to Equation 3: DU = Qlqa/Qa × 100


1.10 Kc

Salinity monitoring: Six ceramic suction cups (SoluSAMPLERs) were installed at depths of 25 and 50cm at three different locations across the field. Soil water samples were extracted from the cups using a syringe on a weekly basis. Soil samples were collected from the area adjacent to the ceramic cups at nine events and saturated paste extracts were prepared for developing the soil salinity correlation between soil water extracted by ceramic cups and saturated paste extract. Both the soil water salinity (ECsw) and the saturated paste salinity (ECe) were measured using an EC meter. The ECsw was found to be higher than the ECe by a ratio of 1.82 (ECsw= 1.82ECe). This result was consistent with Biswas et al. (2007) who reported a similar ratio (ECsw ≈ 2 ECe).

D = P + I - ETc ± ∆Wrz

KC (dual Kc)



1.4 1.2 1


Dual Kc

Kc = Kcb + Ke



0.8 0.6 0.4

y = -7.09E-06x3 + 9.19E-04x2 - 1.95E-02x + 6.23E-01 R2 = 9.25E-01

0.2 0 0





Crop canopy extension (%) Figure 3. Dual crop coefficient vs canopy coverage (%) during the growing period.



Technical Features

irrigation (mm)

Kc developed in this research and 89.4mm more than that was applied. However, a deficit irrigation of 0.91ETc could occur if the recommended Kc was used. The ETcs using the historical data and the developed dual Kc and the recommended Kc were 833.5mm and 885mm, respectively, as shown in Figure 5.

crop evapotranspiration (ETc)

30 25 20 15 10 5 126

























0 1

ETc and irrigation (mm)

Rainfall (mm)

Days after transplantation (growing season)

Evapotranspiration (mm)

Figure 4. Crop water requirements and irrigation applied during the growing season. 1000 950

951 910


885 861.6


850 800


750 700 650 600 550 500 daily real time daily real time historical data historical data climate data climate data with dual Kc with PIRSA Kc with dual Kc with PIRSA Kc

hydrus prediction

irrigation & rainfall

Figure 5. The comparison of crop water requirements with different approaches and total applied water. transplanting and root establishment. It then increased rapidly as canopy coverage developed.


Tomato water requirements (ETc) and the measured applied irrigation water are shown in Figure 4. The total

Similarly, using the FAO PenmanMonteith approach for ET0 but using the PIRSA recommended Kc , the ETc was estimated at 951mm, which is 41mm more than that using the dual

This analysis shows that Hydrus-1D underestimates the water requirement compared to the above-mentioned approaches. A difference of 76.5mm was found between ETc using the direct climate data and the historical average data. This difference is likely due to the extended extreme hot, dry climate events recorded in the study period, as shown in Table 2. Corresponding data for each selected extreme day in 2009 and the historical average for the study period show that a significant difference in climate components was experienced, leading to noticeably higher ETcs for the study period. Table 2 indicates that the temperature and the wind speed in the study period were between oneand-a-half to two times higher and, surprisingly, the relative humidity was four times less than that of the corresponding historical average data. Consequently the corresponding ETcs for these extreme days were at least 3.3 times the average ETc estimated based on the historical average climate data.

Table 2. The main climate components affecting ETc for the three extreme days during the growing period and the historical average for the same period (ABM, 2009). Wind Radiation Mjmspeed 2 day-1 m s-1


Tmax (Cยบ)

Tmin (Cยบ)

Tmean (Cยบ)














Historical average




RH %

ET0 mm day-1

ETc mm day-1






















At the beginning of the mid-growth stage the canopy coverage reached 70% and the Kc remained almost constant with some minor fluctuations. However, at the coverage of nearly 96% it reached a maximum of 1.39 and then started to decline when the canopy extension was at its maximum of 100% in the late stage. The relationship developed in Figure 3 may be used to estimate the Kc by measuring the canopy coverage simply in the field to estimate ETc. Trout et al. (2008) reported a strong relationship between satellite derived measurements of NDVI and crop canopy coverage directly relating to the Kc. Car et al. (2010) developed a photo image processing system to generate a crop groundcover percentage. This percentage was used to generate a Kc value which was then used in place of satellite-derived Kc values for evapotranspiration-based decision support.

applied irrigation water and the rainfall during the growing season were 800 and 61.4mm, respectively. The total water requirement based on the direct daily climate data (using FAO PenmanMonteith approach for ET0) and the developed daily dual Kc was 910mm, which is 48.4mm more than was applied (Figure 5). Taking into account the 81.7% distribution uniformity and an irrigation efficiency of 95% (estimated), the crops likely suffered slightly from water deficiency of 0.95ETc at some stages.

ETc with the dual Kc and the historical average climate data is slightly less than the total applied water, showing an irrigation application efficiency of 96.7%, while using the recommended Kc the amount of ETc is still slightly higher (23.4mm) than the amount of water applied (861.6mm), representing an irrigation deficit of 0.97ETc. However, the amount of ETc estimated by Hydrus-1D was 752mm, translating to an irrigation application efficiency of 87.3%.


Technical Features

Table 3. The yield components of the examined tomato field. Fresh fruit weight (kg/plant)

Wet biomass (kg/plant)

Dry biomass (kg/plant)

Fresh fruit weight (tha-1)

Dry biomass (tha-1)

WUE (kgm-3)

IWUE (kgm-3)








*Dry biomass includes leaves + STEMS + roots (washed and dried in oven at 70 C for 24 hours)

location 1 location 3 threshold line

4 3 2 1 8/1



Mofoke et al. (2006) reported 6.4kgm-3 to 15.5kgm-3 of WUE for tomatoes under continuous low drip irrigation in Nigeria. This reasonably good record reflects that the grower irrigation management policy based on experience, using crop, soil and weather observations, works very well. Based on this outcome it can be claimed that crop, soil and weather observations coupled with experience could be an effective approach for improving irrigation water management particularly in conditions where the use of new technology and monitoring tools is limited. SALINITY

Soil salinity (ECe) prior to irrigation at depths of 0–25, 25–50 and 50–75cm was 0.66, 1.11 and 2.06 dSm-1, respectively. The average salinity and alkalinity (pH) of irrigation water before and immediately after fertigation were 1.15dSm-1, 8.13 and 1.9dSm-1, 7.03, respectively. The variation of soil water salinity extracted by the ceramic cups for three monitored locations and for monitored depths is shown in Figure 6. Based on Equation 2







18/ 8



7/0 8






16/ 9


location 1

location 2

location 3

Threshold line


8/0 9



ECsw (dS/m)

mean salinity in depth 50cm 5 4 3 2 1 8/1






18/ 8



7/0 8



location 2 at depth 75cm





16/ 9



8/0 9



threshold line

4 ECsw (dS/m)

Several studies have shown a linear relationship between the yields and ETc (Calado et al., 1990; Ben-Gal and Shani, 2003). The yield components are shown in Table 3. A fresh tomato yield of 127.8tha-1 is a very good yield when compared to 93.6tha-1 by drip irrigation in California (Hanson and May, 2006b) and 80tha-1 in Australia in the 1990s (Meyer, 2008). WUE as the ratio of fresh tomato weight and ETc and also irrigation water use efficiency (IWUE) as the ratio of fresh tomato weight and the recorded applied irrigation water were 14.04 and 15.9kgm-3, respectively.

location 2 mean sallinity at depth 25cm

5 EC sw (dS/m)

To avoid such severe daily water stress and yield reduction, this needs to be taken into account, particularly for the precise irrigation practices. However, the short-term climate data variation is insufficient to reach a conclusion about the effect of climate change. This just indicates the importance of likely climate change effect on crop evapotranspiration and also, possibly, on crop damage as a result of extreme events and heatwaves.

3 2 1 0 8/1






18/ 8



7/0 8






16/ 9



8/0 9



Figure 6. The variation of soil water salinity during the growing season at depths 25cm (top), 50cm (centre) and 75cm. and the estimated ETcs shown in Figure 5, and the applied irrigation water and a 2% increase in soil moisture within the root zone during the growing season, the estimated leaching status was as below: For the ETc estimated from direct daily climate data with the daily dual Kc and the Kc suggested by PIRSA, no leaching was estimated. For the ETc estimated from the historical average climate data with the daily dual Kc, 41.6mm percolated water was estimated and, therefore, 4.8% leaching was expected, while with the Kc suggested by PIRSA no leaching was expected.

For the ETc estimated by Hydrus model, percolated water was 123.6mm and, therefore, 14.3% leaching was expected. The soil salinity of the upper layer (0–25cm) at all three monitored locations remained relatively constant during the monitoring period and was considerably less than the tomato threshold of 4.5dSm-1 (Ayers and Westcott, 1985). The salinity increased from 2.5dSm-1 to 3.0dSm-1 at a depth of 50cm then remained steady with a slight increase at the end of the growing season. However, at location 1 the salinity of 3dSm-1 remained constant and was then followed


Technical Features by a considerable jump to the level just below the threshold (4.5dSm-3). Salinity at depth 75cm (beyond the root zone) varied between nearly 2 and 3.5dSm-1. Based on general observations of plant conditions and also yield records it might be concluded that the soil water salinity did not affect the plants. The salinity level below the tomato threshold in this study could be due to several reasons: a relatively low irrigation water salinity (1.15dSm-1), the short period of study that was not adequate for salt accumulation within the root zone, three significant rainfall events during the growing season that may have leached some salts, and the recorded intense rainfall during the spring and winter seasons prior to cultivation.

CONCLUSION The use of the daily dual Kc and the direct local climate data for the growing period is recommended for ETc estimation rather than using the historical climate data and the average Kcs for the growth stages, since there is a considerable variation in the climate components in the study area. Extreme climate events may create severe water and heat stress that need to be taken into account on a daily basis.

Monitoring the irrigation water applied and verifying water requirements based on the direct climate data and the daily dual Kcs, salinity variation within the root zone and the yield components is recommended for efficient and sustainable irrigation management. The results from this study indicate that irrigation scheduling based on weather, plant and soil observation experiences coupled with a simple monitoring program can provide acceptable field management without necessarily requiring complicated tools. This could be useful, particularly for remote areas where access to new technologies and advanced tools is costly or not feasible.

The Authors thank the University of South Australia, Division of Information, Technology, Engineering and Environment (ITEE) for providing funding for this research. The sincere cooperation of Tony Vorrasi (grower), collaboration in field data collection by Mahdi Montazeri and Hydrus simulation by Maria Laia Perez Simbor are also much appreciated.

THE AUTHORS Ali Morad Hassanli (email: ali.hassanli@unisa.edu.au) is currently Associate Professor at Shiraz University, Iran, and adjunct Associate Professor at the School of Natural and Built Environments (NBE) and the Centre for Water Management and Reuse (CWMR), University of South Australia. His research interests and academic experiences are Water and Sustainable Irrigation Management, Recycled Water Reuse, Salinity Management, Soil and Water Development, Climate Change and Water Resources, and Environmental Degradation. David Pezzaniti (email: David.Pezzaniti@ unisa.edu.au) is a Senior Research Engineer at the University of South Australia and CWMR.

REFERENCES Allen RG, Pereira IS, Raes D & Smith M (1998): Crop Evapotranspiration. Guidelines for Computing Crop Water Requirements. Irrigation and Drainage Paper No 56, FAO, Rome. Australian Bureau of Meteorology, ABM (2009): www.bom.gov.au/weather/sa/. Accessed October 2008. Ayars RS & Westcott DW (1985): Water Quality for Agriculture, FAO Irrigation and Drainage Paper No 29, FAO, Rome. Ben-Gal A & Shani U (2003): Water Use and Yield of Tomatoes Under Limited Water and Excess Boron. Plant Soil, 256, pp 170–186. Biswas TK, Dalton M, Buss P & Schrale G (2007): Evaluation of Salinity-Capacitance Probe and Suction Cup Deliver for Real Time Soil Salinity Monitoring in South Australian Irrigated Horticulture. International Symposium on Soil Water Measurement Using Capacitance and Impedance and Time Domain Transmission, 28 October–2 November, Maryland, US. Calado AM, Monzeon A, Clark DA, Phene CJ, Ma C & Wong Y (1990): Monitoring and Control of Plant Water Stress in Processing Tomato. Acta Horticulturae, 227, pp 129–136. Camp CR (1998): Subsurface Drip Irrigation: A Review. Transactions of the ASAE, Vol 41, 5, pp 1353–1367. Car NJ, Christen EW, Hornbuckle JW & Moore GA (2010): ET Based Irrigation. DSS Using Mobile Phones Where Remote Sensing is

Not Applicable. Australian Irrigation 2010 Conference and Exhibition, 8–10 June, Sydney, pp 127–128. Cetin O, Uygan D & Boyaci H (2008): Tomato Irrigation Scheduling Improved by Using Percent Canopy Cover and Crop Developmental Stage. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research, 59, 12, pp 1113–1120. Clark GA, Stanley CD & Csizinszky AA (1993): Water Requirements and Crop Coefficients for Tomato Production in Southwest Florida. A Cooperative Research Project, University of Florida, US. Hassanli AM, Ahmadirad SH & Beecham S (2010): Evaluation of the Influence of Irrigation Methods and Water Quality on Sugar Beet Yield and Water Use Efficiency. Agricultural Water Management, Vol 97, pp 357–362. Hassanli AM, Ebrahimizadeh MA & Beecham S (2009): The Effects of Irrigation Methods with Effluent and Irrigation Scheduling on Water Use Efficiency and Corn Yields in an Arid Region. Agricultural Water Management, Vol 96, 1, pp 93–99. Hanson BR & May DM (2006a): Crop Coefficient for Drip Irrigated Processing Tomato. Agricultural Water Management, Vol 81, pp 381–399. Hanson BR & May DM (2006b): Crop Evapotranspiration of Processing Tomato in the San Joaquin Valley of California, US. Irrigation Science, 24, pp 211–221. Hornbuckle JW, Car NJ, Christen EW & Smith DJ (2010): Convenient and Low-Cost Irrigation Scheduling – An Opportunity for Irrigators. Australian Irrigation 2010 Conference and Exhibition, 8–10 June, Sydney, pp 125–126. Keremane G & McKay J (2006): The Role of Community and Partnership: The Virginia Pipeline Scheme. Water, Vol 33, 7, pp 50–58. PIRSA (2008): Rural Solution SA, Irrigation Crop Management Service (ICMS), Government of South Australia. www.seq.irrigationfutures. org.au/imagesDB/news/CropCoefficients.pdf. Accessed October 2008. Meyer WS (2008): The Future of Irrigated Production Horticulture – World and Australian Perspective, Acta Horticulturae, 792, ISHS. Mofoke ALE, Adewumi JK, Babatunde FE, Mudiare OJ & Ramalan AA (2006): Yield of Tomato Grown Under Continuous-Flow Drip Irrigation in Bauchi State of Nigeria. Agricultural Water Management, Vol 84, pp 166–172. Šimůnek J, Šejna M, Saito H, Sakai M & van Genuchten M TH (2008): The Hydrus-1D Software Package for Simulating the One-Dimensional Movement of Water, Heat, and Multiple Solutes in Variably-Saturated Media. Version 4. Dept of Environmental Sciences, University of California. Stevens DP, McLaughlin MJ & Smart MK (2003): Effects of Long-Term Irrigation with Reclaimed Water on Soil of the Northern Adelaide Plains. Australian Journal of Soil Research, 41, pp 933–948. Stork PR, Jerie PH & Callinan APL (2003): Subsurface Drip Irrigation in Raised Bed Tomato Production, Nitrogen and Phosphate Losses Under Current Commercial Practice. Australian Journal of Soil Research, 41, pp 1283–1304.



The dual Kc developed for tomatoes in the study area at the initial, developing and the late-growth stages was less than that recommended by PIRSA for the study area. The yield of 127.8tha-1 is reasonably high compared to 93.6tha-1 by drip irrigation in California and 80tha-1 in Australia in the 1990s. The WUE of 14.04kgm-3 in this study compared to the reported values of 6.4kgm-3 to 15.5kgm-3 is a good result. This reflects a degree of adaptation to climate variation made in the field by the farmer, relying on weather, soil and plant observations.



Technical Features

PREDICTING THE DROUGHT: THE NEEDS AND THE HAVES The benefits of a comprehensive drought-monitoring and prediction service A Panikkar, P Gehrke, T Wilson

ABSTRACT Reliable monitoring and prediction of drought is required to effectively manage the risks to water resources and food security via drought adaptation and sustainable farming practices. As the driest inhabited continent, Australia experiences among the widest rainfall variability and natural climate variability in the world. Intensified by climate change, the hydrological cycle and extreme weather events are expected to exacerbate the risk of drought and water scarcity. Recent years have seen severe droughts and floods in many parts of the country. Many sectors of the community would benefit from a comprehensive drought-monitoring and prediction service; however, such a service does not currently exist in Australia.



Drought is a regional phenomenon with characteristics differing from one climate regime to another. Significant changes in weather patterns from normal conditions commonly produce consequential changes in the natural environment with associated social and economic impacts on affected regions. The early 1990s saw the scientific and policy viewpoints on drought as a natural disaster change to accepting it as a natural cycle. Meteorological drought is a natural event that results from several causes that are specific to a given region (WMO, 2006). McKee et al. (1993) suggested a definition of drought based on standardised precipitation, which is the difference of precipitation from the historic mean for a specified time period divided by the historic standard deviation. Identification of the beginning or end of drought conditions is debatable. Low rainfall in itself does not constitute the commencement of drought; rain or flooding during prolonged periods of drought do not necessarily signal the end of drought.


The UN General Assembly declared 2006 as the International Year of Deserts and Desertification. The WMO has accorded high priority to the fight against drought and desertification. The exacerbation of desertification in Africa and the extended droughts experienced by the continent have gone unrecognised on many fronts, and have been identified as having implications for the implementation of Millennium Development Goals. WMO, in partnership with the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), is working to address drought monitoring, preparedness, mitigation, land degradation and desertification. It has been widely reported in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia that drought causes desertification, falling water tables and pollution, causing communities to abandon their villages and migrate (Brown, 2011).

• Meteorological (Climatological) Drought is defined as a deviation from normal precipitation conditions over a period of time;

Drought as an environmental condition affects a wider geographical area than most other natural disasters. In 1991–92 sub-Saharan Africa experienced drought in a region of 6.7 million square kilometres affecting 110 million people (WMO, 2006). With the growing population and increasing impacts of land management practices, the situation is expected to worsen in the coming years, especially in areas more vulnerable to climate change. In areas of low economic development, drought has considerable impacts on local populations and ecology, exacerbating the negative effects of agricultural activities and precipitation deficiency, culminating in socio-economic drought impacts such as degradation of land and other problems with safe sanitation, health and hygiene, high infant mortality and low immunity in children.

The key to understanding drought is to grasp its natural and social dimensions, with the goal of drought risk management to focus on society’s coping capacity, resilience and effective management of drought assistance. Management of drought takes a risk-based approach in analysing and adapting to conditions. Drought impact monitoring is required to identify interactions between natural characteristics of meteorological drought and human activities that depend on precipitation to meet societal and environmental demands, and to determine appropriate drought management responses.

Four main classes of drought are commonly recognised, reflecting the different aspects and values being considered:

• Agricultural Drought refers to a lack of adequate soil moisture for crops or pasture; • Hydrological Drought reflects reduced precipitation for an extended period, leading to deficient water resources. It is the deviation of available surface and subsurface water from average conditions; • Socio-Economic Drought recognises the relationship between supply and demand for water, such as when low water supplies negatively affect communities in terms of businesses (economies reliant on crop yield, livestock management) and social behaviour.

In order to effectively manage the risks to water resources and food security via drought adaptation and sustainable farming practices, reliable monitoring and prediction of drought is required. Several agencies provide drought-monitoring and prediction services around the world, such as the Global Water Partnership’s Integrated


Technical Features

Table 1. Some Drought Indices used in drought monitoring. Drought Index



Effective Drought Index


Decile method – Standardised Precipitation Index


Comments/Reference This is calculated with a daily time step and requires a continuous precipitation record. Morid et al. (2006) defined it as a function or precipitation needed for a return to normal, i.e., for the recovery from the accumulated deficit since the beginning of a drought event.

Meteorological drought Agricultural drought

Particular application in monitoring crop production; relates to probability of precipitation for any time scale between 1 and 72 months.


Soil Moisture Deficit Index

Agricultural drought

Use is limited due to lack of observed soil moisture data, although continental scale water balance models and satellitebased remote sensing technologies are being developed to predict soil moisture status of lower and upper layers of soils. Good indicator of short-term drought (Narasimhan & Srinivasan, 2005)


Evapotranspiration Deficit Index

Agricultural drought

Good indicator of short-term drought (Narasimhan & Srinivasan, 2005)


Normalised Difference Vegetation Index

Agricultural drought

Pasture growth, timely estimation of condition of natural vegetation (Peters et al., 2002).


Standardised Runoff Index

Hydrological drought

Similar to SPI but uses a different time scale


Palmer Drought Severity Index

Agricultural drought

Relates to regional moisture conditions employing water balance analysis. This index is updated every week by the US Dept Agriculture during the growing season.


Enhanced Vegetation Index

Drought Severity

EVI uses data from MODIS, is more sensitive in high biomass regions and improves monitoring through a reduction in atmospheric influences.


Normalised Difference Temperature Index


Hutchinson Drought Severity Index

Allows insight into regional water balance and can be used in analysing variations in the amount of water in the root zone; remove seasonal trends from daytime land surface temperatures derived from AVHRR sensor. Meteorological drought

Severity analysis by summing up rainfall deficits that accumulates over time.

Sources: AWWA (2002); Morid et al. (2006); Narasimhan & Srinivasan (2005); Peters et al. (2002); White (2006)

Drought-monitoring tasks include monitoring of surface water, catchment management practices, groundwater monitoring, river management, actual environmental water demand and potentially the multiple forms of water

consumption. Drought monitoring generally can inform broader policy development for water management and has been an important planning instrument (AWWA, 2002). Primary producers, insurance companies, and importers and exporters may benefit from the provision of drought information at seasonal and sub-seasonal time scales. On a decadal and multi-decadal scale, Government and large organisations would use such information for policy development, infrastructure and regional development programs. Drought monitoring and prediction are also useful for resource planning, decision making, infrastructure planning, fire risk management and conservation of biodiversity. The basis of human sustenance, agricultural production, is closely linked with availability of water and actual

crop evapotranspiration, which can be monitored by water balance during the crop growing cycle. Advances in remote sensing and satellite technology have helped in monitoring crop water use and production. A drought index, which assists in the analysis of temporal and spatial variation in vegetation and crop water use, has long been recognised as an important tool in drought monitoring. There are many indices used in various situations, as described by several authors. US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellites have incorporated instruments such as Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) to supply remotely sensed data for developing imagery used in several of the drought indices developed for



Drought Management Framework, the US Drought Monitor, and the Experimental African Drought Monitor. In keeping with the different characteristics that are perceived as drought, these services employ different assessment techniques and indices in providing early warning. Drought monitoring focuses mainly on observed data and trends using various techniques. Drought Prediction refers to both an estimate of what might happen over a specified time period, and a degree of certainty about the likelihood and precision of the estimate.


Technical Features particular conditions and uses (Wan et al., 2004). As drought is ultimately measured in terms of its impact and not just rainfall deficiency, no single index can be used to measure the impact of drought on a particular sector or application. The Middle-East experiences long spells of drought. In Iran, up to seven meteorological indices have been employed in drought analysis (Morid et. al., 2006). A comparison of several indices based on drought cases and classes that were detected over the 32 years of data, as well as over the 1998– 2001 drought, found Effective Drought Index (EDI) to be most responsive.

DROUGHT MONITORING – A CASE STUDY Australia has wide variability in rainfall and natural climate. Intensified by climate change, the hydrological cycle and extreme weather events exacerbate the risk of drought and water scarcity in the world’s driest inhabited continent. Recent years have seen severe drought and severe floods in many parts of the country. Many sectors of the community would benefit from a comprehensive droughtmonitoring and prediction service; however, such a service does not currently exist in Australia. The closest capability is rainfall and temperature projections covering a three-month outlook and similar information provided by the Bureau of Meteorology (The Bureau). In some regions there may not be a direct link between rainfall and drought. For example, downstream catchments within the Murray–Darling Basin in NSW or South Australia may experience meteorological drought, while river flow is maintained by high rainfall in upper catchments in Queensland. Integration of rainfall and other water resource information with appropriate agricultural and hydrological models, along with development of most appropriate indices, is critical.


RESEARCH METHOD The current drought prediction services in Australia and internationally were studied to compare drought-related early warning services, and to identify gaps in information available. Data collection included a literature search and interviewing key stakeholders selected in consultation with the Bureau of Meteorology, including user groups in Australia and international weather services.


Among the Australian service providers particular note could be made of the services provided by Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES – now suspended) and the WA Department of Agriculture and Food. Internationally, the work of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the US and UN agencies such as World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and Group on Earth Observation (GEO) were considered particularly relevant. The Australian respondents represented the following entities:

Enso rounds

Indy delivers

Sam influences

Ridgy and

up tropical

moisture from

the strength


moist air in

the Indian

and frequency

systems can

the Equatorial


of cold fronts

block rainfall in

over Victoria.


Pacific Ocean.

• National Agricultural Monitoring System Project (NAMS); • Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES); • Seasonal Climate Outlook for the Pacific Island Countries Project (SCOPIC); • Bureau of Meteorology (the Bureau); • Grains Research and Development Corp (GRDC); • Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO); • Queensland Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (QLD DEEDI) – (now Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (QLD DAFF)); • Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF); • WA Department of Agriculture and Food (WA DAF); • Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA); • Murrumbidgee Irrigation Limited (MI).

DISCUSSION Many of the 14 respondent organisations provided detailed information that provided considerable insight into drought-monitoring and prediction

activities in their relevant jurisdictions. Combined responses indicated that the requirements and current practices vary widely among Australian states. Some organisations or state jurisdictions (e.g. Drought Pilot in Western Australia and the Climate Dogs in Victoria animation series supported by the Victorian Future Farming Strategy – see above) have developed drought-monitoring and prediction services to cater for local situations and needs. International organisations were seen to share information based on requirements. In Australia, the specific requirements of individual State and Commonwealth agencies resulted in little duplication of effort in addressing the needs. There was agreement that a drought forecasting and prediction service would be of benefit to specific users. The preference of individual agencies was to use rainfall forecasts from the Bureau of Meteorology and convert them into drought indices useable within their area of operation. Users identified a need for short-term (up to 21 days), medium-term (up to six months) and long-term (years) forecasts. Respondents also emphasised the need for accuracy of these forecasts. Meteorological services present information in the form of spatial weather maps. This may contribute to a continued focus on spatial technologies such as GIS to present drought information. It is


Technical Features equally important to develop improved capacity to present temporal information. The focus on spatial information is likely to grow as spatial technologies, remote sensing and modelling capabilities continue to develop. However, a balance is required to ensure that improvements in spatial technology do not constrain development of improved predictive methods for temporal forecasts. Several programs were previously available in Australia, such as the NAMS project, a web-based system maintained by Bureau of Rural Sciences (BRS, later merged with ABARE (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics) to create ABARES (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences)). In 2005, the Primary Industries Ministerial Council (Commonwealth and State Primary Industries ministers) agreed that there was a need to develop a national information system to streamline drought information related to exceptional circumstances (EC) by compiling national peer-reviewed data to provide drought information. A prototype was developed over the next 12 months with continued funding. The system became operational during 2006– 07. In 2007, it was extended to include information related to irrigation systems. Funding was withdrawn in 2009. ABARES currently maintains an internal skeleton system and there are plans to develop the system further, in conjunction with the Bureau.

Drought Pilot workshops were developed to focus on the wholeenterprise level, including farm planning and economic drought mitigation. This

Internationally, several programs have provided drought and climate condition monitoring services even before the current focus on climate change and its effects emerged. In the US, the Drought Information Center (DIC) run by NOAA (later merged with National Integrated Drought Information System – NIDIS), ensured collaboration between government agencies in the US. NIDIS has been funding research and forecasting services and supports both US requirements and a global platform for sharing and displaying agreed layers set to minimum standards. WMO promotes research on interactions between climate, hydrological regime and drought in the context of climate variability, change and water resources scarcity. It involves national meteorological and hydrological services in regional and sub-regional cooperative projects such as the operation of drought-monitoring centres in Africa. GEO/GEOSS provides a rich collaborative environment, fostering collaboration among the US, Canada, European Community, Asia, Australia and South America. The development efforts of the GEO Global Drought Monitoring Portal have involved multiple parties including several international agencies. NOAA and NADM (North American Drought Monitor) deliver climate prediction, monitoring and assessment across the North American continent, while EDO (European Drought Observatory) and GLOWASIS operate from Europe, having several functions and tools, including satellites dedicated to Earth observation data collection. In Africa, the South African Weather Service (SAWS) and Experimental African Drought Monitor (EADM) undertake drought monitoring using various drought indices (Percentage of Normal Rainfall and Deciles) and are supported by international study groups. The EADM system provides near real-time monitoring of land surface hydrological conditions. The hydrologic cycle is modelled on a large scale using the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) land surface model, which consists of global and regional retrospective applications. Its model is forced by a combined dataset of modelled data and

observations of meteorological forcings (precipitation, temperature). The main effort during the first interim period has been to update global macro-scale modelling to near real-time over Africa.

GAPS IDENTIFIED The Australian landscape is unique in terms of land management differences, precipitation variability and rainfall patterns, soil type variability, geography and population distribution. Therefore, data from overseas need to be tailored to specific situations and some solutions would not be practical at all. The indices used in drought monitoring and prediction by international agencies offer some technical challenges across varying land management and precipitation patterns. Studies have shown that Australia requires multiple indices, given the diversity of environments and farming systems (White, 2006). There is also a perception, as noted in the interviews, that indices tend to smooth rainfall data while masking extremes. Drought monitoring and prediction involve integration of complex series of information including soil moisture, rainfall, socio-economic and industrial conditions, and the service should be comprehensive to cater for the wide range of user groups. The Palmer drought severity index and remote sensing information have limitations as the soil type and soil moisture data used would be more relevant to irrigation needs. Indicators based on inflows to water storages and catchment runoff to unregulated rivers are required. Indices that take into account the time scale and spatial scale are important and these are best developed through international cooperation. Users also require drought predictability with adequate fine-scale resolution and accuracy for application at a local scale. GIS and climate modelling are very useful in terms of historic and future events. There is a need to improve seasonal forecasting, considering the variability in climate. A six- to 12-month outlook was noted to be highly desirable. Confidence in data is very important, as farmers and livestock managers need realistic information in the short and long term to manage various aspects of their business. Such confidence would also serve in planning water storage operations for water supply needs of



The WA DAF provides its own drought monitoring and prediction services. A climate risk project is also run in conjunction with these efforts, supported by development of GIS and climate modelling capabilities. Information from the Bureau and other agencies is repackaged with internally produced data to generate seasonal drought prediction reports to assist farmers when considering overall pricerisk, grain logistics and marketing. DAF services do not involve any drought monitoring indices as most available indices are considered to have limited practical relevance to WA conditions – i.e., large geographical area, wide range of climatic conditions, low soil retention capacity of local soils, etc.

approach has been assessed as a better proactive strategy to adapt to the added variability of a changing climate than the earlier reactive, post-event methods.


Technical Features

Table 2. Drought-monitoring and prediction programs and agencies in Australia. Drought-monitoring/prediction program/agency ABARE


Bureau’s National Climate Centre

Description Provides a national-level weekly drought statement focusing on rainfall deficiency and information about exceptional circumstances concerning floods and rainfall, including 1-in20 year events in the past five years. The publicly accessible Drought Statements on the Bureau website provides links to external drought reports for each state and to DAFF at Commonwealth level.


Currently provides Seasonal Streamflow Forecasts through its website with a three-month probabilistic outlook of total streamflow volumes at a site or total inflows into a water storage structure.


Extreme weather situations such as 1-in-25 year events. Information was disseminated via a publicly accessible website. Data used was mostly made available by the Bureau. A worldwide interest was noted in accessing the information with known user groups ranging from private industries, grain producers, government agencies and community groups.


Currently implementing a drought-monitoring and prediction service in the islands of Kiribati to assess the extent of hydrological drought on groundwater using rainfall deciles over 36–60 months.


Uses services provided by the Bureau to access temperature, rainfall and evaporation data and also liaises with the University of Newcastle researchers for historic records (up to 100 years) and interpret the information from an agricultural perspective to forecast rainfall for the growing season. Focus is on multi-week forecasting; lacks research and development facilities for longer term (such as decadal) forecasting. GRDC liaises with international data providers such as NASA, NOAA, WMO, India Climate Centre, European Centre for MediumRange Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) and peer-reviewed publications for all Research and Development investments in climate information services.


Used Sustainable Yields Reports provided by CSIRO as references for planning activities and also engaged independent consultants to prepare drought-monitoring reports.

Queensland Climate Change Centre of Excellence

Provides monitoring and research services on agricultural drought for crop management. The former Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) supported the development of the Long Paddock seasonal forecasting web tool.


Supported by DERM, DEEDI and the former Queensland Office of Climate Change, this GIS-based tool provided data on pasture growth, soil moisture and the El Niño Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) outlook with respect to historical records, modelled historical conditions, and is useful in ~3 months forecasting. It has been used in cropping and grazing systems and also in support of policy development and land management decisions and risk management.

Australian Water Availability Project (CSIRO)

Soil-moisture monitoring program, monitoring the terrestrial water balance of the Australian continent, using available measurements and modelling. Funding for this three-year project, and data maintenance, are provided by the South Eastern Australian Climate Initiative (SEACI).


SEACI was initiated as collaboration between the MDBA, Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment (VIC DSE), Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), BRS, CSIRO and the Bureau. The project’s outputs include weekly time-series from March 2007 and monthly historical series from 1900. SEACI’s focus is on improving the understanding of key drivers of climate, drought and floods and to improve reliability of long-term projections.


Water Information Research and Development Alliance is an alliance between CSIRO and the Bureau, developed to improve management of Australia’s water resources through the development of value-added water information products. It has been designed as a major R&D program encompassing data interoperability, hydrologic modelling, water accounting and water resource management. While none of the currently listed eight projects focus on drought, the skills and data sets developed could be relevant to drought-related projects.



Technical Features farmers and livestock managers and also assist in policy and planning at water authority level. In the past, drought in Australia was mainly reported in terms of rainfall, and mapping of other information such as soil moisture and water availability was not available. Lack of soil moisture data is seen as a major limitation as remote sensing currently provides limited soil moisture information at the soil surface. Soil moisture information at greater depths, such as provided by the WaterDyn model, is required for monitoring and prediction of agricultural droughts. There is a need to integrate climate data with agricultural and hydrological models to provide better information to monitor and predict drought conditions. Longer-term forecasting has been identified as an area for improvement. The maximum timeframe for prediction based on current capability is reported as six months, because of the predictability of El Niño–La Niña behaviour, and there is a dearth of peer-reviewed and validated capabilities for short-term forecasting and longer-term projections. Existing longer-term projections describe a level of confidence in climate scenarios, but these are of limited use in describing the severity and duration of individual events. There are more dimensions and difficulty with drought prediction than there are in flood prediction, and therefore currently available flood prediction methods may provide one option to be expanded and refined to meet the quantitative and probabilistic requirements for drought information. Longer-term drought assessments are also complicated by the limited current understanding of the interactions between the drivers of El Niño and La Niña events and other long-term climate features, such as the Indian Ocean Dipole.


The conventional focus of meteorological services to present information in the form of spatial weather maps may contribute to a continued focus on spatial technologies. Focus on spatial information is likely to grow as spatial technologies, remote sensing and modelling capabilities continue to develop. However, a balance is required to ensure that improvements in spatial technology do not constrain development of improved predictive methods for temporal forecasts. Currently there are some gaps in the information available in Australia on drought in terms of monitoring and prediction. The use of GIS and climate modelling is valuable in terms of historic and future events. There is a need to improve seasonal forecasting, considering the variability in climate and how the information is used locally. Confidence in data at all time scales is required to inform operational decisions in the agricultural sector in the short term, and to guide development of business risk profiles in the longer term. Such confidence would also serve in planning water storage operations for water supply. This study did not address the fundamental issue of social acceptance of climate data. Members of the public frequently comment on perceived inaccuracies in short-term weather forecasts. Public debate over the existence and causes of climate change continues. Given the level of scepticism in climate projections in some sectors, we suggest that drought-monitoring and prediction services have two primary purposes: to guide informed risk assessment and decision-making by government, the private sector and individuals; and to educate the wider community and communicate climate information.

THE AUTHORS Avanish Panikkar (email: avanish.panikkar@ smec.com) is a Senior Environmental Engineer and Auditor with SMEC Australia based in North Sydney. He has over 14 years’ experience in the field of water, wastewater and environmental management and a particular interest in anthropogenic impacts on the environment. Peter Gehrke (email: peter.gehrke@ smec.com) is a Natural Resource Management Specialist with the SMEC Brisbane office. Trudy Wilson (email: T.Wilson@bom.gov. au) works at the Extended Hydrological Prediction division at the Bureau of Meteorology’s Brisbane office.

REFERENCES AWWA (2002): Drought Management Handbook, American Water Works Association Publishing, ISBN: 1-58321-207-8. Brown LR (2011): World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse, Earth Policy Institute, WW Norton & Company Publishing, New York. ISBN: 978-0-393-08029-2. McKee TB, Doesken NJ & Kleist J (1993): The Relationship of Drought Frequency and Duration of Time Scales (in) Proceedings of Eighth Conference on Applied Climatology, Anaheim CA, US, 17–22 January 1993. Morid S, Smakhtin V & Moghaddasi M (2006): Comparison of Seven Meteorological Indices for Drought Monitoring in Iran, International Journal of Climatology, 26, pp 971–985. Narasimhan B & Srinivasan R (2005): Development and Evaluation of Soil Moisture Deficit Index (SMDI) and Evapotranspiration Deficit Index (ETDI) for Agricultural Drought Monitoring, Journal of Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 133, pp 69–88. Peters AJ, Walter-Shea EA, Ji L, Vina A, Hayes M & Svoboda MD (2002): Drought Monitoring with NDVI-Based Standardized Vegetation Index, Journal of Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing, 68, 1, pp 71–75. Wan Z, Wang P & Li X (2004): Using MODIS Land Surface Temperature and Normalised Difference Vegetation Index Products for Monitoring Droughts in the Southern Great Plains, US. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 25, 1, pp 61–72. White D (2006): The Utility of Seasonal Indices for Monitoring and Assessing Agricultural Drought, Report to the Bureau of Rural Sciences by ASIT Consulting, May 2006. WMO (2006): Drought Monitoring and Early Warning: Concepts, Progress and Future Challenges, World Meteorological Organisation Report No 1006. ISBN 92-63-11006-9.



The complexity of drought over different time scales, geographic regions, and dimensions for different users has resulted in the development of regionally focused information services within Australia, separately, by various agencies. Multiple drought-monitoring indices are available to describe the different dimensions of drought, and trends over time. However, these indices are not used consistently for monitoring and reporting.

While drought-monitoring services are used in Australia, existing droughtforecasting and prediction services are limited. Potential users of droughtprediction services expressed a preference for the Bureau to provide rainfall forecasts and information on temperature and evapotranspiration over the country to allow local agencies to convert them to indices useable within their area of operation. For practical purposes, users value-segmented forecasts into short-term (up to 21 days), medium-term (up to six months) and long-term (years) projections to achieve a comprehensive and accurate service.


Technical Features

FORESTRY WATER POLICY IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA Review of the history and policy change process in the south-east of South Australia C Xu, J McKay, G Keremane

ABSTRACT Plantation forestry has existed and shared water resources in Australia since the late 19th century, but to date no jurisdiction in the world has called on the forestry industry to consider its impact on the natural environment or other consumptive users. In this regard, South Australia leads the nation in managing the water resource impacts of plantation forestry. The forestry water policy transition in South Australia – to include forestry in a Water Allocation Plan (WAP) alongside other water users (such as irrigators) – is heralding institutional innovation relating to forestry water management in Australia and worldwide. Inclusion of forestry as a Water Affecting Activity (WAA) in the Lower Limestone Coast Water Allocation Plan (LLCWAP) has been complex and the process has run for almost eight years. The government, industry and the community have, together, put in great efforts to try and reach a policy position. This paper reviews the policy transition process in the south-east of South Australia and is part of ongoing research investigating this institutional innovation to include forestry in the WAP. The experiences of the development process of the LLCWAP could provide lessons in other policy development processes, particularly on effective stakeholder engagement in South Australia and other Australian states.


INTRODUCTION Forestry has traditionally shared water resources with other users such as farming, national parks and reserves. The prevailing ethos that the forestry industry was not called on to consider its impact on the natural environment or other consumptive users has been challenged in recent years, because science clearly demonstrates the negative impact of large-scale forestry expansion on water-dependent


ecosystems (Benyon and Doody, 2004; Prosser and Walker, 2009). Therefore it is plausible to include forestry in Water Allocation Plans (WAPs) alongside other water users, such as irrigators. In this regard, South Australia has been the first state in Australia to manage the water resource impacts of planation forestry and is heralding institutional innovation relating to it in Australia and worldwide. This paper emanates from ongoing research investigating institutional innovation to include forestry as a Water Affecting Activity (WAA) into the Lower Limestone Coast Water Allocation Plans (LLCWAP).

EMPIRICAL SETTING The study is conducted in the south-east region of South Australia (Figure 1), where most of the water for irrigation is groundwater. Furthermore, the majority of South Australia’s Figure 1. South Australian and Victorian plantations are in the Lower Natural Resources Management Regions and Groundwater Management Areas. Limestone Coast (LLC). Large-scale forestry in the drought in 2006; the community realised region has expanded rapidly since 2000, the necessity to manage forestry water mainly due to incentives from Forestry use and demanded that forestry water Management Investment Schemes use be accounted for and be licensed (FMIS). Approximately 45,000 hectares of like other water users in the region. commercial plantations were established Meanwhile, the Intergovernmental in the period between 2000 and 2006, Agreement on a National Water Initiative concentrated within a relatively small (NWI) required that significant watergeographic area (Government of South intercepting activities, including forestry Australia, 2009). plantations, be accounted for and managed (National Water Commission, This caused the water table to decline 2004). This impelled the State and interrupted the natural water flow, Government to initiate a policy change which had a significant impact on other that recognises plantation forestry as water users, especially the downstream a Water Affecting Activity (WAA) and, water users (Nordblom et al., 2010). This situation worsened due to the severe therefore, incorporates it in the WAPs.


Technical Features


Official documents




Participants at Water Allocation Plan public consultation


Face-to-face Interview Taskf orece Members


Ref erence Group Members

Figure 2. Research design.


Review and amendment of the 2001 WAPs commenced. Development of a proposal statement (Concept Statement under the NRM Act 2004).


Concept statement was adopted by the Minister. A1 statutory community consultation.


Development of draft forest water policy by SENRMB.


A2 non-statutory consultation.

The research includes three phases, as shown in Figure 2, with content analysis being an ongoing exercise. This paper is based on the data collected during the first phase, which includes selection and review of official documents.

(local level development); 2008–2012 (policy development transition from local to state level); and 2012-present (back to local level development).


During this period the focus was mostly at the local level and the major achievements during this period are presented in Box 1.

The development process of LLCWAP is an important part of the forestry water policy transition in South Australia, which started in 2004 with the review and amendment of the 2001 WAPs and has run for almost eight years. A timeline of the development of the LLCWAP is presented in Figure 3. The entire development process is divided into three periods for ease of understanding. The periods are: pre-2008


The review and amendment of the 2001 WAPs commenced in 2004. Managing the impact of afforestation was first proposed in a Concept Statement in 2004. A draft forest water policy was developed by the South East Natural Resources Management Board (SENRMB) in 2006: at first it considered regulating the runoff recharge from plantation forestry, but it later included the impact of forestry interception on the shallow aquifer as well, because irrigation in the area mainly

depended on groundwater resources. During this period, a reference group was formed and two community consultations were organised by the SENRMB in order to obtain the views of the community and industry (South East Natural Resources Management Board, 2012). The draft forestry water policy generated intense debate and the science behind this policy was constantly challenged by the forestry industry. Meanwhile, when licensing became the preferred mechanism for forestry water management in the consultation process, there was no legislation to enable SENRMB to license forestry. Therefore, the need for legislative change and strong opposition from the forestry industry caused a deadlock in policy development at the local level. As a result, the development process was transferred to the State level. 2008–2012 (POLICY DEVELOPMENT TRANSITION FROM LOCAL TO STATE LEVEL)

The policy process at the State level made great progress. Box 2 presents the major achievements. To deal with the complex situation the Water Resources and Forests Interdepartmental Committee (IDC) was formed in 2008. The committee comprised representatives from the relevant government agencies but did not include a representative from the SENRMB. The legislative change and an independent science review were two main tasks of the IDC. In 2009, a state-wide policy framework for managing the water resource impacts of plantation forests was released and proposed to “establish a forest water licensing scheme similar to other licensed water users” (Government of South Australia, 2009), and the Natural Resources Management (Commercial Forestry)

BOX 2. MAJOR ACHIEVEMENTS DURING THE 2008–2012 PERIOD. Forming of the Water Resources and Forests Interdepartmental Committee (IDC).


State-wide policy framework for managing the water resource impacts of plantation forests. Science review organised by IDC; The Natural Resources Management (Commercial Forests) Amendment Bill – first introduction


Forming of the Lower Limestone Coast Taskforce and a Reference Group to the Taskforce Science Review organised by the Taskforce. Release of the Draft Lower Limestone Coast Water Allocation Plan Policy Issues Discussion Paper. Revised draft Natural Resources (Commercial Forests) Amendment Bill was introduced.


Public consultation on the Discussion paper. The Natural Resources Management (Commercial Forests) Amendment Bill was passed.


Release of Policy Principles.






Technical Features

Local level

Stakeholders participation

State level


Minister adopts the Proposal Statement


The development of a Proposal Statement


Review and amendment of 2001 WAPs commenced


2005 2006

Development of draft forest water policy



Five consulting meetings,123 attendees, 30 written submissions

Facilitated Forestry Stakeholder Process, which involve stakeholders, the Board and DWLBC

A2 community consultation (Non-statutory)

Six public meetings, 166 attendees; Three forums, 45 attendees; 65 written submissions

A Reference Group to the Taskforce

Since Sep 2010, seven meetings

Community consultation

31 written submissions


Forming of Water Resources and Forests Interdepartmental Committee (IDC)

A1 community consultation (statutory)


State-wide policy framework for managing the water resource impacts of plantation forests IDC provides final advice to the Minister Science Review (IDC 2009; Taskforce 2010) Forming of LLC taskforce - to advise the Minister on a revised draft LLC WAP



The Revised draft NR (Commercial Forests) Amendment Bill 2010 Draft Lower Limestone Coast Water Allocation Plan Policy Issues Discussion Paper


LLCWAP Policy Principles

Feb Reference groups meetings

8 meetings


Mar -May

Submit LLCWAP to Minister


Development of LLCWAP consistent with Policy Principles


Mar NR (Commercial Forests) Amendment Bill 2010 passed

Community consultation

3 public meetings; 30 stakeholder meetings; 91 submissions

Figure 3. History of the development of the LLCWAP.


Amendment Bill was first introduced to Parliament to enable licensing plantation forestry through the WAP. Another major role of the State Government was to assist local communities to address the issues before finalising the draft LLCWAP for statutory consultation. This required the involvement of SENRMB and, therefore, a taskforce, including the General Manager of SENRMB, was set up to “define high level outcomes and negotiate the modification of policies to reach an acceptable compromise in balancing the environmental, economic and social objectives” (Government internal document) in 2010. In the same year, a reference group


to the taskforce was organised, which included representatives from the main industries. The reference group members played a key role in stakeholder engagement during this policy process. Ten reference group meetings were held between October 2010 to November 2011, and a generally accepted consultation report was provided to the taskforce after the in-depth consultation. It is noteworthy that the forestry industry adopted a positive attitude to involvement in the consultation in this period, after realising the reality of forestry water management. In the effective stakeholder engagement process, the taskforce made great progress. In 2010 the Draft Lower Limestone Coast Water Allocation Plan Policy Issues – Discussion

Paper was released and the revised draft Natural Resources Management (Commercial Forests) Amendment Bill was re-introduced to the Minister. Meanwhile, another independent science review was organised in 2010, due to unceasing querying of the science, even although it had been independently reviewed by the IDC in 2009. This resulted in the release of the SE Water Science Review, Aquaterra modelling, and the PIRSA regional economic profile. In November 2011, the revised draft Natural Resources Management (Commercial Forests) Amendment Bill 2010 was passed. The forest water licensing and permit systems were designed to integrate with existing water licences and permits under the NRM Act. In February 2012, the final LLCWAP Policy Principles were released by the Minister. They included high level policy principles and more specific guidelines related to water resources and plantation management, providing guidance for the SENRMB on drafting the LLCWAP. State policy provided legislative support for a range of different tools and the applicability of these tools depended on the local situation. After the release of the LLCWAP Policy Principles, the development of the LLCWAP was transferred back to local level development. 2012–2013 (BACK TO LOCAL LEVEL DEVELOPMENT)

During this period, the SENRMB re-instated the local development process of the LLCWAP. Box 3 presents the major achievements in this period. The SENRMB created the LLCWAP reference group as a formal subcommittee of the SENRMB to assist in developing water policy options after the release of the Policy Principles. To get a consistent position from the industry, this reference group kept almost the same representatives as the one for the taskforce. Eight meetings with the reference group were conducted in 2012 before submitting the draft LLCWAP for approval by the Minister. From March 4


Technical Features to May 6, 2013 a public consultation on the draft LLCWAP had been approved by the Minister. Accordingly, three public meetings and 30 stakeholder meetings were conducted and a total of 91 submissions were received. The SE NRM Board will conduct a workshop in June 2013 to decide its response to the submissions and making changes to the draft LLCWAP, before providing the recommendation to the Minister. Once the Minister adopts the plan, issuing forest water licences to commercial managers will commence.

CONCLUSION AND FURTHER RESEARCH South Australia is the first state to account for and manage the water interception effects of commercial forestry in Australia. It clearly leads the country in this institutional innovation. The development of LLCWAP has taken about eight years and there have been great efforts by government, industry and the community. During this process, an independent committee and intensive consultation were most helpful to strengthen the communication and achieve support from industry and the community. Meanwhile, a flexible high-level policy was useful to provide the legislative support and guidelines for local policy development. The experiences from the development process of LLCWAP, and a series of related policies and the legislation, such as the Natural Resources Management (Commercial Forestry) Amendment Bill 2010, are very helpful for the future improvement in South Australia and could provide lessons for other Australian states.


Forming of the LLCWAP reference group (a formal sub-committee of the SENRMB). Consultation with reference group and developing a draft of the LLCWAP.


Submission of the LLCWAP to the Minister. Public consultation on the draft LLCWAP.

to engage the different stakeholders and balance their interests well. In a subsequent paper, further insights based on the analysis of in-depth interviews with stakeholders will be provided.



Government of South Australia (2009): Managing the Water Resource Impacts of Plantation Forests: A Statewide Policy Framework.

Chunfang Xu (email: chunfang.xu@mymail.unisa. edu.au) is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Comparative Water Policies and Laws, Business School, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia. Professor Jennifer McKay (email: Jennifer.McKay@ unisa.edu.au) is the Director of, and Dr Ganesh Keremane (email: ganesh. keremane@unisa.edu.au) is a Research Fellow at the Centre. All three are also associated with the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training.

Benyon RG & Doody TM (2004): Water Use By Tree Plantations in South East of South Australia. CSIRO Forestry and Forest Products Technical Report. Mount Gambier, SA.

National Water Commission (2004): Intergovernmental Agreement on a National Water Initiative: Between the Commonwealth of Australia and the Governments of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. Nordblom T, Finlayson JD, Hume IH & Kelly JA (2010): Supply and Demand for Water Use By New Forest Plantations: A Market to Balance Increasing Upstream Water Use With Downstream Community, Industry and Environmental Use? Future Farm Industries CRC. Prosser IP & Walker GR (2009): A Review of Plantations as a Water Intercepting Land Use in South Australia. South East Natural Resources Management Board (2012): Water Planning in the South East. In: Australia, GOS (Ed).



During this policy change process, four community consultations were conducted separately in September 2005, December 2007, April 2011 and March– May, 2012.In these public consultation periods, the community was provided with the opportunity to express opinions through participation in meetings or via written submissions, and the reference group members played a key role in stakeholder engagement during this policy process. It has been a major challenge


water Business

WATER BUSINESS SERVICE THAT’S NOT TO BE SNIFFED AT Odours from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) and collection systems can be more than just a nuisance. They can be an indicator of corroding assets and potential health and safety issues. CH2M HILL’s specialists tailor odour control systems to the processes and types of odours they are designed to treat. Cost-effective and long-lasting, they are simple to operate and maintain. CH2M HILL offers a full suite of odour services, from investigations through to design, construction, commissioning, testing, performance monitoring and refurbishment, taking on single project stages or an entire project from start to finish. This reduces duplication, improves efficiency and gives the assurance that comes with the shared objective of an effective odour solution. Technical Services include:

• Public outreach strategies and tools to address odours and licensing issues, including regulatory review and compliance determination; • Design and construction of new odour control systems or auditing of existing systems; • Construction supervision and contract administration for odour control packages with technical backup; • Testing, commissioning and performance evaluation; • Liaison with regulatory agencies; • Studies for new and existing collection systems, pump stations, rising mains and gravity sewers; • Training and advisory services. CH2M HILL has also taken part in several major odour research projects. These include:

• Application of odour control technologies including biotechnology, chemical scrubbing, chemical dosing, activated carbon and thermal oxidation;

• ARC Sewer Corrosion and Odour Research (SCORe) Linkage Project;

• Odour emission sampling and characterisation;

• WERF Biosolids Odours Research Phases 1 to 3.

• Development of odour control alternatives; • Odour compliance strategy development (including air dispersion modelling) and implementation plans;

The CH2M HILL team has undertaken hundreds of investigations ranging from small project audits to delivery of some of the biggest odour projects in the country, including:

• Septicity, corrosion and ventilation modelling of sewers;

• Chemical scrubbers treating 680,000m3/hr, Malabar WWTP (New South Wales);

Custom designed high head penstock

• WERF Minimisation of Odours and Corrosion in Collection Systems;

• Biofilters treating 240,000m3/hr, Eastern Treatment Plant (Victoria); • Biotrickling filters treating 126,000m3/ hr, Western Treatment Plant (Victoria); • Biological gas scrubbing system Biotrickling filter system treating under construction at over Cronulla WWTP. 20,000ppm H2S at the Gippsland Water Factory (Victoria); • Developed corrosion and odour solutions for collection systems ranging from less than 0.5 MLD to over 400 MLD. CH2M HILL focuses on delivering innovative, sustainable, cost-effective solutions. Examples of this approach are: • New membrane PST odour covers, Cronulla WWTP: Maintaining accessibility while minimising air treatment load; • Targeted odour control, Farley WWTP: Determined if resources would be optimally deployed at the plant or in the sewer network to minimise plant odour; • Brightwater WWTP (USA): Achieved zero odour impact at the boundary of the 136 MLD treatment plant;

Leaders in Water Control Solutions Contact AWMA to discuss how quality water control infrastructure can reduce your capital expenditure and improve operations.


100% Australian Owned & Operated


Ph 1800 664 852


water JUNE 2013



Odour control system at Brightwater WWTP. • Assisted numerous clients in transitioning from chemical scrubbers to biological odour control systems; • Activated sludge treatment: Understanding where these systems can reduce odour and enhance plant operation. Some recent projects include: • Gippsland Water Factory, Victoria: Designed and constructed odour control for a 35MLD plant and three pump stations; • Sydney Water Corrosion and Odour Management Program: Developed a long-term management strategy for the multiple collection networks; • Coongulla-Glenmaggie Sewer Scheme and Loch Sport Sewer Scheme, Victoria: Investigated suitable odour controls for pump stations associated with municipal pressure sewer systems; • Corrosion and Odour Management of North Yarra Main, Victoria: Conducted a study including modelling of wastewater and ventilation to develop a strategy to manage one of Melbourne’s oldest sewer mains; • Bufferzone Analysis, Queensland: Investigated buffer zones as an effective mitigation method to reduce odour complaints associated with wastewater treatment plants and pumping stations. For more information, please call Jeff Mann (02) 9950 0233 (email jeff.mann@ch2m. com.au) or Josef Cesca (02) 9950 0218 or email josef.cesca@ch2m.com.au, or visit the website at: www.ch2m.com

Australia is the second driest continent in the world but it still has the highest global per capita rate of water usage, despite the recent “millennium drought” that affected so many rural and urban households. The millennium drought is the last in a long line of 12 severe, extended dry periods that have affected much of Australia since the 1860s – which is why support for global events such as the UN’s World Day to Combat Drought and Desertification, held on 17 June 2013, with the theme “Don’t Let Our Future Dry Up” is so important to educate and inform the Australian population that water is our most precious resource. However, as our population continues to grow at one of the fastest rates in the OECD, we need to ask the question – has Australia done enough to prevent our future drying up? During the recent ‘dry’ both State and Federal Governments introduced a number of initiatives – with desalination and water re-use among the more controversial – to protect Australia’s future water resources and strengthen the National Drought Policy, originally implemented in 1992. According to the National Centre of Excellence in Desalination (NCEDA), desalinated water plays and will continue to play a vital role in securing Australia’s long-term water requirements.

Meanwhile, a research paper published by the University of Wollongong shows that while most Australians perceive desalinated water to be less risky from a public health perspective, reused water is considered to be more environmentally friendly. NCEDA, however, reports that “desalination can alleviate over-reliance on fragile aquifers and waterways and doesn’t impact on forest river and wetland ecosystems”. It also argues that well-designed and managed desalination plants have a negligible effect on the environment. This public view also does not take into consideration the negligible use of chemicals to produce desalinated drinking water compared to that required to produce drinking water from recycled water. Plants such as Degrémont Australia’s Perth Seawater Desalination Plant at Kwinana, south of Perth, provides more than 45 billion litres of drinking water – about 17 per cent of Perth’s needs – each year. In fact, the residents of Perth are among six million Australians that can access, when required, clean drinking water from Degrémont Australia-designed, built and operated desalination plants. The company and its partner Thiess recently completed the Victorian Desalination Plant, capable of producing 450,000m3 of drinking water every

“Australia’s needs for clean drinking water continue to grow … In the absence of other sustainable water sources, seawater desalinisation and potable water reuse … are the two best options for the future.”

JUNE 2013 water


water Business day, making it one of the largest seawater desalination plants in the world. As for sustainable wastewater treatment and reuse, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that about 65% of Australia’s total water usage is for irrigation, rather than domestic consumption, offering reuse opportunities for recycled water that address public health concerns relating to drinking water quality from such sources. Degrémont Australia and its partners are involved in significant water reuse solutions in Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland. These include the Pimpana Recycled Water Plant in Queensland, which produces 17,000m3 of water daily – 9000m3 of which is Class A recycled water for toilets and residential outdoor use; the Allwater Alliance, which involves the operation of SA Water’s 10 water, wastewater and stormwater reuse plants, which deliver around 130,000ML of water to metropolitan Adelaide, treat 88,000ML of wastewater and recycle about 26ML of this water for reuse; and the Aroona Alliance in WA, which manages and operates 19 water treatment plants, 14 wastewater treatment plants and two advanced water recycling plants as well as 13 dams.

From an economic perspective, the latest report from Global Water Intelligence demonstrates the relationship between the water sector and global economic growth. The report predicts that salt removal and wastewater recycling technologies are expected to grow by 11.4% over the next five years, reaching a total market value of $11,963bn by 2025. “Removing salt from water and turning lowquality wastewater and raw water sources into high-quality process water is the key driver of water efficiency for the global economy. Desalination and water reuse technologies are unlocking the potential for growth.”

AWARD WINNING SYSTEM BRINGS SAFETY TO LIFE CodeSafe Solutions is a young company that is making a big difference in the water industry – but it has an even bigger dream. Founder, David Broadhurst – a pipelayer with 33 years’ experience in the industry – wants to transform the culture around how people engage with workplace procedures, by helping every worker feel valued and heard when it comes to site safety and procedure comprehension.

While not without controversy, the desalination and water-reuse projects Australia has implemented in the past few years have put the country at the forefront of research and innovation in the field of water efficiency, future-proofing our limited water resources and preparing us for the next big dry.

David recognises that the biggest challenge in delivering a great product to clients is the lack of enthusiasm from site personnel around processes and procedures. Add a ton of paperwork to the mix and personnel engagement becomes nearly impossible! While out running one Sunday afternoon, David had an idea to provide on-demand mobile visual support to existing Safety Messages and Procedures. With that, the foundation of the CodeSafe model was born.

Key conferences such as the Asia-Pacific Membranes and Desalination Conference to be held in Brisbane in early July are critical to ensuring Australia continues to innovate and commercialise in this field.

The CodeSafe team has developed a digital mobile visual communication platform that delivers short 2–3 minute refresher videos instantly, via quick response (QR) code technology, to a smartphone or a tablet.

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: info@brownbros.com.au Web: www.brownbros.com.au DELIVERING PUMPING SOLUTIONS

water JUNE 2013


water Business “With our one-stop-shop approach, our clients can help create, edit and track their own branded mobile-optimised content including video, checklists, documents, texts and pictures,” says David. “Anyone can create a simple video to visually support a message, but it’s how we get engagement in the process that sets CodeSafe apart. “Our approach is to first consult with your people and connect their experience to the procedure being tackled. This approach works for the employee and employer alike, and also the regulators that govern the industry. Our system then partners with your processes to bridge any language or literacy communication gaps. Finally we use the latest QR technology to deliver visual support to the field when they need it most.” On a recent project for the Water Resources Alliance, David was watching two workers wrestling with installing a rubber ring in a Sintacote pipe. Having seen them struggle with the same procedure for a few days already, David approached them to ask if they wanted to learn how to install the rubber ring single-handedly.

“The lead worker (let’s call him Joe) had a strong European accent and spoke in stilted English. Nevertheless, he was obviously very experienced in his trade. His reply was that he felt it was impossible to do, so I left them to struggle a bit more.” After waiting a while, David approached Joe again asking if he would like a demonstration of how to install a rubber ring single-handedly. Joe accepted, David demonstrated the technique, Joe asked to see it two more times and, on the third time, Joe quickly and proudly did it himself.

“But what’s really exciting is knowing that this system now has legs. We are only on the starting blocks of this journey and our industry is in a prime position to lead the way. We can now not only bridge language and literacy barriers in our workplaces, but set a new benchmark for all other industries to learn from. Not only in Australia, but globally.”

“The next step was to take the lessons learnt from that encounter and transform them into a usable format for people to access in the future. Codesafe desires that every company at every level of industry can have costeffective access to this system, because we know that valued people value safety. “Codesafe’s vision could not have taken flight without the support of both Melbourne Water and the Water Resource Alliance partners. Their pioneering spirit allowed them to adopt the CodeSafe system and, ultimately, win the AWA National Water Industry Safety Excellence Award for 2013.

the odour management experts

Providing odour control products and services to Australia for over 20 years, including:

Consultation and expert advice on odour issues Evaluation and reporting on (sewer) odours Custom design of odour control systems Supply and installation of activated carbon systems Supply and installation of packaged and open biofilters Supply and installation of chemical dosing systems Supply and installation of odour neutralising spray systems Supply of McBerns vent filters and well washers Industry partners:

Solve your odour problems ... call the experts today! PO Box 179 Islington NSW 2296


P 02 4907 8200 F 02 4969 4218

JUNE 2013 water


Water Business CHANGING THINKING ON WASTEWATER RECYCLING There are major challenges in converting wastewater to water that can be beneficially reused. The treatment that has been generally accepted to date is a combination of multiple treatment technologies. In most cases, this has included membrane microfiltration and reverse osmosis followed by oxidation. This multiple barrier approach is costly when treatment of most surface water can be achieved with membrane filtration alone. Recognising the delicate balance between the high cost and potential benefits of ceramic membranes for water treatment applications, PWN Technologies, the R&D offshoot of PWN (the water utility of North Holland), decided to focus research on developing a cost-effective configuration for ceramic membranes. The resulting CeraMac® ceramic membrane treatment system has reduced the cost of the equipment and offers more treatment capacity in a smaller space. In 2010 the company set up an Asia Pacific office in Singapore and, following an 18-month demonstration of CeraMac®, PUB – Singapore’s national water agency – is now exploring whether ceramic membrane filtration can be included as an option as part of the upgrading works at Choa Chu Kang Waterworks (CCKWW). In Australia, an international team of experts led by Victoria University, and funded primarily by the Australian Water Recycling Centre of Excellence (an Australian Commonwealth Government initiative) with contributions from project partners PWN Technologies, Melbourne Water, South East Water, Black & Veatch and Water Quality Research Australia, is currently undertaking research on a trial plant to determine if wastewater recycling can be more affordable and sustainable. The Singapore demonstration, which was completed with positive results in March this year, confirmed the potential for the installation of a sustainable and durable ceramic membrane filtration system. The results of the 18-month demonstration showed that the CeraMac® system performed well as a membrane filtration system for clarified water with or without ozone. However, PUB is

interested in optimising the available options and harnessing as much water treatment capacity as possible from the available space. The use of pre-ozone improved the operation, with a stable trans-membrane pressure (TMP) and minimal down-time for cleaning. The operational synergy between ozone and ceramic membranes appears to mitigate fouling issues, which have been problematic for membrane systems, and achieve a steady state of filtration that has never been shown before. The data from this demonstration-scale study at CCKWW bring to light a long quest for better stability of membrane filtration.

membrane. This has a catalytic reaction on the membrane, which keeps the membrane clean. The end result is that the system can work at a very high rate (flux) maintaining high water production and reduced waste byproducts. AWA Victorian Branch is organising a workshop to showcase the trial of the PWN Technologies’ CeraMac® ozone and ceramic membrane process to treat secondary effluent, operating at the Eastern Treatment Plant in Melbourne, on 5 July 2013. For more information go to: www.awa.asn.au/VIC.aspx

The demonstration plant consisted of an ozone generator, a side-stream venturi injection system, contactor vessels, a CeraMac®-19 vessel (containing 19 fullscale sized ceramic membrane elements), a backwash supply tank, and a backwash receiving tank. With a 19-element vessel, a range of fluxes from 100 –315 litres per square meter per hour (lmh) produces 1140 to 3591 cubic metres per day (m3/d) of filtered water. The Australian trial combines the treatment into a single step using the CeraMac® system. Ozone can be applied directly onto the

CeraMac-19® vessel (right) and backwash tank (left) being installed into an existing empty sand filter bed at CCKWW, Singapore.

Advertisers Index AIRVAC 27 Aquatec-Maxcon 25 Aurecon 21 AWMA 108 Bintech 18 Brown Brothers Engineers 110 CH2M HILL 65 Codesafe 112 Comdain 9 Degremont 11 Hach Pacific 7 IDE OBC James Cummings 107 JCB Generators Australia 26 McBerns 70 Nacap 36 Nov Mono Pumps 19

Oda Tech 57 Odour Control Systems 111 Pentair IFC Proco Products 111 Projex 110 Quantum Filtration Medium 109 RPC Technologies 23 Sydney Water 16 Tenix 2&3 TRILITY 12 UGL – United Group Infrastructure 38 Water Infrastructure Group 20 Weidmuller 13 Xylem 17 Xylem Water Solutions Australia 29 Zetco

Key safety and installation instruction on demand codesafe.com.au

water JUNE 2013



To see Zetco’s comprehensive range of WaterMarked valves, contact us today for a free brochure or visit the website

zetco.com.au 1300 659 639 enquiries@zetco.com.au

Delivering innovative valve solutions

Winner of ‘Desalination Company of the Year 2011’ GWI award, IDE presents advanced and flexible small to large-scale desalination solutions

Proven Track Record: 400 Plants. 40 Countries. 4 Decades. • World’s largest thermal and membrane desalination plants • Lowest cost of desalinated water in BOT projects • Innovative water treatment technologies • High expertise in small to mega-sized desalination projects