Water Journal May 2013

Page 1


Volume 40 no 3 MAY 2013

Journal of the australian Water association

rrP $16.95

Murray–Darling Basin Update – see page 32

Plus > rural Water issues > Water resources Planning & Management > Water efficiency > stormwater Management > Water treatment

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Contents regular features From the AWA President

The Times, They Are A Changin’ Lucia Cade


From the AWA Chief Executive


Time For The Fat Lady To Sing? Tom Mollenkopf


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

Science To Underpin Policy – But What’s The Best Science? Dr Tony Minns


Crosscurrent 10 18

Industry News AWA Young Water Professionals

5 Tips For Writing & Presenting A Conference Paper Jo Greene


AWA News


Water Business


New Products and Services

Advertisers Index 96

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. EDITORIAL SUBMISSIONS Acceptance of editorial submissions is at the discretion of the Editors and Editorial Board.


volume 40 no 3

Looking down onto the River Murray at Renmark, South Australia.

special features NWC’s Murray–Darling Basin Plan Audit Role Karlene Maywald

The Murray–Darling Basin Plan: A Case Study Dr Michelle Akeroyd & Dr Tony Minns

32 35


A round-up of the event


technical papers


Cover The Murray River flows through a semi-arid landscape near Mildura, Victoria. Irrigated vineyards in the background cling to the river’s edge, for without the water from the river for irrigation, horticulture in the region would not exist.

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

conference report National Water Education, Efficiency and Skills Conference

echnical Paper Submission Guidelines T 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

Tales Of The South Pacific

The benefits of Twinning Partnerships Jim Keary

• Technical Papers & Technical Features: Chris Davis, Technical Editor, email: cdavis@awa.asn.au AND 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.

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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.

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From the President

THE TIMES, THEY ARE A CHANGIN’ Lucia Cade – AWA President Bob Dylan said the words of this song were more a statement of feeling than a statement of fact. And that pretty much reflects my sentiment about the water industry at the moment. I feel that the times are definitely a changin’. Not in the sense of the political and social upheaval of the 1960s when the song was written, but more in the sense of changing attitudes and roles. There is a shift in how we are valuing the role of water in the economy – that water needs to be managed as an important element of national production. Access to water in the right place at the right time and of the right quality underpins the viability of the agriculture, forestry, fisheries, mining, oil and gas sectors and, in many areas, the tourism sector. The responsibility for water throughout the water cycle currently sits with different parts of government and different regulators. The impact of the use of water in one sector is not necessarily of primary consideration in another sector when access or investment decisions are made. This will need to change. Water utilities have long been focused on what customers need. The next step along that path is to look at how customers are included in decisions and the evaluation of options. As we explore alternative water supply scenarios we are more frequently involving communities and councils. That engagement is moving us towards understanding “what our customers are thinking when they are really thinking”. Closer to home, things really are changin’ at AWA. With another successful Ozwater under our belts, it is time for me to step down as President and hand the reins to Graham Dooley. It is also time for a change of Board – Paul Freeman and Mark Bartley have joined Peter Burgess in finishing

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their terms and Carmel Krogh, Mark Sullivan, John Graham and Mal Shepherd step up. But the biggest change is in the impending departure of Tom Mollenkopf as CEO. The “era of Tom” has been characterised by strengthened external stakeholder relationships and impressive diversification of the services we offer members. Tom’s legacy includes excellent relationships with governments and industry, impressive policy and advocacy, a strong role in commentating on all things water related, hugely successful annual Ozwater conferences, bringing the production of the Journal so successfully in-house, the establishment of the Water Industry Training Institute (WITI) JV and the establishment of the annual National Water Leaders Summit – to name a few. My past President colleagues Peter Robinson, David Barnes and Daryl Day, who also had the pleasure of working with Tom, join me in thanking Tom for his leadership and friendship and wish him every future success. For me personally, it has been a pleasure and an honour to lead AWA for the last two years. I have met many fascinating people along the way. I am very pleased with the appointment of Jonathan McKeown as our new CEO, and I know that he, Graham and the new board will lead AWA to yet another successful era. The times they are indeed a changin’ … and it’s exciting!


From the CEO

TIME FOR THE FAT LADY TO SING? Tom Mollenkopf – AWA Chief Executive Earlier this year I announced my intention to step down from my role as Chief Executive of AWA. With our major annual event, Ozwater, now successfully concluded, it is time for me to write my last words “from the CEO”. In my six years leading AWA, we have enjoyed an incredibly exciting time in the water sector. Over that period, the Association has grown its membership from just over 4,000 to almost 6,000. As services have expanded and more tasks have been taken on, our turnover has increased 60%, from $5.3 million to $8.5 million. Underpinning these statistics have been important improvements and developments at AWA, including: • Initiatives such as the National Leadership Summit, the State of the Water Sector Survey, and the Water Leaders Forum; • New services such as our On-line Bookshop, the interactive digital version of Water Journal and web-accessible research papers and presentations; • Providing industry intelligence with daily Water Headlines news feed. We’ve worked hard to advocate for the sector through the media, policy submissions and representation on key bodies. And we have supported the viability and capability of the sector through our funding of waterAUSTRALIA and our workforce capability programs such as H2Oz careers in water, the Water Industry Skills Taskforce and our Water Industry Training Institute. Behind the scenes it has also been important to work on our foundations through outstanding governance and supporting our many volunteers.

Our financial sustainability has been secured through strategic steps like making Ozwater an annual event and bringing its management – and that of our publishing division – in-house. Along this journey, collaboration has been key to meeting the sector’s needs and, therefore, ensuring AWA’s success. We have been pleased to work with industry partners at Water Services Assocation of Australia (WSAA), the various centres of excellence, our international association colleagues and many more. Reflecting on my time at AWA, I believe the AWA Chief Executive role is one of the most interesting, rewarding and challenging jobs in the water sector in Australia. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to be in the position for six years. I have enjoyed immensely my time at AWA, including the support and friendship of a talented Board of Directors. I also want to acknowledge the dedicated and professional team at AWA’s National Office and in the State Branch Offices. As custodian of the brand and values of AWA, it is important that I leave it in as good a shape as – and hopefully better than – when I started. I am happy to be able to say that AWA today is strong, financially secure and dynamic. Better still, it has enormous potential to achieve even more. Not so long ago I attended a presentation of the Mikado at the Sydney Opera House. Imagine my surprise to see there was no ‘Fat Lady’ featured in the show. So perhaps, after all, it is not yet time for the fat lady to sing. Perhaps it’s just time for me to say “farewell” to this role and “hello” to the next…

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My Point of View

SCIENCE TO UNDERPIN POLICY… BUT WHAT’S THE ‘BEST AVAILABLE’ SCIENCE? Dr Tony Minns, Director, Goyder Institute for Water Research Tony Minns returned to Adelaide in 2010 after an international career in water spanning more than 25 years, which has seen him work in Australia, the Netherlands, Denmark, and the US. His work in consulting, research, education and expert advice covers the specialisations of computational hydraulics, hydraulic engineering, hydroinformatics, ecohydraulics and hydrology. As Director of the Goyder Institute for Water Research, he is responsible for the development and management of a five-year, $50 million research program aimed at providing independent scientific advice that informs policy and decision-making, identifies future threats to water security, and assists in an integrated approach to water management. Society demands that the decisions we make about the management of our complex water resources systems must be based on the best available science. Decision-making and policy development require careful analyses of the consequences of our decisions upon the health of the ecosystem and the acceptability of the outcomes for our communities. Not being omniscient, we of course cannot claim to have infinite knowledge and, thus, the answers to all questions. We must utilise the best available science and knowledge of the things we are confident we understand. However, we must also accept that there are things we do not yet fully understand. The best available science in this case may be scarce or highly contentious. We must take the necessary precautions when making decisions based on incomplete science. There is no dishonour in admitting that some things are less

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well understood, but it is shameful to ignore this shortcoming in our actual decision-making. “…There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say, we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know.” – Donald Rumsfeld, United States Secretary of Defence (press briefing 12 February 2002)

So how can we be sure that we are using the best available science? If our knowledge or scientific understanding is incomplete or not clearly understood, we must at least demonstrate that we have done our best to address the gaps in knowledge. We must make every effort to identify and to consult with the best available experts to make sure that we are indeed making use of the best available knowledge. In this way, we identify the risks involved with the use of incomplete knowledge and develop appropriate risk management and risk mitigation strategies. And all of this decision-making process needs to be transparent and subject to the scrutiny of an engaged community.

The Role of Research The Goyder Institute for Water Research was established by the South Australian Government in 2010 to build capacity for effective water resource management by developing research programs in priority policy areas to address knowledge gaps and to make use of the best available science to




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My Point of View

underpin policy and decision-making in the State. To ensure that research results are taken up and used, it must be relevant and truly demand-driven. This requires a fundamental shift away from the traditional, incremental, supply-driven contributions to an overall body of knowledge. The excellence of applied research must be judged on the impact of the outcomes and not just on the outputs of a project. For a research broker such as the Goyder Institute, the challenge is to identify the impediments to the achievement of end-user outcomes. Stakeholders and end-user outcomes may often be formulated in terms of some very practical requirements or even aspirational targets. Extensive consultation with stakeholders is often necessary to identify the gaps in knowledge that are the root cause of impediments to outcomes. Only then is it possible to identify the specific research activities that need to be undertaken in order to overcome these impediments. The best available science is the science that can actually be used to addresses the demands sufficiently within given timeframes and financial limitations. Only demand-driven research satisfies these requirements. For too long, the quality of research outputs has been measured based on the impact factor of the peer-reviewed journal in which it is published. The impact factor of an academic journal is a measure that reflects the average number of citations to recent articles published in the journal. This may indeed say something about the quality of the science in the eyes of other researchers, but says nothing about the true impact of the research in terms of usability and uptake in the real world. The current fixation on journal impact factors seems to favour more fundamental type research to the detriment of applied research. However, true innovation only occurs when there is a fundamental change to the way we actually apply our knowledge. It only creates value through the successful application of new ideas and techniques by industry and other end-users.

It is simply not good enough to spend years doing excellent research and then at the end of the project to start searching for problems to fit the solutions (i.e. supply driven). Stakeholders and end-users must be engaged in research development from the very beginning, through project definition, execution, prototyping and application. Simple cash contributions to research programs are insufficient to guarantee full engagement with stakeholders. Likewise, the role of stakeholder reference groups must not be reduced to simple sounding boards whose job it is to absorb and blindly adopt the information presented to them.

ThE VALUE of RoADMAPPING The practice of roadmapping is now a well-established technique to guide the process of demand-driven research. A roadmap details a timeline of activities to progress through research at increasing levels of maturity (i.e. time to application) to arrive at specific outcomes and/or policy directions that have been identified by stakeholders and end-users. All ongoing research activities and proposed future research projects can demonstrate how they contribute to a specific roadmap, and thus to a specific strategic outcome or long-term goals. Most importantly, a roadmap articulates the specific end-user requirements (i.e. outputs) in order to achieve desired outcomes. Constraints and external drivers can be clearly identified. It is then a simple matter to identify the gaps in knowledge and expertise between supply and demand. Research proposals developed to address the knowledge gaps identified in this way are truly demand-driven and help us answer the questions: Is the best science actually available? If not, can it be realistically developed in the time available? What alternatives are there? What level of science is “good enough� for a given outcome? In its first three years of operation, the Goyder Institute for Water Research has demonstrated the value of research brokering and the effective use of roadmaps in the development of demanddriven research. The resulting applied research projects have been characterised by the rapid uptake of the results to achieve practical and strategic outcomes. In this way, the South Australian Government is indeed using the best available science through a cost-effective investment of taxpayers’ dollars.

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Calls have been growing for the UN Security Council to include water issues on its agenda – and there’s rising international support for adopting “universal water security” as one of the Sustainable Development Goals, a set of mid-term global objectives being formulated to succeed the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (2000–2015). Marking World Water Day at UN Headquarters March 22, a common working definition was published, forged by UN and international experts from around the world.

Australia’s water industry is surging ahead in its efforts to secure safe and reliable water for consumers, Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, Senator Don Farrell said at the World Water Day event in which AWA presented. Releasing two National Water Commission reports on the industry’s operation in 2011–12, Senator Farrell said they show sustained improvements in water quality, delivery efficiency and water conservation.

The Red-Dead canal could take a small step forward in light of projected environmental impacts and other constraints, says Batir Wardam. After a delay of more than six months, the World Bank has finally released the final drafts of the feasibility and environmental assessment studies for the controversial Red Sea-Dead Sea Water Conveyance Project, designed to channel some 1.2 billion cubic metres of water 180 kilometres from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea.

Solar City New Zealand and Panasonic New Zealand have won a tender to supply a 131kWp (kilowatt peak) solar system to power a new desalination plant on the Pacific Island of Nauru. Hitachi AquaTech is managing the US$4 million Nauru project and has contracted SolarCity and Panasonic NZ to supply and install the solar system.

Australian businesses involved in the water industry can learn more about significant opportunities arising from China’s $272 billion investment in water conservation during a trade mission in June. The Australian Water Solutions Mission is organised by the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) and AWA-funded industry body, waterAUSTRALIA, to showcase domestic water technologies and services to potential partners and customers in China.

The Solomon Islands, a developing island nation in the south-west Pacific Islands, has one of the highest urbanisation rates in the region, and the basic service infrastructure is struggling to cater for the influx of people from the provinces to the capital, Honiara. Thirty-five per cent of the city’s population, who live in informal settlements, are facing the health consequences of a dire shortage of clean water and sanitation.

The Standing Council on Environment and Water has held its fourth meeting in Wellington, New Zealand. Environment Ministers from across Australia and New Zealand, along with a representative from the Australian Local Government Association, affirmed their commitment to environment and water issues of national significance. Ministers agreed to a work plan for 2013–14 focusing on progressing national water reform, national waste policy and air quality improvements.

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) has released a podcast detailing how a lab working to develop a product to detect explosive materials discovered that nano-engineered silica beads mechanically absorbed hydrocarbon contaminants in water. It resulted in Osorb, which is impermeable to water, and being used and tested for the removal of contamination in stormwater and groundwater.

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The National Water Commission’s first report on Murray–Darling Basin Plan implementation was tabled in Parliament on 25 March. This report highlights the priority areas that will be examined in the first full audit due in 2015. When the Commission next reports on progress, it is expected that concerted efforts have locked in the hard-won gains embodied in this historic plan. This is crucial so that real benefits can start to flow to the basin and its communities.

Management of the Great Artesian Basin will benefit from an increased understanding of how this nationally important water resource functions. Amanda Rishworth, Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, has released the Great Artesian Basin Water Resource Assessment and the Allocating Water and Maintaining Springs in the Great Artesian Basin research project.

The CEWO has issued its 2011–12 Outcomes Report. This report outlines the environmental benefits that have resulted from Commonwealth environmental watering in the Murray-Darling Basin in 2011–12. The report includes case studies that highlight the results of monitoring projects in the Murray and Murrumbidgee catchments. These show that environmental watering is achieving a broad range of benefits for the many native plant and animal communities that rely on healthy habitats within these catchments to survive.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has released its third annual Water Monitoring Report for the MurrayDarling Basin (MDB) under the Water Act 2007. The report provides information about the impact of water reforms on water markets and the irrigation industry in the MDB. New data collected by the ACCC for 2011–12 shows that fewer farmers are leaving irrigation in the MDB compared to two years ago. Rather than leaving irrigation, farmers are using water markets to increase business flexibility and maximise the value of their water assets.

Australian scientists have devised a way to model polluted groundwater with computer simulation. Researchers at the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT) have developed a new model to predict where – and how fast – polluted groundwater can move from a contaminated site, allowing water managers to better locate and clean up the water.

The COAG Standing Council on Environment and Water has issued a draft Regulation Impact Statement on the regulation of water market intermediaries. Stakeholders in the water sector have




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CrossCurrent expressed concerns about the potential for conduct and practices of water market intermediaries to impact on irrigators and other water market participants. The Consultation RIS outlines a description of the problem, four response options and a preliminary impact analysis of each of these options. The Council is seeking input from stakeholders on the Consultation RIS. The consultation period is open until COB Friday, 7 June 2013.

Water is involved in every extreme climatic event. But with $120 billion dollars of assets to manage, how can a water utility prioritise and prepare for risks to that infrastructure, 70 per cent of which is underground? With funding from the Federal Government Coastal Adaptation Decision Pathways program, the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) has recognised this and has released a new tool called AdaptWater™. Built upon extensive work from Sydney Water, this tool enables water utilities to identify what infrastructure is likely to be at risk during events like floods, bushfires, high winds and heatwaves and assess different costed adaptation options to manage that risk.

Regional Natural Resource Management organisations (NRMs) will share in $669 million to continue its work to enhance and maintain Australia’s biodiversity and environment over the next five years. Funding will be made available to Australia’s 54 regional NRM organisations through the Government’s Caring for our Country program.

AWA and Deloitte are once again running the State of the Water Sector Survey. This survey will enable us to track trends and continue to provide unmatched insight into the views of water sector professionals about their own industry. Go to www.deloittedtermine.com to complete the survey and possibly win a $1000 flight centre voucher.

The Federal Government’s proposed legislation to protect water resources from coal seam gas mining has been criticised for not including other types of unconventional gas mining. Water Minister Tony Burke introduced the bill this month, which would give the Commonwealth the power to assess coal seam gas and large coal projects if they are likely to have significant impacts on water resources.

There has been an acceleration in the number of coal seam gas and mining proposals approved in Australia. Since 2010, eight projects have been given the green light in Queensland alone. All projects have been through a state environmental approval process and some through the Commonwealth process as well. But now the application of science and a recent appeal have found the process wanting. An expert scientific committee has been looking at how mines will affect Australia’s water resources, and their findings are not reassuring. Meanwhile, local communities are mounting appeals against approved mines and a recent court ruling found the community right: the mine’s impacts are indeed unacceptable.

Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter says the Managing the Murray-Darling Basin water policy released in South Australia confronts the critical issues at the crux of the agriculture industry across several states by focusing on making Australia self-sufficient in food through restoring water supplies to Murray–Darling communities.


Victoria Victorian Agriculture and Food Security Minister, Peter Walsh, has announced $555,000 has been secured to complete a comprehensive business case for the Sunraysia Modernisation Project. This Project will involve modernising Sunraysia’s irrigation systems, to provide efficient infrastructure and 365-days-per-year delivery to irrigators as well as achieve environmental water savings to help Victoria meet its commitment to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan sustainable diversion limits.

Three Victorian communities can better manage wastewater and cater for future growth with the completion of $18.1 million worth of sewerage scheme works. Minister for Water Peter Walsh said, “These three projects will foster growth and development in the towns, because each system has been designed and built to expand with future subdivisions and extensions to new lots.”

Corryong residents will notice cleaner, better-tasting drinking water flowing from their taps with the town’s new Water Treatment Plant officially opened. Victorian Water Minister, Mr Walsh, said the $5.2 million plant provided a major improvement to the quality of water for Corryong and Cudgewa residents.

The Victorian Government has announced it has approved the construction of a new $70 million office complex that will see a significant jobs boom in the area. State Planning Minister Matthew Guy, granted approval of the project following a request from Frankston City Council to fast-track the project. “The Government’s actions will ensure the development of the South East Water office proceeds at Frankston. Council will, however, remain the responsible authority for the site.”

Victorian Premier, Denis Napthine, has announced the new Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI). Mr Napthine said, “Bringing land and water management together with Primary Industries will help boost the productivity of Victoria’s worldclass food and fibre sector. This also reorganises the vital role played by land managers and Landcare groups in the protection of our environment and the management of our natural resources.”

Victorian Minister for Water, Peter Walsh, has officially opened an innovative $3.2 million sewerage scheme at Lake Bolac. Mr Walsh said the reed bed disposal process used at Lake Bolac’s new wastewater treatment plant is a first for a municipal town in Victoria. “This is a great example of a small country town using state-of-the-art technology to provide an improved service for its residents,” he said.

The Essential Services Commission (ESC) has released its draft decision on the Water Plan 3 pricing proposals put forward by Melbourne Water and the metropolitan water retailers. While the ESC has recommended a decrease in the amount bills should rise, there will be some significant water price increases in the next fiveyear pricing period due to earlier investments.



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Northern Territory The Northern Territory Government has announced that previously advised 30 per cent increases to power prices will be reduced to 20 per cent. This follows on from another announcement last year that water prices will drop from the original 40 per cent rise to 30 per cent. Sewerage will also drop from 25 per cent to 15 per cent. The charges will be retrospectively applied to 1 January 2013. The additional 10 per cent increase will be phased with a five per cent increase on the 1 January 2014 and another five per cent increase applied on 1 January 2015.

Northern Territory Treasurer, David Tollner, announced in March that the Power and Water Corporate Board had been terminated, an interim Board appointed and that the long-serving Managing Director, Andrew Macrides had been replaced by John Baskerville, the Chief Executive of the NT Department of Housing.

Power and Water is delivering Advanced Water Treatment processes in three remote Indigenous communities. Installation of water treatment plants have been completed in Ali Curung, Kintore and Yuelamu, improving the quality of water and making it better to drink and use for everyone in the communities.

New South Wales The NSW Office of Water is holding a series of community workshops to encourage participation by Aboriginal communities in water management. NSW Office of Water Commissioner, David Harriss, said the Aboriginal Water Initiative (AWI) program is focused on developing effective regional engagement with Indigenous communities.

Sydney Water has been forced to discount bills for more than 3,000 water users after the company miscalculated their water usage. Eighty per cent of these customers read their own meters and discovered they were being charged for water they were not using. Opposition water spokesman Walt Secord is calling on the State Government to review Sydney Water’s process in estimating a household’s water usage, and is urging people to do a check of their meters if bills appear too high.

IPART has deferred its Review of prices for the Water Administration Ministerial Corporation (for the NSW Office of Water) from 1 July 2014 for 12 months. This follows NSW Office of Water’s request for a 12-month extension to the current pricing determination.

The NSW Irrigators’ Council (NSWIC) and Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia (RGA) have joined forces to undertake a landmark research project into the temporary water market in New South Wales. Council Economic Policy Analyst, Stefanie Schulte, says the research will examine the factors that drive temporary water market prices. It will also assess the extent to which government action causes price fluctuations.

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The NSW Office of Water has released a report on groundwater trading and management of local impacts in the Lower Murrumbidgee Deep Groundwater Water Source. Published by the NSW Office of Water, Groundwater Trading and Management of Local Impacts documents the methods used for establishing local management areas and highlights its importance within NSW’s most heavily pumped alluvial groundwater source with an active groundwater trading market.

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 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.

Adelaide’s water security has been guaranteed with the official opening of the State’s largest water infrastructure project, the Adelaide Desalination Plant. The plant, which has been producing desalinated drinking water since October 2011, was handed over for operation in December 2012 to begin its 24-month proving period, on time and within the approved budget of $1.824 billion.

SA businesses are eligible for State Government grants of up to $100,000 to develop technology to recover and reuse phosphorus from wastewater, in the first stage of a new pilot program. The wastewater project is the first in the State Government’s Small Business Innovation Research pilot program, which offers local companies grants to develop and test new products and services aimed at solving industry-specific challenges facing government.

Queensland A proposed billion-dollar coal seam gas pipeline has been given the go-ahead by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP). Queensland Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection, Andrew Powell, said the department had completed its assessment of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Arrow Energy Bowen Pipeline Project.

The Queensland Government has released a draft plan that it says will establish a ‘robust water allocation and management framework’ for the Wet Tropics region. Queensland State Minister for Natural Resources, Andrew Cripps, said the plan would deliver a balanced approach to delivering on agricultural, environmental, Indigenous and community water needs.

Queensland’s second annual water and sewerage benchmarking report has been completed using 2011/12 data and is available from the qldwater website. In total, 28 Service Providers participated in the public release of their data in the 2011/12 report, which is a significant increase on that of last year.





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CrossCurrent Irrigators are being called on to take part in the local management review of Queensland’s eight irrigation schemes. Energy and Water Supply Minister Mark McArdle said advertisements calling for expressions of interest for eight interim boards had recently appeared in local newspapers and industry publications. “I am pleased to see the second stage of the project underway and urge people to get involved,” Mr McArdle said.

Western Australia An aerial survey in the Albany region will provide valuable information on the region’s underground water sources. The airborne electromagnetic survey has been commissioned by the Department of Water in partnership with Geoscience Australia. It has received funding from an allocation of $12.82 million from the State Government’s Royalties for Regions program for the four-year initiative to assess, plan and investigate regional water availability in Western Australia.

Dr Ger Bergkamp has been announced as IWA’s new Executive Director. Ger has been Acting, and then Interim, Executive Director following Paul Reiter stepping aside.

Jim Morran is retiring after over 30 years in the Australian Water industry as a key scientist and researcher at the Australian Water Quality Centre and SA Water Corporation. He has had many major milestones in his long career, with a key achievement being a Coinventor of the MIEX™ process for removal of DBP precursors by anion exchange resin. He has also been a co-author of a number of AWA awards – Michael Flynn Award for best poster at the Adelaide AWA 18th Federal Convention in 1999 for “MIEX DOC Process – A New Ion Exchange process” and recent Winner of the Guy Parker Award for best AWA Water Journal paper for 2011–12 for “Effective Water Quality Monitoring for Drinking Water Treatment Plants”. Jim has been very active in AWA, having been the SA Branch Treasurer since 1984. He was made an Honourable Life Member of the Association in 2009. AWA and his many colleagues in the industry wish him all the best for a long and happy retirement.

Tasmania A new Tasmanian water and sewerage corporation will commence operations on 1 July, absorbing three separate companies. The corporation will be made up of the combined assets and services previously provided by Ben Lomond Water, Cradle Mountain Water and Southern Water, and will be known as TasWater. The corporation will manage water and sewerage services, and will also incorporate billing, IT and payroll functions currently managed by service firm, Onstream.

Member News QGC Pty Limited has awarded a contract worth up to $800 million to Veolia Water Australia to operate and maintain QGC’s three water treatment plants in the Surat Basin. Under the 20-year contract, Veolia will operate and maintain the plants, which will treat groundwater produced alongside natural gas.

Dr Carol Couch has been announced as the next Director of the Water for a Healthy Country National Research Flagship. Carol joined CSIRO in July 2011 as Leader of the Ecosystems and Contaminants Theme within the Flagship. Prior to joining CSIRO, Carol held a number of senior leadership roles in the US including with the US Geological Survey and the Georgia Environmental Protection Agency.

Tenix has been awarded Australia’s first Infrastructure Sustainability (IS) rating, achieving an ‘Excellent’ rating level for the design of two sewage treatment plants at Cannonvale and Proserpine in North Queensland. The rating was announced at the Queensland launch of Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia’s (ISCA) IS rating scheme in Brisbane. The IS scheme is Australia’s only comprehensive scheme for evaluating the sustainability of the design, construction and operation of infrastructure, setting the best-practice benchmark for sustainability.

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Industry News

New Corporation to be Named TasWater The new statewide water and sewerage corporation opening its doors in Tasmania on 1 July 2013 will be known as TasWater. TasWater will take over the water and sewerage services and assets currently operated by Ben Lomond Water, Cradle Mountain Water and Southern Water. It will also manage the billing, IT and payroll functions currently managed by the industry’s service firm, Onstream. TasWater Chairman Miles Hampton said that the switch to the new corporation would be low-key from a customer perspective. “Water and sewerage customers in Tasmania will notice that from July their accounts will come from TasWater rather than Ben Lomond Water, Cradle Mountain Water or Southern Water. There will also be a new website from 1 July at www.taswater.com.au,” Mr Hampton said. “Other than those changes, there will be very little impact on customers.” TasWater customers will still be able to call 13 6992 with any enquiries, while email, postal and web addresses from the current regional corporations will continue to reach the relevant personnel.

Global Sustainability Conference Comes to Melbourne A major international conference co-hosted by the UN Global Cities Programme and the Global Cities Research Institute at RMIT University is set to challenge and transform the way we think about sustainability. People and the Planet 2013 (2-4 July) will feature 130 presentations from top speakers across nine inter-connecting research themes. Director of the Global Cities Research Institute, Professor Paul James, said the conference would bring together academia, civil society, urban governance and business to tackle the challenge of sustainability. “Instead of treating sustainability as a narrow ecological question framed by business as usual, People and the Planet addresses the human condition across the integrated domains of economics, ecology, politics and culture,” Professor James said. “What does it mean to be responsible for the future of our planet? How can we best work collaboratively across those different constituencies to address basic issues of sustainability? ”And finally, what is to be done? This is not to reduce the future to technical solutions, but rather to debate how we are going to act now to work towards an imagined future.” The conference will cover themes including urban, community, cultural and corporate sustainability, climate change adaptation, human security and disaster, globalisation and culture, and sustainable urban regional futures.

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Keynote speakers include Joyati Das (World Vision), Peter Mandaville (former advisor to Hillary Clinton), Jerry Harris (Global Studies Association of North America), Eric Herring (University of Bristol), Robert Manne (La Trobe University) and Don Watson (speechwriter and award-winning author). Go to http://tinyurl.com/peopleandtheplanet for more information.

Connecting Urban Design and Sustainability on a Global Scale How do we do more with less and still create quality, sustainable cities? In the new book Dynamic Urban Design: A Handbook for Creating Sustainable Communities Worldwide, author Michael von Hausen shares his theories and knowledge regarding sustainable land development based on his over 30 years practicing and teaching in the field. Combining personal experience with urban design principles, von Hausen highlights the importance of creating communities worldwide that integrate sustainability principles with effective urban design. Incorporating a dozen case studies that range from Calgary, Alberta, to Vladivostok, Russia, von Hausen creates a toolkit of charts and diagrams for the development of more efficient and sustainable communities. “This book is about designing cities in their ecological, social/ cultural, and economic place in order to achieve evolving, yet resilient cities,” said von Hausen. “My practice and teaching tells me the possibilities are at our fingertips, but we have to change our process to get different results. That is what this book it all about doing it right.” Dynamic Urban Design has been met with advance praise recognising the importance of the topic of sustainable urbanism as the most important challenge of our time and the effectiveness of von Hausen’s work. David R. Witty, a former dean of the School of Architecture at the Universtiy of Manitoba, called the book “a complete guide to the theory, practice and potential of urban design by one of Canada’s preeminent urban designers.” This practical, process-oriented handbook will be of interest to students, as well as seasoned professionals, in the fields of urban planning, environmental studies, landscape architecture and engineering. In his book, von Hausen presents a “dynamic” model that applies not only downtown, but also in suburban and rural contexts. For more information, please visit mvhinc.com.

A New Deal for Urban Infrastructure A new coalition of built environment groups, which includes the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA), wants a ‘new deal’ for Australian cities. The Urban Coalition has launched a plan to tackle the emerging urban challenges and improve the liveability of Australian cities.


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The plan, A New Deal for Urban Australia, calls for positive leadership and recommends the establishment of an Urban Infrastructure Fund to meet a backlog of more than $500 billion in infrastructure needs for Australian cities. “Australia needs a co-ordinated and strategic approach to planning, developing and managing our cities and communities. Our plan requires visionary government leadership and a new Urban Infrastructure Fund to unlock investment from the private sector and meet the infrastructure needs of a growing Australia,” says the GBCA’s Federal Advocacy Manager, Katy Dean. The Urban Infrastructure Fund would cover a range of infrastructure projects that demonstrate benefit and value to the community, from public transport systems to schools, hospitals and affordable housing. “We must embrace innovative models to fund infrastructure in order to meet the challenges of demographic change, population growth and the effects of a changing climate,” Ms Dean explains. The Urban Coalition is also calling on the Australian Government to appoint a Federal Minister and establish a department for cities and urban development. “The GBCA has worked closely with the Major Cities Unit over the past several years. We believe that a strengthened role for MCU and Infrastructure Australia will lead to better co-ordination of policy and better outcomes for our cities and communities. “City policy must be prioritised by the Australian Government

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to ensure more strategic planning of our cities and regions. Innovative models that drive infrastructure investment based on positive outcomes can help our communities to reach high benchmarks for liveability, prosperity, sustainability and resilience,” Ms Dean concludes. The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) is the nation’s authority on sustainable buildings and communities. Its mission is to accelerate the transformation of Australia’s built environment into one that is healthy, liveable, productive, resilient and sustainable. The GBCA works with industry and government to encourage policies and programs that support its mission. The Council educates thousands of people each year on how to design and deliver sustainable outcomes for Australia’s buildings and communities. And it operates Australia’s only national, voluntary, holistic rating system for sustainable buildings and communities – Green Star. See www.gbca.org.au for more information.

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Industry News


TasWater Appoints Chief Executive Chairman, Miles Hampton, has announced that Michael Brewster has been appointed Chief Executive of TasWater. Mr Brewster will assume responsibility for managing the state’s water and sewerage infrastructure from 6 May 2013. Mr Brewster is currently CEO of the Business Transition Group in Treasury, responsible for overseeing changes to the state-owned electricity businesses arising from the State Government’s electricity reforms. Previous roles include Chief Operations Officer (Energy Business) in Aurora Energy, CEO of AETV Power responsible for the construction and operation of Tamar Valley Power Station and General Manager of Hydro Tasmania’s consulting business.

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Mr Hampton said Mr Brewster was appointed from a field of more than 80 candidates and brings a wide range of experience in infrastructure development, utility management and customer service. “We are pleased to have secured the services of a highly experienced professional manager to guide the merging of the existing four water and sewerage corporations into a new single entity, TasWater,” Mr Hampton said. Recognising the need for smooth transition from Mr Brewster’s former role, TasWater and the State Government have agreed that Mr Brewster will be available to provide support to the electricity reforms up until the 4 June 2013.

New Director of Water For A Healthy Country National Research Flagship Dr Carol Couch has been appointed the next Director of the Water for a Healthy Country National Research Flagship. Carol joined CSIRO in July 2011 as Leader of the Ecosystems and Contaminants Theme within the Flagship. Prior to joining CSIRO, Carol held a number of senior leadership roles in the US including with the US Geological Survey and the Georgia Environmental Protection Agency. Carol has a distinguished scientific record and is an international thought leader in multidisciplinary water research and negotiating the interface of science and policy and she is an internationally renowned freshwater and estuarine ecology researcher. She is the recipient of a number of distinguished awards including a Superior Service Award from the United States Department of Interior, and the Georgia Institute of Technology, Ivan Allen Legacy Award presented to an alumnus that best exemplifies civic leadership personified by Atlanta Mayor Ivan Allen Jr. She has also been recognised as one of the “100 most influential Georgians”; an honour assigned to the hundred-most prominent


Industry News leaders in business, politics, government, science or education in Georgia. Carol will formally commence in her new role on 17 June 2013 and will be based in Canberra.

Tenix Awarded Australia’s First Infrastructure Sustainability (IS) Rating Tenix has been awarded Australia’s first Infrastructure Sustainability (IS) rating, achieving an ‘Excellent’ rating level for the design of two sewage treatment plants (STPs) at Cannonvale and Proserpine in North Queensland. The rating was announced at the Queensland launch of Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia’s (ISCA) IS rating scheme in Brisbane recently. The IS scheme is Australia’s only comprehensive scheme for evaluating the sustainability of the design, construction and operation of infrastructure, setting the best-practice benchmark for sustainability. Ross Taylor, CEO of Tenix, said, “The IS rating process has encouraged Tenix to identify and implement best-practice and innovative sustainability solutions to deliver long-term environmental, social and economic benefit for the Whitsunday region.” Tenix’s design will see more than 15,000 megawatt hours less electricity used over the plants’ operational lives. The design will

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also save close to 4,800 tonnes of construction materials being used and will avoid the emission of 15,400 tonnes of carbon over the life of the plants. A state-of-the-art activated sludge design, which enhances Nitrogen and Phosphorus removal, will result in 28 tonnes less Nitrogen and 16 tonnes less Phosphorus ending up in the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef each year. “The Whitsunday Regional Council, for whom Tenix is designing, constructing, operating and maintaining the STPs for has shown leadership in demonstrating how sustainability of critical infrastructure can reap benefits to their local community and the environment including the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the 74 Whitsunday Islands that fringe the coastline,” said Ross. Council’s Mayor, Jennifer Whitney said, “Council has strongly supported the approach taken by Tenix in terms of sustainable infrastructure solutions, services and delivery, with the benefits to the community and the Great Barrier Reef the top priority. On behalf of Council, I congratulate Tenix who have worked tirelessly to achieve the rating as well as Council employees and those involved in the project.”

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Industry News The IS scheme, administered by ISCA, places Australia at the forefront of the world’s sustainable infrastructure development. ISCA CEO, Antony Sprigg said, “The IS scheme will provide ongoing benefits to Australian infrastructure owners and users. ISCA’s IS scheme is focused on changing industry behaviour and making sustainability a priority in the planning, delivery and operation of infrastructure.” “Designing and delivering more sustainable infrastructure provides benefits to owners, users and society over the long life of infrastructure, including lower environmental impact, enhanced social outcomes, better asset performance, and commercial advantages.”

Preparing Australia’s Water Infrastructure to Withstand Extreme Climatic Events Water is involved in every extreme climatic event. But with $120 billion dollars of assets to manage, how can a water utility prioritise and prepare for risks to that infrastructure, 70 per cent of which is underground? With funding from the Federal Government Coastal Adaptation Decision Pathways program, the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) has recognised this and has just released a new tool called AdaptWater ™. Built upon extensive work from Sydney Water, this tool enables water utilities to identify what infrastructure is likely to be at risk during events like floods, bushfires, high winds and heatwaves and assess different costed adaptation options to manage that risk. WSAA Executive Director, Adam Lovell states: “We have seen a marked increase in the occurrence of extreme events, and are now able to identify where investment is needed before facing a crisis. Our members operate around 260,000 km of pipeline and hundreds of water and sewage treatment facilities. Ensuring these assets perform reliably under climate change will be an important outcome of the AdaptWater tool.“ AdaptWater is a climate change adaptation quantification and option assessment tool for the Australian water industry owned and maintained by WSAA. As a part of the pilot project the tool was tested by six WSAA members throughout Australia. The largest study examined Sydney Water’s water and sewerage assets in the Illawarra region of NSW. Says Adam Lovell: “The tool was developed by ClimateRisk, so we have utilised world leading climate change adaptation expertise and the most up to date climate change data, which means that water utilities can assess short to long term risk to infrastructure.” The project received funding from the Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education (DIICCSRTE), and from WSAA members, and will deliver efficient spending outcomes for government, regulators and customers. “Risk associated with climate change can be considered alongside other quantified risks within the decision making process, including system risks, engineering risks and operational risks, this allows utilities to facilitate more informed decisions within projects. Being able to tackle the highest priorities and manage capital expenditure will also help reduce upward pressure on customer’s bills.”

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Tenix Appoints New Executive Manager George Frougas formally of SMEC, has been appointed Executive Manager Business Development Water for Tenix Australia. George brings 26 years of water and wastewater design, construction, commissioning and operations experience to Tenix. George can be contacted on george.frougas@tenix.com.

Clarification of Developer Charges for Myer Redevelopment Developer charges are applicable when Southern Water is required to install, alter or utilise assets to provide water and/or sewerage services to a new development. This includes the costs of the system capacity which will be augmented or consumed by the development – in the case of the Myer development, a demand equivalent to more than 120 households. If developer charges were not levied the costs of providing services to new developments would fall on our entire customer base, which is not appropriate as works covered by developer charges are specific to the Myer development. Southern Water does not disclose specific details relating to developer charges, but can confirm that a reported charge of $700,000 for a water connection is incorrect. Further, the development application for the Myer site is not being held up by Southern Water, with the applicable charges being included in the original development approval and discussions recently being held in order to reach a commercial agreement.

Logan Water Alliance Case Study Parsons Brinckerhoff has announced that at the 7th Annual NSW Water Industry Operations Conference, Senior Water Engineer Anthony Domanti will present a case study about how the Logan Water Alliance provided a 63 per cent (AU$83 million) cost-saving solution for Logan City Council. Mr Domanti’s presentation, Unlocking Value Through a Planning-Led Alliance — the Alfred Street to Loganholme Wastewater Treatment Plant Rising Main, examines the Logan Water Alliance team’s innovative approach to reduce this project’s capital value by approximately AU$83m. Mr Domanti said the techniques, innovations and lessons learnt from the Logan Water Alliance experience could help other alliances develop more cost-effective methods of water delivery across Australia.


Industry News The Logan Water Alliance, comprising Logan City Council, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Tenix and Cardno, is one of the largest water infrastructure delivery programs of its type in Australia and will continue its work until August 2014. Mr Domanti is currently the Design Manager at the Logan Water Alliance.

ITS Trenchless Ramps Up Growth Strategy Pipeline rehabilitation specialist ITS Trenchless has appointed Peter Jarvis to the newly-created position of National Sales & Marketing Manager to help implement its strategic growth plan. It has also signalled its intent to grow business in Western Australia, with the opening of a new office in Perth and the appointment of Cory Higgins as Regional Manager WA.

Peter Jarvis Peter Jarvis has spent more than 30 years in sales and marketing and is an expert in business best practices and aligning organisations with their customers and the market trends. His broad range of skills and industry experience include IT, graphics and media, CAD design software and a variety of related hardware and equipment centric industries. Trevor Groeneveld, Director at ITS Trenchless, says, “After a rigorous selection process, Peter emerged as the outstanding candidate to be ITS’s National Sales & Marketing Manager and

as a result, we are very pleased that he has agreed to join our growing organisation. “Pete brings a great depth of knowledge and experience. His professionalism, skills and industry sector expertise will provide the leadership and support to enhance the ITS team, while ensuring our clients’ expectations are being exceeded. “With our current innovative product range and future plans, it’s an incredibly exciting time at ITS. This appointment shows the commitment we have in keeping ITS as the industry leader, and the fact that it is a newly-created position demonstrates our commitment to growth.”

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Industry News A key component is the opening of a new office in WA and the appointment of experienced trenchless expert Cory Higgins to head it up. Higgins has been given the remit of leading the company’s endeavours to serve customers in WA’s thriving market with its innovative pipeline renovation and rehabilitation technologies.

Cory Higgins The launch of the Perth office comes in response to proven demand for ITS’s products and services in WA, where organisations see the benefits of working with ITS to increase the performance of ageing assets and infrastructure. ITS’s ability to provide experience across a wide range of world best practice technologies has also been a key reason for customers requesting their services in WA. “The opening of the ITS Perth office is a natural outgrowth of the strong ITS customer and partner base we already enjoy in the Eastern States,” says ITS Director Trevor Groeneveld. “Under Cory’s leadership, ITS is well positioned to grow our presence in the region by directly supporting our customers’ long-term strategic initiatives and day-to-day issues. “For the past 18 months, we have been busy working in WA but delivering the projects from our Sydney office. ITS’s investment in WA is further evidence of our commitment to building a lasting presence in the Australian market and to invest in long-term customer relationships.” ”I am excited to lead the expansion of ITS through a local presence in WA,” says Cory Higgins. “Our success in the trenchless

water MAY 2013

technology sector, which is dealing with major industry changes, demonstrates ITS’s value as an innovative company responding to complex business challenges.”

Registration Now Open for 6th Annual WaterSmart Innovations Conference and Exposition Registration is now open for the 6th Annual WaterSmart Innovations (WSI) Conference and Exposition, scheduled for October 2–4 at the South Point Hotel and Conference Center in Las Vegas. Full registration for the world’s pre-eminent urban water efficiency conference includes admission to the WaterSense Partner of the Year Awards luncheon October 3, hosted by the Alliance for Water Efficiency and the US Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense Program. Since its debut in 2008, WSI has drawn attendees from 45 states and 27 foreign nations. This year’s conference will again feature a full slate of comprehensive professional sessions and an expo hall highlighting the latest in water-efficient products and services. Several affordable pre-show workshops (which are not included with the WSI registration fee) will precede the event on Tuesday, October 1. The Southern Nevada Water Authority is presenting WSI 2013 in partnership with the Alliance for Water Efficiency, American Water Works Association, Audubon International, California Landscape


Industry News Contractors Association, California Urban Water Conservation Council, the US EPA’s WaterSense Program, Green Plumbers USA, Imagine H2O, International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, International Center for Water Technology, International Code Council, and Irrigation Association. The “early bird” full conference registration fee of $330 is good through Saturday, June 1. Beginning Sunday, June 2, the full registration fee will be $390. To receive the reduced rate, please visit www.WaterSmartInnovations.com and enter the authorisation code gettheworm when registering. More information is available at www.WaterSmartInnovations.com.

Carlsbad Desalination Project Wins 2013 Global Water Awards ‘Desalination Deal of the Year’ IDE Technologies Ltd. Has announced that the financing package for the Carlsbad desalination plant in California has been named winner of the 2013 Global Water Awards ‘Desalination Deal of the Year’ category. The deal was honored for representing a significant step forward for the water industry in terms of financial innovation and in meeting the demands of challenging circumstances. Each year, the Global Water Awards acknowledge the most important achievements in the international water industry across

several categories, among them ‘Desalination Deal of the Year’ and ‘Desalination Company of the Year,’ which IDE won in 2011. The Carlsbad project will be the largest seawater desalination plant in the western hemisphere upon completion. IDE will be involved in the design and supply of equipment for the plant, as well as the operation and maintenance for 30 years. The plant is expected to produce up to 54 million gallons (204,412 m3) of high quality water per day by 2016. Global Water Intelligence (GWI) magazine cited that “the Carlsbad financing package proves beyond all doubt that with the right determination, large-scale desalination infrastructure in the US can be financed.” In addition, GWI cited that “the pioneering collaborative approach taken at Carlsbad will serve as a blueprint for the financing of other large-scale desalination projects across the southern US.” This award follows the ‘North American Water Deal of the Year’ prize by the Project Finance magazine, reinforcing the project’s significance as a game changer in the US and worldwide. In another category, IDE’s Seawater Reverse Osmosis desalination plant in Western Australia, Cape Preston, was shortlisted for GWI’s ‘Industrial Water Project of the Year’. GWI cited: “This is the first time a pre-engineered modular plant has been built on this scale… Cape Preston demonstrates that IDE continues to deliver innovation in every aspect of the desalination process, nearly 50 years after the company was founded.” For more information, visit www.ide-tech.com.



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MAY 2013 water


Young Water Professionals


This year at the Ozwater’13 Conference & Exhibition I presented my first paper, which was very exciting. I’ll write more about the Ozwater event itself in the next edition of the Water Journal, but in this article I’d like to focus on the topic of attending conferences and seminars, writing papers, and the challenges of presenting at conferences and seminars. I have only been in the industry for a few years, but writing a paper, and having it published and presented at conference, has been one of my goals. However, achieving it is not always an easy feat. Depending on the area in which you work, the type of company you are employed by, and the location of the conference at which the paper will be presented, there can be many obstacles. Here are some tips to overcome them: 1. Find your topic The first task is to find something to write about. You may have a specific area of interest, or a study or project in which you have been involved, and this is the natural choice. When calls for papers are published, the type of conference will dictate the subject matter that is being sought. My paper is titled Effectiveness and Opportunities in Water Efficiency During Non-Drought in the Lower Hunter and was written about three studies that were commissioned by my employer and that I project managed. Fortunately for me, this topic fitted nicely into the themes for Ozwater this year and I presented it under the Climate Resilient Water: Water Efficiency stream. My advice to aspiring writers would be to write whatever paper you can. It takes years before one becomes a subject expert, at which point it

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may be easier to find topics. I wrote this paper with Ozwater in mind, but part of the paper was then able to be presented at another conference dealing more specifically with water efficiency, which opened up another opportunity for me. 2. Consider an electronic poster Instead of writing a full paper, for a first effort an electronic poster submission might be the solution. Some conferences such as Ozwater have this option available. The effort involved is much less than in writing and submitting an Abstract, having it accepted and then writing the paper. Electronic posters can also be presented without the author needing to attend the conference, which can be useful if budget is an issue. After all, depending on the size of your company and the economic climate, there is not always money available to fund sending an employee to a conference. 3. Self-fund your trip If you do have a paper and an invitation to present it but are not able to get sponsorship, think carefully about whether it may be worth paying your own way before withdrawing. Presenting at any conference, particularly large conferences like Ozwater, is an amazing opportunity, particularly for new and emerging professionals. It may be worth bringing the credit card out for. 4. Start early Another potential hurdle can be internal chains of approval. It is not unusual for a paper that is going to be published that represents an organisation to need to go through several points of call for feedback, approval and sign off. This can take many weeks, so the sooner you get writing the better.


Young Water Professionals 5. Practice, practice, practice After writing and submitting the Abstract, writing the paper, having it approved, submitting it, receiving the reviews and finally submitting the ‘final, final’ version, comes the fun part – presenting your paper at conference. This can be a scary prospect, but one of the advantages of being involved in organisations such as the AWA and the YWPs means you are not alone. Seek out more experienced work colleagues and ask for their tips and feedback. Practice. Practice. Practice. Do a rehearsal with work colleagues. Do a presentation for your family. Recite your lines in the shower. Go over your lines on the way to work (not an option recommended if you take public transport, of course!). Whatever else, make sure you know your subject matter back to front before presentation day. This has several advantages. Firstly, you will be comfortable with the content of your presentation. This makes you relaxed. It allows you to talk to the subject, and not stand there reading from palm cards. This engages your audience and makes for a presentation that people will remember. It also makes you more at ease when it comes to question time. Who knows? You may actually enjoy it!





Being engaged in one’s career and industry, attending conferences and seminars, public speaking, and writing papers makes for well-rounded, versatile professionals and people. I encourage all young professionals to attend whatever conferences and seminars they can. Make contact with your state YWP committees and find the resources and information they have available. Seek out and accept any opportunities that come along. The growth and prospects that come from these activities pay back to the individual tenfold.



MAY 2013 water


AWA News

AWA Announces New CEO The Australian Water Association has appointed Jonathan McKeown as Chief Executive Officer, effective 27 May 2013. Mr McKeown replaces outgoing CEO, Tom Mollenkopf, who announced his intention to stand down from the role earlier this year. AWA President, Lucia Cade, said that Jonathan brings substantial experience from the private and public sectors in highly commercial environments, as well as significant leadership experience and understanding of membership-based organisations. “Jonathan has successfully worked in law, manufacturing, international project management, the rural sector, government lobbying and management consulting in Asia Pacific,” she said. “Throughout his career Jonathan has honed his commercial project management skills in the areas of water resource projects, infrastructure and agriculture, among others. Jonathan then spent four years as the Chief Executive of the New South Wales Farmers Association, before moving into management consulting. “We are impressed with Jonathan’s executive leadership abilities and experiences. While his past roles are not directly involved in the traditional water industry, water management and access to water has been a core issue prompting Jonathan’s passion for water as a fundamental element supporting Australia’s economic growth and prosperity. I look forward to working closely with Jonathan as he leads the company into a new phase and builds value for our members in the coming years. “On behalf of the entire Board, I would like to thank Tom Mollenkopf for his contributions to the Association over the last six years and wish him well with his next steps. Tom has overseen a period of considerable growth and change in AWA, at a very exciting time for the water industry. He has worked tirelessly in forging new relationships for the Association both locally and internationally, represented the water industry well, has increased member services, and grown membership.” Having been based in Asia for the past six years, Jonathan returns to Australia to take up the position in Sydney.

Joint Australian/New Zealand Biosolids Workshop On 9 April 2013, the Australia and New Zealand Biosolids Partnership (ANZBP), along with the newly established New Zealand Centre for Integrated Biowaste Research (CIBR), hosted a Joint Australian/ New Zealand Biosolids Workshop in Blenheim, New Zealand. Held in conjunction with the New Zealand Land Treatment Collective Annual Conference, the workshop formally launched the CIBR, a research body that combines the expertise of 10 New Zealand research groups to develop sustainable solutions that maximise the benefits and minimise any risks associated with using biowastes.

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Around 70 attendees from a variety of backgrounds attended to hear about biosolids management practices in Australia and New Zealand, explore opportunities for improved biosolids regulations, and learn about innovative research activities from CIBR member researchers. The ANZBP was well represented at the event, with four members of the ANZBP administrative group presenting at the workshop: Dr Jacqui Horswell (ESR Ltd/ANZBP Board Member); Michael Naughton (Barwon Water/Chair of the ANZBP); Dr Bill Barber (AECOM/ANZBP Board Member); and Gregory Priest (ANZBP Program Manager). The visiting Australian contingency noted the event was valuable to strengthen existing relationships and develop new contacts. The exposure to the technical research currently underway in New Zealand will be key in guiding the ANZBP’s research and communications strategies. Details of the Centre for Integrated Biowaste Research can be found on the website www.cibr.esr.cri.nz. ANZBP Membership enquiries are welcome and can be directed to the Project Manager at admin@biosolids.com.au. More information regarding the ANZBP can be found at www.biosolids.com.au.

Training the Industry One Master Class At a Time During February and March this year, AWA delivered two sold-out Master Classes – one on Water Quality & the Environment and the other on Odour, Septicity and Corrosion Management, reflecting the appeal of intimate and tailored learning experiences to the industry. The Odour, Septicity and Corrosion Management Master Class was run over two days in MWH’s office in Sydney and attracted 29 attendees to hear from world-class experts in the field, take advantage of the extensive theory behind odour, septicity and corrosion management and to learn to develop an odour management action plan. The response received was positive with the majority of those surveyed rating the technical content, standard of presentations and quality of speakers from ‘excellent’ to ‘very good’ – the two top rating scales. Attendees said: “Presenters were extremely knowledgeable and were obviously leaders in their field”; and “The class gave us valuable information on odour, its nature and effective treatment methods”. The Water Quality and the Environment Master Class offered 52 participants an insider’s view into water quality guidelines, from the experts in charge of rewriting them. Held across two days in Melbourne, participants heard from field experts including CSIRO and the NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change & Water.


AWA News The majority of attendees surveyed rated the technical content and quality of speakers from very good to excellent, with feedback that technical material, overview of guidelines and the smooth running of the class were what we did best. “Course notes were very useful and will be valuable for future reference” and “Quality of speakers is second to none. Access to those involved in writing the guidelines are invaluable” were just two of the comments received by those surveyed. Due to high demand, AWA will offer this Master Class again in Perth in September – keep an eye on the AWA website for more information. AWA has planned a series of other valuable professional development and training opportunities for 2013, including an intimate learning event organised in conjunction with the National Centre for Groundwater Research & Training titled: ‘Unconventional Gas: Thought Leadership Series’. This event, which will be held in Perth on 18 June, Adelaide on 19 June, Melbourne on 20 June and Canberra on 21 June will provide an opportunity to discuss and debate the effects mining has on water and to ask those ‘big questions’. It’s an opportunity to access state, national and international perspectives and case studies from the leading industry experts including Renowned Research Scientist Dr Ian Duncan from the Bureau of Economic Geology and more. Register at www.awa.asn.au/unconventionalgas, or to view the entire training calendar please visit www.awa.asn.au/ training

Branch News NSW Branch Committee Elections Now Open Elections for the NSW Branch Committee for the financial years of 2013–2015 are now open. The Branch Committee reflects a cross-section of water sector backgrounds, connections and expertise. Committee members provide enormous value to AWA when this knowledge and experience is applied to branch activities, and we look forward to receiving your nominations. Please contact Branch Manager Peta Townsett at powsnett@ awa.asn.au or phone 02 9467 8424 for more information.

Branch Seminar Series: Seminar 1: Recycled Water Supply and Reuse in Regional NSW The NSW Branch kicked off it seminar series with a seminar focusing on recycled water supply and reuse in regional NSW at Noah’s on the Beach, Newcastle, on 13 March. Speakers included: Clara Laydon from Hunter Water Australia presenting on Reuse: Effectively Managing Risk; Larry Greentree from NSW Public Works presenting on Reuse: Effectively Managing Risk; and Timothy Matheson, Metropolitan Water Directorate discussion on Leveling the Watery Playing Field – an update on the joint review of the Water Industry Competition Act and regulatory arrangements for water recycling under the Local Government Act. Delegates also heard from the Event Sponsor Burket Fluid Control Systems representative Mal Keen, who presented on “Assets on the Ground, Data in the Cloud” – an introduction to Cloud-based SCADA and how Burket MySITE enables operators of WICA-type schemes to provide process transparency to end-users and regulators, while maintaining security of their own systems.

Do you know all of the facts about

coal seam gas, tight gas, shale gas? Hear from the experts. Register now. www.awa.asn.au/ unconventionalgas

NSW Presidents Dinner The Annual NSW Branch Presidents Dinner took place on Thursday 21 March 2013 at the Langham Hotel Sydney. This years’ guest speaker was Sally Rewell from Sydney Water, who gave the invited industry leaders an insight into her experiences as a Young Water Professional. We would like to formally thank those in attendance and also the Event Sponsor, Zinfra, for supporting the evening.

Careers Night The NSW Young Water Professionals hosted a Careers in Water event over two nights in March, one at the University of NSW, the other at University of Technology Sydney. Both events were sponsored by Sydney Water and attracted over 90 attendees, who were all keen to learn about careers and pathways in the Water Industry. We would like to thank

MAY 2013 water


awa News the event sponsor and the speakers for their contribution – Jaques Ostrowski from Sydney Water, Lee- Anne Sylva from GHD, Nonie Taylor from Sydney Water, Andrew Kable from H20 Talent and Sarah Darvill from Manly Hydraulics Laboratory; and Shona Fitzgerald (NSW YWP Committee Member) for putting the event together.

15th NSW Engineers & Operators Conference: Call for Papers Now Open 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 on the 28–30 October, with the theme ‘Doing More With Less While Keeping the Customer Satisfied’. The conference will address ways in which NSW operations staff are coping with the challenges they are facing. For more information about the presentations being sought, please visit the AWA website. Sponsorship opportunities for this event are filling fast. Please contact Branch Manager Peta Townsett at powsnett@awa.asn.au.

ACT Branch Committee Elections Now Open Elections for the ACT Branch Committee for the financial years of 2013–2015 are now open. The Branch Committee reflects a crosssection of water sector backgrounds, connections and expertise. Committee members provide enormous value to AWA when this knowledge and experience is applied to branch activities and we look forward to receiving your nominations. Please contact the ACT Branch Manager Peta Townsett at powsnett@awa.asn.au for further information about being a part of the committee.

Tour of the Enlarged Cotter Dam The ACT Branch held its second event for 2013 in March with a tour of the Enlarged Cotter Dam. The tour consisted of access to the upper left abutment viewing platform, not normally open to the public. Attendees also had the opportunity to walk the discovery trail and view the dam from Discovery Trail Bridge. The tour concluded with a BBQ andnetworking opportunity for the attendees.

ACT Water Matters Conference Registrations are now open for the ACT Water Matters Conference, to be held at the CSIRO Discovery Centre on Wednesday 5 June 2013. This year’s conference consists of invited talks from government policy makers, CSIRO and university scientists, and experienced industry

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consultants. The presentations will be followed by an interactive panel discussion exploring the “way forward” for management of water quality and the ACT’s water resources, lakes and waterways. To register for this event or to view the program of confirmed speakers, please visit www.awa.asn.au/WaterMatters Some sponsorship opportunities are available for this event. For more information, please contact the ACT Branch Manager Peta Townsett at powsnett@awa.asn.au.

Queensland YWP Mentoring Program The Queensland YWP Mentoring Program started its third year this March. After the success of the program last year this promises to be an even more successful year, with participant numbers doubling with over 60 people coming from a wide range of industries such as engineering, government, research and consulting, to name a few. Some people have chosen to stay with their current mentor/ mentee and are continuing on with the program, and there has also been the introduction of tiered mentoring, where some mid-career professionals are acting as mentors for younger water professionals, while also having a senior water professional as their mentor. The launch event for the 2013 program was held on Monday 18 March at The Ship Inn, Brisbane. After introductory drinks and nibbles a short talk from YWP president Henry Bettle got everyone warmed up, then Dr Brian McIntosh from the International Water Centre (IWC) gave the keynote presentation for the evening. This interactive presentation was full of excellent activities and advice such as do’s and don’ts of mentoring, and expectations of each person. The talk injected everyone with enthusiasm and helped prepare them for the mentoring journey ahead. A prize of a bottle of wine ensured a rush was on when participants had to find their partner based on matching numbers on their name tags! Finally, returning pair Heather Uwins and Alycia Moore gave an inspiring short talk on their experiences in the program last year, and how they planned to continue this for the year ahead. The platinum sponsor for the event was IWC, while the gold sponsor was CH2M Hill. The YWP film crew also experienced their first gig recording the event, which can now be seen on YouTube at australianwaterTV or through the AWA Facebook page. Check it out! For more information or if you are interested in being a mentor or mentee, please contact Sarah Schroeder, Queensland YWP Mentoring Coordinator at s.schroeder@griffith.edu.au

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



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water MAY 2013

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AWA News

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




Individual members

Corporate Silver

Oracle Corporation Smart Approved WaterMark

Corporate Bronze

Acqua Kinetics Cooma Monaro Shire Council

QLD Corporate Silver Dibbs Barker Pensar Utilities Ausenco

SA Corporate Silver

Kain Corporate & Commercial Lawyers

WA Corporate Gold Kinetic IT Pty

Corporate Silver

Peel Water Pty Ltd

Corporate Bronze

IBM Australia Water Oceanic Bio (Australia)

R Fullerton, New Zealand; E Cheong, Singapore; HL Yeow, Singapore; WC Lo, Singapore; H Singh, Singapore; KC Tan, Singapore; JS Tan, Singapore; SH Cheng, Singapore; S Neitzel, United States; S Chow, Singapore; I Lee, Singapore; W Choo, Singapore; YH Lee, Singapore; CK Lao, Singapore; ML Kang, Singapore; R Parasuraman, Singapore

NEW INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS ACT A Piani NSW W Brazel, D Lambert, G Waters, K Mahadeva, J Greene, A Jones, D Ippolito, A Woodforth, C Suttor, M Valix, C Mackay, C Laurent, S Shaw, T Dwyer, R Dorse, P Hankin, P Harcus, J Browning, B Addison, J Kramer, L Ellicott,

L Russell, O Boaru, M Rixon, F Marshall, C Goonan, W Wilson, J Murray, C Henderson, S McGufficke, S Martin, M Beckwith, P Matthews QLD C Feenstra, M Bice, A Birkett, S Ackaert, G Mckeon, J Stewart, L Olsen, S Spencer, A Volcich, J Cumming, S Davidge, I Mckinnon, C Lenz, M Steed, K Sedgwick, L Orange, J Bosel, B Cairns, G Ewart, M Mathieu-Burry, J Egan, S Wakefield, V Longley, S Gowans, K Yunker, L Fernandes, A Sexton, M Kijlstra, M Bennett, D Brown, D Karrol, C West, A Lane, R Cleare SA J Papanicolaou, R Burnell, M Ginic-Markovic, G Tang, M Blason, J Frearson-Lea WA C Boehl, I Jambol, A Tilbury, N West, M North, J McGuire, K Walton, N Fox, S Shepherd, R Thorp, M Botsis, A Makkad, D Pope, E Ting, D Macnish, I Silveira, J Strahan, M Appleton, J Pandya, D Burkett, D Wee,

S Metcalf, M Young, S Farghaly VIC L Tang, A Rowan, D Phillips, P El Jbeily, N Sexton, L Justus, V Bonnelye, F Pamminger, P Williams, H Malano, K Baskaran, M Pearce, M Othman, M Peril, L Northwood, D van Oosterwijck, A Dodd, A Barnett, P Worcester, M Cesario

NEW STUDENT MEMBERS QLD P Kirchmann, E Gabriel VIC N Delbridge

YOUNG WATER PROFESSIONALS NSW M Abedin, K Mallon NT B McTavish QLD A Huang, L Doonan, M Reyes, J Nichols WA R Blandin de Chalain VIC S Prasanna, E Wisniewski, K Bartlett

AWA EVENTS CALENDAR This list is correct at the time of printing. For up-to-date listings and booking information please check the AWA online events calendar at: www.awa.asn.au/events

June Wed, 5 Jun 2013

QLD Special Event – Breakfast with Terri Benson – CEO Seqwater, Brisbane, QLD

Wed, 5 Jun 2013 – Thu, 6 Jun 2013

WIOA QLD Conference & Exhibition, Parklands, Gold Coast

Wed, 5 Jun 2013

ACT Water Matters Conference, CSIRO Discovery Centre, Canberra

Thu, 6 Jun 2013

Vic YWP Information Session, Southbank

Thu, 6 Jun 2013

WA YWP Technical Tour – Water Corporation Operations Centre, Water Corporation, Leederville, Perth

Wed, 12 Jun 2013

NSW Seminar Series – Seminar 3, Skills Development and Knowledge Capture – Filling the Gaps, UTS Aerial Function Centre, Sydney

Thu, 13 Jun 2013

Vic YWP Seminar – My Water Career, Melbourne, CBD

Fri, 14 Jun 2013

QLD On-Site Workshop – Anaerobic Digestion – The Future for Waste Activated Sludge?, Brisbane, QLD

Tue, 18 Jun 2013 – Fri, 21 Jun 2013

Unconventional Gas: Thought Leadership Series, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra

Thu, 20 Jun 2013

WA Technical Event – Optimising Water Systems using Real-Time Control, Water Corporation, Leederville, Perth

Tue, 25 Jun 2013

NSW Women in Water Breakfast, Sydney

MAY 2013 water


Feature article

water MAY 2013


Feature Article

THE NATIONAL WATER COMMISSION’S MURRAY–DARLING BASIN PLAN AUDIT ROLE Written by Karlene Maywald, Chair – National Water Commission

When it comes to Australian water reform, the making of the Murray–Darling Basin Plan has been the dominant issue in both the public and policy arenas over the past few years. The National Water Commission sees the Basin Plan as a step-change in the governance and management of water resources in Australia’s largest and most important river system. The Basin Plan aims to deliver on the vision articulated in the National Water Initiative (NWI) by restoring the Basin’s rivers and groundwater resources to health and supporting strong communities and resilient industries. The Commission has both a formal role and active interest in ensuring that Basin governments and their agencies implement the plan to secure real benefits for the Basin and its communities. We acquired an ongoing Murray–Darling Basin audit function as a requirement set out in the Water Act 2007. That audit role was reaffirmed in amendments to National Water Commission Act in 2012, following the independent COAG Review of the Commission and our renewal by the Australian Government. Through our audit role we will provide independent oversight on the effectiveness of the Basin Plan’s implementation and associated Water Resource Plans. In this context, our audit goal is to contribute to more effective management of water resources in the Murray– Darling Basin. Under the Water Act, the first audit must be completed within five years of the commencement of the Act, and thereafter at not more than five-yearly intervals. The Commission’s first report was provided to Murray–Darling Basin water ministers and the Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) on 1 March 2013, within the legislated deadline. The report was tabled in the Australian Parliament on 25 March 2013. Given that the Basin Plan only commenced on 22 November 2012, there was insufficient activity to complete an actual audit of implementation by March 2013. Our first report therefore focuses on the preparedness of relevant governments (the Australian Government and Murray–Darling Basin state governments) to meet their Basin Plan obligations. The report flags the implementation priorities that Commissioners expect to see substantially progressed over the next two years, and signals our intent in conducting our future audit.

Overview of our findings The Commission recognises that implementation planning is still in its early stages. Ideally, such planning would have occurred concurrently with the development of the Basin Plan. Since that did not occur for the most part, the establishment of a clear implementation pathway is the next critical step. Until a pathway is in place, the Commission considers that there is a real risk to realising the benefits of all the efforts by governments and the community, and the many billions of dollars already invested to-date.

While the Basin Plan provides the overarching framework and guiding objectives for managing Basin water resources, many of the arrangements for implementation are yet to be agreed between parties. Resolving those agreements quickly and providing clarity about responsibilities is vital. It is also critical that governments are in a position as early as possible to describe the benefits of Basin Plan implementation and demonstrate the social, economic and environmental value of a basin-wide governance framework. Tangible evidence of progress will be vital in building trust in the plan’s ability to secure good outcomes for the Basin and its communities. The Commission’s report urges Basin governments to take action to honour the spirit of the NWI and their 2008 intergovernmental Agreement on Murray–Darling Basin Reform. This calls for strong leadership by governments and communities and sustained and significant commitment of resources. It calls for willingness to work together across multiple government levels. And it calls for strong partnerships with communities and with non-government organisations. Commissioners urge all parties not to look for reasons to abandon this challenging task, but rather to consider more closely the role for local solutions and local commitment in the delivery of outcomes. Taking a constructive approach will allow governments and affected communities to focus on the crucial process of adjustment to secure key environmental assets, a productive irrigation sector and confident communities. Significant investments by the Australian and State Governments have already established a substantial volume of recovered and held water that is now available for environmental use. To capitalise on those investments, governments must establish momentum and direction for Basin Plan implementation.

Priorities for implementation In addition to the Basin Plan milestones due over the next two years, the Commission has identified priorities on which we expect to see substantial progress in our first audit in early 2015. These are summarised below: • The intergovernmental Agreement on Murray–Darling Basin Reform must be finalised, giving water planners and managers the mandate they need to devote resources to implementation tasks. • A whole-of-Basin implementation strategy must be put in place, together with attendant agreements between the Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) and Basin states, as these are critical in setting out the cooperative and collaborative arrangements for implementing the Basin Plan.

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Feature Article • A constraints-management strategy should be in place by the end of 2013, with implementation actions well underway to overcome current limitations on the use of water recovered for the environment. • Environmental water management processes should have evolved, with annual basin state priorities developed that take account of the Basin-wide Environmental Watering Strategy. • All parties should have commenced monitoring, evaluation and reporting activity to support Basin Plan requirements.

improvement in water resource management at the whole-of-Basin and water management-area scales. In performing this important role, the Commission will continue to contribute to the vision committed to by Australian governments in NWI – to optimise the economic, social and environmental outcomes of Australia’s water use.

Beyond the Murray–Darling Basin

• Significant progress should have been achieved towards identifying and assessing adjustment proposals. Scheduled groundwater reviews should also be completed in readiness for consideration of sustainable diversion limits (SDL) adjustments in 2016.

Implementing the Basin Plan is a critical part of securing sustainable management of Australia’s water resources, but it is not the whole story. The Commission also provides authoritative public reporting on water reform progress through its other assessment and monitoring functions, including our annual performance reports for urban and rural water utilities, and our markets reports.

• The Northern Basin work program should be substantially completed, with community interests considered appropriately in its design and implementation, and joint working arrangements between the MDBA, the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, New South Wales and Queensland.

At the same time, we undertake broader advocacy and leadership activities to promote national reform objectives. In this capacity, the Commission will continue to work together with the Australian water sector and the Australian Water Association (AWA) to inform public debate, advance policy options and promote cooperative approaches to improved water resource management.

Looking to the future

The Commission recognises the strong leadership coming from the water industry and the research and development community. This is why the National Water Commission is committed to supporting industry and research alliances such as the Australian Water Research and Development Coalition; the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities, and the National Recycled Water Regulators Forum. It is also why we have helped broker improved water industry skills and capacity through the National Water Industry Skills Forum in November 2012, and continue to support the Water Industry Skills Taskforce.

Achieving sustainable water management is a long-haul game and success will depend on leadership from all basin governments and active involvement by basin communities to focus on the long-term public interest. When the Commission completes its first audit report due in 2015, we will expect to see demonstrable progress on these priorities and evidence that concerted efforts have locked in the hard-won gains embodied in this historic plan. In this context, the Commission endorses the MDBA’s recent approach to identifying priority implementation work required in 2013. Implementing the Basin Plan will involve a wide range of activities by different parties at different times and at different scales, from basin-wide to local catchment, valley or aquifer scales. It will, therefore, be important that governments, communities and non-government organisations actively integrate Basin Plan implementation actions with broader natural resource management activities. The National Water Commission’s independent audits in the basin will be an important element of the new Basin governance arrangements. Our aim is to improve public confidence, strengthen accountability and transparency, and promote continuous

Critically, through all our functions – audit, assessment and monitoring – the Commission will advocate the importance of defensible science and transparent information to support decision making by governments and communities, and to build public confidence in hard-won water reform outcomes. With our renewed mandate as the key federal agency within the federal framework of water governance, the Commission remains committed to providing Australia’s independent voice on national water issues. The Murray–Darling Basin Plan Implementation: Initial Report is available from the National Water Commission website at www.nwc. gov.au. WJ

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Karlene Maywald is the Chair of the National Water Commission. Ms Maywald was a Member of the South Australian Parliament from October 1997 to March 2010 and was appointed as a Cabinet Minister from July 2004 until March 2010. Her portfolio responsibilities included The River Murray, Water Security, Small Business, Regional Development, Consumer Affairs, Science and Information Economy, and assisting the Minister for Industry and Trade. She has a proven, long-standing track record in water management and is passionate about water reform in Australia. Together with her extensive ministerial appointments and portfolio experience in South Australia, Ms Maywald has served on numerous national ministerial councils including the Murray–Darling Basin Ministerial Council, the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council, the Primary Industries Ministerial Council and the Regional Development Ministerial Council. Ms Maywald has also served as a board member of the South Australian Water Corporation, together with related SA Water Board committees.

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Feature Article

The Murray–Darling Basin Plan: A Case Study The role of a knowledge institute in delivering underpinning science for decision-making By Dr Michele Akeroyd and Dr Tony Minns, The Goyder Institute for Water Research

The Goyder Institute for Water Research was established by the South Australian Government in 2010 in recognition of the need to have excellent science available to underpin policy and decision making. Since its inception, the Institute has commissioned a series of R&D activities aimed at improving the capacity of the South Australian Government to develop and deliver science-based policy solutions in water management. One of the key research areas has been the provision of scientific support in the development of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

The Need for a Knowledge Institute The severe water shortages and environmental degradation that occurred during the Millennium Drought focused the attention of the South Australian Government on the implementation of short-term solutions, while recognising that longer term management practices would need to change. This process highlighted the need for a dedicated science institute to provide capacity and to address gaps in knowledge confronting water managers and decision-makers in Government. The Goyder Institute for Water Research is a $50 million partnership between the South Australian Government through the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, CSIRO, Flinders University, the University of Adelaide, and the University of South Australia. The Institute brings together South Australia’s leading water research capabilities, in collaboration with CSIRO, into a single, comprehensive research program aimed at providing expert, independent scientific advice that informs policy and decisionmaking, identifies future threats to water security and assists in an integrated approach to water management. The outcome sought from the investment in the Goyder Institute is the incorporation of the best available science into policy and plans for the sustainable development

of the state’s water resources, thereby strengthening the state’s position as an international leader in water resource management. The goal is to provide the South Australian community with confidence that the best scientific minds are supporting water managers in resolving the state’s key water resource management issues.

Science to Underpin Decision Making The Goyder Institute Strategic Research Plan 2011–2015 details the long-term strategic outcomes for a research program that will help ensure the water resources of the state are sustainably managed for economic, social and environmental benefits. It links the high-level multidisciplinary R&D programs to several key policy documents that guide water resource management in South Australia. These policy and implementation documents and agreements include the Natural Resources Management Act 2004, the National Water Initiative Intergovernmental Agreement, Water for Good and the Water Act 2007 (Federal legislation), and the water allocation and natural resources management planning frameworks of the Natural Resources Management (NRM) Boards. The Research Program is cognisant of industry and community aspirations for state water resources management that is both transparent and provides certainty. Research investment is focused across four enduring research themes, including Climate Change, Environmental Water, Urban Water and Water for Industry. Within these themes priority areas of R&D investment have been identified in consultation with government stakeholders, end-users and the research community. Roadmaps have been developed that clearly link the R&D activities to policy outcomes for South Australia over the initial five-year time horizon of the Goyder Institute. More specifically, each roadmap explicitly identifies specific policy outcomes

related to a given roadmap topic. In this way it is possible to identify existing knowledge and other ongoing R&D activities, and prioritise the knowledge gaps and tools needed to fulfil the identified strategic policy outcomes. The Goyder Institute research focus on Murray-Darling issues is captured in the River Murray Roadmap within the Environmental Water Theme. This roadmap aims to deliver R&D outcomes that will provide robust science to underpin government water strategies. These include: • Support the delivery of a triple bottom line outcome in the context of changing climate and policy arrangements; • Assist the South Australian government with the effective implementation of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, in particular delivery of environmental water and achieving water quality targets; • Embrace a whole of system approach to understanding the ecology of aquatic ecosystems; • Provide leadership in environmental flow science and in the communication of the research outcomes to environmental managers and a wider public; • Facilitate an informed public and stakeholders on the environmental benefits and tradeoffs of water management options; • Provide tools to ensure that South Australia is making the best possible use of available water resources in the State. To achieve these outcomes, the River Murray Roadmap has articulated priority areas of research investment that address both the short-term, responsive needs of Government and the longerterm, foundational knowledge that will underpin future decision making and the implementation of new management regimes, such as the Basin Plan.

MAY 2013 water


Feature article

Photo: Claire Punter

The Review demonstrated that the water recovery scenarios of 3000, 3500 and 4000GL all provide benefits to South Australia through increased flow volumes in the lower River Murray. However, it found that only the 3500GL and 4000GL scenarios could provide potentially sufficient volumes on an annual basis to meet the South Australian Environmental Water Requirements. Even so, under these scenarios, sufficient water cannot always be provided at the right time, duration and magnitude needed by all floodplain ecosystems because of constraints on the storage and release of water in the system.

Upstream from the Goolwa Barrage during the height of the drought. Short-term Strategic Science to Support the Basin Plan In December 2012, the Murray-Darling Basin Plan was signed into law. The Goyder Institute was involved with the analyses of the consequences of the Basin Plan from the early stages of its development. In the first instance, the Institute undertook a Science Review of The Guide to the Proposed Basin Plan that was released in October 2010. Upon release of the Proposed Basin Plan in November 2011, the South Australian Government sought advice from the Institute on the likely ecological consequences for South Australia of the proposed Plan. The Goyder Institute assembled an Expert Panel to provide (largely qualitative) advice based on interim reports of the South Australian Government evaluation of the proposed water recovery scenario. In finalising the Basin Plan, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) undertook modelling of additional water recovery scenarios. The Government comparative analysis of these additional scenarios was peer reviewed by experts from the Goyder Institute. The independent role of the Goyder Institute in analysing and reviewing the Basin Plan documents released for consultation has evolved steadily over time, from undertaking the scientific assessments itself, to providing expertise to support the State Government assessments and then, finally, in a role as peer reviewer.

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Science Review of the Guide to the Basin Plan When the Guide to the Basin Plan was released in October 2010, the South Australian Government did not have the resources available to undertake a scientifically defensible review of the Guide within the time available. They commissioned a Science Review of the Guide to the Basin Plan through the Goyder Institute to determine whether the proposed sustainable diversion limits would meet the South Australian Government’s environmental water requirements and improve or maintain water quality consistent with the MurrayDarling Basin Authority targets, as well as to assess the socioeconomic implications of reductions in diversion limits to the major water users within South Australia. The Goyder Institute partner engaged to lead this review was CSIRO. The CSIRO scientific team worked closely with South Australian Government agency staff in order to ensure relevance of the research findings to state and national water policy. The analyses and associated tools applied also provided new insights into the development of uniform and transparent techniques and methodologies that could be used to help analyse environmental and socioeconomic aspects of the Plan by the South Australian Government. During this analysis a number of benefits and risks were identified and documented and provided a science input into the South Australian Government’s consideration of the relative merits of each water recovery scenario.

The Review also indicated that the MDBA salt load export target through the barrages of a minimum of two million tonnes/year on a 10-year rolling average is not met under any scenario (CSIRO, 2011). The 4000GL per year scenario would provide the best outcome in this respect. Overall the socioeconomic impacts for major water users in South Australia would be similar under the three Guide scenarios when considering costs to the irrigation sector, municipal and industrial water users, and avoidance of costs associated with extreme low flows (CSIRO, 2011). The Review also identified a number of areas where further work was required to improve future assessments of the draft Basin Plan, including the need to: • Quantify the environmental outcomes from partially meeting environmental water requirements; • Develop knowledge and management tools to optimise flow regimes for environmental and other outcomes; • Consider risks, threats and consequences, including likely impacts of climate change, on the water recovery scenarios; and • Refine the understanding of socioeconomic impacts of the Basin Plan. The Draft Basin Plan When the Draft Basin Plan was released for public consultation on 25 November 2011, the South Australian Government was itself in a position to be able to evaluate the consequences of the proposed water recovery scenario, but in the interests of sound governance and quality assurance, the Goyder Institute was sought to provide expert judgement about the adequacy of the methods used by the South Australian Government in their evaluation of the Draft Basin Plan water recovery scenario of 2750GL (Bloss et al., 2012; Heneker and Higham, 2012; Higham, 2012), and to provide advice about any perceived


Feature article

Looking down onto the River Murray at Renmark, South Australia. limitations in the Plan development and identify the ecological benefits, risks and opportunities of the proposed water recovery scenario. In response to the breadth of knowledge and the short timeframes required to undertake this evaluation, the Goyder Institute established an Expert Panel comprising experts in the areas of riverine, floodplain and estuarine ecology from its partner institutions of the University of Adelaide, SARDI and CSIRO. No modelling was undertaken by the Goyder Institute or any members of the Expert Panel in relation to its evaluation of the Draft Basin Plan. Overall, the Expert Panel found that there were important benefits identified under the Draft Basin Plan water recovery scenario of 2750GL, in particular increases in within-channel variations to stream flows that increased the flooding frequency and duration of low-elevation wetlands, and some improvement in the connectivity between the Lower Lakes and Coorong. However, for much of the medium to high elevations of the floodplains that require medium to high flows, the environmental water requirements were not met. In addition, the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth Ramsar site remained

at risk from low water levels and high salinities during dry periods. The MDBA salt export target of two million tonnes per year on a 10-year rolling average was not met and constriction of the Murray Mouth would still occur, which would likely require dredging to keep it open during extended droughts. In the MDBA’s own analysis of the floodplain, only 11 out of 18 of the MDBA environmental water requirements were achieved under this scenario (MDBA, 2012). The Expert Panel concluded that the ecological character of the South Australian environmental assets, as defined in current water management plans, were unlikely to be maintained under the Draft Basin Plan water recovery scenario of 2750GL and recommended that the following issues

should be taken into consideration in the finalisation of the Basin Plan: • Modelling of a wider range of possible water scenarios, including additional volumes of water for the environment and scenarios with relaxed operational and physical channel-capacity constraints; • Interventions to rehabilitate currently degraded assets to reduce the risk that the desired ecological character will continue to deteriorate prior to full compliance with Sustainable Diversion Limits; • Management of drought recovery of degraded assets following prolonged periods of low flows;

What’s In A Name? George Woodroffe Goyder (24 June 1826–2 November 1898) was a surveyor in South Australia during the latter half of the 19th century and was appointed Surveyor-General in 1861. George Goyder observed the difference in vegetation type as a result of rainfall gradients as he traversed the state. He used this to set a limit beyond which cropping would be unsustainable. His predictions were highly unpopular at the time, but he proved to be right. This line is now called ‘Goyder’s Line’ and was an early example in South Australia of science being used to inform policy.

MAY 2013 water


Feature article

Photo: Kane Aldridge (University



there were marked ecological improvements evident with 3200GL compared to the 2750GL scenario. For example, for floodplains along the River Murray, the recovery of 3200GL and relaxing constraints achieves 17 of 18 of the MDBA environmental water requirements, compared to just 11 of 18 achieved under the Draft Basin Plan 2750GL scenario (MDBA, 2012). It should be noted that under the new modelling Researchers in the field collecting valuable information regarding the ecological response regime, which includes return flows of wetlands to flows. from environmental watering, the • Articulation of Environmental Water 3200GL scenario is similar to the Requirements specific for the main 3500GL scenario presented in the Guide channel; and, to the Basin Plan with respect to the modelled annual average volumes at • Climate change impacts on the water the South Australian border. recovery scenarios. Following the outcomes of these Many of these issues had already been analyses, the Basin Plan was revised to identified in the previous Science Review include a water recovery scenario of 3200GL of the Guide to the Basin Plan. and a program to relax key constraints in water delivery was established. During 2012, as part of the finalisation process of the Basin Plan, the MDBA At every step of the way, the SA undertook additional analyses of some Government worked with the MDBA to supplementary water recovery scenarios, ensure that the best available science is including additional volumes of water being used to develop and refine the Basin and relaxing of some key constraints, Plan. The final Basin Plan has now been as recommended by the Goyder Institute underpinned by the outcomes of the Expert Panel (MDBA, 2012). Following South Australian science reviews and the modelling of additional water recovery analyses. It provides a starting point scenarios by the MDBA, a detailed to genuinely provide the best possible evaluation of the model outputs was outcomes for the River Murray. undertaken by South Australian Government The work by the Goyder Institute has scientists (Gibbs et al., 2012) and provided the South Australian Government peer-reviewed by the Goyder Institute. with the necessary confidence about The South Australian Government the quality of the assessments and the undertook further eco-hydrological science that was used to underpin policy analysis of the additional model scenarios development, to support the negotiations prepared by the MDBA for each of the South Australian environmental assets, being the floodplain, river channel and Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth. This analysis was undertaken at a finer scale analysis than the previous assessment, in both space and time, against the South Australian Government defined hydrological indicators to assist in the assessment of the ecological benefits of partially meeting South Australia’s environmental water requirements.

with the Federal Government for a better plan that delivers enough water for the health of the river and its floodplains. The implementation of the Plan also needs to be supported by the best available science, monitoring and modelling tools. Now the real work begins in preparing the Environmental Watering Plans to deliver water to achieve these outcomes and to address the remaining science gaps identified by the Science Review and Expert Panel. The Goyder Institute will continue to support the State Government where appropriate during this important implementation phase of the Plan. Longer Term R&D to Inform Implementation of the Basin Plan Between 2002 and 2009, the MurrayDarling Basin experienced one of the worst hydrological droughts on record – the Millennium Drought. This, combined with extensive river regulation, resulted in an extended period of unfavourable ecological conditions. The drought ended in 2010 when a sustained period of high rainfall occurred. This resulted in widespread flooding, providing hydrological connectivity along thousands of kilometres of the River Murray and returning hydraulic complexity to the weir pools of the lower River Murray. The significant inflows into the River Murray in 2010 after the worst drought in recorded history provided a unique opportunity for the Goyder Institute to invest in some key R&D activities to measure the ecological response and recovery of the system to these extreme events. The Institute took this opportunity to draw upon the significant expertise from within its partners, including

Both the South Australian Government and MDBA analyses demonstrated that

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Photo: Claire Punter

The Goyder Institute peer reviewers endorsed this new component to the assessment of environmental outcomes, finding that the more detailed analysis provided greater insight into the incremental effects of larger volumes of water and relaxed constraints for ecological outcomes. Pelican at the entrance to the Coorong National Park.


Feature Article CSIRO, The University of Adelaide, SARDI and Flinders University, to bring together a multi-disciplinary team in a truly collaborative approach. A set of projects was developed to examine the response of key ecological components of the river, floodplains and wetlands, including plants, trees and fish. Since the early investments that were a direct response to the opportunity to investigate ecological responses to a significant change in climatic conditions of moving from drought to flood, the Goyder Institute has kept true to the Roadmap process and has directed funding to longer-term strategic investments in R&D that deliver against specific state policy outcomes. The focus of these in the River Murray Roadmap has been directed to complex system understanding of issues related to the ecology and hydrology of floodplains and the river channel. In addition, building on the knowledge and expertise through the Murray-Darling Basin Plan process, there has been a need to support targeted policy projects to support implementation of the Basin Plan, in particular the Environmental Watering Plans.

Conclusion The Goyder Institute for Water Research has successfully implemented the translation of science into decision making at the sciencepolicy interface, setting an example of how to effectively engage governments and government agencies in identifying science needs and knowledge gaps, by bringing together leading experts to address these gaps with quality science, and ensuring that the science is relevant and directly applicable to policy makers. This interaction has strengthened the quality and abundance of science in decision-making in South Australia and increased the capacity and capability of the Government to respond to important water resource issues. The Murray-Darling Basin Plan process is an example of how such a knowledge institute can be effective and efficient in providing defensible science into policy considerations and decision making by governments. The return on investment from the State Government investment in the Goyder Institute has been significant. For example, the science outcomes from the Goyder Institute Basin Plan analysis has been fundamental in securing Federal funding of $1.77 billion to support recovery and management of the additional 450GL agreed to in the Basin Plan to meet South Australian Environmental Water requirements, and $265 million for the River Murray Improvement Program in partnership with the Water Industry Alliance.

The first phase of the Goyder Institute ends in June 2015. A proposed second phase will build on the strengths of this first round of strategic investment by the State Government and will continue to provide the much needed science for the sustainable management of South Australia’s diverse and challenging water resources. The outcomes of the review of the Guide to the Basin Plan were documented in a Synthesis Report that summarised the findings of each of four detailed technical reports providing the detailed methods and findings of the work undertaken. These documents informed the initial South Australian response and underpinned the next pieces of analysis undertaken by the South Australian Government and the Goyder Institute in the review and analysis of the Draft Basin Plan. These Reports are available on the Goyder Institute website (www.goyderinstitute.org). Further detailed information regarding all the Goyder Institute R&D projects, including Technical Reports and Fact Sheets, is also available on the website. WJ

References Bloss CM, Steggles T, Bald M & Heneker TM (2012): Hydro-ecological Analysis of the Proposed Basin Plan – South Australian Floodplain, DFW Technical Report 2012/11, Government of South Australia, through Department for Water, South Australia. CSIRO (2011): A Science Review of the Implications for South Australia of the Guide to the Proposed Basin Plan: Synthesis. Goyder Institute for Water Research Technical Report Series No. 11/1, Adelaide, South Australia. Gibbs MS, Higham JS, Bloss C, Bald M, Maxwell S, Steggles T, Montazeri M, Quin R & Souter N (2012): Science Review of MDBA Modelling of Relaxing Constraints for Basin Plan Scenarios, DEWNR Technical Note 2012/01, Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, Adelaide, South Australia. Heneker TM & Higham JS (2012): Review of the Basin Plan Water Recovery Scenarios for the Lower Lakes, South Australia: Hydrological and Ecological Consequences. Technical Report, SA Department for Environment and Natural Resources, Adelaide, South Australia. Higham J (2012): An Analysis of MDBA Modelling Outputs for the Draft Basin Plan: Hydrodynamic Modelling of the Coorong and Murray Mouth South Australian Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Adelaide, South Australia. Murray-Darling Basin Authority (2012): Hydrologic Modelling of the Relaxation of Operational Constraints in the Southern Connected System: Methods and Results, MDBA Publication No: 76/12, Murray-Darling Basin Authority, Canberra, ACT.

Related Goyder Institute Technical Reports Aldridge K, Lorenz Z, Oliver R, Brookes J (2012): Changes in Water Quality and Phytoplankton Communities in the Lower River Murray in Response to a Low Flow-High Flow Sequence. Goyder Institute for Water Research Technical Report Series No. 12/5. Adelaide, South Australia. Cheshire K, Ye Q, Wilson P & Bucater L (2012): From Drought to Flood: Annual Variation in Larval Fish Assemblages in a Heavily Regulated Lowland River. Goyder Institute for Water Research Technical Report Series No. 12/6. Adelaide, South Australia. Connor JD, Banerjee O, Kandulu J, Bark RH & King D (2011): Socioeconomic Implications of the Guide to the Proposed Basin Plan – Methods and Results Overview. Goyder Institute for Water Research Technical Report Series No. 11/3, Adelaide, South Australia. Connor J (ed.) (2011): A Compilation of Reports Informing a Socioeconomic Assessment of the Guide to the Proposed Basin Plan. Goyder Institute for Water Research Technical Report Series No. 11/4, Adelaide, South Australia. Holland KL, Turnadge CJ, Nicol JM, Gehrig SL & Strawbridge AD (2013): Floodplain Response and Recovery: Comparison Between Natural and Artificial Floods. Goyder Institute for Water Research Technical Report Series No. 13/4. Adelaide, South Australia. Lamontagne S, Aldridge KT, Holland KL, Jolly ID, Nicol J, Oliver RL, Paton DC, Walker KF, Wallace TA & Ye Q (2012): Expert Panel Assessment of the Likely Ecological Consequences in South Australia of the Proposed Murray-Darling Basin Plan. Goyder Institute for Water Research Technical Report Series No. 12/2, Adelaide, South Australia. Maltby E & Black D (2011): Synthesis Review of the Science Underpinning the Environmental Water Requirements of the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth. Goyder Institute for Water Research Technical Report Series No. 11/5, Adelaide, South Australia. Oliver R & Lorenz Z (2013): Floodplain Influences on Metabolic Activity in the South Australian Section of the Murray River During the 2010/11 Flood. Goyder Institute for Water Research Technical Report Series No. 13/1. Adelaide, South Australia. Pollino CA, Lester RE, Podger GM, Black D & Overton IC (2011): Analysis of South Australia’s Environmental Water and Water Quality Requirements and Their Delivery Under the Guide to the Proposed Basin Plan. Goyder Institute for Water Research Technical Report Series No. 11/2, Adelaide, South Australia.

MAY 2013 water


Feature article

TALES OF THE SOUTH PACIFIC Jim Keary, General Manager of Hunter Water Australia, discusses the benefits of twinning partnerships – or Water Operator Partnerships as they are also now known. Our meeting point was a wooden table in the Corner Store at Tea Gardens overlooking the Myall River, but on this rainy, windy day it was close enough to have the feel of the nearby South Pacific Ocean. Brendan Guiney and I had decided to meet to share our tales of our current twinning activities in the South Pacific and Brendan promised that this halfway meeting place had good coffee. Brendan is the leader of the Mid Coast Water teams that have started twinning activities this year with the Tongan Water Board and Samoa Water Authority, while I lead the Hunter Water teams that have been involved with twinning activities with Water PNG for a few years, a small exercise with the Nauru Utilities Commission last year, and have just started with the Water Authority of Fiji.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT? What is twinning? The Asian Development Bank now calls it Water Operator Partnerships – but in the Pacific they still call it twinning. The idea is to get a better resourced water utility (the expert) to support a water utility that needs assistance (the recipient). The Asian Development Bank pays the travel, accommodation and meal expenses of the trips. The expert utility donates the time of its employees for free. You work on a few projects together over an 18-month period and have a work program and budget. There is a fairly regular list of projects that are undertaken. In many Pacific Island nations, the non-revenue water is about 50 per cent of water produced, so that is a favourite topic to tackle. Asset management and water quality also rank as high priorities for improvement. There is a lack of technical capacity and knowledge of the suppliers of various types of services and products in most

Pacific utilities, and while it may not be your primary focus, you can contribute greatly to your partner’s performance through passing on technical advice and links to various suppliers. Twinning is about establishing good relationships that can extend beyond the end of the formal twinning period. It is about relationships, capability building and teaching people in the recipient organisation how to do things. From our perspective, it is about giving a hand to our neighbours in the South Pacific. Twinning may even be better described by what it is not. Twinning is not a talkfest on a tropical island; it’s not a free consultancy service; nor is it about getting money from the Asian Development Bank for capital projects, or imposing your expert solutions.

WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU? The coffee mugs had run dry by this time and after a top-up, Brendan and I got onto the harder question. What is in it for our team members and our organisations? For the individuals involved twinning does take up their time, but it is not a major single time commitment. Usually it involves a few weeks each year on a visit or two and some emails and followups each week or two. It is about promoting direct and ongoing contact with the people you are supporting, and this is rewarding. It is also about your soft skills development as there is another country and organisation to unravel and understand, and some of what goes on is guaranteed not to be obvious. It certainly makes you step out of your comfort zone, read the body language and understand their perspective and work your way around problems.

Alan Thornton from the Hunter Water Twinning Team discussing how the water flows in Suva, Fiji, with counterparts from the Water Authority of Fiji in April 2013.

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Feature Article For organisations, twinning need not be just about the soft skill development of a few individuals and some local press articles. You might be surprised by the number of people – from the very top to the latest newcomer on your staff – who can have some form of direct contact or small involvement. We at Hunter Water have found the training visits by WaterPNG and Water Authority of Fiji staff have created opportunities for many of our staff to have some direct contact and discussions about their way and our way of doing various tasks.

why not come along, meet some Pacific neighbours, demonstrate your singing and dancing skills and check out if twinning is right for your organisation. WJ

Also the challenges facing your twinning partner are usually mightier than yours. At least you have sewerage for your large urban areas and the electricity stays on most of the time. Their ability to cope with issues and keep smiling can act as a reality check on your organisation becoming too inward looking. Direct contact is a powerful wake-up call about the realities of the broader world. It might be a biased view, but Brendan and I consider that twinning in the Pacific is well suited to regional water utilities where there is the ability to know most people in the organisation. We both met our twinning partners at the annual conference of the Pacific Water and Wastes Association. There is nothing like getting a tap on the shoulder on the final day of the conference from a big former front rower from a Pacific nation saying “how about we twin”. The Ministry of Infrastructure and Planning of the Cook Islands is hosting the PWWA conference in October in Rareatonga, so

Twinning between the Water Authority of Fiji and Hunter Water makes regular use of videoconferencing for expert discussion and regular communication on joint activities. This photo, taken in the Board Room of WAF in Suva, shows a videoconference in which specialists from Hunter Water in Newcastle discuss dam safety and telemetry with senior managers and experts from WAF.

MidCoast Water’s Brendan Guiney and Wilf Alley embark on an inspection of Samoa’s water systems with John and Semi from Samoa Water Authority’s Rural Division.



Conference Report

NATIONAL WATER EDUCATION, EFFICIENCY AND SKILLS CONFERENCE The National Water Education, Efficiency and Skills Conference was held at Brighton Beach in Sydney on 5–7 March 2013 and offered a wide spectrum of presentations, workshops and networking opportunities. The 2013 National Water Education, Efficiency and Skills Conference got off to a flying start with cross-conference keynote speakers Jacob Tompkins and Anne Barker. Jacob Tompkins, Managing Director of WaterWise UK, gave a spirited cross-conference speech highlighting that water efficiency activities in Britain are almost entirely based on work carried out in Australia. Jacob continually mentioned Australia as a world leader in efficiency, and expressed his dismay at recent media coverage related to possible changes in the level of commitment to water efficiency programs. Jacob reinforced the need for water efficiency to continue as core business, especially in relation to the waterenergy nexus and the possible consequences of inefficient use in the future. He urged practitioners to continue the world-leading work in water and water-energy efficiency programs, and called for all organisations to continue to investigate, research and develop efficiency programs. He highlighted the need for industry to work together with regulators and Governments to appropriately value these programs and their overall costs and benefits to the community.

Anne Barker, Managing Director of City West Water, spoke about boosting customer value through increased productivity. Focusing on the key points to ‘innovate or perish’, ‘create better managers’, and ‘make better use of skills’. Anne used a range of research outcomes to reinforce the point that innovative businesses are twice as likely to report increased productivity compared with businesses that don’t innovate. Anne presented the Technical Officer Development Program, developed by City West Water. The four-year program focuses on the core business operations of City West Water, and offers the benefits of an accelerated cadetship, a training scheme, and an experience scheme, which is cost-neutral. It benefits Engineers, allowing them to concentrate on engineering work; the ‘older’ staff members are encouraged to pass on their knowledge and experience, increasing work satisfaction and their sense of value – and the cadets, who get the opportunity to rotate through various parts of the business. Combined, this improves staff morale and productivity, provides opportunity for innovation through knowledge sharing and cooperation, and a career path for technical officers.


Conference Report

National Water Education Conference The education conference featured keynote presenter Aasha Murthy, Executive Officer of the Australian Council for Educational Leaders, who gave apt advice about managing the challenges and opportunities that arise in times of VUCA, the military acronym for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. She suggested ‘unlearning’ preconceptions about what we can do and that letting go of unproductive connections is essential. Aasha stressed that now is the time to be agile in our thinking, as elaborated with the video gem of Bruce Lee reprising his ‘Be water, my friend’ movie line. Diana Cheong from the Public Utilities Board (PUB) in Singapore certainly demonstrated the agile thinking of the Singaporeans. In the 1960s and 1970s Singapore experienced a raft of major water issues: floods, pollutions, scarce water resources leading to water rationing, and public health problems. In response, Singapore has developed its ‘Four National Taps’, an integrated and innovative approach to ensuring the security of its water sources and reducing its dependence on piped water from Malaysia. The ‘Four National Taps’ are water from local catchments, imported water from Johor, desalinated water from the ocean, and recycled wastewater (NEWater). In addition to successfully marketing potable recycled water to its community, PUB decided to shift community perception of water and opened access to waterways. Since 2004, their public engagement programs have sought to build community ownership of their water resources. The Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters program actively involves communities and schools in local waterway health programs. They established learning trails along waterways where volunteers conduct a range of experiential activities with school students such as plant and animal identification and water quality testing. They also use digital and social media to engage students in place-based learning. The education conference included many other workshops and presentations of interest in the areas of community consultation and participation, utilising technology and changing behaviours, to name just a few.

National Water Skills Conference The skills conference began with a series of presentations around workforce planning and development. Grant Leslie, National Manager Programs and Policy at AWA, spoke about the professionalisation of the Australian water industry and the progress that has been made around the classification of standard occupation codes. This was complemented by presentations from Sophie Sigalis on City West Water’s Technical Officer Development Program, a means of addressing technical skills shortages, and a combined effort on capacity building in central NSW water utilities from Andrew Francis and Emma Pryor. The Training and Development, and Culture sessions in the afternoon provided insights on in-house programs for water efficiency audit training, green skills as an alternative enduring training model, capacity building in the NSW water industry through a state-wide network and cultural alignments in alliance contract procurement. The winner of best conference presentation, Mr Geoffrey Enever from Goulburn Murray Water, finished the day with his insights and experiences from the transition of staff skill requirements in modernised irrigation systems (see next issue of Water Journal for the full presentation). The Plenary session began with a presentation from Adam Shapley of Hays, who provided some insights on recruitment and introduced a number of useful suggestions for organisations around the internal and external identification of candidates. Following this the attendees launched into a facilitated speed networking session based on some of the concepts introduced by Adam to identify how the industry could best capitalise on these. Ann Ray from Australian Volunteers International spoke in the training and development session on the opportunities that exist for water professionals to provide valuable expertise in developing countries. Kathy Northcott from Veolia and Kate Vinot from the Nous Group outlined their experiences with implementing the Drinking Water Quality Operator Certification Scheme and insights on national skills trends and the water sector’s influence. Andrew Marty from SACS enlightened us on Counter Productive Workplace Behaviours and the predictability of poor employee behaviour through various diagnostic tools.

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Conference Report The final session, on workforce planning and development, looked at the work of Government Skills Australia and a snapshot of the Queensland Water Industry was provided by Michelle Hill from the Queensland Water Directorate. To conclude, a session was held to discuss how the industry can work together more effectively to improve its capacity and then the skills session merged with the education session to look at opportunities for collaboration between the networks.

National Water Efficiency Conference Presenters talked on analysis and modelling, regulations, metering, and the lessons learnt. They reflected on the course of the drought (the panic, the response, the rain, and the subsequent rapid drop-off in programs); the need to keep lessons learned and know-how within the industry for the next drought; and the efficiency/economics nexus. Key themes were on the water-energy nexus; the complexity of evaluating costs and benefits of programs; the importance of reporting on the efficacy of water efficiency; and examining use factors including appliances and user behaviours. The extensive benefits of water efficiency programs were widely recognised and may not be properly considered by economic regulators. The sector needs to further analyse program development and outcomes to demonstrate the holistic benefits to the community. The next steps identified are to ‘systemise’ programs through collaboration; examine and develop knowledge of benefit; and focus future programs on segments of water use to gain the maximum benefit. The keynotes were Josh Byrne, Environmental Scientist and well-known ABC TV’s Gardening Australia presenter and Glen Garner, Senior Management Consultant at IBM’s Energy and Utilities Industry Global Centre of Competency. Josh Byrne presented on the design and construction of two 10-star energy-efficient family homes, which aim to prove that resource-efficient homes can be built at comparable cost and timeframes to regular houses using conventional building materials and construction methods so they can be replicated by industry and the wider community. The project demonstrates a more sensitive approach to residential subdivision, maximising effective garden areas around the homes to provide natural shading, children’s play spaces and local food production – important to the health and lifestyle benefits that are rapidly disappearing from our suburbs.

Glen Garner gave an insight into where data capabilities are now, and where data used as information and for influencing behaviour may go in the near future. He highlighted the Dubuque Smart Water Pilot Study (see www.cityofdubuque.org), and the possibilities for in-home-display information rather than relying on people to access a portal. He also gave examples on how having data to form a better picture of the movement and use of water informs decisions on pumping, infrastructure, energy efficiency and a whole range of operational decisions. While acknowledging that technology won’t provide all the answers, there is a great deal still on offer in these segments and in the capability to influence day-to-day end-use of water.

Networking, Awards and Conference Dinner Holding the three conferences together allowed for extensive networking, with delegates mingling and crossing between streams. Taking networking one step further, the Speed Networking session allowed each participant to meet over 15 industry counterparts in just minutes through a fun and engaging exercise. The dinner was a great occasion to get together and further strengthen contacts made during the conference. In the presence of his proud family, Declan Fahey from Hellyer College was announced by Xylem sponsor, Gabe Vigna, as the winner of the Australian Stockholm Junior Water Prize, with Saymaa Selman and Lauren Booth deserving finalists. The Best Conference Presentation was awarded to Geoffrey Enever from Goulburn-Murray Water for his presentation on Skills Transformation For Operational Staff For Modernised Gravity Delivery Systems. Day 3 was packed with innovative and engaging workshops on leadership and influence, practical innovation, and key principles for engaging the community in decision-making. AWA would like to thank the conference Platinum Sponsor, IBM and the Dinner Sponsor, BMT BWM, as well as volunteers of the conference organising committees: Charles Lemckert, Griffith University; Fiona Hogarth, Power and Water Corporation; Jenifer Simpson, Sunshine Coast Environment Council; Liz Minor, Sydney Water; Mary Catus-Wood, Melbourne Water; Melissa Jomantas, GHD; Merryl Todd, Westernport Region Water Corporation; Michael Fiechtner, SEQ Water; Nicole Latham, Melbourne Water; Rod Williams, Gosford City Council; Julian Gray, Smart Approved WaterMark; Reid Butler, BMT WBM; Andrea Turner, Institute for Sustainable Futures; Steve Atkinson, Water Corporation; Des Horton, City West Water; and Anthony Coates, LGIS. It would have been impossible to put on an event of this calibre without their support.

water may 2013

technical features

Rural Water Issues From Blank Page To Public Policy

JD De Luca et al.


B Neal & R Brown


C Diamond


A Turner, J Fyfe, P Rickwood & S Mohr


CD Beal et al.


P Roberts


P Mukheibir et al.


JPS Sidhu et al.


R Yap et al.


How a new groundwater management framework in Victoria was developed to reflect community values

Water Resources Planning & Management Annual Water Security Outlooks In 40 Hours?

Obstacles, outcomes and lessons learnt

A Hydrological Approach To Allocating Regional Expenditures For Water Management

A study of three sectors of a regional economy in the US

Water Efficiency Are We There Yet?

The importance of evaluating efficiency programs

Mind Or Machine? Examining the drivers of residential water end-use efficiency

Understanding Residential Water Usage In Melbourne

Key findings and implications for future water use from an extensive research program

End-Use Demand Forecasting: Contemporary Insights

Data assumptions and findings across case studies in regional Victoria and the Lower Hunter

Stormwater Management This icon means the paper has been peer reviewed

Sewage Contamination In Stormwater

Application of Microbial Source Tracking Toolbox to identify sewage contamination in stormwater in Brisbane

Water Treatment Sticky Bubbles In Dissolved Air Flotation For More Robust Algae Separation

Is bubble surface modification an alternative to coagulation/flocculation pre-treatment for algae removal?




Container including pilot DAF plant with external floated, filtered and waste balance tanks and influent and waste lines.




Technical Features

FROM BLANK PAGE TO PUBLIC POLICY How a new groundwater management framework in Victoria was developed to reflect community values and recognise hydrogeological systems JD De Luca, M Butcher, CV McAuley

ABSTRACT Groundwater, that out-of-sight source of water beneath the ground, is critical to creating current and future social, environmental and economic values. Within Victoria, Australia, there is the potential for a drier climate in the future, with a need for secure water supplies to meet growing demands and needs. A holistic, adaptive groundwater management approach is pivotal to meeting these demands sustainably. Groundwater is an important part of Victoria’s water cycle, comprising up to 15% of the state’s total water entitlement and is most critically relied upon in drought periods. Management of the resource is overseen by the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (formerly the Department of Sustainability and Environment) (DSE) and implemented locally by Rural Water Corporations. In 2009, Victoria’s groundwater management framework incorporated 62 management units to cover approximately 24% of the state. This “demand-focused” model has been effective in delivering investment where issues requiring management are most likely. However, as knowledge of the resource and the potential uses of groundwater increased, circumstances arose where there were different rules for users who effectively tapped the same groundwater. Victoria’s challenge was to develop a framework that “made sense” to users of the resource and enabled management to adapt to changing knowledge, understanding and uses of all Victoria’s groundwater. The Secure Allocations, Future Entitlements (SAFE) project was funded by the Australian Government through the National Water Commission’s Raising National Water Standards Program. The objective was to progress the management of groundwater in Victoria and support the delivery of National Water Initiative objectives. The project was supported by the Victorian Government with a project team in DSE to oversee project delivery.


The project team realised that the existing framework and legacy of management had a political and social dimension. Lines on a map were not just lines on a map; they meant something to people. To achieve a successful outcome, an engagement approach was needed to develop the boundaries for the proposed framework. DSE designed an engagement program to be iterative and purposefully seek stakeholders’ input into the decision-making process. The first round of workshops asked participants what they considered should be the main principles for developing groundwater boundaries. Participants arrived at workshops expecting to be told what was going to happen, meaning all they could hope to do would be to react to an official espousing a proposal. Instead they were “shocked” and “surprised”; there was a blank page for how and where the boundaries of a new framework should be drawn. Participants were also asked what their current issues were on groundwater and its management to help form their opinions on what management boundaries could look like. Technical information provided support, including a hydrogeological GIS tool that engaged groundwater irrigators and local agency representatives in discovering which aquifers are found in their region. Participants had a range of knowledge and worked together to discuss issues and principles while increasing their knowledge of regional groundwater systems. The project team applied the suggested principles and developed three viable alternatives for the second round of workshops. Reflecting on the discussion of the options presented, participants were given the opportunity to refine the guiding principles. No option provided was a clear winner as participants saw merits and challenges in each. The final boundaries incorporated the refined principles and perceived advantages of all three proposals.

In six months over 1,000 people were contacted in regards to the project, with 350 people directly involved in person. Proactive engagement of stakeholders in the development of the initial principles through to final options resulted in outcomes with a high level of acceptance. Although this approach might not be the normal skill set for classically trained scientists and engineers, the project team found the process of developing the new framework and the interaction between local stakeholders, hydrogeologists and groundwater managers to be highly enjoyable and rewarding. An improved groundwater management framework that recognises hydrogeology and community values is now in place.

INTRODUCTION Groundwater is vital for securing water supplies to meet growing demand for irrigation, industry, drinking water and protecting environmental values into the future. Within Victoria, Australia, there is potential for a drier climate and increasing reliance on groundwater resources. In this context the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) undertook the Securing Allocation, Future Entitlement (SAFE) project to develop a new groundwater management framework in Victoria. Victoria’s management of groundwater comprised 62 management units covering 24% of Victoria’s surface area, including 85% of the licensed groundwater use (Figure 1). This delivered management investment to where it was most likely needed. However, as knowledge of groundwater resources increased, circumstances arose where there were different rules for users who effectively tapped the same groundwater. In fact, 15% of licensed groundwater use was effectively ’outside’ the management rules, with about 50% of these within five kilometres of existing groundwater management unit boundaries (Figure 2). A new management framework could incorporate all groundwater resources and licences.


Groundwater Management Units of Victoria


Lower Murray Water



Swan Hill

Water Supply Protection Areas

SA/VIC Border Zone

Groundwater Management Areas

Rural Water Authorities

Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water ! !







! Bendigo Goulburn-Murray Water

! !



Southern Rural Water


Melbourne !

! Geelong ! Portland





! Traralgon

! Warrnambool



Kilometers 240

Figure 1. Victorian groundwater management units (GMUs) in 2009.

Figure 2. Location map of unincorporated area bores and those in groundwater management units (GMUs) in January 2012. level of engagement to most appropriately engage each stakeholder group (Table 2).

Table 1. Determining the scope of consultation. Negotiables


How and where the boundaries are drawn

100% 3D coverage of the State

The classification of each area

Completion by March 2012

Boundaries at a local scale

Consistent approach at a broad scale

The management framework; high level objectives

No enforced recovery of entitlement volumes

The key requirement was to use current knowledge of hydrogeology to determine how to produce management boundaries to cover all groundwater in the state in a framework that “made sense” to groundwater users and managers alike.


An analysis of project objectives and stakeholders informed the initial communications and engagement plan. The consultation ‘negotiables’ and ‘non-negotiables’ were agreed with DSE management prior to commencing any activities (Table 1). This enabled the team to confidently ‘inform’ stakeholders on where they could contribute.

This led to developing the engagement processes with the stakeholders themselves in particular Victoria’s Rural Water Corporations (RWCs) as ‘collaborators’. An immediate result of engaging with the RWCs was realising each had different approaches to relating with customers. As a consequence, DSE developed a different approach with each RWC to reflect its particular customer base. Throughout the engagement process briefings or presentations would be provided to the ultimate decision makers, including the Minister for Water so they could track progress.


Successful delivery of the project meant A key innovation was to identify and A series of engagement workshops was held bringing together groundwater knowledge analyse stakeholders using an ‘influence’ across regional Victoria, including Bendigo, with stakeholder issues and concerns around and ‘interest’ analysis with an interpretation Stanley, Horsham, Sale, Warrnambool, its management. A strong consultation based on the IAP2 spectrum, to provide a Colac and Baxter. The first round occurred process was needed to underpin the conceptual framework to the engagement between June to August 2011, followed project outcomes and deliver stakeholder approach. This participatory analysis and by a second round between September confidence in the decisions made. The IAP2 research tool was used to clearly identify the to December 2011 with the same core core values provided the right principles to achieve Table 2. Level of engagement with stakeholders. this, as public participation: Level of engagement Stakeholders Description • Is based on the belief Water Corporations that those who are Collaboration meetings 1 Collaborate affected by a decision and work tasks DSE have a right to be Water users’ representatives (groundwater) involved in the decision2 Involve Engagement sessions making process; Other state agencies • Includes the promise that the public’s contribution will influence the decision; • Provides participants with the information they need to participate in a meaningful way.

Rural Water Corporation committees 3


Broader community Hydrogeology experts

Communication tools FAQs, newsletters, web, letters

Other states 4


State Government

Ministerial briefings

Federal Government

Project reporting




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Technical Features groups. A workshop for local government representatives was also held in Melbourne. A key learning from the first round was the effectiveness of the participatory format and the capacity to quickly focus on key issues where the stakeholders had the greatest influence. As a consequence, additional material was included and content was refined. The option of a third workshop was discussed in the second round. Participants said that if a third round was “reporting of the project outcomes” rather than consultation, it would not be a “good use of their time”. Participants preferred the project outcomes to be provided through a mail-out, with an offer of a face-to-face presentation if requested. The project team adopted this approach, reflecting the adaptive approach to the engagement process.

WHAT WE HEARD The first workshop established what participants believed to be issues regarding groundwater and its management (Figure 6). Participants developed a groundwater issues list. The team explained which ones were directly related or linked to the SAFE project and could be addressed, and which were outside the scope of this project. Where possible, the project team provided advice on who to contact to further discuss an issue that was not to be addressed as part of the engagement process. Notably the key issue identified was that the current boundaries did not appropriately cover 100% of groundwater resources, a key objective of the project. The most common issues included security of supply in wet and dry cycles, increased flexibility to buy and sell groundwater entitlement in connected systems, participants seeking to understand how the project would fit with existing management plans (understandable given the issues identification was the first agenda item) and participants wanting technical advice about the groundwater resources in their region. Remaining issues included competition between domestic and stock and commercial users, in addition to conflict with non-water resources users for coal seam gas and mining, a desire for a perpetual rather than a 15-year license, maintaining value of groundwater entitlements, long-term reliability, foreign ownership of water, how young farmers could access groundwater entitlement, stakeholder involvement, offshore extraction, the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, and protection of recharge areas.


45% 40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0%

Option 1

Option 2

Option 3

Other (3 alternatives)

Figure 3. Analysis of options in second round. In the second round participants were not asked about their current issues. However, some participants commented that if the item were revisited they would be more concerned about coal seam gas and the Murray-Darling Basin Plan than they had been in the first round.

KEY FEEDBACK ON HOW TO INTRODUCE THE NEW BOUNDARIES DSE listened to participant discussion to guide an approach to introducing new boundaries. Participants were mostly concerned the significant effort and involvement of local groundwater users in developing management plans and rules would be ‘replaced’ without consideration of the importance of local involvement in management. As a result the project team recommended that any changes to existing groundwater management plans or rules were to be made in consultation with the local users. The project team did recommend potential changes for consideration of the local committees when appropriate. Participants also cited the opportunities for more trading of groundwater within catchments and more equity, transparency and fairness in how management would be able to reflect where the resource is. These concepts were directly incorporated into cost benefit analysis and a project implementation plan that was developed in early 2012.

PRINCIPLES FOR DEVELOPING BOUNDARIES Participants highlighted what they considered the main principles for developing groundwater boundaries. Based on the initial principles, the project team developed three options for new

boundaries. These conceptual maps were presented in second round workshops. The maps were: Option 1 based on groundwater basins; Option 2 based on catchments separated into highlands and plains (surface water boundaries in the highlands and geology on the sedimentary plains); and Option 3 surface water catchments. The participants discussed how they could apply the initial principles to the boundary options. They identified opportunities and challenges, flagging the option they believed would provide the best balance against the principles. In several cases additional options were suggested. The majority of participants preferred Option 2 separating groundwater highlands and plains (Figure 3). Groundwater-surface water interaction in upper catchments was cited as a key consideration as to why it was preferred, with participants also commenting it reflected different geological characteristics on the plains. Many who preferred Option 1 cited the potential advantages of increased trading opportunities. Participants also reflected on how the scale of management boundaries can influence how a community is involved in resource planning. These participants were likely to select Option 2 or 3 as some groundwater basins were perceived as too big to have a say, whereas catchments were good for getting people together to discuss management of a shared resource. The discussion assisted DSE to identify what was important and how the boundary options could be improved. In reflecting on the discussion of the map options presented, the participants were given the opportunity to refine the guiding principles. The final agreed principles were:

1. Scale

These topics would guide what rural water corporations should consider in management of shared resources.

• Groundwater management should focus on connected bodies of groundwater; groundwater catchments;

Participants viewed the guidelines as an opportunity for consistency in management principles across the state. In reflecting how groundwater flows through geological formations, participants saw opportunity for transparent decision-making and improvements to reliability of quality and quantity of supply.

• Connected resources should be informed by the geological layers in which groundwater occurs; • Groundwater management boundaries should include where the water goes in (recharge) and where it comes out (demand from bores, rivers etc);

Participants recommended a clear and equitable risk-based approach to management of GDEs, including ‘groundtruthing’ locations. Key opportunities were that management should provide an opportunity for new and existing users to trade, within connected systems such as aquifers in groundwater catchments. The major needs of participants were that subzones within the framework capture local issues and the importance of local users and agencies in decision making. The importance of groundwater and surface water interaction, carryover informed by science, and provision for greater opportunities to trade were also suggested by participants for informing development of guidelines.

• The size of the new areas should not inhibit the involvement of local knowledge in planning and management. 2. Flexibility • DSE should look at larger areas, with RWCs and local stakeholder groups managing local issues; • Within the larger boundaries there should be flexibility to amend or create sub-areas to respond to changing knowledge of the resource or issues presented by new extraction technologies 3. Cost • Costs should match benefits. The final design principles, together with knowledge from second-round feedback, was used in collaboration with rural water corporations to produce final recommendations for boundaries.

FINAL BOUNDARIES DEVELOPMENT The final management boundaries comprised 20 groundwater catchments within five larger basins (Figure 4). Supporting technical documents included a direct response on how the final boundaries met the principles developed through the consultation. The implementation

KEY GUIDELINE TOPICS An informal ‘café-style’ session gave participant groups the opportunity to highlight key topics for the development of groundwater resource sharing guidelines.









Wimmera - Mallee

Legend Groundwater Basins for Reporting Purposes Groundwater Catchments Ground Management Area (GMA) Water Supply Protection Area (WSPA) Central Basin: Port Phillip, Westernport and Tarwin Basins


West Wimmera

Wimmera Mallee Basin (Murray Basin)


Goulburn Murray Basin (Murray Basin) Ovens

Gippsland Basin

Port Phillip


West Port Phillip Bay

Central Gippsland

East Port Phillip Bay

Hopkins - Corangamite

y ua rq To y wa Ot

The framework aligns with connected groundwater resources making it easier for future water planning and reporting. Boundaries recognise groundwater-surface water connections in bedrock highlands, facilitating the potential for conjunctive use. Reflective of participant involvement, it is based primarily on groundwater catchments, while identifying how these sit within broader groundwater basins. Within the new larger management boundaries, Rural Water Corporations will work with communities on how to manage local issues. The framework will be a positive driver for water trading where groundwater is connected, offering flow-on benefits for the regional economy, and is estimated to provide a net benefit in excess of $20 million to the Victorian economy during the next 15 years.

WHO WAS INVOLVED? In six months over 1,000 people were contacted in regard to the project, with 350 people directly involved in person; of these over 50% were groundwater users, originally identified as the primary stakeholder to consult and involve. The workshops provided an open, transparent format for all participants to have a say, combining groundwater users (both licence holders, stock and domestic) and a range of regional water agencies to contribute to the project.

Feedback sheets included a Likert scale for participants to grade the engagement workshops against ‘experience’ and ‘information’ (Tables 3 and 4).

Upper Murray

Goulburn - Broken

Otway - Torquay Basin

The new groundwater management framework enabled the state to transition from 24% of Victoria’s surface within a management boundary to 100% of the surface and capture all groundwater at depth, respecting the three-dimensional nature of where groundwater flows.




plan included a cost-benefit analysis incorporating key values derived from participant observations in the workshops. The final maps were agreed upon to maximise the benefits and minimise the challenges cited by the participants.


East Gippsland



(Central Basin)




Copyright © The State of Victoria, Department of Sustainability and Environment, 2012 This publication may be of assistance to you but the State of Victoria and its employee do not guarantee that the publication is without flaw of any kind or is wholly appropriate for your particular purposes and therefore disclaims all liability for any error, loss or other consequence which may arise from you relying on any information in this publication. If you would like to receive this publication in an accessible format, such as large print or black-and-white, please telephone 136 186, or through the National Relay Service (NRS) using a modem or textphone/teletypewriter (TTY) by dialing 1800 555 677, or email customer.service@dse.vic.gov.au Cartopgraphy by Groundwater and Licensing, April 2012

Figure 4. The new groundwater management framework, with groundwater catchments and basins in 2012.

Participant quote: “Good to see that government bodies are consulting with local users rather than imposing rule from on high.” – Colac participant Participant quote: “Appreciate the opportunity for discussing and being part of the decision making process.” – Baxter participant




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Table 3. Aggregate of responses across all first-round workshops by those completing feedback forms.

Nothing new











Highly informative







Table 4. Aggregate of responses across all second-round workshops by those completing feedback forms. 1





Nothing new





Highly informative







Participant quote: “A good opportunity to offer and hear others’ input on questions that are sometimes difficult to comprehend.” – Stanley participant Participant quote: “Groundwater management is a very complex and important job – the current management structures need to be improved to ensure sustainable water use. I think this initiative will help achieve this….” – Colac participant A Victorian Farmers Federation water committee member who received workshop notes after being unable to attend later commented: “I can see how the boundaries being proposed reflect the input from the Bendigo workshop”.

HOW WE GOT TO THE OUTCOME On reflection the team identified that, against the IAP2 core values and the AA1000 standard for engagement, there were many areas in which their work met currently accepted criteria for good engagement. In particular, the team felt the project outputs and lines on the map had been influenced for the better by hearing the views of stakeholders. The final product was significantly different to that anticipated before

engagement began. Critically, the project team felt it had initially underestimated the importance of previous involvement by stakeholders in earlier, more localised planning and the associated concern that this project would replace that work without accommodating “local knowledge”. The project team considered a measure of success was the considerable positive feedback about the improved relations between Government and community that was achieved through the process. The team reflected on how the activities and processes that contributed to the engagement process had enabled project delivery. The workshops brought together groundwater users with a variety of previous interactions with government. Given the dispersed nature of how participants intercept the resource it was good to be involved in iterative discussions in person on its management at a regional catchment scale. The team found good relationships were built that will be valuable to other areas of DSE’s work. Engagement was a knowledge building process; it helped communication and two-way learning. Workshops provided an opportunity for participants to talk among themselves and to take collective ownership of decisions and recommendations. Hearing from participants who have a practical understanding of groundwater in their region also provided valuable insights for the team to connect with hydrogeological knowledge. The project team learned a considerable amount in approaching the project with the intention of carrying out good engagement practice and the activities they carry out in future projects will be significantly improved.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The Authors acknowledge Simon Cowan, Nigel Binney, Craig Parker and their groundwater teams from Rural Water Corporations for collaboration with DSE on the project; Jon Bartley, Jillian McNamara, Debra Thomas, Eliza Wiltshire and Ben Hall for hydrogeological, data layer and information support; Daniel Leaver, Loung Tran and Milos Pelikan for mapping and GIS data support; Jennifer Fraser for championing the project and authorising bodies for having confidence to commence the journey of engagement and sign off on the outcome as a Victorian government initiative; Michelle McCue from the National Groundwater Action Program for Commonwealth funding support. We thank the people who contributed to developing this new groundwater framework, particularly those who directly participated by attending meetings, presentations or workshops, with more receiving workshop notes, phone calls or information. The project team appreciated the ideas, effort and creativity of the participants interested in the outcomes of groundwater management in Victoria.

THE AUTHORS Chris Mc Auley (email: Chris.McAuley@dse.vic.gov. au) is the Acting Director – Groundwater and Licensing Branch at DEPI. Chris managed the SAFE project as Principal Hydrogeologist and Manager of Resource Assessment and Planning. He is also Vice-President of the Australian branch of the International Association of Hydrogeologists. Julia De Luca (email: Julia. DeLuca@dse.vic.gov.au) is an Environmental Hydrogeologist at DEPI and is currently on secondment to EPA Victoria as a Senior Water Policy Officer. Julia managed engagement and communications for the SAFE project and developed the implementation plan for the groundwater management framework. Dr Martin Butcher (email: martinbutcher@me.com) is an engagement specialist with a passion for participatory development on environmental and government projects. He works at DEPI in addition to managing his engagement consultancy. Martin facilitated workshops, introduced IAP2 spectrum concepts and provided advice to support engagement delivery.


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ANNUAL WATER SECURITY OUTLOOKS IN 40 HOURS? Obstacles, outcomes and lessons learnt ABSTRACT Victorian urban water utilities are now required to prepare an ‘Annual Water Security Outlook’, or statement of anticipated water resources and drought response actions, in November each year. Many were unable to meet this deadline in 2012, the first year of publication for most. Having assisted two water utilities to prepare their Outlooks, we present lessons learnt and pose the question of how to achieve publication within November, ideally within a notional five-day (40-hour) turnaround period. We also examine how the Outlooks have been utilised by water utilities, the triggers for updating or removing Outlooks, and the extent to which this has occurred since last November.

INTRODUCTION The Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) issued updated guidelines in 2011 for all urban water utilities in Victoria to prepare a Water Supply Demand Strategy to balance supply and demand over a 50-year planning horizon. As part of these guidelines, there was a requirement to publish an Annual Water Security Outlook, which was defined as a document to “present forward-looking projections each year, on a scenario basis, to help identify and prioritise when particular actions need to be implemented to ensure water security” (DSE, 2011). The Outlook is to be prepared in November each year, with 2012 being the first year of publication. DSE (2011) advises that the Outlooks can also be updated throughout

the year. This paper considers the extent to which this publication deadline was met, some of the obstacles for water utilities in delivering the Outlooks, and triggers for updating or removing the Outlooks. All water supply systems are different and, hence, the type of information contained in the Outlook “will be different for different water supply systems” (DSE, 2011). This includes the Outlook period, which could range from a few months up to five years. This paper considers some of these differences in content, presentation and interpreted purpose of the Outlooks for those elements which are largely irrespective of the type of supply system.

PURPOSE OF THE OUTLOOK The primary purpose of the Outlook is to guide the water utilities’ water supply risk management decisions. The guidelines state that the Outlook “will improve local communities’” understanding of the likely risks to their water supply in forthcoming years and the actions being taken to manage those risks” (DSE, 2011). This could include implementing pre-defined drought response measures or bringing forward longer-term actions identified in the Water Supply Demand Strategy, as illustrated in Figure 1. Secondary purposes identified in the guidelines include informing each water utility’s Corporate Plan (published annually around April, with an emphasis on business planning activities over the next five years) and Water Plans (published every five years and containing a 10-year Outlook

Figure 1. Influence of Annual Water Security Outlook on long-term water strategy.

of expenditure, demand, revenue and price forecasts for the pricing regulator). The annual Outlook is to be accompanied by an associated list of priority actions.

TIMING OF PUBLICATION OF OUTLOOKS The Outlooks are required to be published in November each year. November represents the end of the winter-spring period, after which inflows to supply systems in Victoria typically reduce. Assuming that supply system forecasts are projected from 1 November, as was done by most water utilities in 2012, then ideally the Outlooks would be published as soon as possible after that date. Supply system conditions can change rapidly, so the longer the time between the start date of the forecast and the publication date, the less likely the forecasts are to remain valid. In this paper, the uthors ascertained the date of publication for each utility’s Outlooks. Some water utilities, such as Wannon Water (2012), clearly identified the date of publication on its Outlooks, while other utilities stated the date of publication on the website from which the Outlooks were accessed. For the remaining water utilities, the approximate date of publication was estimated based on html metadata, press releases and regular checks of each water utility’s websites. Figure 2 shows that last year, only 10 of Victoria’s 14 urban water utilities published annual water security Outlooks. This is based on an internet search of water utility websites at periodic intervals after 1 November 2012. The reasons for some water utilities not publishing an Annual Water Security Outlook are unknown and are not the focus of this article. The third column in Figure 2 illustrates that only six urban water utilities were able to meet the deadline set by the State Government to publish the Outlook in November (i.e. the Outlook is online on 1 December 2012). The reasons for this are explored further in the following text.



B Neal, R Brown


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downloaded in the field from data loggers from the hydrographic service provider (in this case Thiess). Often this schedule for downloading data loggers does not align with the end of October.


Figure 2. Percentage of Victorian urban water utilities undertaking water security outlook activities. Table 1. Data requirements and sources for the outlooks. Data requirement (where applicable)


Volume in storage on 31 October

Urban water utilities

Supply for year to 31 October (total and by individual source)

Urban water utilities

Legal entitlements to water

Urban water utilities

Streamflow conditions for year to 31 October

Hydrographic service provider

Groundwater level conditions for year to 31 October

Urban/Rural water utilities

Seasonal climate outlook

Bureau of Meteorology

Seasonal streamflow outlook

Bureau of Meteorology

Seasonal allocation outlook (for regulated river systems)

Rural water utilities

Water resource model

Water utilities/Department of Sustainability and Environment

The last two columns in Figure 2 show that all of the Outlooks that were published in late 2012 were still available online at the start of the following autumn. Only one water utility (Coliban Water, 2013) had updated all of its Outlooks after the initial publication to take into account changing supply system and climate forecast conditions. North East Water updated the Outlook for one of its supply systems (Bright) in January and March 2013.

INFORMATION REQUIREMENTS FOR THE OUTLOOKS Each supply system is different in nature, however there are a number of common elements required to prepare the annual water security Outlook. These are listed in Table 1. Not every Outlook requires all of this information. Streamflow conditions for the year to 31 October, for example, will only be relevant for run-of-river systems with minimal off-stream storage. Table 1 demonstrates that urban water utilities only hold a portion of the data required to complete the Outlooks and are, therefore, dependent on other agencies to meet State Government publication


deadlines. For time series data held internally by water utilities, the speed with which it can be used will depend on whether it is telemetered or needs to be read manually by operators. Seasonal climate Outlooks were published by the Bureau of Meteorology on 24 October 2012 and again on 21 November 2012. The date of publication of the Bureau’s streamflow Outlooks is currently the seventh day of each month. The availability of streamflow data depends on whether this data is telemetered directly to the water utility, or whether it needs to be specifically

A brief comparison was made of the Outlooks to assess whether they were being presented in a similar way, and whether any of the water utilities offered innovations that were not evident elsewhere. Surprisingly, there was relatively little similarity in content (Figure 3). No single piece of information of the 10 items considered was consistently presented in all Outlooks. For example, only half of the water utilities that published an Outlook stated the amount of water consumed in the year to date leading up to the forecast. Interestingly, Melbourne’s water security Outlook was one of the few that did not make a statement about the likelihood of water restrictions or the likelihood of needing water from the desalination plant over the forecast period, but rather simply stated that the supply system would remain in the “high zone” (Melbourne Water, 2012). The implicit assumption is that customers understand what this recently introduced concept means, but without actually explaining how being in this zone will affect them over the forecast period. In some instances this also affects other water utilities. Western Water’s Outlook for Woodend (Western Water, 2012), for example, stated that it will align water restrictions to Melbourne Water without providing information from Melbourne’s Outlook. This highlights a complication in preparing the Outlooks when two water utilities are dependent on the same supply system. The Bureau of Meteorology climate Outlook was one of the most commonly used pieces of external information, but

Figure 3. Comparison of water security outlook content across water utilities.


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One common difficulty encountered in the Outlooks was the mixing of shortterm projections of monthly demands and supply, with long-term projections of average annual demands and longterm yield. Specifying these two different pieces of information (i.e. short- and longterm) as part of a single forecast creates discontinuities in the plotted forecasts that are not readily explainable to the untrained eye. It is likely that they will lead to erroneous interpretation by the community that demand or supply will jump or drop sharply in the near future. In reality, this difference is merely due to climate variability evident in the recent historical data but not in the long-term averages presented in the forecast. It is recommended that Victorian water utilities undertake a more formal exercise, perhaps facilitated by either DSE or the Victorian Water Industry Association, to de-brief on the lessons learnt from each water utility’s perspective and areas for improvement.

MANAGEMENT PROCESSES FOR THE OUTLOOKS After preparation of the draft Outlooks, they must be reviewed internally by water utilities prior to publication. The State Government requirement (DSE, 2011) for all water utilities to prepare one dummy example water security Outlook in the previous year’s Water Supply Demand Strategy greatly assisted internal approval processes. It meant that the general form of the Outlooks was pre-approved and that only the content needed to be populated. Nevertheless the number of levels of approval required within each water utility will affect the speed with which the Outlooks can be published. Typically the publication will require the approval of the utility’s water resource manager and communications manager at a minimum, with some utilities also requiring approval from other senior executives or the Board. Melbourne Water and the three metropolitan retail water companies utilise an existing committee to gain approvals across their four organisations for their single Outlook.

It is anticipated that fewer internal approvals will be required in subsequent years now that the style and content of the Outlooks is known to all interested parties within the water utilities. This was confirmed by a representative of the team preparing the Outlook for Melbourne, who indicated that the approval process was streamlined in 2012 after having been one of the few utilities that prepared a similar Outlook in 2011 (I Johnson, South East Water pers. comm. 3/4/13). If approval by the Board or senior executives (other than the senior executive directly responsible for the Outlook) is required, this should be by exception and only where the content of the Outlooks could have serious implications for the water utility or its customers.

STREAMLINING THE PRODUCTION OF OUTLOOKS As the water security Outlooks require input data from the end of October, some details of the Outlooks cannot be filled out until after this date. However, by undertaking some preparatory work prior to this time, water utilities can streamline the activities required to generate their Outlooks. In particular, two key activities are suggested prior to the end of October each year, namely the timely collection of required streamflow data and the preparation of relevant water resource models. Under current arrangements, hydrographic service providers collate streamflow records over periods of weeks to months before making this data available to the State Government, water utilities and other users. When preparing annual water security Outlooks, this delay in data

availability may prevent the Outlooks being published in November. In the Authors’ experience in the development of Outlooks in 2012, the absence of streamflow data for 31 October created challenges for the forecasting of run-of-river systems. In these cases, assumptions had to be made regarding the flow conditions at the end of October. A preferable approach would be to make arrangements for one-off monitoring of relevant streamflow sites on 31 October. In Victoria, Thiess is responsible for monitoring most of the streamflow network across the State as part of a partnership arrangement with the State Government, water utilities and other stakeholders. Conversations initiated during the development of Outlooks in 2012 suggest that Thiess can adjust their field schedule for a particular site, subject to receiving sufficient prior warning, usually at least a few weeks. Alternatively, water utilities may have the internal resources to observe the flow on 31 October themselves where only a spot reading is required. Prior to October 2013, it is recommended that all water utilities prepare a list of streamflow monitoring sites required for use in the Outlooks so that the requirement to download, quality assure and release this data on or shortly after 1 November becomes part of the partnership agreement with Thiess. The same logic would apply to other externally provided datasets such as groundwater levels. Some systems require the use of water resource models to forecast water resource availability under possible future climate conditions. Water utilities should ensure that

Figure 4. Example forecast volume in storage presented in 2012 water security outlook.



the use of the Bureau’s streamflow forecasts was almost non-existent. This suggests that either the sites for the streamflow forecasts currently being published do not align with urban supply system inflows or water utilities are reluctant to use them. The lack of uptake of the Bureau’s streamflow forecasts warrants further investigation, particularly given the high level of effort exerted by the Bureau to develop these streamflow forecasts to date.


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Table 2. Timetable to achieve publication of outlooks within a notional 40-hour period. Date

Action - Confirm water resource modelling assumptions - Confirm that hydrographers (and any other relevant external data providers) will read data loggers on 31 October and pass on data as soon as possible thereafter - Schedule and notify internal water utility resources of upcoming requirement for input

Last week of October

- Incorporate Bureau of Meteorology Climate and Streamflow Forecasts into outlooks

31 October (Day 0)

- Water utility field staff or database managers to provide water utility data such as current volume in storage and year to date consumption

Day 1 (0–8 hrs)

- Quality assure water utility data

Day 2 (8–16 hrs)


- Receive data from external data providers - Run water resource models and compile outlooks

Day 3 (16–24 hrs)

- Compile outlooks

Day 4 (24–32 hrs)

- Don’t forget Melbourne Cup Day! (or your other business commitments)

Day 5 (32–40 hrs)

All of the Outlooks that had been published in November/December 2012 were still online as of March 2013. Only one water utility (Coliban Water, 2013) had since updated its Outlooks. While it is useful to have a historical record of the Outlooks in archive to enable members of the community to validate how successful the forecasts were, it is also important to ensure that they remain valid after their publication.

- Review outlooks and sign off for release - Provide copies to software engineer to upload onto utility website

relevant water resource models are set up for this application and ready to run as soon as start storage conditions are known. This includes confirming the modelling assumptions in September/October of each year for any changes in supply system configuration, restrictions triggers or demand profile. As part of the preparation of the Outlooks for two water utilities in 2012, SKM automated each utility’s water resource models (in this case using the in-built scripting language in REALM) to run multiple replicates of streamflow and climate sequences over the forecast period. This enabled representative wet, average, dry and driest on record outcomes to be reported at the touch of a button based on modelled maximum, 90th, 50th and 10th percentile storage drawdown behaviour

for each supply system. This automation significantly sped up the preparation of the Outlooks where it was undertaken. An example output is shown in Figure 4. Prior to preparing this paper, the Authors asked themselves how fast a water security Outlook could be published. Coliban Water has demonstrated it can regularly achieve production of the Outlooks within one month. The Bureau of Meteorology goes through a similar process and has standardised procedures to produce updated forecasts of weather in a matter of hours. In order to keep the Outlooks fresh and publish them within, say, five days of the start of the month, the timetable shown in Table 2 could apply. Where a water utility has numerous water supply systems, the production of

Chance of exceeding the median Rainfall December 2012 to February 2013

Water supply system conditions can change rapidly. For example, the Bureau of Meteorology’s seasonal climate Outlook for December–February, published on 21 November, forecast a 40–45% chance of exceeding median rainfall conditions across most of Victoria. This was similar to the climate Outlook published in October. However, actual rainfall in January was some 0–20% of the long-term average across most of the State (see Figure 5), and in early February Melbourne experienced its longest ever spell of days above 30°C. It turned out that the Bureau’s forecast for summer rainfall was about right by the end of February, but not before some nervousness that the State could be facing a looming drought.

Victorian Rainfall Percentages

Product of the National Climate Centre

January 2013

Product of the National Climate Centre

Percentage of Mean

80% 75%



















0% http://www.bom.gov.au © Commonwealth of Australia 2012, Australian Bureau of Meteorology

Issued: 08/11/2012

© Commonwealth of Australia 2013, Australian Bureau of Meteorology

ID code: AWAP

Figure 5. Comparison of seasonal rainfall outlook for Victoria in November and actual rainfall in January.


Issued: 25/03/2013








September/ October

the Outlooks can be staggered based on when information becomes available for each supply system, with some Outlooks being signed off for release to the public ahead of others. The quality of the Outlooks should, however, never be compromised to meet self-imposed deadlines, with more time being taken where necessary to ensure the accuracy of its contents. Water utilities that utilise the Bureau of Meteorology’s streamflow forecasts will need to wait until those forecasts come available on 7 November, but can undertake other tasks in Table 2 beforehand so that the Outlooks can be published as soon as possible after the seventh.


Technical Features

The Authors of this paper considered triggers for either removing or updating the Outlooks to take into account changing conditions. Monthly updating of the Outlooks has been achieved by Coliban Water to date; however, it is unclear whether all water utilities (particularly the smaller ones) would want to dedicate resources to this task. It is recommended, therefore, that the Outlooks need only be updated when the conclusions drawn from them (or could be drawn from them by the public) are likely to change. Stark differences between the Outlooks and the conditions that actually eventuate could serve to create confusion in the community and undermine confidence in a water utility. We suggest the following triggers for updating or removing the Outlooks: a.


If restrictions were likely to occur, but are no longer a possibility (due to unseasonal rain). In this case, the Outlooks can be replaced with a simple statement that restrictions are no longer forecast for the Outlook period; If supply availability deteriorates such that restrictions are likely to occur or supply contingency measures are needed, regardless of whether they were previously forecast to occur. It is important to keep the community

informed during droughts and the Outlooks are a useful communication tool to assist with this; or c.

If consumption is consistently above average, in which case a re-issue of the Outlooks can be used as a communication tool to encourage water conservation by showing the implications of that above average water use.

CURRENT STATE OF REGULATIONS The current regulatory status of the annual water security Outlooks is unclear due to recent changes in State Government policy. The former requirement to prepare a Water Supply Demand Strategy has been replaced in the Victorian water utility statement of obligations (Minister for Water, 2012) by the requirement to prepare an “Integrated Water Cycle Strategy” by 2017. Guidance on how these strategies should be prepared, particularly for non-metropolitan urban water utilities, has not yet been prepared. It is assumed for the purposes of this paper that an annual water security Outlook represents sound risk management for water utilities and will continue to be prepared.

CONCLUSION This paper outlined some of the lessons learned during the preparation of the first set of annual water security Outlooks for Victoria’s urban water utilities. It proposed a process for streamlining the preparation of the Outlooks that it is hoped will help all water utilities meet the end of November publication deadline in 2013. We also presented a brief comparison of content within the Outlooks across water utilities, which showed that of 10 elements considered, no single element was evident in all water utility Outlooks. Sharing of the

lessons learnt by water utilities in preparing the Outlooks for the first year in 2012 may help to ensure that more of these elements are universally adopted.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The Authors appreciate the assistance of Rob McKaige of South Gippsland Water, Alister Laidlaw of North East Water, Pat Russell of Central Highlands Water, Narendra Tuteja of the Bureau of Meteorology, Ian Johnson of South East Water and Bruce Rhodes of Melbourne Water in preparing this paper.

THE AUTHORS Brad Neal (email: BNeal@ globalskm.com) and Rachel Brown (email: RBrown@ globalskm.com) are both hydrologists at SKM. They are involved in a range water planning activities across Australia and assisted two Victorian water utilities with the preparation of their Annual Water Security Outlooks in 2012.


The sensitivity of the Outlooks to these changing climate conditions will depend on the extent to which they are buffered by available storage. In the Melbourne supply system, for example, the large storage capacity relative to inflows and demands means that the conclusions drawn from the Outlooks are much less sensitive to within-year changes in climate than a supply system with negligible storage relative to inflows and demands.

REFERENCES Coliban Water (2013): Coliban System (Northern) Water Summary. DSE (2011): Guidelines for the Development of a Water Supply Demand Strategy, August 2011. Melbourne Water (2012): Water Outlook for Melbourne. 1 December 2012. Minister for Water (2012): Water Industry Act 1994 Statement of Obligations, dated 16/9/2012. Wannon Water (2012): Glenthompson System Water Security Outlook – November 2012. Western Water (2012): Water Security Outlook for Woodend.

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| Commercial MAYDomestic 2013 WATER Agricultural | Industrial



Technical Features


ABSTRACT This study uses the shares of the hydrologic budgets of inter-connected and actively managed surficial water resources as the basis for allocating public expenditures among three sectors of a regional economy: agriculture, urban and natural systems. The algorithm developed provides a means to allocate expenditures associated with the operation of water management infrastructure and supporting programs throughout a watershed. The expenditures for each sector were contrasted with the taxes paid to support these operations. Significant disparities were found between the expenditures and taxes paid, affecting part of the price signal of water supplies.

INTRODUCTION With an average of more than 1,250mm of rainfall annually and large groundwater resources, Florida (US) is a water-rich state, but conflicts over water worsen and are exacerbated by the framework within which water is allocated. Historically, there has been enough water to meet the state’s diverse needs, including water to protect and restore natural systems, but there are insufficient economic incentives and signals to effect a sustainable allocation among competing demands. In reviewing conditions unique to Florida, Barnett (2007) stated that: “the price of water is based upon politics rather than economics”. In support of the premise, Barnett quoted staff of the (US) National Water Research Institute (“The underpricing of this resource [drinking water] has led to the under-valuing of water”) and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (“As long as those long-run issues are not folded into the current price of water, no one is going to understand the true value of the resource”).


To better frame the economics of water management in South Florida (the state’s most populous region) and to advance the basis for such signals regarding the economic value of water, the Author studied elements of the full costs of water management and supply, including various federal, state and regional subsidies that affect both the demand for and the allocation of water, as well as selected externalities of water use. The following analysis examines the funding of regional water management and how those funds are distributed to effect water supply for the region’s core economic sectors: agriculture and the nexus of urban interests – housing, trade, manufacturing and services. The Funding of Regional Water Management At the regional level in South Florida, the primary vehicle of water management is the low-head pumping and stage control of surface waters between various impoundments and hydrological units. Figure 1 describes the relative locations of these units, which include Lake Okeechobee, the Everglades Agricultural Area, and the three Water Conservation Areas. Everglades National Park and the “Lower East Coast” (including the Miami – Fort Lauderdale – West Palm Beach megalopolis) are downstream of these hydrological units. The pumps, along with gates, weirs, canals and levees, are owned, operated and maintained by the South Florida Water Management District. The District, a catchment authority of the State of Florida, has independent taxing authority and is comprised of 10 full counties and parts of six others. Regional water management, which includes the responsibilities of water supply, flood control, drainage, and restoration of natural systems, is funded primarily by property taxes (US taxes comparable to Strata or Council taxes).

Figure 1. General Map of South Florida. Such taxes comprise roughly 85% of the District’s annual budget. Remaining funds derive in large part from transfers of the state’s general revenue through various legislatively established programs; general revenues in turn are generated by a sales tax on most goods and services.

METHODS District budget documents do not examine revenues and expenditures through the lens of the costs and benefits to particular sectors of the economy, e.g., agriculture or urban homeowners. Consequently, to evaluate how the fiscal framework for water management in South Florida impacts water consumers it is necessary to isolate both the taxes paid and benefits obtained by each sector. Allocation of Taxes Paid Tax records were obtained for the most recent tax year (Fiscal Year 2011–2012) for all counties within the District. Florida Department of Revenue files do not provide data on the funds paid by individual private property owners to specific taxing


Technical Features

To resolve the distribution of property taxes in the six counties partitioned by the District boundary, a geographic information system (GIS) was employed to isolate all real property (to the lot level) within the District. For each of these counties, a shapefile of the District boundary was used to select only those lots wholly within the District from a shapefile of the county that was comprised of all lots of record. The property identification number (tax number) is among the attributes of the county lot shapefiles. The GIS was then used to export the list of tax numbers within the District. Within a merged database, the list of tax numbers was in turn used to select the corresponding lot tax records of the Department of Revenue file. As with the counties wholly within the District, the records for the selected lots were sorted by land use and the assessed value was tallied for the agricultural and generalised non-agricultural economic sectors. The total taxable value of the two sectors was then multiplied by the tax rates adopted by the District to obtain the property taxes paid by each sector. The share of the District’s operating budget supported by property taxes varies over time, with most of the balance of the budget deriving from the state’s general revenues. To estimate the shares of general revenues paid by each sector, the numbers of developed (non-vacant) residential lots were multiplied by the 2010 US Census average persons per household for each of the 16 counties, respectively. The difference between that value and the 2010 countywide population was attributed to the agricultural sector. Recognising that select communities (including some lands designated residential) are largely dependent on the proximal agricultural economy, these municipal populations were added to the agricultural share of the regional population (and deducted from the urban share). Assuming uniform household expenditures between the economic sectors (i.e., equivalent sales taxes paid per household),

the state general revenue component of the District’s annual budget was then allocated between the total populations of the two sectors. The property tax and general revenue components were then added to define the total contribution by each sector to the District’s operations budget. Allocation of Water Management Expenditures While GIS and the database of all property tax records could be used to determine which sector paid how much for the general services of water management, the determination of which sector benefits from specific allocations of District funds is problematic and requires a different methodology. This study advanced a strategy developed in earlier work of the economics of water supply and management in the region (Diamond, 1990). Given that water flows in South Florida are generally multi-purposed, the strategy calculates the shares of water manipulated by the District (via its pump stations and gates) as a proportion of the hydrological budget for each of the several major hydrological units (water management sub-basins) within the District. The unit hydrological budgets were taken from recent steady-state hydrological models of the District, based on roughly 30 years of rainfall and flow data. The flow data reflect numerous paths: active pumping, passive movement via canals, seepage beneath levees, rainfall, recharge and evapotranspiration. Flow data were entered into a spreadsheet that tallied the inflows and outflows for each hydrological unit, including flows between units. The assumption inherent in the approach used is that water management operations are blind to the ultimate distributions of water, and that specific shares of flows between hydrologic units can be tallied and compared to total annual movements. From the perspective of operating expenditures, each unit of water passing through infrastructure managed by a particular station is the same, requiring equal expenditures to manage. From the perspective of a downstream hydrological unit, its share of expenditures for operations occurring upstream varies depending upon the total or managed flows through those stations. The share of the hydrological budget represented by active management (i.e., excluding rainfall, estimated evapotranspiration, seepage and recharge) was applied to the operating and maintenance (O&M) budgets for the various field stations that operate pumps,

gates, etc. There are seven such stations, spanning the District’s headwaters north of Lake Okeechobee (the Kissimmee station) to its southern coastal discharges (the Homestead station in southern Miami-Dade County). Each station’s operating budget was allocated among the various surface outflows of each hydrologic unit for which it has responsibility. The methodology also examined the shares of each unit’s hydrological budget derived from upstream managed sources. Thus, the shares of O&M budgets can be “reverse-cascaded” from the most immediate field station to those remote stations that manage some proportion of the total flow entering any downstream unit. To correct an error in the original methodology, water allocated for natural systems restoration was factored out of the hydrological equation that quantified flows to the agricultural and urban sectors. Removing water allocated for natural systems remedied the earlier misallocation of expenditures that had attributed all non-urban expenditures to the agricultural sector. Two approaches were undertaken: (a) allocation based upon the entire water budget of each hydrological unit (“Total Flow”), and (b) allocation based upon only those components of the water budget that require active management (e.g., opening gates or pumping water), or “Managed Flow.”

RESULTS Taxes Paid In 1988, the total taxable value of agricultural lands in the District was about US$3.1 billion, comprising about 1.7% of the District’s total taxable value. In 2011, the taxable value of agricultural lands rose to about US$4.3 billion – an increase of about 38 per cent. However, during the same period the taxable value of non-agricultural lands increased from about US$183.4 billion to US$655.2 billion – an increase of more than 257 per cent. The taxable value of agricultural lands grew by US$1.2 billion over 23 years while the tax base of nonagricultural lands grew by US$471.8 billion, more than 393 times the value added in the agricultural sector. The rate of increase in the taxable value of agricultural lands declined from an average of about 6.6% per year during the 1980s to an average of about 1.6% per year during the last 23 years (a 76% decline). In contrast, the rate of increase in the taxable value in non-agricultural lands decreased from about 16.9% per year in the 1980s to



authorities such as the District. However, the records include codes for land use and various exemptions, including agriculture. For the 10 counties wholly within the boundaries of the District, all parcel (lot) records were sorted by land use, and subtotals of taxable value (assessed value, less all applicable exemptions) were defined for agricultural and non-agricultural lands. The taxable values reflect both land and improvements; publicly-owned and religious properties are not assessed.


Technical Features


about 11.2% in the following years (a 34% decline). The growth rate of taxable value for agricultural land is flatter than that for non-agricultural property.

Table 1. Per cent of Lower East Coast (LEC; Urban) water provided by upstream hydrological units. Total Flows

Managed Flows

Despite being the dominant land use in terms of acreage, agricultural properties comprised about 1.68% of the total taxable value of the district in 1988, but by 2011 these lands represented only 0.65% of the tax base, a 61% decrease in the economic impact of the taxable value of agricultural land.


Per cent of Source Unit Budget

Per cent of LEC Budget

Per cent of Source Unit Budget

Per cent of LEC Budget





















Expenditures Allocated Table 1 describes the shares of the water budgets for hydrological units proceeding northward (upgradient) from the Lower East Coast (LEC). Water budgets were tabulated based upon the shares of total and managed flows from the perspective of the source unit (Source Unit Budget) and the ultimate receiving unit (LEC Budget).

Note: WCA (Water Conservation Areas); EAA (Everglades Agricultural Area); LOK (Lake Okeechobee);

Table 2 represents the results of multiplying the shares of flows by the costs for the various field offices responsible for each respective hydrologic unit. Flows and corresponding District expenditures to the Everglades National Park (ENP) are isolated in this analysis; flows to the Lower East Coast are those identified as Urban and the balances are labeled as Agricultural.

DISCUSSION The “total flow” and “managed flow” approaches provide upper and lower bounds for urban and agricultural shares of the operation of the major components of the District’s water management infrastructure. Three of the four alternatives are similar; the range of expenditures for urban purposes is within 10% (US$16.28 million to US$17.87 million). The anomaly (shaded in Table 2) occurs when the analysis is restricted to managed flows focused on Everglades National Park. The assignment of US$21.8 million in expenditures to the Park in the managed flow, source unit-based alternative derives from the significant volumes delivered to the Water Conservation Areas first as Everglades Agricultural Area drainage and then to the Park as flood control discharges and environmental water supply.

KRB (Kissimmee River Basin)

Including this alternative yields an average of US$9.08 million in expenditures for the Park, US$15.21 million for largely urban purposes, and US$31.61 million for agriculture, a difference of US$16.4 million per year between the latter two. Excluding this alternative yields an average of US$4.84 million in expenditures for the Park, US$17.18 million for urban purposes, and US$33.88 million for agriculture, a difference of US$16.7 million per year between the latter two. The more conservative estimate of US$16.4 million per year is used in subsequent analysis. The ratio of averaged expenditures for the agricultural sector to those for the urban sector is 2.08. The property tax component of the District budget in recent years (including the US housing bubble and bust) has averaged US$457.3 million per year. The share of the District’s tax base that has agricultural exemptions has dropped to 0.65 per cent. Agriculture now contributes only about US$2.97 million per year towards the entire District budget but receives a return on that investment of at least US$31.6 million in field station expenditures alone. The difference, approximately US$28.63 million, is then a subsidy from the non-agricultural sectors of the economy. While water management functions between economic sectors are linked, the above estimate is based solely upon where water goes and how it gets there, and double-counting (by function) is therefore avoided. Only if the agricultural sector were taxed at a rate that generated the

additional US$28.63 million per year would that subsidy be offset. If one were to isolate the agricultural sector’s share of property tax for field stations, its share (at 0.65% in 2012) would be just US$363,400 and its “return on investment” would be 87 to 1. The return on investment for the non-agricultural sectors would be 0.27 (i.e., a loss). In summary, the District expends between US$24.8 million and US$35.5 million annually for the operation and maintenance of water management infrastructure to benefit agriculture. The most likely value is US$31.6 million per year. Based on its current share of property tax revenues, the agricultural sector pays less than US$3.0 million per year for all services provided by the District, i.e., operations and maintenance, as well as scientific support, regulation and permitting, etc. Therefore, the annual base subsidy from the nonagricultural sectors for O&M is approximately US$28.6 million. Any allocation of expenditures for other District activities to benefit the agricultural sector is then a net addition to the annual base subsidy.

CONCLUSION The economy and ecological integrity of South Florida depend on intensive management of surface waters and continued availability of high quality potable and general water supplies. The landscape and hydrology of the region (which includes the greater Everglades ecosystem, Lake Okeechobee, the highly urbanised coasts, and the interior Everglades Agricultural Area) are linked by significant public

Table 2. Summary of District Expenditures for field stations and related operations (US$ millions). Alternative Total Flow

Managed Flow

ENP Allocation

Urban Allocation

Agricultural Allocation

Agricultural to Urban Ratio










Source Unit-Based





Source Unit-Based













Technical Features

Conversely, the allocation of expenditures for water management has favoured the agricultural sector. Accounting for management effort to provide water for ecological restoration, the most likely allocation of expenditures for agriculture exceeds that for urban supply by a factor of nearly 2.1. The funding of water management in South Florida is borne disproportionately by the non-agricultural sectors of the economy and these provide a subsidy worth at least US$28.6 million per year to the agricultural sector. While the study focused on the funding and expenditures for basic water control operations, water management affects water supply, flood control and environmental

value. The described subsidy embedded in the regional funding structure (property taxes) therefore affects the economic signal for the value of water in general and the value of water to specific economic sectors and the consumers of the services of water management.

THE AUTHOR Craig Diamond (email: cdiamond@ balmoralgroup.us) is Regional Manager, Economics, with The Balmoral Group, 113 S Monroe Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32301 US. The Balmoral Group also has a presence in Australia: The Balmoral Group AU, Suite 302, 5 Hunter Street, Sydney, NSW 2000.

REFERENCES Barnett C (2007): Mirage: Florida and the Vanishing Water of the Eastern US University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, MI, US. Bovet E (1975): Economic Concepts and Techniques Pertaining to Water Supply, Water Allocation, and Water Quality. IWR Paper 75-P5, US Army Corps of Engineer Institute for Water Resources, Fort Belvoir, Virginia, US. Diamond C (2012): An Update of “An Analysis of Subsidies and Externalities Affecting Water Use in South Florida”. Florida State University Institute of Government, Tallahassee, Florida, US.

Diamond C (1990): “An Analysis of Subsidies and Externalities Affecting Water Use in South Florida”. Florida Atlantic University – Florida International University Joint Center for Environmental and Urban Problems, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US. Diamond C & S Trevarthen (1986): A Study of Federal Subsidies that Affect the Everglades. Florida Atlantic University/Florida International University Joint Center for Environmental and Urban Problems, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US. Dixon J & M Hufschmidt, eds (1986): Economic Valuation Techniques for the Environment. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. James L & R Lee (1971): Economics of Water Resources Planning. McGraw-Hill, New York, US. Lynne G, Moerlins J & Milliman J (1984): “Water Economics and Finance,” in Fernald E and Patton D, eds. Water Resources Atlas of Florida. Institute of Science and Public Affairs, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, US. Sheikh P & Carter N (2005): Everglades Restoration: The Federal Role in Funding, RS22048, Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, Washington DC, US. South Florida Water Management District (2012): 2012 South Florida Environmental Report. West Palm Beach, Florida, US. South Florida Water Management District (2011): FY2012 Adopted Budget, Activity Line Item Report. West Palm Beach, Florida, US.



infrastructure (canals, levees, gates and pumps). The funding for the operation and maintenance of this public infrastructure is achieved largely via property taxes. Despite the dominance of agricultural acreage (more than 4.2 million acres) in the region, the just and assessed values of agricultural property are suppressed via taxation policy and practice. Agriculture’s share of the region’s taxable value (and its share of water management operating funds) continues to decline over time.


Technical Features

ARE WE THERE YET? The importance of evaluating efficiency programs A Turner, J Fyfe, P Rickwood, S Mohr



In recent years there has been a drive to include water efficiency in the portfolio of options used to provide water services around Australia and significant investment in major water efficiency programs. Despite this there is surprisingly little information on evaluating what savings are actually being achieved and the associated cost effectiveness. For over a decade the Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) has worked closely with many water service providers across Australia on water planning and management, including developing evaluation methods and conducting some of the few program evaluations. This paper identifies the key techniques used and summarises programs, savings results and lessons learnt of typical programs implemented. Learning what can be done to further improve savings, maximise broader benefits, reduce costs and, ultimately, increase their cost effectiveness is essential if water efficiency programs are to remain on the agenda.

INTRODUCTION Over the last decade millions of dollars have been allocated to major water efficiency programs across the country. Much of the impetus behind this has been associated with prolonged droughts, diminishing dam levels and the realisation that a portfolio approach spanning water supply, reuse, source substitution and efficiency is needed to facilitate a more adaptive response to future water provision. Over this period ISF has been fortunate to work with many water service providers across the country on planning, designing, costing and evaluating implemented water efficiency programs using the principles of integrated resource planning (IRP), an internationally recognised best practice approach to water planning and management (Turner et al., 2010). A key component of IRP is evaluation – that is, have we achieved what we planned to achieve?


For efficiency programs evaluation mainly includes assessment of: • Participation rates – have desired numbers been achieved and in the targeted segments? • Customer satisfaction – are customers happy with the devices and service they received? • Costs – have costs (e.g. fixtures, labour, management etc.) been as planned? • Water savings – have estimated savings been achieved?

• Basic before–after tests; • Various participant–control means comparison methods; and • Regression analyses (e.g. time-series, covariate, cross-sectional, panel data). When using each of these methods, it is critical to consider various potential limiting factors, such as (Fyfe et al., 2011a): • Data available (e.g. bulk water, customer meter readings, intervention records, climate, demographic, end-use or behaviour surveys);

This combination of factors helps determine the cost effectiveness ($/kL) of the implemented program and its contribution to filling a supply-demand gap or efficiency target. Knowing this enables programs to be assessed against other options to determine if they need to be modified or replaced with a more cost-effective solution.

• Quality of data, time step (e.g. 3-, 4- or 6-monthly meter reads), periods available before and after the intervention, and data processing limitations (e.g. participant identifiers to link multiple databases);

Linked to this is how the programs are being implemented and how costs and benefits are being shared, which has implications on participation rates, customer satisfaction, costs and savings. For example, a program with face-to-face advice, generous rebate incentives and extended hours of assistance will have a markedly different participation rate and cost to a program that provides limited information on how to save water and no financial assistance.

• Time, resources, skills and expertise to do the analysis; and

To provide focus, this paper deals with water savings associated with residential programs. It identifies some of the main techniques used to evaluate typical programs, summarises the savings found in studies conducted by ISF, and draws on results of other limited comparative publicly available studies. It also highlights learnings from the evaluation techniques used and how the programs have been implemented that may provide insight into the diversity of savings achieved and their potential cost effectiveness.

TECHNIQUES Several methods may be used to evaluate the water savings of residential efficiency programs, such as (Fyfe et al., 2011a):

• Sample(s) size;

• Complicating factors (e.g. price changes, restrictions, parallel programs) making it more difficult to isolate the effects of the specific program of interest. The details of these methods, data needs, examples of their use and pitfalls, limitations and potential solutions are covered in resource materials developed for the National Water Commission and the Water Services Association of Australia (Fyfe et al., 2011a). Due to the combination of factors identified above and testing and comparing of methods, ISF has predominantly employed a before-after participant-control means comparison method – that is, the matched pairs means comparison (MPMC) described in Fyfe et al. (2011a). This method has been refined over the years with more powerful computer processing capability, the use of additional statistical tests and experience gained from dealing with a wide range of datasets and types of programs. When data and circumstances permit, various sophisticated yet data-hungry regression techniques have also been used.


Technical Features In the ‘after’ period, the difference can be attributed to the program based on the premise that other factors such as restrictions are implicitly controlled in the pair-matching process. Note the data just before and after month 0 is removed, because the binned monthly data used for analysis typically relies on three-monthly meter readings and thus will incorporate consumption from both before and after the intervention. To be able to keep this data a special meter reading at the time of the intervention is needed. This is highly recommended for programs that involve visiting the house where small sample sizes or a restricted post-implementation period is anticipated.

Figure 1. Difference between participants and selected controls in the before and after periods. MATCHED PAIRS MEANS COMPARISON

• A utility wishes to undertake an evaluation of a program during or after program completion; • The only data available to evaluate the program is billing data, with only perhaps one or two additional pieces of information about each household (e.g. postcode, dwelling structure); and • No experimentally designed control group was identified prior to the trial. The basic data requirements of the method are:

Figure 1 illustrates aggregate participant consumption (blue) compared with control consumption (red) before and after the start of the program. The ‘control’ group is constructed by MPMC. Note the x-axis is relative where month 0 is when each household joined the program. This is needed because participants sign up at different times. We can see in the ‘before’ period the difference in consumption between the participant and control pairs is indistinguishable.

The participant sample size needs to be of a reasonable size before savings figures and confidence intervals stabilise. The sample size needed for analysis is dependent on, for example, the size of the non-participant pool from which matched controls are drawn, the magnitude of savings and the time interval between customer meter reads. Generally, the larger the non-participant pool relative to the participant sample, the better the matching outcomes. A participant sample of more than 800 is needed to detect savings of around 5%. This can decrease to 250 if savings are sufficiently large (e.g. 8%), but ideally, should be >1000.

• The collection of customer water meter readings for both participants of the program and a large pool of nonparticipants for (preferably) a two-year period prior and one-year period after the customer intervention date; • Program commencement and intervention dates for individual participants; and • Program details overall and for individual participants. In our experience, this is the most common situation that water service providers find themselves in when evaluating programs. It is very rare for a statistically valid control group to have been identified pre-trial. MPMC essentially ‘constructs’ a control group after the fact by matching individual participants with non-participant households that have similar consumption

Figure 2. Savings based on the MPMC method.



The MPMC method is designed specifically for the following situation:

prior to participation in the program. Thus a control set is created that has similar usage characteristics and responds to external factors in a similar manner to the participants.

The MPMC can also discern seasonality, which is likely to be present in rainwater tank and garden programs, as well as potential decay in savings over time. In this example, the program saved an average 70.5 ± 9.9 L/ household/day, with no distinct seasonal pattern but a hint of savings decay, as shown in Figure 2.




A range of residential efficiency programs has been implemented across Australia over the last decade, with locations such as Western Australia having run programs over many years and South-East Queensland demonstrating the speed with which efficiency programs can be deployed in times of drought. The most common forms of programs implemented include: residential retrofits of showers, taps and toilet weights; DIY kits; showerhead exchanges; toilet retrofits; washing machine rebates and rainwater tank rebates. Sydney Water Corporation (SWC) has been at the forefront of water efficiency program design and implementation in Australia, with many areas having taken SWC style programs and adapted them to their own regions. SWC has also been at the forefront of evaluating and reporting on the savings of their programs. Examples of their programs and key points of difference with programs from other jurisdictions, which have publicly available savings figures or provided permission to release them in this paper, follow. Table 1 summarises the savings from these typical programs from various jurisdictions together with other details such as sample size. Home retrofits • The SWC WaterFix program (1999–2011) involved a qualified plumber visiting a participant household and installing where necessary a water-efficient 3-star showerhead, tap flow regulators, singleflush toilet flush arrestor and checking and repairing of minor leaks. The service (valued at $180 including fittings and labour) was free for low-income households holding specific cards and $22 for all other customers (additional showerheads $22, premium fittings $66 each). • The ACT Government WaterSmart Homes residential indoor tune-up was similar, but charged $30 for the visit and $22 for an additional showerhead. • The Hunter Water (HW) Home Retrofit program was also similar but offered both standard 9L/min and premium 7.5L/min showerheads for free and $40 respectively. Another point of difference is that the program was designed to be cost-neutral to HW. Hence a referral fee was set up where HW charged the successful tendered plumbing contractor for households visited and devices installed to recoup the HW cost of administering and marketing the program. DIY kits • The SWC program (2004–2011) was developed as an alternative to the full


WaterFix service, for householders who might prefer to fit efficient devices themselves to improve the efficiency of showers and taps. The kits, which cost $10, were provided for free. Showerhead exchanges • Yarra Valley Water, South East Water and City West Water have run this ongoing program since 2006 (YVW ~150,000, SEW ~200,000 and CWW ~100,000 participants as at mid2012). Residential customers exchange their old, inefficient showerheads for free 3-star models by showing their latest water bill at approved collection points (i.e. water retailer offices, Council locations, and Australia Post and Bunnings Warehouse outlets). • The Hunter Water (HW) showerhead exchange customers exchange inefficient showerheads for ≥ 3-star devices (basic 9L/ min for free, premium 7.5L/min for $40). The showerheads are distributed via exchange days, typically Saturday mornings, in venues owned by Council partners. Washing machine rebates • SWC customers (pilot plus 2006–2010) were offered a $150 rebate for purchasing a water-efficient machine. Initial rebates were for 4-star rated machines. The program was later modified to include minimum 4.5-star and then, in January 2010, 5-star machines. Analysis of savings from the pilot program, for houses buying, the then, 4A frontloading machines, informed the choice of machines included in the full rebate program (Kidson et al., 2006). Toilet retrofits • The SWC program (2008–2011) involved a qualified plumber visiting a participant household and replacing an existing singleflush toilet with a new 4-star dual-flush toilet (choice of three types). Prices started from $330 and customers could pay in a single payment or over four water bills. • The ACT program, similar to SWC, currently offers a $100 rebate towards replacing single-flush toilets with 4.5/3L dual-flush toilets (choice of four types) – up to two rebates per household, with pensioners eligible for one free toilet upgrade. In 2011 replacement of specific older dual-flush toilets was also permitted. • The HW program aimed to replace one single-flush toilet with one 4-star 4.5/3L toilet per participating household. The successful tendered plumbing contractor offered households a choice of four efficient toilets ranging from $108 to $481 per toilet after the $200 NSW Home Savers dual-flush toilet rebate. Similar to their home retrofit program HW adopted a cost-

neutral implementation model where the contractor was charged a referral fee to cover HW administrative and marketing costs. Rainwater tanks • From 1997 to 2004 a rainwater tank program was run in the ACT by ACTEW AGL and from 2004 to present, by the ACT government. Rebates for indoor connections and smaller tanks (2,000–3,999L) commenced in 2004. From mid-2006 all tanks had to have an indoor connection and households with an existing tank could apply for an indoor connection rebate. Rebates were adjusted between 2004 and 2007. 2011 rebates were 2,000–3,999L ($750), 4,000–8,999L ($900), >9,000L ($1,000) and indoor connections ($600). • Many similar tank rebate programs have been offered across the country with varying rules and associated rebates.

LEARNINGS Evaluation of implemented efficiency programs can provide major insights into how to improve the techniques used for evaluation (i.e. MPMC) as well as the programs themselves. TECHNIQUES Having worked with multiple data sets over the years, ISF has learnt, developed and refined analytical techniques along the way. This is an ongoing process of improvement and interpretation, especially as water (and energy) usage become more complicated in terms of end-uses and historical influence on demand. MPMC, the most commonly applied technique, is a pragmatic approach, which works with the data available and limited knowledge about individual households. As new technology such as smart meters becomes mainstream, new (mainly computational) techniques will need to be developed to evaluate efficiency programs. Such metering will allow quicker feedback on whether programs are achieving savings. The current delay in feedback time between initial implementation and when savings can be measured remains a major dilemma. Organisations such as SWC, which have been pioneers in large-scale efficiency programs, have been able to conduct evaluations at an early stage, for example, the washing-machine pilot program (Kidson et al., 2006), which enabled them to modify the program (i.e. stipulating a minimum efficiency rating) to maximise savings in the full program. However, the timing of when such programs can be analysed is limited by sample size and the pre- and post-customer meter readings available.


Technical Features As previously indicated, the sample needs to be of a reasonable size before savings figures and confidence intervals stabilise. For example, generally: the larger the saving being detected, the smaller the sample size needed; the more non-participants available the better the match and the more readily the intervention signal detected; and the shorter the time interval between customer meter reads (i.e. 3- rather than 4- or 6-monthly reads) the less smoothing, more

signal noise and actual data points available for detection. Gold Coast Water (GCW) is an example of where early detection of savings was attempted for a variety of different programs (Turner et al., 2007), but due to sample sizes and types of programs (i.e. garden products with a wide variation in usage and savings and also involve seasonality) demonstrated the difficulty of analysing too early (i.e. many savings results were inconclusive because

they were not statistically significant – NSS). The recent evaluation of the HW Home Retrofit program also represents a situation where savings were NSS. Due to the delay associated with the meter read cycle, postimplementation consumption data were not available for many of the more recent participants. In these cases, evaluation can be re-run after additional customer meter readings have been collected. In some situations the sample size may

Table 1. Summary of savings from MPMC. Program participants

Savings for single residential households (kL/hh/a)

Sample size


Sydney (>1.5 million hh)

1999–2011 >485,000

20.9 +/- 2.5


Turner et al., 2005

Canberra (>145,000 hh)

2004–2006 7,260

25.8 +/- 3.6


Fyfe et al., 2011b

Hunter (~200,000 hh)

2010–2012 >2,000



Turner et al., 2012


2004–2011 >211,623

6.9 (6.7)*


Reidy and Simard, 2007


2010–ongoing 2,127



Turner et al., 2012

2006–ongoing >450,000

8.5 to 12.4


Fyfe et al., 2009a, b, c


12.4 +/- 3.4


Turner et al., 2012


2006–2010 186,634

23.2 +/- 5.1 (18)*


Kidson et al., 2006

Gold Coast (~200,000 hh)


17.5 +/- 9.9 (front loaders)


Snelling et al., 2006; Turner et al., 2007

2008–2011 22,000

23.9 +/- 2.7


Tillman, 2012

Region Home retrofits

DIY kits

Melbourne (>1.4 million hh) Hunter Washing machine rebates

Toilet retrofits Sydney Canberra


31.2 +/- 3.3


Fyfe et al., 2011b

2010/11 1,773

20.6 +/- 4.0


Turner et al., 2012




Snelling et al., 2006 Turner et al., 2007

1997–2012 2,809

16.7 +/- 6.0 (combined sample including mix of indoor, outdoor and tank sizes) 27 +/- 13.9 (indoor plumbed) 20.8 +/- 12.8 (>9,000 L tanks) Other subsets NSS


Fyfe et al., 2011b


20.8 +/- 18.9 (>2,000L tanks) 20.4 +/- 17.6 (combined sample)

Hunter Gold Coast Rainwater tank rebates


Gold Coast

349 390

Snelling et al., 2006; Turner et al., 2007

hh – household NSS – not statistically significant * - figure reported in SWC 2011



Showerhead exchanges


Technical Features never be large enough to analyse in detail, for example, in smaller towns where a sample size of 1,000 might represent 10% or more of the households in the town and such houses are affected by multiple programs. In such situations only overall program savings may be feasible, not individual program analysis.


This is where taking an efficiency program, demonstrated to achieve savings (i.e. the SWC WaterFix) and adapting it to another area can work well, but care needs to be taken in understanding what was actually done in the original program. For example, typically reported savings will be applicable to single residential households because multi-residential households are generally not individually metered and, thus, their savings cannot be measured. Hence, when transferring a program from one jurisdiction to another adjustment of anticipated savings will need to be made for the proportion of multi-residential households targeted. Again, wherever possible actual evaluations should be undertaken to check the savings are actually being achieved. PROGRAMS In Melbourne the retailers appear to have implemented a very cost-effective showerhead exchange program on over 450,000 households. Interestingly, despite being from the same region the savings between the three retailers range between 8.5 and 12.4kL/household/annum (kL/hh/a) for single residential households. This range in savings is due to multiple factors, such as lower savings where occupancy was lower and where lower quality showerheads were offered and potentially have not functioned well or been removed after installation (Fyfe et al., 2009a, 2009b, 2009c). Varying water pressure may also have been a factor. In the HW showerhead exchange program a saving of 12.4kL/hh/a was recently observed for single residential households. This program is likely to have achieved the top end of savings because both basic 9L/min and premium 7.5L/min showerheads were offered, with the 7.5L/min devices potentially assisting to achieve the higher savings levels. Conversely the program evaluation also revealed that a proportion of exchanged showerheads were already efficient, thereby reducing apparent savings (Turner et al., 2012). The savings of toilet programs in Canberra, Sydney and the Hunter region were 31.2, 23.9 and 20.6kL/hh/a, respectively. The lower savings achieved in the Hunter region are likely to be associated with the program being taken up by lower occupancy households (Turner et al., 2012). Such examples demonstrate the value in collecting additional data on demographic


details, efficiency of existing fixtures/fittings and where new fixtures/fittings are located (e.g. a second bathroom used less often) for the purpose of diagnosing the performance of the program in achieving water savings. Understanding the target participants of a program and those that actually take up the program can also be crucial when trying to maximise savings. For example, while potentially inequitable, targeting areas with larger families and less efficient devices can significantly assist in raising savings achieved (i.e. more savings per showerhead, toilet and washing machine changed) – although, of course, it is sometimes difficult to know such details without relatively expensive market segmentation investigations, unless the programs are aimed at low-income families that may be identified in utility databases. During program implementation other situations may become apparent that may reduce the level of savings achieved. For example, in the Hunter region several competing programs were being run in parallel, which impacted on the uptake of the HW programs (i.e. third-party showerhead giveaways/exchanges and toilet retrofit programs offered by home improvement retailers). Another more unusual situation, which is likely to impact the savings achieved by the HW Home Retrofit program, is that as many as a quarter of the retrofits were audits only and did not involve the installation of new efficient fixtures and fittings. This is because landlords have been responding to recent tenancy law changes that enable them to charge tenants for water use if showers and taps are demonstrated to be at least 3-star and have thus used the program to validate this (Turner et al., 2012). Other programs that potentially need further scrutiny in terms of estimated versus actual savings being achieved are those associated with rainwater tanks. Many of these programs have changed over time, but early assessment of programs that did not require connection to indoor end-uses to optimise savings appear to have delivered lower than anticipated savings. For example, GCW savings of 20.4kL/hh/a were observed for combined results of various tank sizes and indoor and outdoor end-uses, considerably lower than the pre-program estimate of 33kL/hh/a (Turner et al., 2007). In the ACT, savings from tanks connected only to outdoor taps were 16.7kL/hh/a, compared with 27.0kL/hh/a for tanks plumbed to the toilet and laundry (Fyfe et al., 2011b). The ACT government showed foresight in providing incentives for customers to actively connect existing rainwater tanks to indoor

end-uses to assist in boosting the savings potential of rainwater tank infrastructure already in place, a relatively low-cost way of driving up savings from such devices. A recent literature review conducted by ISF found limited data on rainwater tank functionality and what information is available is of some concern. There is strong potential for impaired yields due to issues such as pumps not being switched on, poor pump sizing, lack of gutter guards, first-flush mechanism failure and restricted roof area being connected to the tanks (unpublished). Hence, new programs providing rebates to assist householders connect tanks to indoor plumbing and to check/maintain existing tanks and associated energy usage of pumping systems (Retamal et al., 2009) could be highly beneficial both in terms of water and energy efficiency. Variations in program savings can significantly affect their cost effectiveness, and while savings evaluations are known to be limited subsequent cost effectiveness evaluations using measured savings are rare. Despite this major gap in knowledge many jurisdictions are now moving towards a more cost recovery-focused implementation business model, where smaller incentives are provided by the government and/or water service provider and the householder is expected to pay more towards achieving required savings. This model is likely to result in lower program participation unless other householder benefits can be reliably and clearly articulated. Evaluation of the actual energy savings being achieved from fitting of water-efficient devices is very limited and rarely released publicly. The ACT WaterSmart Homes residential indoor tune-up is one of the few programs that have been able to incorporate assessment of energy savings (predominantly associated with showerheads) because ACTEW manages both water and electricity. Savings of 358 +/- 73kWh/hh/a (off peak tariff) and 449 +/120kWh/hh/a (general or continuous tariff) were observed (Fyfe et al., 2011b). The off peak tariff is likely to provide a clean but conservative picture of hot water savings because it isolates the hot water system during the off peak window and conversely the continuous tariff may provide a slight over estimate. The energy savings for the ACT are therefore likely to be somewhere between the two and exhibit moderate to strong seasonality. Theoretical savings for the ACT were estimated to be around 460kWh/hh/a. Such assessment of the “real� broader benefits being achieved (i.e. saving of


Technical Features electricity and associated bills on the customer’s side) is essential if we are to realistically identify the broader benefits of efficiency and “sell” this message to customers.

of Household Rainwater Systems. Report prepared for CSIRO by the Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS, Sydney. Riedy C & Simard S (2007): WaterFix and DIY Retrofits – Evaluation of Water


and Energy Savings. Report prepared for Sydney Water Corporation and

Despite millions of dollars having been spent on efficiency programs in the last decade, very few programs have been evaluated for the water savings achieved, fewer for their cost effectiveness and fewer still for the associated energy benefits. Some of these analyses may be taking place and a few water service providers and program managers are embedding evaluation in their management practices, but very few publicly release this information or reflect on how they might improve such programs to maximise savings and minimise costs.

EnergyAustralia by the Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS, Sydney.

This sharing of knowledge on how efficiency programs have been implemented, what the savings have been, why they may be higher or lower than anticipated, is vital. Learning what can be done to further improve savings, maximise broader benefits, reduce costs and ultimately increase their cost effectiveness is essential if water efficiency programs are to remain on the agenda.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ISF wishes to acknowledge the various organisations that have funded the research behind this paper and permitted the publication of savings evaluation results. ISF also wishes to acknowledge the many ISF staff that have contributed to this research over the years.

of the Water Demand Management Program. Report prepared for Gold Coast Water and the Queensland EPA by the Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS, Sydney. SWC (2011): Water Efficiency Report 2010–11, Sydney Water Corporation, Parramatta. Tillman P (2012): Water Savings from Residential Toilet Replacement Program. Ozwater’12, 8–10 May 2012, Sydney. Turner AJ, White S, Beatty K & Gregory A (2005): Results of the Largest Residential Demand Management Program in Australia, Water Science and Technology: Water Supply, Vol 5, No 3–4, pp 249–256. Turner AJ, White S, Kazaglis A & Simard S (2007): Have We Achieved the Savings? The Importance of Evaluations When Implementing Demand Management. Water Science and Technology, Vol 7, No 5–6, pp 203–210. Turner A, Willets J, Fane S, Giurco D, Chong J, Kazaglis A & White S (2010): Guide to Demand Management and Integrated Resource Planning, prepared by the Institute for Sustainable Futures, for the National Water Commission and the Water Services Association of Australia. Turner A, Boyle T, Mohr S, Fyfe J & Bruck J (2012): Quantitative Evaluation of Residential and School Efficiency Programs, prepared by the Institute for Sustainable Futures for the Hunter Water Corporation.

Andrea Turner (email: andrea.turner@uts.edu.au) is a Research Director, Peter Rickwood (email: peter.rickwood@uts.edu.au) is a Research Principal and Julian Fyfe (email: Julian.fyfe@uts.edu.au) and Steve Mohr (email: steve.mohr@uts.edu.au) are Senior Research Consultants, all at the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney (UTS). The team have significant modelling and analytical skills dealing with demand forecasting and options analysis in urban water planning and analysis and evaluation of water and energy savings of residential and non-residential programs using diverse data sets from standard customer billing to smart meter and customer survey data.

REFERENCES Fyfe J, May D, Glassmire J, McEwan T & Plant R (2009a): Evaluation of Water Savings from the City West Water Showerhead Exchange Program, City West Water Ltd, Sydney (similar reports for (b) South East Water and (c) Yarra Valley Water). Fyfe J, May D & Turner A (2011a): Techniques for Estimating Water Saved Through Demand Management and Restrictions, in Fane et al., 2011. Integrated Resource Planning for Urban Water-Resource Papers, Waterlines resource papers prepared for the National Water Commission, Canberra, by the Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS, Sydney. Fyfe J, Mohr S, May D & Rickwood P (2011b): Statistical Evaluation of Water, Electricity and Greenhouse Gas Savings from the Think Water, Act Water Residential Efficiency Programs report prepared for the ACT Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate by the Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS, Sydney. Kidson R, Spaninks F & Wang Y (2006): Evaluation of Water Saving Options: Examples from Sydney Water‘s Demand Management Programs, Water Efficiency 2006, 13 October, Ballarat. Retamal ML, Glassmire J, Abeysuriya KR, Turner AJ & White S (2009): The Water-Energy Nexus: Investigation into the Energy Implications

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




Snelling C, Simard S, Turner A, White S (2006): Gold Coast Water Evaluation


Technical Features

MIND OR MACHINE? Examining the drivers of residential water end-use efficiency CD Beal, RA Stewart, J Gardner, KS Fielding, A Spinks, R McCrea



Essentially, there are two overarching demand management strategies employed to achieve efficient water consumption in the residential sector. These are: targeting water use behaviour change (“mind”) and promoting the use of water-efficient technologies (“machine”). Using detailed water end-use data and qualitative methods, this paper describes the role that each of these strategies has played over the last few years, using data from 250 residential properties located in the south-east corner of Queensland. The role of water-efficient technology (e.g. low-flow shower heads, 4-star-rated clothes-washers) in reducing potable demand will be compared with the importance of attitudes and behaviours to water conservation. Results indicate that how we value water (psycho-social variables) and interact with water-efficient fixtures is at least as important in reducing water consumption in the home as the quality and quantity of water-efficient stock. The paper concludes with some suggestions on how such study outcomes can be relevant to future demand management approaches.

INTRODUCTION In 2009, South-East Queensland (SEQ) emerged from a severe and prolonged drought, which had prompted a number of strategies to conserve and/or augment dwindling water supplies. This involved integrated urban water management strategies from both the demand and supply perspectives. More broadly, many

government authorities in Australia have imposed water restrictions and water saving measures to manage demand and ensure the conscious use of water across the residential, commercial and industrial sectors. Smart metering and resultant water end-use dataset are useful demand management tools that are gaining momentum, in Australia and elsewhere, for underpinning proactive and targeted demand management (Beal et al., 2013; Roberts et al., 2012) (Figure 1). Using such an approach, the nature and drivers of residential water end-use was investigated over a three-year period by two aligned and major projects: the South East Queensland Residential End-Use Study (Beal and Stewart, 2011) and the Behavioural Interventions Study (Fielding et al., 2012). Both projects were funded through the Urban Water Security Research Alliance – a Queensland Government-led research collaboration (UWSRA, 2012). Some major aims of these studies were to: • Calculate both the household and per capita water consumption of each participating household for key water enduse categories (i.e. shower, clothes-washer, tap, toilet, dishwasher, outdoor, bath, leak); • Undertake a comparative analysis of water end-uses between different household demographic categories within the study regions; • Assess the influence of household appliance/fixture efficiency on water end-use consumption;

Figure 1. An example of how end-use data can be applied in the water sector.


• Identify psycho-social drivers of household water consumption; • Evaluate different behavioural approaches to reduce household water demand; and • Investigate the effectiveness of a range of intervention techniques on household demand. Results from the baseline end-use analysis were presented in this journal in late 2010 (Beal et al., 2010). This paper presents an update of this work and broad summary of the key outcomes of the SEQREUS, together with highlights from the Behavioural Intervention Study with an emphasis on the water savings reductions achieved from technical and behavioural perspectives.

METHODS South East Queensland Residential End-Use Study The SEQREUS was located in the southeastern corner of Queensland, Australia. A total of 252 households participated in this study, with a varying range of household occupancies, family composition and household income categories, which are described in Beal and Stewart (2011) and summarised in Table 1. The SEQREUS used a mixed method, advanced water end-use measurement approach to capture and analyse water use data (Figure 2). Smart meters (Actaris) measured flow to a resolution of 72 Table 1. Selected characteristics of households in the SEQREUS sample. Sample Characteristicsa

SEQ combined

Household occupancy


No. of people


No. of homes


Average household income ($AUD)b


Notes: adata presented are averages; b Estimated from taking the average of the household income category that each respondent selected (Gregory and Di Leo, 2003), where categories were: 1 = <$30,000, 2 = $30,000–$59,000, 3 = $60,000–$89,999, 4 = $90,000–$119,999, 5 = $120,000–$149,999, 6 ≥ $150,000.


Technical Features Behavioural Interventions Study In a parallel study, various interventions were applied to sub-groups of the participating SEQREUS households, to evaluate different behavioural approaches to reduction of household water demand. Three strategies were trialled and described in detail in Fielding et al. (2013).

Figure 2. Mixed method approach used in the SEQREUS.

Concomitantly with meter and logger installation, a water fixture/appliance stock survey was conducted at each participating home in order to investigate how householders interact with such stock. By completing the stock survey, the householder provided information on typical flow rates of taps and showers, the number and rating of water-efficient appliances and the typical water consumption behaviours of the householders. Further discussion on the research methods is provided in Beal and Stewart (2011).

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION A detailed description of results can be found in Beal and Stewart (2011) and Fielding et al. (2013). Some results are highlighted below. END-USE ANALYSIS Consumption trends Average end-use consumption breakdowns are shown for each period of analysis for the average across all regions (Table 2). Clotheswasher, shower and taps were typically the greatest contributors to household water consumption. Unfortunately, the very wet summer in SEQ strongly influenced the pattern and volume of water consumption, thus providing atypical patterns of consumption that has been traditionally associated with the hot summer climate. In addition to the wet weather, the Behavioural Intervention Study encouraged frugal water use, particularly for shower and clothes-washing activities. Leaks had also been substantially reduced as a result of communications to homeowners who were identified as having excessive leaks.

The three intervention groups were compared to a control group, which did not receive any information. The inclusion of a control group allows an assessment of whether changes in water use can be attributed to the interventions or whether any changes that occur in water use may have resulted because of being part of the study or because of external events.

Irrigation, which historically has had a high demand, particularly in dry weather, was notably low throughout the study, despite the removal of outdoor watering restrictions. The slow onset of any ‘rebound’ effect, i.e. the return to pre-restriction levels of water consumption, may be attributable to a

Growth curve modelling (also known as individual growth modelling or multilevel modelling for change) was employed since it has been specifically designed for modelling linear and curvilinear changes over time for

Table 2. Average daily water consumption trends for the three SEQREUS monitoring periods. End use

Winter1 2010

Summer2 2010-11

Winter3 2011

Winter 2010


Summer 2010-11

Winter 2011

Winter 2010


Summer 2010-11

Winter 2011

% of total



























































































Notes: 1 n= 252 households, 2 n= 219 households, 3 n= 110 households



pulses/L or a pulse every 0.014 L. The meters were connected to Aegis Data Cell series R-CZ21002 data loggers. The loggers were programmed to record pulse counts at five-second intervals. A representative sample of received data was extracted from the database and disaggregated into all end-use events associated with the sampled residential households using the Trace Wizard® software (Aquacraft, 2010).

The first was an information only intervention in which households were sent monthly water-saving tips about how to reduce water use in the bathroom, laundry, kitchen, and through fixing leaks. The second intervention group received the water-saving tips as well as descriptive norm information. This was information that described what people actually do to save water around the house (e.g. turn tap off when brushing teeth etc.). The third intervention group received the watersaving tips and water end-use feedback information. Households in this group were advised of their average daily water usage and were provided with a pie chart that showed the proportion of water their household used on water-using activities (e.g. shower, taps, clothes-washing).

continuous variables (Singer and Willett, 2005). Any water use savings associated with interventions may level out over time or even rebound to pre-intervention levels. To test for curvilinear effects over time, a squared term was included in the model for the number of days from the beginning of interventions (i.e. the day number squared). Including this term is what distinguishes a growth curve model from a standard random intercept multilevel model.


Technical Features

Table 3. Influences of water-efficient stock on household water savings. Potential savings rangeb (%)

Water-efficient household appliance or fixture Showerhead







25–65 up to 26

Rainwater tank – external use onlya

There were no internally plumbed rainwater tanks included in the SEQREUS study. b Quantum of savings is dependent on the difference in efficiency between the existing and replaced stock item. For example, a high degree of savings will occur if replacing the oldest model shower head with the highest efficiency (4-star) shower head.


Table 4. Relationship between socio-demographic groups and higher water usage. Water use activitya

Average per capita use (L/p/d)

One or more teenager in the home



Average age of householder between 20 and 40 years old







Socio-demographic group

Older, small family (61–70-year-old couple)



Significantly different to other socio-demographic groups at p<0.05

number of technical and social factors. It is hypothesised that the introduction of new legislation, water restrictions, effective Target 140 L/p/d campaigning, monetary assistance for retrofitting water-efficient technology and a prolonged threat to the water supply, has resulted in a prolonged change in the behaviour of SEQ residents towards water consumption. Outdoor consumption reduced significantly during the region’s drought period prior to the SEQREUS study and, at the time of writing, has not yet substantially risen from these low levels. This effect could be confirmed with more longitudinal data covering summer seasons exhibiting more typical temperature and rainfall patterns. IMPACTS OF HOUSEHOLD STOCK EFFICIENCY ON WATER CONSUMPTION The range of potential water savings that have been observed from the SEQREUS sample is presented in Table 3. Of note, replacing the old-style showerhead with any star-rated showerhead would significantly (p<0.05) reduce water consumption by a minimum of 28kL per year, representing a potential maximum savings of 75% (Table 3). The ≥4-star clothes washing machines used significantly less (p<0.05) water than ≤2-star machines, with estimated annual savings from front-loading washing-machines equated to 10.6kL/hh annually or around 36% (Table 3). All homes were weighted for overall efficiency, with the 50 least efficient and 50 most efficient homes being compared over an average diurnal trend. There was a clear and significant (p<0.05) reduction in the peak


demand from homes with a high degree of water efficient fixtures and appliances. This result has positive implications for reducing infrastructure costs and upgrade deferrals as a result of sustained changes to water consumption in high efficiency homes (Beal and Stewart, in press). Increases in per capita irrigation by homes without rainwater tanks were apparent for some regions and, notwithstanding the overall low irrigation consumption, the results generally demonstrate that there are some mains water savings (up to 15% in SEQREUS sample) to be made by the installation of non-internally plumbed tanks (Table 3). IMPACTS OF HOUSEHOLD SOCIO-DEMOGRAPHICS ON WATER CONSUMPTION While the results have clearly demonstrated the impact that water-efficient technology can have on residential water demand, behavioural change and attitudes towards consumption have been shown to be at least as important in reducing demand (Gilbertson et al., 2011; Russell and Fielding, 2010). In terms of perceived water use clusters, a clear pattern emerged from the results that showed that selfreported high water users typically consumed less (130 L/p/d) than both the self-reported medium (156 L/p/d) and low (143 L/p/d) water users on a per capita basis. Results indicate a trend that higher income, larger, younger and more educated households tend to install efficiency appliances. A summary of some statistically significantly higher water usage for specific socio-demographic groups and end-uses are shown in Table 4.

Higher-income households consumed more water on average per day than lower-income homes with shower, clotheswasher, dishwasher and bath contributing to the differences between these groups. There was a trend for households with small families, with an older average age of residents and no children, to consume less water per household on average. At an average total of 354 L/hh/d, households with either full and/or parttime residents consumed significantly more (p>0.05) water than those homes with retired and/or pensioned residents (253 L/hh/d). Typically, water consumption will be higher for large homes with large families as the demand for water is obviously greater and there are more water fixtures and appliances; however, larger families are typically more waterefficient on a per capita basis than individuals. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: BEHAVIOURAL INTERVENTION STUDY This section describes trends in daily water use for households over time, accounting for the differences in behavioural interventions. Data preparation for analysing the results and the longitudinal modelling approach are both described in detail in Fielding et al. (2012). Impacts of interventions The average daily water use per person by intervention group and monitoring period is presented in Table 5. The results from the Intervention Study demonstrated that even in a population where water use is already low, voluntary demand management strategies can promote further water savings (Table 5). It is the first study to test the effects of these voluntary demand management strategies in relation to water conservation, and to test the effectiveness of these strategies over a period of more than a year (475 days). Compared to a control condition, all three voluntary strategies were effective in reducing household water use, even in the context of low pre-existing levels of household water use and high levels of rainfall during the intervention period. This result suggests that the longer-term effectiveness of voluntary demand management strategies depends on the ongoing implementation of strategies and a context of water scarcity. In this study, householders had previously experienced serious drought conditions and, despite recent high rainfall, it was likely that water conservation remained a salient and personally involving issue and engaging in water conservation activities was considered normative. Information provision may have been effective because it reinforced existing


Technical Features

Table 5. Trend daily water use per person (litres) by intervention group and period. Intervention period Group




General statistics













Information only








Descriptive norm








Water end-use
















Notes: astandard deviation

that although people often perceive that they are doing all they can to save water (Walton and Hume, 2011), if they are motivated and provided with effective information they can achieve even greater reductions.

A further consideration in relation to the effects of water end-use feedback is the lag between water use and receiving feedback about that water use. Geller (2002) has proposed that feedback should ideally be given as close as possible to behaviour, and past research has demonstrated the effectiveness of frequent feedback in relation to reducing household energy use (Abrahamse et al., 2005). Results from the present study showed that delayed feedback about how water is used in the home can be effective, however, it is possible that more immediate water end-use feedback may be even more effective. Current smart water-metering technology does not allow real-time feedback to householders, but this may be practical in the future with the development of more sophisticated technology.

Once the information campaigns are removed, however, further environmental cues like drought or water scarcity may be required to facilitate the maintenance of behaviours that achieved the reductions demonstrated in the current study. Our householders experienced the opposite cues – floods and full water reservoirs during and after the study – and given these conditions, there is the potential for the intervention approaches we trialled to have greater impact during conditions of water scarcity (Nieswiadomy, 1992; Trumbo et al., 1999).

The data also show that while the reduction in water use resulting from the intervention was maintained for some time after information provision ceased, household water use gradually returned to preintervention levels. These data suggest

Data in Figure 3 shows the increasing average daily per capita consumption over a three-year period. This may be an indication that residential consumption is beginning to rebound, but also may be natural variability that is inherent in consumption trends. Further research is currently being conducted to determine whether consumption is rebounding in SEQ and, if so, what are the drivers (e.g. climate and/or behavioural change, and/or water– efficient household stock attrition).

CONCLUSIONS Results from the two studies presented in this paper demonstrate the importance of both “technology driven” and “behaviourally driven” water conservation. There will always be some level of human interaction with water-efficient technology, and this may ultimately determine the ability of a household to conserve water over the longer term. For example, despite the installation of a low-flow showerhead, the duration and frequency of shower use, dictated by human behaviour, can strongly influence the volume of water used. Voluntary demand management strategies can promote further water savings, despite low pre-existing water consumption. Descriptive norms, information provision, and feedback on specific household end-uses were effective interventions in reducing water consumption. Results demonstrate the high importance of a sustained targeting of water consumption behaviour, particularly shower and tap use, as well as encouraging installation of water-efficient measures. Families with young children or teenagers are high water consumers on a household basis – and this can be a target area for water conservation managers to consider,

Figure 3. Average total daily water consumption over a three-year period in SEQ households.



water conservation norms. These findings highlight the importance of approaches that communicate the precious and finite nature of water and the need to foreground water security as a critical issue.

especially as homes that have water-efficient technology may not necessarily have low water consumption behaviours.

THE AUTHORS Dr Cara Beal (email: c.beal@ griffith.edu.au) is a Research Fellow at the Smart Water Research Centre, Griffith University, Queensland. Her research is focused on Integrated Water Management, Water Efficiency and Conservation, Smart Metering and Residential End Use Studies. Associate Professor Rodney Stewart (email: r.stewart@ griffith.edu.au) is the Director of the Centre for Engineering and Infrastructure Management at Griffith University. His research is focused on Urban Water Planning, Smart Metering and Residential End Use Studies.


Dr John Gardner (email: john.gardner@csiro.au) is a Social Psychologist in the Ecosystem Sciences Division, CSIRO, Queensland. Much of his research involves largescale surveys and evaluations of intervention programs, and examines the role of individual and social factors on behaviour change, carbon footprints, and uptake of new technology. Dr Kelly Fielding (email: k.fielding@uq.edu.au) is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Social Science Research, University of Queensland. She is a social and environmental psychologist with interests in urban water management, climate change communication and the social dimensions of environmental sustainability broadly. Dr Anneliese Spinks (email: anneliese.spinks@csiro.au) is a Social Scientist working with the Social and Economic Sciences Program in the Ecosystem Sciences Division, CSIRO, Queensland. Her research interests include social determinants of health and well-being and environmental health. Dr Rod McCrea (email: rod. mccrea@csiro.au) is a Social Scientist in the Ecosystem Sciences Division, CSIRO, Queensland. His research interests come under the theme of quality of life studies.


REFERENCES Abrahamse W, Steg L, Vlek C & Rothengatter T (2005): A Review of Intervention Studies Aimed at Household Energy Conservaton. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 25, pp 273–291. Aquacraft (2010): Trace Wizard® Software Version 4.1. 1995–2010 Aquacraft, Inc Boulder, CO, USA. www.aquacraft.com Beal C & Stewart R (2013): Identifying Residential Water End-Uses Underpinning Peak Day and Peak Hour Demand. Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, doi: 10.1061/(ASCE) WR.1943-5452.000035. Beal CD & Stewart RA (2011): South East Queensland Residential End Use Study: Final Report. Urban Water Security Research Alliance Technical Report No. 47. Beal C, Stewart RA, Huang TT, Rey E (2010): South East Queensland Residential End Use study. Journal of the Australian Water Association, 38 (1), pp 80–84. Fielding KS, Spinks A, Russell S, McCrea R, Stewart R & Gardner J (2013): An Experimental Test of Voluntary Strategies to Promote Urban Water Demand Management. Journal of Environmental Management, 114, pp 343–351. Gilbertson M, Hurlimann A & Dolnicar S (2011): Does Water Context Influence Behaviour and Attitudes to Water Conservation? Australasian Journal of Environmental Management, 18(1), pp 47–60. Gregory G & Di Leo M (2003): Repeated Behavior and Environmental Psychology: The Role of Personal Involvement and Habit Formation in Explaining Water Consumption. Applied Social Psychology, 33(6), pp 1261–1296. Nieswiadomy M (1992): Estimating Urban Residential Water Demand: Effects of Price Structure, Conservation and Education. Water Resources Research, 28(3), pp 609–615. Roberts P, Athuraliya A & Brown A (2011): Residential Water Use Study Volume 1 – Winter 2010. Yarra Valley Water, July 2011. Russell S & Fielding K (2010): Water Demand Management Research: A Psychological Perspective, Water Resources Research, 46, W05302, doi10 .1029/2009WR008408. Singer JD & Willett JB (2005): Growth Curve Modelling. In B Everitt, D Howell, Eds. Encyclopedia of Statistics in Behavioral Science. Wiley, London, pp 772–779. Trumbo CW, Markee NL, O’Keefe GJ & Park E (1999): Antecedent Precipitation as a Methodological Concern in Attitude Surveys on Water Conservation. Water Resources Research, 35, pp 1269–1273. UWSRA (2012): Urban Water Security Research Alliance Annual Report, 2011–2012. CSIRO, July 2012. www.urbanwateralliance.org.au/ publications/UWSRA-Annual-Report-2011-12.pdf Walton A & Hume M (2011): Creating Positive Habits in Water Conservation: The Case of the Queensland Water Commission and the Target 140 Campaign. International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing, 16(3), pp 215–224.


Technical Features

UNDERSTANDING RESIDENTIAL WATER USAGE IN MELBOURNE Key findings and implications for future water use from an extensive research program P Roberts


The repetition of the studies (Appliance Stock and Usage Patterns surveys in 2003, 2007 and 2011, and Residential End-Use Measurement studies in 2004 and 2010– 2012) enables trends in appliance ownership to be identified. Understanding these trends has shed light on the various drivers behind the dramatic reduction in water usage that has occurred in Melbourne over the last decade. All of the reports of YVW’s studies have been published on its website so that the water industry in general can utilise those findings that they believe could apply to

Figure 1. Potable water use in Melbourne.

INTRODUCTION Over the 13 years from 1999/00 to 2011/12, potable water use in Melbourne in all three major sectors declined substantially (see Figure 1). Potable water usage in total declined by 29% while residential usage decreased by 23%, with even greater reductions in non-residential water use and non-revenue water, which decreased by 35% and 42% respectively. However, when it is considered that over this 13-year period Melbourne’s population increased by around 870,000 people the decline in per capita potable water usage is more dramatic. Total per capita consumption has declined by 44%, while average daily residential per capita use decreased from an estimated 244 litres to 149 litres, a reduction of 39%. This reduction in per capita residential usage is shown in Figure 2, which also demonstrates the various stages of drought restrictions that have been in place in Melbourne over the last decade. Following Stage 1 and Stage 2 restrictions from November 2002 to February 2005 Melbourne introduced Permanent Water Savings Rules (PWSR) from March 2005.

In September 2006 Melbourne went back into restrictions, transitioning rapidly to Stage 3a restrictions over the following seven months. Additionally a voluntary water conservation program entitled Target 155 was in place from December 2008 through March 2010. Based on the picture painted by Figure 2 it would be easy to come to the conclusion that the decline in residential water usage was largely the outcome of the drought restrictions in place over much of the last decade. Further, given the nature of drought restrictions it might also be concluded that most of the decline occurred in outdoor use (garden, swimming pool, car wash etc.). However, the various residential water usage research projects undertaken from 2003 through 2012 enabled the Melbourne retailers to make a more informed assessment of the drivers responsible for the decline in water use. What have Melbournians done to reduce their per capita water usage by 44% and why? The why is easy – Melburnians responded to severe drought, which saw water storages drop to alarmingly low levels. Reduced water use was both mandated via drought restrictions but also incentivised by price increases, free showerheads and rebate programs and

Figure 2. Residential daily per capita water use.



Over the past decade Yarra Valley Water and the other Melbourne retailers have undertaken a number of research studies into residential water usage. Customer research undertaken via household visits and web-based surveys collected data on the types of appliances in homes and behavioural patterns around water usage. Additionally high-resolution meters and data loggers collected 10-second interval water use data that could be disaggregated down to the end-use level (shower, toilet, clothes-washing etc). This paper presents the reasoning for undertaking this extensive research program as well as some of the key findings and their implications for future water use.

them and at least move part of the way towards establishing their own end-use modelling capability.


Technical Features Average Litres/Capita/Day - Winter Logging Period 0



3 1


3 2

Leak Toilet Tap Clothes Washer











19 21




2010 40








Figure 3. Potable water use in Melbourne (YVW). encouraged by extensive advertising campaigns. Residential customers responded by:


• Replacing showerheads, clothes-washers and toilets with more efficient appliances; • Installing rainwater tanks; • Using greywater for irrigation; • Reducing the irrigation requirement of their gardens with the use of mulch, drought-tolerant plants and grasses and installing drip systems; • Modifying their behaviours (e.g. reducing their frequency of clothes-washing, dishwashing and toilet flushing).

RESEARCH PROGRAMS While all three Melbourne retailers have effectively undertaken the same research programs for practical reasons the remainder of this paper will predominantly make reference to Yarra Valley Water’s research program. Note that the trends in Yarra Valley Water’s residential usage are generally indicative of Melbourne in total. There are two key elements to the residential research program: information on what types of appliances are in households and what behavioural patterns are used with these appliances is gathered through the “Appliance Stock and Usage Patterns Surveys” or ASUPs. These surveys have been undertaken in 2003, 2007 and 2011. These studies are usually undertaken through household visits in order to measure flow rates and correctly identify appliances. However, in 2011 YVW undertook the survey primariliy via online with household visits for just 20% of the sample. This approach was more economical and allowed a larger sample size overall.


The second element to the research program is the two residential enduse measurement studies (or REUMS) undertaken in 2004 and, more recently, in 2010–2012. These studies used flow trace analysis in a small sample of households to measure how much water is used for each end-use over two fortnightly winter and summer periods. It needs to be acknowledged that REUM studies are quite expensive, requiring high-resolution meters and loggers, and as a result sample sizes are necessarily small. Each of the Melbourne retailers had a sample of 100 homes and anyone who is familiar with the considerable variation around water use that cannot be explained by demographic and property characteristics will realise that sample sizes of 100 are unlikely to be fully representative of the entire customer base. However, the samples are varied enough to generate estimates of the important water-use parameters required for demand modelling. These parameters can then be tailored if required during the calibration phase of water modelling. The data collected from the research program is used for a variety of purposes, including to: • Forecast water use, a critical input to pricing and water harvesting decisions; • Inform changes in design standards, e.g. peak hour and peak day demands. While not the only consideration, an up-todate knowledge of water use behaviour and appliance efficiency contributes to the objective of ensuring the assets are appropriately sized; • Design water efficiency programs; • Inform and educate customers.

Yarra Valley Water relies on this body of research primarily to support its demand forecasting capability which is built around an end-use model. Because of the substantial impact that appliance efficiencies can have on water use YVW believes that the best methodology for predicting future water use involves some form of end-use modelling. This is the primary driver for the research program, which provides the majority of the numerous end-use parameters required by the end-use model. However, the research program also makes a valuable contribution to system design and in the provision of detailed water usage information to customers. System planning at the development level utilises the research information to build an outlook for demand that accounts for both the types of appliances that are likely to be in the development and the way they are used (i.e., frequencies and/or durations of use). The research program has also enabled Yarra Valley Water to establish a capability to keep customers informed about what constitutes typical and efficient water usage and what are the implications of appliance replacement or changes in usage patterns to ultimate water consumption.

MAIN CONTRIBUTORS TO THE DECLINE IN RESIDENTIAL WATER USE Clearly the imposition of drought restrictions has made a substantial contribution to the reduction in residential water usage over the last decade. However, drought restrictions specifically target outdoor (or seasonal) use, whereas water usage records clearly show the reduction in water use occurring in both seasonal and base (indoor) use. INDOOR PER CAPITA USAGE Figure 3 shows the findings for indoor use from the end-use measurement studies undertaken in 2004 and 2010. Average daily indoor per capita water usage was measured at 169 litres in 2004, but only 109 litres in the winter of 2010. Water usage was found to have declined substantially in all the indoor end-uses. In most cases the declines can be attributed to both appliance change and modified behaviours. For example, water usage for the end-use of clothes-washing has almost halved as a result of a leap in appliance efficiency (discussed later), and because of a substantial decrease in the average number of loads undertaken per week, as shown in Table 1.


Technical Features

Table 1. Clothes-washer loads per week.

Table 2. Rainwater tank ownership.




Mean Std Dev

5.0 3.3

4.7 3.0




Mean Std Dev

6.4 4.2

4.8 2.6

Similarly the reduction in toilet use was driven primarily by a reduction in average flush volume, but also as a result of a decrease in the average number of flushes per person per day (4.2 in 2004 compared to 3.9 in 2010–12). An important aspect of the ASUP surveys is the measurement of the flush volume of toilets in households. This enables more accurate identification of the toilets and conclusions can then be made as to how the older single flush and 11/6 and 9/4.5 dual flush toilets are being replaced by 6/3 and 4.5/3 dual flush models.

RAINWATER TANKS One of the more noteworthy trends identified through the research program is the adoption of rainwater tanks, which has been boosted by a decade of drought restrictions, State Government rebates and 5-star homes regulations. The combination







Connected to Toilet




Connected to Laundry





Table 3. Front loader clothes-washers. % of Households








of these factors has resulted in the penetration of rainwater tanks in Yarra Valley Water’s area increasing from 1% of households in 1999 to 30% in 2011. While usually the rainwater tanks are intended to meet outdoor demand, the research suggests the incidence of plumbing the tanks to the home to meet other end-uses such as toilet and clothes washing is also increasing (see Table 2). In 2011 the average capacity of rainwater tanks was surprisingly high at 4.6KL, but around one-third were 2KL or less. Rudimentary analysis of the billing records of the 2011 ASUPs households comparing those with and without rainwater tanks suggests a saving in potable water use of 15 KL pa. in 2011. However, in Melbourne both the demand for and supply of rainwater are subject to considerable climate variation so that the rainwater component of total demand is likely to vary considerably from year to year. The next important phase of the residential research program is to measure the volume of demand being met by rainwater. While all the Melbourne retailers have extensive databases on potable water use (through their quarterly billing systems), virtually nothing is known about the volume of rainwater used for outdoor, toilet and clothes-washer use. The Melbourne retailers (partnering with CSIRO) through the

Figure 4. Market share of front-loading clothes-washers.

Smartwater Fund are about to embark on a project to assess the condition of rainwater collection systems for a large sample of households with tanks and also meter the rainwater tank usage for a smaller sample of Melbourne households. CLOTHES-WASHERS Another significant trend has been the transition to highly efficient clotheswashers, with front loaders more than doubling their share of appliance stock since 2003 (see Table 3). For appliance stock to change to this extent suggests a rapid and significant change in market shares, which was able to be confirmed by the purchase of market share data. Figures 4 and 5 demonstrate that front-loading washing-machines have both increased their market share over the last seven years and have also undergone a transition from WELS 4-star appliances to 4.5-star – and even 5-star appliances are starting to get a share of the market. The efficiency of the end-use of clothes washing has been elevated even further by the efficiency gains for top-loading washers. As recently as 2005/06 no top-loaders were rated better than 3.5 stars, but in 2011/12 almost half of top-loader sales (47%) were rated as 3.5 or 4-star appliances. Although the rate of increase in market share for front-loading washers appears to

Figure 5. WELS star rating of front-loading clothes-washers.



For the end-use of showering it is less clear how much of the reduced level of usage results from each of appliance or behavioural change. While the incidence of efficient showers has increased considerably, the average flow rates for both efficient and standard showers have declined, suggesting an element of behavioural change has also contributed to the reduced usage. This behavioural change is not seen in the average shower duration, which was 7 minutes in both surveys. This finding suggests that users endeavouring to reduce water use are more inclined to reduce their flow rate and maintain their duration of showering.

% of Households


Technical Features 60%

% of Households



40% 30%

20% 10%





More than Same as Less than before before before n = 540, (have garden requiring watering, water regularly)

Figure 7. Lot size in new developments. Wouldn't use drinking water

Figure 6. Potable water use on garden (compared to the last few years, no restrictions). be slowing, the average efficiency of appliance stock is still lower than the current marketplace. Consequently, water used for clothes-washing should continue to decline for some time to come.


GARDEN USE Without continuous measurement over a long period of time it is problematic to get reliable measured data on garden use because it is subject to extreme climatic variability. After measuring winter usage in July 2010 it was intended to measure summer usage in the summer of 2010/11. Unfortunately, rainfall was unusually high during this period with the result that the 2010/11 year saw virtually no seasonal demand. Consequently, the summer analysis was delayed until January 2012 when seasonal demand became evident.

use rainwater, while almost half (48%) of regular lawn irrigators nominated rainwater as their main source of water. EVAPORATIVE COOLERS One trend that was of some concern over the past decade has been the increasing take-up of evaporative coolers. However, the ASUP surveys are showing a levelling off in the take-up of these appliances with penetration at less than 30% of households. Further, for those households with an evaporative cooler the REUM study shows that this appliance accounts for around 10% of usage on average. So in Melbourne evaporative cooling represents only around 3% of residential usage. OTHER FACTORS IMPACTING WATER USAGE Changes in behaviours and appliance efficiencies are not the only things impacting residential water usage. There are other factors not specifically addressed by the research program that analysts need to be aware of if they are to try to fully understand the historical decline in residential water use.

During the two-week summer logging period garden irrigation was found to account for 16% of usage, which was well below the result in 2004 where irrigation accounted for 28% of use. However, climatic differences and changes to drought restrictions make it questionable to compare results from one time period to another and also to extrapolate from a two-week logging period to the whole of the irrigation season.

Some part of the reduction must be attributed to the substantial increase in the price of water seen over the last decade. Since 2000/01 the real price of water has effectively doubled. Even with relatively conservative assumptions regarding the price elasticities of both base and seasonal use the magnitude of the price increase is such that the price response is likely to have contributed significantly to the reduction in residential usage evident in Figure 2.

For this reason the data gathered through the ASUP surveys is perhaps more informative of future garden use than the REUMs data. In the 2011 ASUPs respondents were asked a number of questions about whether and how they intended to irrigate their garden and lawns in the future.

The changing nature of new residential development is also contributing to the reduced per capita consumption. Census data for Melbourne shows that the type of residential dwellings is gradually changing, as shown in Table 4.

Sixty per cent of households said they had a garden that required watering and 72% of those homes said they would irrigate on a regular basis. So only 44% of households indicated they would irrigate their garden on a regular basis. For lawns the equivalent finding was just 8% of homes irrigating on a regular basis. The regular irrigators were then asked how much they thought they would irrigate when restrictions were lifted. As shown in Figure 6, for “garden” the majority of respondents indicated they would use the same (50%) or even less (19%) than they used during restrictions. Of course, respondents cannot be expected to factor in a range of climatic conditions to their responses to these types of questions and so the findings are taken to be indicative of what they might do in a typical irrigation season (i.e. average weather conditions). Another important question put to the regular garden and lawn irrigators was what would be the main source of water for these two purposes. For the garden, 39% indicated they would mainly


“Other” dwellings are increasing their share of dwelling stock at the expense of separate houses. In both 2010/11 and 2011/12, 48% of new dwelling building approvals in Melbourne were for “Other” dwellings. As these dwellings typically use about two-thirds of the water used by separate houses this trend is contributing to reduced water use. Table 4. Dwelling type in Melbourne (ABS Census). % of Residential Dwellings



Separate Houses



All Other (Flats/Units/Apartments/Other)



Another trend impacting on usage is the ongoing reduction in lot size for broad-hectare new home developments. In recent times the average lot size for new homes has declined from over 600m2 to under 500m2. As shown in Figure 7, around 90% of lots are now less than 650m2 and lots in the 300–500m2 range are the most common. This reduction in area is manifested mostly in reduced garden area since the size of the homes themselves has seen an ongoing trend


Technical Features increase. This latter trend is evidenced by ABS data, which showed that average floor area for new houses in Victoria increased from 217m2 in 2000/01 to 253m2 in 2008/09.

CONCLUSIONS In order to truly understand the nature of changing residential water demand it is necessary to look beyond readily available data and information. Trends in demographics, pricing, lot size and dwelling type can tell part of the story, but knowledge of the types of water using appliances in households, how those appliances are used, and how both appliance type and usage patterns are changing over time enables a much more comprehensive analysis and understanding of trends in water usage. This knowledge can in turn be shared with customers to further educate them in the quest for efficient water use.

This paper has presented only a few of the key findings from the research undertaken so far. Detailed results and analysis can be found in the reports published on YVW’s website (www.yvw.com. au/Home/Aboutus/Reportsandpublications/ Researchreports/index.htm) In addition, the results from all the retailers’ ASUP and REUM studies are presently being combined into Melbournewide reports that will be published on the Smartwater Fund website and the Melbourne retailers’ websites from around the middle of 2013.

THE AUTHOR Peter Roberts (email: peter.roberts@yvw.com.au) has worked for Yarra Valley Water for the past 13 years. His current role is Demand Forecasting Manager. Peter has been involved in a number of major water usage research projects designed primarily to support an end-use approach to residential demand forecasting.

REFERENCES ABS 8731.0: Building Approvals, Australia, February 2010. Department of Planning & Community Development, Residential Land Bulletin, September 2012. Roberts P (2004, 2003): Appliance Stock and Usage Patterns Survey (YVW). Roberts P (2005, 2004): Residential End Use Measurment Study (YVW). Athuraliya A et al. (2008, 2007): Appliance Stock and Usage Patterns Survey (YVW). Roberts P et al. (2011): Residential Water Use Study Volume 1 – Winter 2010 (YVW). Roberts P et al. (2012): Residential Water Use Study Volume 2 – Summer 2010 (YVW). Roberts P (2012, 2011): Appliance Stock and Usage Patterns Survey (YVW).


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Customer demand is a critical consideration in the planning for new growth areas and for renewal of existing areas. Consequently it is critical to understand the impact on demand of changes in customer behaviours and increasing appliance efficiency.

Melbourne’s experience with timerestricted, alternate-day water restrictions demonstrated, in addition to substantially reducing overall demand, clear benefits in reducing peak demand. YVW has not looked into the issue of spreading peak demand over longer periods because demand has decreased so much that we currently do not have a problem with meeting the peak. However, because the research gives us an insight into how end-uses contribute to the demand profile the identification of solutions to future problems and opportunities is greatly enhanced.


Technical Features

END-USE DEMAND FORECASTING: CONTEMPORARY INSIGHTS Data assumptions and findings across case studies in regional Victoria and the lower Hunter region in New South Wales P Mukheibir, D Giurco, A Turner, J Franklin, M Teng, T McClymont


ABSTRACT This paper reports on the application of integrated resource planning using the integrated supply demand planning tool in regional Victoria (Geelong and Colac) and New South Wales (Lower Hunter region). It discusses data assumptions and findings across the case studies. A key finding is that the uptake of efficient appliances has been decreasing total water use (e.g. in toilets and showers) despite population growth. However, this will be driven close to the maximum limits over the next 15 years or so, while customer behaviour patterns such as length and frequency of appliance use will be crucial for informing future demand side management strategies.

INTRODUCTION Ensuring water security is a fundamental objective of long-term urban water planning. Constantly changing projections for population, technology, usage patterns and rainfall make this an ongoing challenge. Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) is an established internationally recognised approach for considering both future supply and demand projections across 25–50 years, which assists in establishing the supplydemand balance of a specific region (Turner et al., 2010). The gap between supply and demand can then be filled using a suite of least cost ($/kL) options, be they supply or demand, taking into consideration social and environmental factors. IRP is the overarching framework used to inform the integrated supply demand planning (iSDP) model, which has recently been updated using funding from the National Water Commission (NWC). The model assists in projecting water demand for a region using a combination of end-use and sector based approaches. When supply projections are incorporated, the model assists in identifying the lowest cost way to fill the supply-demand gap. This paper reports on the application of the iSDP model in regional Victoria (Geelong and Colac) and New South


Wales (Newcastle) (Fyfe, Giurco, May and Rickwood, 2011; Fyfe, Giurco, May, Mohr et al., 2011; HWC, 2012). It provides an overview of IRP and the iSDP model and summarises and contrasts data, assumptions and findings across the three case study sites, drawing on additional complementary research conducted by the Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) and other key researchers in this field. It also briefly highlights some of the potential influences on end-use that we may need to keep an eye on over the coming years – they could affect demand. The paper concludes with reflections on remaining data gaps and strategies to strengthen the use of IRP.

METHODOLOGY Internationally, IRP is considered a best practice planning framework (Turner et al., 2010). It has been used to varying extents by water utilities, councils and water resource managers across Australia since the early 1990s. In several Australian jurisdictions, IRP is embedded as a policy and/or regulatory requirement. IRP considers both supply and demand side options and treats them equally when determining how to close the supplydemand gap. Over the last decade the Australian water industry has seen a significant shift in the number of water service providers using IRP (to a lesser or greater extent) and practitioners needing to gain new skills in detailed demand forecasting and developing, implementing and evaluating demand management options. The iSDP model was first developed by ISF for Sydney Water Corporation in the late 1990s to conduct a detailed water planning exercise. This included both the development of a detailed end-use and sector based demand forecast and the development of a broad range of options. The tool, now known as the iSDP model, was further developed by ISF and the

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), and recently updated with funding from the NWC; it is freely available and has been used as a planning tool by various large water service providers in Australia. Rather than use broad trends for overall demand, the forecast module projects water demand based on a series of disaggregated sectors (e.g. residential, commercial, industrial) and end-uses (e.g. showering, toilet flushing) where feasible. These component forecasts are each based on a series of assumptions relating, for example, to future changes in the mix of housing type and the ownership, usage behaviour and efficiency of fixtures and appliances, among other variables (ISF, 2009). Residential end-use measurement is concerned with understanding where and how water is used by the domestic customer to determine what proportion of the total water consumed by a household should be attributed to individual end-uses. Understanding where and when people use water in their homes by collecting information about the contribution of various appliances to total water use, the relative split between indoor and outdoor use and/or seasonal and geographical variations in water consumption is essential for determining likely future demands on water supply, detecting system leaks and designing demand management programs (Giurco et al., 2008). The iSDP model builds up the residential demand using a “bottom-up” approach (see Figure 1) based on the various enduses. The structure of each of the residential end-uses in the model is similar in that they generally rely on usage frequency and stock/ownership models of appliances or fixtures, which have been refined over a number of years (Snelling et al., 2007). For most end-use categories (appliances) annual sales data are estimated using data on appliance ownership in each year in combination with assumptions about the


Technical Features garden irrigation and showers, clothes washers and toilets are the major end-users.

Metered Bulk Supply Water Losses

Non-residential Municipal

Aggregated trend analysis on customer metered data


Metered Residential


Rain tanks and bores Garden

Residential End-uses Detailed information on stock,


usage and technology

Showers Clothes washers

Figure 1. Bottom-up residential end-use and non-residential top-down approach (Mukheibir and Boyle, 2012).


average time that appliances remain in service prior to being replaced.

Referring to Figures 2 and 3, wide variations in the disaggregated water use can be observed between different regions. For the Lower Hunter region (NSW), shower use is the leading end-use, followed by commercial and industrial consumption. In Colac (regional Victoria), on the other hand, agricultural use is by far the largest user, due mainly to dairy production, followed by industrial use. In the residential sector,

Figure 2. Breakdown of total end-use consumption for Lower Hunter, NSW.

Table 1 provides a comparison of modelled estimates of residential enduse consumption for the Lower Hunter region, Geelong, Colac and Wagga Wagga (ISF, 2011) against the end-use studies in Melbourne (Roberts, 2005), Toowoomba and Gold Coast (Willis et al., 2009). As can be observed for indoor use, showers contribute the highest demand for all locations (50–60 L/p/d) and, hence, have the potential to make reductions in demand through the installation of efficient showerheads.

Figure 3. Breakdown of total end-use consumption for Colac, Victoria.

Table 1. Comparison of observed and estimated end-use consumption. Demand (L/p/d) HWC Modelled 2008

Barwon Modelled 2010

Colac Modelled 2010

Wagga Modelled 2010

Melbourne 2005

Gold Coast 2008

Toowoomba 2008

Clothes washers
















Basins & sinks








































End Use



Key assumptions have been updated as more end-use data has become available. In 2008, for example, Athuraliya et al. (2008), on behalf of Yarra Valley Water (YVW), released updated stock profiles of water using appliances and profiled patterns of use, building upon previous work undertaken in 2003 (Roberts, 2004). The key assumptions are discussed further in the following section.

The extent of irrigation will vary depending on the climate, and for all end-uses on the level of efficient stock and behaviour already prevalent, due for example to newer housing stock and/or demand management programs. It should also be noted that some end-uses may not feature in some locations but be a significant user and potential saver in others. An example is evaporative air conditioners in Alice Springs, where over 90% of single residential households used such devices in the early 2000s (Turner et al., 2003). This may have declined in recent years, though, with the shift to reverse cycle air conditioners. This kind of information is essential for understanding demand and planning future water efficiency programs.


Technical Features



Clothes washers


Table 2. Key end-use assumptions. Parameter

Currently used assumptions


Appliance lifetime

15 years, σ 0.5

Mean flow rate (L/min) inefficient appliances


(Athuraliya et al., 2008)

Stock of efficient appliances

55% stock efficient in 2012 80% stock in 2022-2050

(Fane et al., 2009)

Duration of use (min/use)


(Willis et al., 2010)

Mean end use frequency (uses/p/day)


(Athuraliya et al., 2008)

Appliance lifetime

15 years

Stock of efficient appliances

Front loaders – 28% in 2011

(ABS, 2011)

Mean end use frequency (uses/p/day)

Based upon a power interpolation of per capita usage survey done in 2004 for Melbourne.

(Roberts, 2005)

Appliance lifetime

35 years

Sales and stock of efficient appliances

Sales • Sales Single flush end in 1987 • Sales Dual Flush 11, 1983–1993 • Sales Dual Flush 9, 1991–2015 • Sales Dual Flush 6, 1996–2015 • Sales Dual Flush 4.5, 2007–100% of sales by 2016

(Fane et al., 2009)

Stock Dual Flush 4.5 approaching 95% in 2050 Mean end use frequency (uses/p/day)

Sinks and baths

Sinks: Water intensity


(Roberts, 2005) (Athuraliya et al., 2008)

13.5 litres per use; based on average filled capacity 25L filled to an average 54% filled volume ;

(Roberts, 2004)

10.3L/week rinsing component calibrated against a historical end-use study in Perth.

(MWA, 1985).

Sinks: Mean end use frequency (uses/p/day)

5.6 uses per week for dwellings with a dishwasher;

Bath: Mean end-use frequency (uses per person per day)

An average of 2 and 0.17 baths per week for residents under and over the age of 12, respectively, adjusted for the local age distribution.

However, in locations such as Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane there have been significant demand management programs in recent years, which have assisted in pulling out hundreds of thousands of inefficient showerheads. Hence the potential savings in such locations are now likely to be less. Clothes washers are the second highest users with a wider range (28–40 L/p/d), followed by toilets (16–30 L/p/d). Garden irrigation varies considerably, depending on climate conditions and water supplies. The end-use modelling is based on behavioural and appliance stock assumptions, discussed in more detail in the following text.


10.0 uses per week for dwellings without a dishwasher.

Showers Work by Fane et al. (2009), based on interviews with plumbing product suppliers, and Athuraliya et al. (2008), suggests that the stock of efficient showers was approximately 55% in 2012 and that efficient showers will make up approximately 80% of installed showers by 2022. Figure 4 illustrates the uptake curve fitted to the reported uptake of efficient showerheads (ABS, 2007). The amount of savings from showerhead replacements is dependent on the flow rate of inefficient showers, which is affected by the pressure in the network system. A sensitivity analysis for this key assumption may be appropriate to assess the impact of varying pressures on the flow rate.

(Athuraliya et al., 2008)

(Athuraliya et al., 2008)

Toilets More efficient dual-flush models were introduced in 1989 (9/4.5L), 1995 (6/3L) and in 2005 (4.5/3L). It is expected that all three dual-flush models will remain as part of the sales mix until 2015, which is consistent with observations by the ABS (2010). Considering that other appliances could assist in meeting the required total water reduction under BASIX (mandatory water conservation for new dwellings in NSW), toilet stock does not, therefore, have to be all 4.5/3L after 2006. In addition, it can be assumed that some non-4.5/3L toilets may still be in operation post-2050. As illustrated in Figure 5, the installation of more efficient flushing toilets results in


Technical Features and the residential end-use data should be climate corrected, especially for outdoor use, based on soil-moisture content. When determining the average garden end-use, alternative sources of supply, such as rainwater tanks under BASIX, should be ignored so that the true demand from gardens can be determined. The suppression of demand for potable water through alternative sources should then be deducted from the total baseline demand at the end of the analysis. This is important, since it is not easy to establish which enduse the alternative water source is offsetting – toilets, washing machines, garden irrigation or other outdoor uses. Figure 4. Modelled stock split (%) of showerheads over time (Fane et al., 2009).

Clothes washing machines The trend towards front-loading washing machines has resulted in an overall decrease in the water demand from this end-use. However, more recently, front loaders have been produced with larger capacities, while top loaders have been designed to be more water efficient. The combined effect of this means that the assumptions relating to the split between the stock is possibly less significant for modelling and forecasting purposes.

Dishwashers Dishwashers make up a small percentage of the total residential consumption, therefore small changes in ownership percentages and frequency of use parameters make little difference to the overall picture. Basins and sinks Basins and sinks combined make up the fifth largest end-use for residential consumption. The assumptions are based on work done by Yarra Valley Water (Roberts, 2004; Athuraliya et al., 2008), and relate more to the behaviour than to the introduction of efficient appliances. Garden irrigation Garden use in most cases is the highest and most variable end-use due to the wide variety of factors affecting it. As such, it is used to balance the difference between the sum of the actual annual metered residential consumption and the sum of all the other end-uses (see Figure 1). Garden irrigation varies by region and climatic conditions

It is recommended that a survey for the study region be undertaken to verify the model assumptions and outputs. For the Lower Hunter region, for example, the outdoor usage determined by the model was 20% of the total residential use, which is very close to the average percentage outdoor usage of 19.6% obtained by field survey measurements (Orr et al., 2010).

CONCLUSION By undertaking end-use modelling, an improved understanding of the customer uses of water and, hence, targeted demand management programs, such as rebates, appliance swaps and incentives can be implemented in order to reduce per capita demand, thereby potentially delaying large infrastructural investments over the medium term. It has been shown that increased uptake of efficient appliances decreases with specific residential uses of water (e.g. in toilets and showers) even though population continues to rise. This is because the appliance stock is becoming progressively more efficient while usage patterns and behaviours remain similar. Without additional significant shifts in the level of efficiency of such end-uses these major savings are likely to bottom out. These estimates differ across the various regions of Australia and can be attributed to differences in the social, environmental, economic and regulatory contexts, survey circumstances and, in the case of the modelled estimates, the assumptions used and how the iSDP model is calibrated.

Figure 5. Total water use from toilet flushing for Geelong.

It is for this reason that Stewart (2011, p 27) suggests the need for location based research to overcome the dependency on end-use estimates and to verify the assumptions on which the forecasts are based, such as stock penetration, flow rates and volumes per use, and frequency and



the reduction in total water used by toilet flushing. This trend has been observed for all growing urban locations within Australia. However, the reduction in total water demand from toilets diminishes over time (assuming even more efficient devices aren’t developed and introduced) and usage is then projected to rise again in line with population growth from around 2030. A similar profile can be expected for showers.


Technical Features duration of use. This data will ensure that the model is appropriately calibrated. In addition, the commercial and industrial demand forecast projections should be updated on an annual basis based on new information. While end-use studies in Melbourne, Geelong and SouthEast Queensland are providing a more comprehensive picture of usage, notable gaps remain – particularly with respect to outdoor water practices – and it is likely that these will be progressively filled as smart metering studies expand.


As has also been shown, the usefulness of residential appliance stock modelling will extend over the next 10–15 years, i.e. until installed household water appliance efficiency has been driven close to the maximum limits. Thereafter, improved understanding of customer behaviour patterns, such as length and frequency of showers, frequency of toilet use etc, will be crucial in designing demand side management strategies. With the shifts in customer behaviour experienced due to the prolonged droughts in recent years, greater water availability due to desalination and higher water and energy prices, it will be important to keep a watching brief of how behaviour patterns change due to these conflicting influences. The deployment of household smart meters and the application of the collected data will vastly improve the knowledge in this space.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The Authors would like to acknowledge the contributions of Thomas Boyle and Julian Fyfe (both of ISF) in undertaking the various modelling and assessment activities.

THE AUTHORS Dr Pierre Mukheibir (email: Pierre.Mukheibir@uts.edu. au) is a Research Director at the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology, Sydney, NSW. Associate Professor Damien Giurco (email: Damien. Giurco@uts.edu.au) is a Research Director at the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology, Sydney, NSW. Andrea Turner (email: Andrea.Turner@uts.edu. au) is a Research Director at the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology, Sydney, NSW.


Justin Franklin (email: Justin.Franklin@ barwonwater.vic.gov.au) is the Water Resource Planning Coordinator at Barwon Water, Geelong, Victoria.

ISF (2011): Case Study: Integrated Resource

Mee Teng (email: Mee.Teng@barwonwater. vic.gov.au) is the Senior Engineer for Water Resource Planning at Barwon Water, Geelong, Victoria.

Mukheibir P & Boyle T (2012): Review of the

Tony McClymont (email: tony.mcclymont@ hunterwater.com.au) is the Water Network Planning Team Leader at Hunter Water, Newcastle, NSW.

Planning for Urban Water – Wagga Wagga. Waterlines Report Series No. 41, Section 7, March 2011, National Water Commission.

Integrated Supply-Demand Planning Model for Hunter Water Corporation’s Demand Forecast Final Report. Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology, Sydney. Orr D, Micevski T & Thyer M (2010): Household Characteristics that Influence Household Water Use in the Hunter Region, in: In E Valentine,


C Apelt, J Ball, H Chanson, R Cox, R Ettema,

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People’s Views and Practices. Australian

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ABS (2010): Environmental Issues: Water. Australian Bureau of Statistics. ABS (2011): 4602.0.55.001 Environmental Issues: Energy Use and Conservation. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Athuraliya A, Gan K & Roberts P (2008): 2007 Appliance Stock and Usage Patterns Survey. Yarra Valley Water. Fane S, Patterson J, Kazaglis A & Fyfe J (2009):

and Engineering: 33rd Hydrology and Water Resources Sympo. Engineers Australia. Roberts P (2004): Appliance Stock and Usage Patterns Survey 2003. Yarra Valley Water. Roberts P (2005): Yarra Valley Water 2004 Residential End Use Measurement Study. Yarra Valley Water. Snelling C, Turner A, Riedy C, White S &

Cost Benefit Analysis For Minimum Water

Cummings S (2007): Where Does the Water Go?

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Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts by the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology, Sydney. Fyfe J, Giurco D, May D, Mohr S & Rickwood P

Water Supply: Proceedings 1, IWA Specialist Group: Efficient Operation and Management, Seoul, Korea. pp 307–314. Stewart R (2011): Verifying Potable Water Savings

(2011): Barwon Water: End-use Based Long

By End Use for Contemporary Residential Water

Term Supply-Demand Model and Short Term

Supply Schemes. Waterlines Report Series No.

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61, October 2011.

Prepared for Barwon Water by the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology, Sydney. Fyfe J, Giurco D, May D, Rickwood P (2011):

Turner A, Campbell S & White S (2003): End Use Modelling & Water Efficiency Programs for Arid Zones The Alice Springs Experience, in:

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of Water for Urban Supply Conference, Tenerife.

Forecast Report. Prepared for Barwon Water by the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology, Sydney. Giurco D, Carrard N, McFallan S, Nalbantoglu M, Inman M, Thornton N, White S (2008): Residential End-Use Measurement Guidebook: A Guide to Study Design, Sampling and Technology.

Turner A, Willetts J, Fane S, Giurco D, Chong J, Kazaglis A & White S (2010): Guide to Demand Management and Integrated Resource Planning. Willis R, Stewart RA, Panuwatwanich K, Capati B & Giurco D (2009): Gold Coast Domestic Water End Use Study. Water Journal, 36, 6, pp 79–85.

HWC (2012): Demand Forecast Model Development (02 - HW2012-501 3 5). Hunter Water Corporation, Newcastle. ISF (2009): Integrated Supply-Demand

Willis RM, Stewart RA, Panuwatwanich K, Jones S & Kyriakides A (2010): Alarming Visual Display Monitors Affecting Shower End Use Water and

Planning (iSDP) Model User Manual. Institute

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Recycling, 54, pp 1117–1127.


Technical Features

SEWAGE CONTAMINATION IN STORMWATER Application of Microbial Source Tracking Toolbox to identify sewage contamination in stormwater in Brisbane JPS Sidhu, W Ahmed, L Hodgers, S Toze

ABSTRACT The extent of sewage contamination in stormwater run-off from two urban catchments (Fitzgibbon Catchment and Makerston Street Catchment) in Brisbane, Australia, was assessed by using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based microbial source tracking (MST) markers (sewage-associated Bacteroides HF183, Methanobrevibacter smithii nifH, human adenovirus (HAv), and human polyomavirus (HPv) from ‘MST Toolbox’.

Keywords: Stormwater, sewage contamination, adenovirus, microbial source tracking.

INTRODUCTION The contamination of stormwater with sewage in urban environments is of significant concern (Rajal et al., 2007; Sauer et al., 2011; Sercu et al., 2009), as in some cities with separate sewer and stormwater conveyance systems stormwater is discharged directly to waterways without any treatment (Salmore et al., 2006). There is growing evidence that stormwater conveyance networks can be contaminated with sewage due to failing sewer

Traditional faecal indicator bacteria (FIB) such as E. coli and Enterococcus spp. are routinely monitored to assess the microbiological quality of surface waters, however, the presence of FIB does not necessarily correlate with the presence of viral and protozoan pathogens (Hörman et al., 2004; McQuaig et al., 2009). Furthermore, monitoring for the FIB numbers in stormwater does not provide definitive information on the possible sources of contamination. Human health risk assessment and remediation strategies for microbial contamination from stormwater can be more effectively implemented if the sources of contamination are known. Microbial source tracking (MST) methods have been used to identify the potential sources of faecal contamination in environmental waters (Parker et al., 2010; Sauer et al., 2011). Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based MST methods have been successfully used for the detection of sewage-associated Bacteroides HF183 and Methanobrevibacter smithii nifH markers in surface waters (Seurinck et al., 2006; Ufnar et al., 2006). HAv and HPv are human viral pathogens, and are reported to be highly prevalent (102 to 105 per L) in sewage contaminated surface waters (Hamza et al., 2009; Muscillo et al., 2008; Sauer et al., 2011). Furthermore, due to their high prevalence in wastewater (105 to 106 per L), and host specificity they are used as MST markers (Fong et al., 2005; McQuaig et al., 2009). Each of the MST markers described in the literature to date has advantages and disadvantages (Scott et al., 2002). The consequence of inaccurate source tracking may lead to expensive infrastructure

improvements that may not improve the water quality or may overtreat the water. A ‘toolbox’ approach involving a number of MST markers is generally recommended for an accurate identification of contaminating sources (Ahmed et al., 2012; Boehm et al., 2003; Noble et al., 2006; Mauffret et al., 2012). We have developed a ‘MST Toolbox’ to identify and quantify the sources of faecal pollution, including humans and various animals in environmental waters in SEQ (Table 1). In this study, the extent of sewage contamination in stormwater run-off from one residential and one commercial catchment in Brisbane was assessed by using sewage-associated MST markers from our MST Toolbox. Stormwater samples were collected over a one-year period from two catchments on a flow proportion basis and subsequently mixed to get an event mean concentration. In particular, this study had the following objectives: (i) to determine the frequency of occurrence of sewageassociated MST markers in stormwater outfalls; and (ii) to evaluate the performance of MST markers to detect human sewage contamination in stormwater outfalls.

MATERIALS AND METHODS Stormwater sampling sites The studied catchments differ with respect to the size of their drainage area, impervious area and land use (Table 2). Fitzgibbon Catchment (FC) represents medium-density residential catchments covering a total area of 290ha, while Makerston Street Catchment (MSC) is located in a high-density commercial area and covers a total area of 30.1ha. The impervious surface coefficient was estimated by using an image classification and cadastral filtering of high-resolution visible aerial photography method and was determined to be 30–39%. Stormwater sampling Automatic samplers (ISCO 6700 series) were used for stormwater sample collection. These samplers were programmed to fill up to 24 x 20L high-



The samples were also tested for the numbers of faecal indicator bacteria (FIB), namely E. coli and Enterococcus spp. Numbers of E. coli and Enterococcus spp. in all stormwater samples (n = 10) exceeded category D under Australian guidelines for managing risks in recreational water. All water samples (100%) were positive for multiple sewage-associated markers. Among the 10 samples tested, five (50%), three (30%) and two (20%) were positive for a combination of four, three and two markers, respectively. This study demonstrated that stormwater run-off in urban catchments is widely contaminated with human sewage as indicated by the ubiquitous presence of multiple bacterial and viral MST markers. The data suggests a strong concurrence (100%) between occurrence of Bacteroides HF183 and HAv in sewage contaminated stormwater.

infrastructure and illegal cross connections between stormwater and sewage networks (Noble et al., 2006; Rajal et al., 2007; Sercu et al., 2009). Identifying sources of faecal contamination in stormwater is relevant since the extent of public health risks may vary depending upon the source.


Technical Features

Table 1. Microbial Source Tracking (MST) Toolbox for the identification of the sources of faecal contamination in SEQ. Tools

Target organisms


Target host-groups

Faecal indicator bacteria-based Biochemical fingerprinting

E. coli and Enterococus spp.


Antibiotic resistance analysis

E. coli and Enterococus spp.


Humans and animals Humans and animals

Marker-based HF183



















Bac-UCD Esp JCV and BKV H-AVs B-AVs nifH




Enterococcus faecium












Methanobrevibacter smithii



density polyethylene (HDPE) containers during storm events (Figure 1). The automatic samplers were used to capture the dynamics of stormwater flow (i.e. rising limb, peak and receding flows) where the samplers were triggered to give a sample volume of 20L. A submersible Argonaut Flow Doppler (Thermo Fisher Scientific) was installed to measure stormwater flow during the wet weather events, so as to trigger the automatic samplers for sample collection.



In all, 10 stormwater samples were collected from the FC (n=5) and MSC (n=5). The collected samples from each event were mixed on a flow proportion basis to provide a composite sample to represent the event mean concentration. Approximately 20L of composite sample was used for microbiological analysis from each site. The samples were stored at 4°C and shipped to the Ecosciences Precinct in Brisbane on ice for analysis.

Figure 1. Automatic samplers setup at the Fitzgibbon site with 24 x 20L HDPE bottles in a tailor-made shed.

Microbial analysis Quantification of FIB (E. coli and Enterococcus spp.) was performed by the membrane filtration method (Sidhu et al., 2012). All stormwater samples were concentrated within 24 hours of collection by using Hemoflow HF80S dialysis filters (Fresenius Medical Care, Lexington, MA, USA) as previously described elsewhere

(Hill et al., 2005). The samples were concentrated to approximately 100mL and further concentration of samples was carried out by Jumbosep with 100K MWCO filters (Pall, Australia) to a final concentration of approximately 10mL (Sidhu et al., 2012). DNA was extracted from 200 µL of each of the 10 concentrated samples using the MoBio PowerSoil DNA isolation kit (MoBio Laboratories Inc., Carlsbad, CA) as per manufacturer instructions, and stored at –80°C until processed. Real-time PCR assays were performed for the detection of the bacteria HF183 and nifH, and the viruses HAv and HPv, using previously published primers, probes and cycling parameters (Heim et al., 2003; McQuaig et al., 2009; Seurinck et al., 2005; Ufnar et al., 2006). The PCR was performed using the Bio-Rad iQ5 thermal cycler (Bio-Rad Laboratories). For each PCR run, positive controls (corresponding plasmid or genomic DNA) and negative controls (MilliQ water) were included. Data analysis Pearson’s correlation (rp) was used to test the relationship between E. coli and Enterococcus spp. numbers in the stormwater samples. Bayes’ Theorem was used to calculate the conditional probability that the detection of sewage associated HF183 and nifH markers in the stormwater samples originated from sewage rather than faeces from the non-target hostgroups (i.e., animals) that may occasionally contain the HF183 and nifH markers (Kildare et al., 2007; Weidhaas et al., 2011). The following formula has been used to calculate the conditional probability.

P( H \ T ) =

P(T\H)P(H) P(T \ H ) P( H ) + P(T \ H ' ) P( H ' )

P(H\T) is the probability (P) of bovine faecal pollution (H) in a water sample given a positive test result (T) for the sample. P(T\H) is the true positive. P(H) is the background probability of detecting a marker in a water sample. P(T\H’) is the false positive. P(H’) is the background probability that

Table 2. Stormwater sites and brief site description. GPS coordinates

Land use

Total area (ha)

Impervious area (%)

Potential source of faecal contamination

Fitzgibbon Drain, Brisbane

27º20´08”S; 153º01´14”E

Residential, large blocks



Sewage pipe network, pets, water fowls, birds, rodents, small numbers of horses, sheep and cattle

Makerston Street, Brisbane

27º28´2.4”S; 153º1´4.5”E

City, commercial



Sewage pipe network, birds and rodents




Technical Features presence of fresh faecal contamination from sewage ingress and animal sources into the stormwater. An increase in the numbers of FIB after storm events has been previously reported in the literature (Brownell et al., 2007; Parker et al., 2010; Sidhu et al., 2012). Enterococcus spp. numbers detected in the stormwater samples were higher by several orders of magnitude than the recommended limits for lowest water quality category D (< 501 Enterococcus spp. per 100mL of water) under Australian guidelines for managing risks in recreational water (NHMRC, 2008).

Table 3. Faecal Indicator Bacteria (FIB) numbers and sewage associated markers detected in stormwater samples collected from Fitzgibbon Catchment (FC) and Makerston Street Catchment (MSC). Sites

FIB numbers

Presence/absence of MST markers

E. coli

Enterococcus spp.











































































a marker was not detected in a water sample. The value of P(H’) is 1 – P(H).

to true sewage contamination and not from non-target hosts.


The occurrence of sewage-associated MST markers was compared pair-wise (occurrence or non-occurrence of two markers together). The percentage of total concurrence was calculated by adding the percentage of cooccurrence (when two pair-wise markers were present) and non-occurrence (when two pairwise markers were absent) for each pair-wise comparison. Among the sewage-associated markers, the HF183 and HAv had the highest total concurrence (both 73%), whereas HPv and nifH markers had a total concurrence of 67% and 53% respectively with other markers (Figure 2).

Baye’s Theorem was used to estimate the conditional probability of accurately detecting sewage contamination in stormwater samples for the HF183 and nifH markers, since these markers have been detected in faecal samples from a small number of non-target host-groups in SEQ (Ahmed et al., 2012). There was a 99% probability that the detection of the HF183 marker in a stormwater sample was due to the true sewage contamination and not from non-target hosts. Similarly, there was a 94% probability that the detection of the nifH marker in a stormwater sample was due

DISCUSSION High numbers of E. coli and Enterococcus spp. were generally observed in the stormwater runoff from both FC and MSC (Table 3), which is most likely due to the

The HF183 and nifH markers have been previously shown to be sewage specific (Ufnar et al., 2006; Seurink et al., 2005) and have been used to detect the presence of sewage contamination in surface waters in SEQ (Ahmed et al., 2008; Ahmed et al., 2012a). It is highly unlikely, however, that a bacterial marker would be absolutely hostspecific (Kildare et al., 2007; Weidhass et al., 2011). Baye’s Theorem has been used by several researchers to overcome the issue of conditional probability of true results (Kildare et al. 2007; Ryu et al. 2012; Weidhass et al. 2011). Based on the Baye’s Theorem, there was a 99% probability that the detection of HF183 marker in stormwater samples was due to true sewage

80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0





MST markers Figure 2. Concurrence between bacterial and viral MST markers in identifying sewage contamination in stormwater samples.



All stormwater samples (100%) from both FC and MSC were positive for one or more sewage-associated markers. Among 10 stormwater samples tested, four samples (40%) were positive for all four MST markers, three samples (30%) were positive for three markers and two samples (20%) were positive for two markers (Table 3). Bacteroides HF183 was the most frequently detected marker in 100% of stormwater samples, whereas M. smithii nifH gene marker was detected in only 50% of the samples (Table 1). HAv had a higher prevalence (100%) in the collected stormwater samples compared to HPv (70%).

Percentage concurrence

FIB numbers and prevalence of MST markers The numbers of FIB in water samples collected after the storm event ranged from 300 to 6,600 CFU per 100mL (for E. coli) and from 1,075 to 17,500 CFU per 100mL (for Enterococcus spp.) (Table 3). The pooled E. coli and Enterococcus spp. numbers from the study catchments did not differ significantly (P > 0.05).

Sewage associated Bacteroides HF183 and M. smithii nifH markers were detected in 100% and 50% of stormwater samples tested. The prevalence of the nifH marker was low in stormwater samples compared to the HF183. The low prevalence could be due to the fact that the nifH markers either have different decay rates in the environment compared to other markers or because of their low prevalence in sewage, making it difficult to detect (Ahmed et al., 2012).


Technical Features contamination and not originated from non-target hosts such as dog, chicken and cat faeces where these markers were occasionally detected (Ahmed et al., 2012). Similarly, there was a 95% probability that the detection of the nifH marker in stormwater sample was due to the true sewage contamination and not due to faecal contamination from the non-target host.


HAv was found to be more prevalent (100%) than HPv (70%) in the stormwater. The presence of these human specific viruses in the environment is not unexpected as they are known to be present in high numbers (105 to 106 per L) in sewage with HPv numbers generally less than HAv (BofillMas et al., 2006). This corroborates previous findings on the wide prevalence of HAv and HPv in surface water and stormwater (Sauer et al., 2011; Hamza et al., 2009; Muscillo et al., 2008; Rajal et al., 2007; Sidhu et al., 2012). Frequent detection of HAv and HPv in stormwater is also an indication that other human pathogens such as other enteric viruses and protozoa such as Cryptosporidium could also be present, thus further increasing the potential health risks. The presence of multiple sewageassociated MST markers demonstrates that sewage ingress is a major source of stormwater contamination in urban catchments. Sewer overflows from sewage infrastructure and illegal cross connections also need to be managed to protect the public from exposure to pathogens in contaminated water. The results from this study suggest very good concurrence (100%) between the occurrence of Bacteroides marker (HF183) and HAv, which may provide a higher level of information towards prioritising remediation projects. In conclusion, this study demonstrated that sewage input could be a major source of enteric pathogen contamination of stormwater. An integrated stormwater management approach to control faecal contamination is required, which may involve controlling sources of contamination such as sewage leakage, elimination of cross connections, and temporary withholding of captured water in basins to allow natural attenuation of pathogens prior to discharge in surface water. This study illustrates that our ‘MST Toolbox’ approach can be used to provide multiple lines of evidence on the extent of sewage contamination in urban stormwater and provide more accurate information on the presence of enteric pathogens and accurate assessment of public health risks.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This research was undertaken and funded as part of the Urban Water Security Research Alliance, a scientific collaboration between the Queensland government, CSIRO, The University of Queensland and Griffith University.

THE AUTHORS Dr Jatinder Sidhu (email: Jatinder.Sidhu@csiro.au) is a Research Scientist in the Urban and Industrial Water research theme of CSIRO Land and Water. He is an Environmental Microbiologist with 10 years of experience in public health-related Water Microbiology. Dr Warish Ahmed (email: Warish.Ahmed@csiro.au) is a Water Microbiologist with CSIRO Land and Water Division. His area of expertise includes faecal pollution tracking and detection and quantification of pathogens in alternative water sources. Leonie Hodgers (email: Leonie.Hodgers@csiro.au) is a Research Project Officer and PhD candidate with CSIRO Land and Water Division. She has five years of experience in environmental water microbiology and is currently undertaking a PhD that is focused on human pathogens within the environment and the associated health risks. Dr Simon Toze (email: Simon. Toze@csiro.au) is a Research Team Leader with CSIRO Land and Water Division and the Water for a Healthy Country Flagship, as well as an honorary Associate Professor with the UQ School of Population Health.

REFERENCES Ahmed W, Stewart J, Powell D & Gardner T (2008): Evaluation of Bacteroides Markers for the Detection of Human Fecal Pollution, Letters in Applied Microbiology, 46, pp 237–242. Ahmed W, Sidhu JPS & Toze S (2012a): Evaluation of the nifH Gene Marker of Methanobrevibacter smithii for the Detection of Sewage Pollution in Environmental Waters, Environmental Science & Technology, 46, pp 543–550. Ahmed W, Masters N & Toze S (2012b): Consistency in the Host Specificity and Sensitivity of the Bacteroides HF183 Marker for Sewage Pollution Tracking, Letters in Applied Microbiology, 55, pp 283–289. Boehm AB, Fuhrman JA, Mrse RD & Grant SB (2003): Tiered Approach for Identification of

a Human Fecal Pollution Source at a Recreational Beach: Case Study at Avalon Bay, Catalina Island, California, Environmental Science & Technology, 37, pp 673–680. Bofill-Mas S, Albinana-Gimenez N, ClementeCasares P, Hundesa A, Rodiguez-Manzano J, Allard A, Calvo M & Girones R (2006): Quantification and Stability of Human Adenoviruses and Polyomavirus JCPyV in Wastewater Matrices’, Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 72, pp 7894–7896. Brownell MJ, Harwood VJ, Kurz RC, McQuaig SM, Lukasik J & Scott TM (2007: Confirmation of Putative Stormwater Impact on Water Quality at a Florida Beach by Microbial Source Tracking Methods and Structure of Indicator Organism Populations, Water Research, 41, pp 3747–3757. Fong TT, Griffin DW & Lipp EK (2005): Molecular Assays for Targeting Human and Bovine Enteric Viruses in Coastal Waters and their Application for Library-independent Source Tracking, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 71, pp 2070–2078. Hamza IA, Jurzik L, Stang A, Sure K, Uberla K & Wilhelm M (2009): Detection of Human Viruses in Rivers of a Densely-Populated Area in Germany Using a Virus Adsorption Elution Method Optimized for PCR Analyses, Water Research, 43, pp 2657–2668. Heim A, Ebnet C, Harste G & Pring-Akerblom P (2003): Rapid and Quantitative Detection of Human Adenovirus DNA by Real-time PCR, Journal of Medical Virology, 70, pp 228-239. Hill VR, Polaczyk AL, Hahn D, Narayanan J, Cromeans TL, Roberts JM & Amburgey, JE (2005): Development of a Rapid Method for Simultaneous Recovery of Diverse Microbes in Drinking Water by Ultrafiltration with Sodium Polyphosphate and Surfactants, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 71, pp 6878–6884. Hörman A, Rimhannen-Finne R, Maunula L, von Bonsdorff CH, Torvela N, Heikinheimo A & Hanninen, ML (2004): Campylobacter spp., Giardia spp., Cryptosporidium spp., Noroviruses, and Indicator Organisms in Surface Water in Southwestern Finland, 2000–2001, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 70, pp 87–95. Kildare BJ, Leutenegger CM, McSwain BS, Bambic DG, Rajal VB & Wuertz S (2007): 16S rRNAbased Assays for Quantitative Detection of Universal, Human-, Cow-and Dog-specific Fecal Bacteroidales: A Bayesian Approach, Water Research, 41, pp 3701–3715. Mauffret A, Caparis MP & Gourmelon M (2012): Relevance of Bacteroidales and F-specific RNA Bacteriophages for Efficient Fecal Contamination Tracking at the Level of a Catchment in France, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 78, pp 5143–5152. McQuaig SM, Scott TM, Lukasik JO, Paul JH & Harwood VJ (2009): Quantification of Human Polyomaviruses JC Virus and BK Virus by


Technical Features TaqMan Quantitative PCR and Comparison

Molecular Quantitative Analysis of Human

to Other Water Quality Indicators in Water

Viruses in California Stormwater. Water

and Fecal Samples, Applied and Environmental

Research, 41, pp 4287–4298.

Microbiology, 75, pp 3379–3388. Muscillo M, Pourshaban M, Iaconelli M,

Ryu H, Lu J, Vogel J, Elk M, Chávez-Ramírez F, Ashbolt N & Domingo JS (2012): Development

Fontana S, Di Grazia A, Manzara S, Fadda G,

and Evaluation of a Quantitative PCR Assay

Santangelo R & La Rosa G (2008): Detection

Targeting Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis)

and Quantification of Human Adenoviruses in

Fecal Contamination, Applied and

Surface Waters by Nested PCR, TaqMan Real-

Environmental Microbiology, 78, pp 4338–4345.

time PCR and Cell Culture Assays, Water Air Soil Pollution, 191, pp 83–93. NHMRC (2008): Australian Guidelines for

Salmore AK, Hollis EJ & McLellan SL (2006): Delineation of a Chemical and Biological Signature for Stormwater Contamination in

Managing Risks in Recreational Water.

an Urban River, Journal of Water and Health,

Available at: www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines/

4, pp 247–262.

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SL (2011): Detection of the Human Specific Bacteroides Genetic Marker Provides Evidence

AA & Schiff K (2006): Multitiered Approach

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of Fecal Pollution Affecting Santa Monica

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Scott TM, Jenkins TM, Lukasik J & Rose JB (2005): Potential Use of a Host-associated Molecular

Parker JK, McIntyre D & Noble RT (2010):

Marker in Enterococcus faecium as an Index of

Characterizing Fecal Contamination in

Human Fecal Pollution, Environmental Science

Stormwater Runoff in Coastal North Carolina,

& Technology, 39, pp 283–287.

USA, Water Research, 44, pp 4186–4194. Rajal VB, McSwain BS, Thompson DE, Leutenegger CM & Wuertz S (2007):

Sidhu JPS, Hodgers L, Ahmed W, Chong MN & Toze S (2012): Prevalence of Human Pathogens and Indicators in Stormwater Runoff in Brisbane, Australia, Water Research, 46, pp 6652–6660. Seurinck S, Defoirdt T, Verstraete W & Siciliano SD (2005): Detection and Quantification of the Human-specific HF183 Bacteroides 16S rRNA Genetic Marker with Real-time PCR for Assessment of Human Faecal Pollution in Freshwater, Environmental Microbiology, 7, pp 249–259.

Sauer EP, VandeWalle JL, Bootsma MJ & McLellan

JA, Gregory JB, Hernandez X, Liang X, Bera

Bay, California, Applied and Environmental

in Three Urban Southern California Watersheds, Environmental Science & Technology, 43, pp 293–298.

Sercu B, Van De Werfhorst LM, Murray J & Holden PA (2009): Storm Drains are Sources of Human Fecal Pollution During Dry Weather

Ufnar JA, Wang SY, Christiansen JM, Yampara-Iquise H, Carson CA & Ellender RD (2006): Detection of the nifH Gene of Methanobrevibacter smithii: a Potential Tool to Identify Sewage Pollution in Recreational Waters, Journal of Applied Microbiology, 101, pp 44–52. Weidhaas JL, Macbeth TW, Olsen RL & Harwood VJ (2011): Correlation of Quantitative PCR for a Poultry-specific Brevibacterium Marker Gene with Bacterial and Chemical Indicators of Water Pollution in a Watershed Impacted by Land Application of Poultry Litter, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 77, pp 2094–2102.


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Technical Features

‘STICKY’ BUBBLES IN DISSOLVED AIR FLOTATION FOR MORE ROBUST ALGAE SEPARATION Is bubble surface modification an alternative to coagulation/ flocculation pre-treatment for algae removal? R Yap, B Jefferson, M Whittaker, V Bulmus, W Peirson, G Newcombe, R Stuetz, RK Henderson

ABSTRACT Dissolved air flotation is now recognised as the preferred separation process when treating for algae-laden source water; micro-bubbles interact with algal flocs, taking advantage of algal cell buoyancy by floating them to the surface. However, successful flotation relies on successful pre-treatment by coagulation and flocculation (C-F). Coagulation during algal blooms is difficult to optimise due to rapid variability in cell populations and associated organic matter composition. Inefficient coagulation can mean that the negative charge of algal cells is not overcome and, thus, electrostatic repulsion exists between cells and negatively charged bubbles, such that bubbles do not float cells to the surface leading to cell carryover, resulting in downstream operational difficulties, such as filter clogging.


The aim of recent studies has been to remove the dependence of successful flotation of cells on the coagulation process, thus achieving a more robust process, capable of achieving high cell removal efficiencies. Rather than controlling the surface of the influent cells focus was directed at bubble surfaces, which are relatively uniform in size, shape and number and, therefore, have a more consistent and predictable surface area.

Both conventional water treatment flocculants and polymers that have been specifically designed to adhere to the bubble surface were investigated for their ability to modify bubble surface properties such that they are attractive to algae. Polymers were dosed in the recycle stream to ensure close contact with bubbles and no pre-coagulation applied. Removal efficiencies of lab cultures of both unicellular Microcystis and filamentous Cylindrospermopsis cells were greater than 95%, comparable with that achieved by conventional DAF. Pilot trials of this modified process are presently underway. This novel adaptation of the DAF process has the potential to improve the robustness of algae treatment during bloom seasons in both wastewater and drinking water systems.

INTRODUCTION Over the last 20 years, dissolved air flotation (DAF) has been more regularly applied to treat water sources that are subject to algae blooms and high organic matter loads. Indeed, since the fundamental studies were undertaken in the late 1960s and early 1970s in South Africa, the UK and Finland, between the years 1985–2009 62 plants of > 50ML/d have been commissioned internationally (Haarhoff, 2008).

More recently, DAF has also received attention as a viable pre-treatment option for desalination reverse osmosis systems (Haarhoff and Edzwald, 2013) and is also frequently used in the advanced treatment of wastewater (Yap et al., 2012). As use of the process has increased globally, studies examining the fundamental Figure 1. A conventional dissolved air flotation process configuration. mechanisms


governing the flotation have similarly intensified, resulting in an improved understanding of the process (Edzwald, 2010). To summarise conventional DAF operation, influent particles, colloids and dissolved matter are first coagulated and flocculated prior to entering the contact zone of the DAF tank (Figure 1). Microbubbles are introduced at the base of the contact zone to collide and attach to the flocs; bubble-floc agglomerates are subsequently floated to the surface where the resultant float layer is removed hydraulically or via scrapers. Generation of micro-bubbles is achieved via recycling a portion of the treated water (typically approximately 6-12% for drinking water treatment) to a pressurised saturator vessel, in which super-saturation of air into the recycle flow at a pressure of 400-600 kPa is undertaken (Edzwald, 2010). This air-water mixture is then released at environmental pressure and micro-bubbles of approximately 10–100 μm are able to form. The overall removal efficiency of the system is modelled as the product of three components: the collision efficiency; attachment efficiency; and retention efficiency, which combine to give an overall flotation or removal efficiency (Equation 1) (Edzwald, 1995): Flotation





(1) Coagulation-flocculation (C-F) is, thus, a necessary part of the DAF process as both charge and size are important parameters mechanistically. For example, by coagulating, the magnitude of the influent negative charge of the particle is reduced to values approaching neutrality, which is not only important in terms of enabling flocculation, but also critical in achieving good attachment efficiency between flocs and bubbles, as bubbles are also negatively charged. Electrostatic repulsive forces have to be


Technical Features minimised to enable good floc formation and strong bubble-particle attachment on collision (Edzwald, 2010; Han, 2002). Floc size, in turn, is related to collision efficiency; it has been shown that floc size can dictate removal efficiencies, for example, the white water blanket model indicated a minimum removal would be observed for particles of 1 µm in diameter (Edzwald, 2010). Clearly, efficient treatment of influent particles, colloids and dissolved matter is dependent on effective upstream C-F. For algae, this can become a problem. While DAF is wholly suitable for algae treatment, taking advantage of the natural buoyancy of cells, overloading of upstream C-F is a common occurrence during algal blooms and, moreover, algae cells can prove difficult to coagulate. There are a number of issues: primarily, the rapidly varying cell concentrations and populations can result in a decrease in performance simply due to the changing conditions and lack of suitable on-line process control techniques; released algal organic matter (AOM) comprising proteins, polysaccharides, lipids and other small molecules has been shown to interfere with coagulation (Henderson et al., 2010a, Takaara et al., 2010); and, under certain conditions, algae flocs can take a long time to form and be fragile, breaking apart easily in turbulent conditions (Henderson et al., 2006, Clasen et al., 2000). While there is potential to implement charge monitoring to control coagulation more accurately (Yap et al., 2012), ultimately a DAF process that does not rely on C-F pre-treatment is desirable. As understanding of the underlying process mechanisms has improved, it has become apparent that the bubble properties, in particular charge and size, are as important as floc properties in terms of their contribution to removal efficiency (Han, 2002). Hence, controlling bubble properties, as opposed to particulate properties, holds real promise for separation of certain contaminants by DAF. There has, therefore, been rising interest in the manipulation of bubble properties to enhance separation efficiency (Han and Edzwald, 2007). This is of particular interest for application during algal blooms, as

algal cells are typically much larger than 1 µm particles for which minimal removal is modelled, indicating that the most important role of C-F for flotation of algae systems is to alter cell surface charge. Alteration of bubble properties is typically achieved via the introduction of chemicals to the recycle flow, such that when the supersaturated air-water-chemical mixture leaves the saturator, chemicals are in direct proximity to the bubble surface during micro-bubble formation. A variety of chemicals have been trialled ranging from metal coagulant, to surfactants, to polymers at the bench scale (Henderson et al., 2009). Henderson et al. (2008) demonstrated that when using surfactants removal was limited by cell size, with experimental results matching theoretically modelled removal efficiencies assuming optimal attachment efficiency, indicating that although bubbles were effectively attaching to cells, satisfactory removal was only achieved for cells larger than 10 µm. Interestingly, when polymers were investigated, theoretical removal efficiencies were exceeded, suggesting that additional bridging mechanisms were involved in the separation process (Henderson et al., 2010b). Polydiallydimethyl ammonium chloride (PolyDADMAC) gave the best results; however, removal was shown to vary between 49% for Asterionella formosa, a diatom, and 96% for Microcystis aeruginosa, a cyanobacterium, attributed to variable algal organic matter character. The aim of the current research was two-fold: 1) to synthesise polymers that were specifically designed for bubble surface modification such that they remain more closely adsorbed at the bubble surface in order to minimise residual polymer concentration; and 2) to trial the process using both conventional and synthesised polymers at the bench scale and pilot scale. Pilot scale studies reported in the current study have been undertaken for the treatment of waste stabilisation pond effluent. Overall, the feasibility of the process for algae removal was evaluated and research questions that require addressing prior to implementation at the full-scale were identified.

Polymer Synthesis A polymer comprising both the properties of surfactants and polymers was synthesised by incorporating hydrophobic carbon chains onto a cationic polymer backbone (Figure 2). In this way, a water-soluble polymer with increased affinity for bubble surfaces and an electrostatic attraction to negatively charged particles, like algal cells, was designed. Free radical polymerisation was used to generate cationic homopolymers, while varying degrees of hydrophobic functionalisation was achieved via quaternisation reactions. Overall, a ‘library’ of 36 polymers, varying in terms of molecular weight, hydrophobicity and charge, were synthesised. Surface tension and charge density were analysed using a surface tensiometer (NIMA, Tietäjäntie, Finland) equipped with a Du Nuoy ring and PCD04 Travel Charge Demand analyser (Mütek BTG, Eclépens, Switzerland), respectively. Nine polymers were identified for further investigation via bench-scale testing on account of their characteristics. Bench Scale Tests Cyanobacteria species, Microcystis aeruginosa and Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii, both obtained from the CSIRO Australian National Algae Culture Collection (ANACC), Hobart, representing a spherical, unicellular cell of 3 µm in diameter and filamentous species, respectively, were cultured in the laboratory. Cells were consistently harvested for jar testing at the onset of the stationary growth phase to ensure uniformity in cell and associated organic matter character. Cell counting was undertaken via light microscope (Leica DM750) and haemocytometer. Cell cultures were diluted to a cell concentration of 7.5 x 105 cells/ mL for jar tests; initially, cells were diluted with buffered MilliQ water. All nine synthesised polymers and polyDADMAC were tested using M. aeruginosa. The best performing synthesised polymer and polyDADMAC were then tested on C. raciborskii. Subsequent tests were undertaken for M. aeruginosa spiked into a 0.45 μm filtered effluent from a wastewater treatment lagoon. Jar testing was performed using an EC Engineering DAF Batch Jar Tester DBT6. Instead of conducting C-F prior to flotation, various concentrations of the synthesised polymers and low molecular weight (MW) PolyDADMAC (Sigma Aldrich) were dosed



Figure 2. Schematic representation of polymer synthesis and bubble surface functionalisation.

RESEARCH APPROACH The research conducted in this project was split into three phases: 1) polymer synthesis; 2) bench scale testing using laboratory cultured algae; and 3) pilot scale experiments.


Technical Features presented here. Pilot tests were conducted in summer (February 2013–ongoing, with preliminary results anticipated to be completed by end of April, 2013).

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Polymers and Bench Scale Tests The 36 synthesised polymers had a charge density range of 1.2–3.9 meq/g and a surface tension range of between 41.1–69.5 mN/m, covering low, medium and high molecular weight ranges. In contrast, polyDADMAC was found to have a charge density and surface tension of 7.5 meq/g and 71.9 mN/m, respectively. Of these, a subset of nine synthesised polymers was selected for trial by bench scale DAF jar testing to represent polymers of wide ranging characteristics (Table 1). The cell removal efficiency for M. aeruginosa when employing each of the nine synthesised polymers and polyDADMAC for modified bubble DAF was similar, ranging from 91-98% for polymer doses of 2.21-6.26 x 10-10mg polymer/ cell (Table 1). This removal efficiency was comparable with that obtained for M. aeruginosa by conventional DAF jar testing at 97% (Henderson et al., 2010a). However, while removal efficiency was largely similar, the residual zeta potential of the treated sample varied widely. The most positive residual zeta potential was associated with polyDADMAC at +7.6 mV, while the most negative was associated with polymer B at -33.7 mV, which was very close to the zeta potential of the cells prior to jar testing.

Figure 3. Location of pilot plant at Bolivar Sewage Treatment Plant (top); Container including pilot DAF plant with external floated, filtered and waste balance tanks and influent and waste lines (bottom). direct to the saturator. The saturator was pressurised to 450 kPa using industrial-grade air and a recycle ratio of 20% was used to float the algae suspensions for 10 minutes prior to sampling for cell counts and zeta potential. All jar tests were conducted at pH 7.


Pilot Scale Experiments A 5m3/h pilot plant, incorporating an in-line static mixer with dosing points for coagulant, polymer and pH control, single stage up-flow flocculator, DAF tank with hydraulic float removal and pressure filters was employed for pilot trials (Figure 3). The pilot plant was installed adjacent to the St Kilda dissolved air flotation/filtration (DAFF) plant at Bolivar


Sewage Treatment plant, Adelaide, SA. Influent feed was abstracted from the same channel that feeds the full-scale DAFF plant. The pilot plant had been specially designed to enable polymer dosing into the recycle flow to test bubble-modified DAF at the pilot scale. A range of polymer doses were tested to determine optimal dose and performance at the pilot scale. The pilot plant required 30 minutes to achieve steady-state in between different doses. Parameters tested included cell counts and turbidity. Dissolved organic carbon, UV scans and charge density were also obtained; however, these data are not

Since the polymers had specifically been designed to adsorb more closely than polyDADMAC to the bubble surface, it was inferred from these results that the more negative the residual zeta potential, the lower the residual concentration of polymer in the treated water and, thus, the more strongly the polymer had associated at the bubble surface. It was, therefore, interesting that polymers B, F and I, which has the most negative residual zeta potential values, were all modified with carbon chains of 10, as opposed to 5, to introduce hydrophobicity to the polymer. Polymer B was selected for further investigation due to the highly negative residual zeta potential and excellent cell removal achieved of 97%, which indicated it was strongly adsorbing at the bubble surface, leading to lower residual polymer concentrations. Similar tests were undertaken on filamentous cyanobacteria, C. raciborskii. Again, efficient cell removal was obtained at approximately 100%, with filament counts


Technical Features with Polymer B will be undertaken in due course. During these experiments, Residual algal bloom conditions Zeta Potential (mV) were experienced with -6.1 cell counts observed to -33.7 vary between 16.2–58.2 x 106 cells/mL. On dosing -12.1 polyDADMAC into the +2.9 recycle flow, upstream -17.2 of the saturator, 98% cell removal and 93% turbidity -18.0 removal was achieved for -13.1 a dose of 1 × 10-7 mg/L -17.9 (Figure 5). Note that when -27.4 applying flotation with no chemical dosing, removal +7.6 efficiencies for cell removal and turbidity were 47% and 27%, respectively.

Table 1. Bench scale jar test results for treatment of M. aeruginosa in buffered MilliQ water using bubble modification with the nine synthesised polymers and polyDADMAC. Charge Density (meq/g)

Surface Tension (mN/m)

Optimal Dose (× 10-10 mg/cell)

% Cell Removal (M. aeruginosa)




















































being below the detection limit. When testing M. aeruginosa with filtered lagoon effluent, it was found that 95% removal was achieved when using polyDADMAC, compared with 91% for Polymer B (Figure 4). As when using buffered MilliQ as the background matrix, polyDADMAC required a lower mass dose to achieve optimal removal; however, this can be accounted for by its increased charge density. Similarly, the residual zeta potential of Polymer B remained close to the initial zeta potential with no polymer, indicating a lower polymer residual in the treated water. It is of note

that in the lagoon effluent, the initial zeta potential was less negative at -23 mV than when using buffered MilliQ. Pilot Plant Trials

The pilot plant was installed and commissioned at Bolivar Sewage Treatment Plant in the summer of 2010 and testing was performed to establish its performance relative to the full-scale plant. It was determined that the pilot DAF plant consistently achieved 0.7–1.4 NTU residual turbidity after flotation when operated conventionally, which was comparable with that obtained at the fullscale of 0.9–2.3 NTU (Yap et al., 2012). This performance was able to be repeated in February 2013, after which the modified bubble DAF was trialled for polyDADMAC the first time at pilot Polymer B scale.

100 90 80

% Cell Removal

70 60 50 40 30


20 10 0 0.E+00







Polymer Dose (mg/cell)

In these initial trials, polyDADMAC has predominantly been utilised due to ease of supply, although trials

The pilot plant was also operated under conventional conditions as applied at the full-scale of C-F using aluminium sulphate and flocculant aid addition, with a 20% recycle ratio, achieving removal efficiencies in floated water of 98±1.3% and 89±4.5% for turbidity and cell removal, respectively. Interestingly, the float observed for conventional DAF and modified-bubble DAF was very different (Figure 6). That for conventional DAF was typically very wet and tended to clump, while in contrast the modified-bubble float was a very uniform, stable layer that was able to be removed in one piece. This has interesting repercussions for sludge handling, such as dewaterability, which will require further investigation.

CONCLUSIONS A suite of polymers was specially designed and synthesised to alter bubble surface properties for application in algae separation in water treatment systems. These varied in terms of their surface tension and charge density properties. When tested in bench scale jar tests using M. aeruginosa, an efficiency of greater than

0 -5

Zeta potential (mV)

polyDADMAC Polymer B

-10 -15


-25 0.E+00


4.E-09 6.E-09 8.E-09 Polymer Dose (mg/cell)



Figure 4. Dose response curves comparing both polyDADMAC and Polymer B for: A) % cell removal; and B) zeta potential, when using filtered lagoon effluent as the background matrix.

Figure 5. Cell and turbidity removal efficiency in the floated water at the pilot scale using polyDADMAC dosed into the recycle flow.





Technical Features preliminary results have been generated for dosing of polyDADMAC into the recycle flow, with 98% cell removal achieved on flotation for algal blooms of greater than 106 cells/mL. Further trials are underway using the specially designed polymer. The float layer behaves very differently to that observed under conventional removal and sludge handling is thus an area that requires further investigation. Overall, this research has demonstrated that effective treatment of algae can be achieved using DAF without the need for pre-treatment by C-F.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The Authors would like to acknowledge Australian Research Council Linkage Project LP0990189 for funding this work. LP0990189 included financial support from SA Water, Veolia Water, United Water, Melbourne Water and Seqwater. The Authors also thank Water Quality Research Australia for the PhD Top-Up Scholarship for Russell Yap. Finally, specific thanks goes to members of staff at SA Water and the St Kilda DAFF plant who were instrumental in the installation and commissioning of the pilot plant and in sample analysis: Mike Holmes, Barry Walsh, Mark Mancini, Lionel Ho, Jennifer Dreyfus and Edith Kozlik.

THE AUTHORS Russell Yap (email: ryap@ unsw.edu.au) worked as a field engineer prior to commencing lab- and field- based research in polymer chemistry and dissolved air flotation. He is currently in the final stages of his PhD at The University of New South Wales. Bruce Jefferson (email: b.jefferson@ cranfield.ac.uk) is a Professor of Water Engineering at the Cranfield Water Science Institute, Cranfield University, UK.


Figure 6. Comparison of conventional DAF float undertaken using coagulationflocculation (C-F) with alum and flocculant aid and a DAF recycle ratio of 20% (top); and bubble-modified DAF float using polyDADMAC added to the recycle flow at a recycle ratio of 20% with no C-F applied (bottom). 90% cell removal was consistently achieved for all synthesised polymers, despite the fact that no coagulation was employed. This was comparable with that achieved when applying polyDADMAC at 98% removal.

mV when using polyDADMAC, suggesting that the synthesised polymer remained more closely associated to the bubble surface. Polymer B was, therefore, selected for further investigation.

It was observed, however, that when longer carbon chain lengths were applied to adjust the polymer hydrophobicity, the residual zeta potential after jar testing remained highly negative, for example, polymer B achieved a removal efficiency of 97%, while residual zeta potential was -33 mV, compared with +7

Excellent removal was observed when undertaking the same jar tests in a background matrix of filtered lagoon effluent. When used for separation of filamentous cyanobacteria, C. raciborskii, close to 100% cell removal was observed. Pilot scale trials are now underway;


Michael Whittaker (email: mikey.whittaker@ unsw.edu.au) is the Research Manager for the Centre for Advanced Macromolecular Design in the School of Chemical Engineering at The University of New South Wales. Volga Bulmus (email: volgabulmus@ iyte.edu.tr) is Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Izmir Institute of Technology, Turkey. William Peirson (email: bill.peirson@ wrl.unsw.edu.au) is Director of the Water Research Laboratory and co-Director of the UNSW Water Research Centre in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of New South Wales.


Technical Features Gayle Newcombe (email: gayle. newcombe@sawater.com.au) is an expert in algae treatment at the Australian Water Quality Centre, South Australia. Richard Stuetz (email: r.stuetz@unsw. edu.au) is co-Director of the UNSW Water Research Centre and Professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of New South Wales. Rita K Henderson (email: r.henderson@unsw.edu.au) is Project Leader of ARC Linkage Project LP0990189 and Senior Research Associate within the UNSW Water Research Centre, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of New South Wales.


Haarhoff J (2008): Dissolved Air Flotation: Progress Journal of Water Supply: Research and

Henderson RK, Parsons SA & Jefferson B (2009):

Technology – AQUA, 57, pp 555–567.

The Potential for Using Bubble Modification Chemicals in Dissolved Air Flotation for Algae

Haarhoff J & Edzwald JK (2013): Adapting

Removal. Separation Science and Technology,

Dissolved Air Flotation for the Clarification

44, pp 1923–1940.

of Seawater. Desalination, 311, pp 90–94.

Henderson RK, Parsons SA & Jefferson B (2010a): The Impact of Differing Cell and Algogenic

Han MY (2002): Modeling of DAF: The Effect of

Organic Matter (AOM) Characteristics on the

Particle and Bubble Characteristics. Journal

Coagulation and Flotation of Algae. Water

of Water Supply: Research and Technology –

Research, 44, pp 3617–3624.

AQUA, 51, pp 27–34.

Henderson RK, Parsons SA & Jefferson B (2010b)

Han MY & Edzwald JK (2007): Dissolved Air

Polymers as Bubble Surface Modifiers in the

Flotation – Developments, Advantages

Flotation of algae. Environmental Technology,

and Research Needs. IWA Yearbook 2007.

31, pp 781–790. Takaara T, Sano D, Masago Y & Omura T (2010):

Henderson R, Sharp E, Jarvis P, Parsons S &

Surface-Retained Organic Matter of Microcystis

Jefferson B (2006): Identifying the Linkage

Clasen J, Mischke U, Drikas M & Chow C (2000): An Improved Method for Detecting Electrophoretic Mobility of Algae During the Destabilisation Process of Flocculation: Flocculant Demand of Different Species and the Impact of DOC. Journal of Water Supply: Research and Technology – AQUA, 49, pp 89–101. Edzwald JK (2010): Dissolved Air Flotation and Me. Water Research, 44, pp 2077–2106.

Environmental Science and Technology, 42, pp 4883–4888.

and Prospects for Drinking Water Treatment.

aeruginosa Inhibiting Coagulation with

Between Particle Characteristics and

Polyaluminum Chloride in Drinking Water

Understanding Coagulation Performance.

Treatment. Water Research, 44, pp 3781–3786.

Water Science and Technology: Water

Yap R, Holmes M, Peirson W, Whittaker M,

Supply, 6, pp 31–38.

Stuetz R, Jefferson B & Henderson R (2012): Optimising Dissolved Air Flotation/Filtration

Henderson RK, Parsons SA & Jefferson B (2008): Surfactants as Bubble Surface Modifiers in the

Treatment of Algae-Laden Lagoon Effluent Using Surface Charge: A Bolivar Treatment

Flotation of Algae: Dissolved Air Flotation that

Plant Case Study. Water Science and

Utilizes a Chemically Modified Bubble Surface.

Technology, 66, pp 1684–1690.

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Planting of a 600-acre citrus orchard near Barrigan began in the spring of 2010, as part of a $10 million agricultural venture. Stage 1 comprises 300 acres: 50% oranges, 25% lemons and 25% mandarins, all of which are seedless varieties. The first harvest is planned for 2013.

Irrigear Member Stores provide customers with complete support in critical areas of water and fluid conservation, management, handling and sustainability. The Irrigear network of independent, owner-operated stores provides local knowledge and expertise, premium brands and products and all-important on-ground service and support. Member stores service agricultural, commercial, industrial, domestic, pool and mining sectors. Three recent projects by member stores in Victoria and NSW include creating one of Victoria’s largest water re-use schemes, completing a water supply and management project at Kupidabin Dairy in Casino, NSW and producing an award-winning domestic pool system in Eltham, Victoria. Cobram Irrigation–Mowbray Citrus, Cobram, New South Wales The Diaco family migrated to Australia from Italy in the 1950s. They established approximately 50 acres of stone-fruit orchards in Cobram, Victoria and commenced a 45-year relationship with the Love family, owners of Cobram Irrigation, as their primary provider of irrigation components and pumping equipment.

Cobram Irrigation was appointed to install the irrigation system. Approximately 5kms of PVC pipe was laid to deliver water to the orchard from a 150-megalitre dam fed from the Berrigan Number 1 Channel. Netafim soil moisture monitoring probes will automatically control the amount of water being applied to the trees. Dealing with the enormous and complex scope of such large projects is all in a day’s work for Cobram Irrigation, a foundation member of Irrigear Stores. Like other independent, owner-operated businesses in the Irrigear group, Cobram Irrigation has developed credentials and capabilities second to none and has built an enviable reputation for excellence. Rural Irrigation Supplies – Water Supply and Management, Kupidabin Dairy, Dobies Bight (Casino), New South Wales

A further 136 acres of stone-fruit and citrus plantations have since been developed on a number of blocks, making the Diaco name synonymous with large agricultural developments in the district.

Milking a peak of 235 cows, producing approximately 1.8 million litres of milk annually and managing nearly 200 hectares of land means that when something goes wrong Sam and Fleur rely on fast, efficient service to get the farm back on track. Starting from scratch, Rural Irrigation Supplies and worked together with Sam and Fleur to create infrastructure that would let the farm evolve over time. Using this foresight allowed subsequent projects to be integrated seamlessly. These days Rural Irrigation Supplies manages all stock, domestic and dairy water supply issues along with the irrigation. Eltham Waterhouse – Award-Winning Domestic Pool System, Private Residence Whittlesea, Victoria In this black pebble pool, Eltham Waterhouse installed a Clearwater salt chlorinator, a Raypak Gas heating for spa along with an Aquatight Heat Pump for the main pool. The pumping system consists of three Davey Power Master pool pumps, which operate the in-floor cleaning system, pool filtration system and spa boost.

Dobies Bight dairy farmers, Sam and Fleur Tonge, have been utilising the services of Rural Irrigation Supplies for nearly 30 years. Since moving to the area in 1981 to start their dairy-farming venture, right up to the current day, Sam and Fleur talk fondly of all of the projects they have worked on with the staff at Rural Irrigation Supplies.

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water Business This pool won best natural residential pool in the Swimming Pool & Spa Association (SPASA) Awards of Excellence (2008) Victoria and second place nationally. With independent owner-operated member stores across Australia, Irrigear Member Stores are an integral part of their local communities and are experienced in providing water and fluid management solutions across a range of Australian environmental conditions. For more information about Irrigear Stores please visit www.irrigear.com.au

WATER INFRASTRUCTURE GROUP STARTS OPERATING COUNTRY TOWN SEWERAGE SCHEMES Water Infrastructure Group has delivered Central Highlands Water’s $18.1 million sewerage scheme for the towns of Smythesdale, Gordon and Waubra, near Ballarat in country Victoria. The project was delivered under a unique Design, Build, and Operate contract with Central Highlands Water under the State Government’s Partnerships Victoria Policy.

At a project completion launch in April, Minister for Water Peter Walsh said the new sewerage schemes would provide significant benefits for current and future residents and will foster growth and development in the towns. “Replacing inefficient or ineffective septic tanks with sewerage systems will improve public health and environmental conditions in the townships, as well as waterways and creek systems,” Mr Walsh said.

Peter Everist, Water Infrastructure Group, General Manager, said that the Virtual Control Room was a key innovation for providing sustainable community infrastructure. “With Water Infrastructure Group’s Virtual Control Room now, we’ve really found a tool that allows us to optimise and automate treatment process technology. We can streamline the way the treatment plants and


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“We’re rolling this out on all our projects and we’re not only getting a great deal of interest from our clients, but also from our technology suppliers and partners, who are very excited about the opportunities that the Virtual Control Room is opening up to provide better solutions and better service for clients and the community,” Peter said.

Geographical information systems (GIS) can play an important role in major infrastructure projects – from delivering time and cost savings to a client to providing a variety of benefits for the community. SA Water’s $403 million North South Interconnection System Project (NSISP) has shown how geospatial tools are a significant data-sharing medium between client, consultants and contractors on a major water infrastructure project.

“We’re working closely with our technology partners to deliver high-tech treatment plants and other infrastructure that will work reliably in remote communities. Commonly, these communities do not have local people with the expertise required to troubleshoot problems with today’s high-tech instruments and processes. It is expensive to fly technology specialists from capital cities or even overseas. With our Virtual Control Room, specialist technicians can remotely access instruments to calibrate and reset them, and access the process control system to troubleshoot and optimise treatment processes. “As well as saving travel and accommodation costs, the technicians have 24/7 access to keep the plants running smoothly. The remote technicians also work with local operators in real time using webcams, Skype, mobile phones and iPads to troubleshoot problems. This provides a very high level of training for the local operators who can then share this knowledge with their local colleagues using the Virtual Control Room,” Peter said. A short movie of the launch is available on Water Infrastructure Group’s YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/user/WIGROUP comau?feature=watch

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Normally, GIS is used during a project concept design phase only – it is rare to have it included during the whole project. The NSISP took a different approach, utilising GIS throughout the entire project. As a result, GIS helped the client, SA Water, achieve a more efficient, accurate and cost-effective outcome than if it used its traditional methods and resources. Parsons Brinckerhoff, who managed the GIS component of the NSISP, partnered with MWH and Tonkin Consulting to form the WaterLink Joint Venture, which was responsible for the concept development, detailed design and provision of engineering and project support services. Parsons Brinckerhoff staff were part of an integrated delivery team that brought together the right resources and skills from both the client (SA Water) and the private sector to deliver an augmentation of Adelaide’s water distribution network on a scale never before undertaken. NSISP achieved every major milestone and target. Operational handover commenced on time and within budget at the end of 2012, 18 months ahead of the original program. GIS was a significant contributor to this success.

GIS saved project time by using datasets, analysis tools and mapping for members of the project team and infrastructure packages. It also provided cost savings by ensuring the correct staffing and reducing site visits and resources that could have delayed design and construction progress or incurred extra cost. For NSISP, GIS supported decision-making and data management and visualisation. It enabled analysis of alternative solutions while incorporating all facets of available data. The strategic importance, staged approval process and critical timelines were assisted by GIS integration. It supported: • High-level route and multiple site selection; • Detailed route designs; • Planning and environmental approvals; • Community engagement; • Procurement and construction management. Early, effective data management through an innovative GIS mapping solution led to timeframe and cost savings for the project. Parsons Brinckerhoff used geospatial tools to create the mapping solution that enabled a diversity of data sources to be combined into a single location and spatially link large quantity of non-spatial information. By utilising GPS attribute data, photos collected on GPS cameras and iPhones during site visits were linked and displayed as required, becoming an irreplaceable resource. As the project evolved, GIS assisted with the creation of training resources to maximise usage and consistency across each team. Based on user feedback, Parsons Brinckerhoff modified the accessibility of the mapping solution to a web application rather than a network-based internal data viewer. The change allowed the


Water Business client, project team members and field contractors to view all existing and new water infrastructure and security assets anywhere, at any time. Nightly updates were performed to allow the web-based mapping solution to display the latest data. As a result, all project teams adopted the mapping solution to ensure up-to-date information was used in decision-making. It enabled analysis of alternative solutions and incorporated all facets of available data. This simple, easy-to-use resource encouraged individual teams to provide and maintain data from a wide range of sources, allowing all infrastructure packages the ability to make informed costing and quicker decisions. This tool ultimately helped achieve a more accurate construction budget and schedule. The project has received commendation from metropolitan councils, elected members, the SA Water Board and the former South Australian Minister for Water. The Spatial Industries Business Association and the Surveying and Spatial Science Institute South Australian Region, recognised the WaterLink JV’s outstanding wo rk with its 2011 South Australian Spatial Excellence Award for the Infrastructure and Construction Category. WaterLink was a finalist in the 2011 Asia-Pacific Spatial Excellence Awards, representing South Australia in the Infrastructure and Construction Category.

KEEPING WORKERS SAFE WITH LONE WORKER APP An innovative mobile phone app is helping organisations improve the safety of their workers out in the field, with Melbourne water retailer, South East Water, recently launching Lone Worker on iTunes. South East Water’s General Manager – Corporate and Commercial, Phil Johnson, said one of the biggest challenges in the utility sector is ensuring the safety and security of

employees who work alone in often remote areas. “South East Water has identified this risk and involved people from different areas of the business to come up with a revolutionary app to support our workers in the field,” said Mr Johnson. “The Lone Worker app is a vital tool for improving safety and minimising risk in the workplace. It gives workers peace of mind to know that there will be a swift response to accidents or sudden illnesses and, if an emergency situation becomes apparent, the emergency services can be alerted immediately.” The Lone Worker app informs colleagues, or an operations contact centre, by SMS and email if a worker is unresponsive. It also sends GPS details of the worker’s last known mobile phone location to ensure they can be located quickly. The app features two modes: ‘interval’ and ‘motion detection’. In interval mode, a worker can set the time they want to routinely check in and the app sends an alert if that time has lapsed. The innovative motion detection mode uses the accelerometer in the worker’s mobile device to detect a lack of motion over a period of time. This enables colleagues to be alerted in situations where a worker has collapsed, is immobile or unable to respond. “Many of our treatment plant workers and maintenance crews work in remote, and sometimes dangerous, locations. They can be exposed to snakes, spiders or rough terrain, and fire hydrant repairs are often carried out at night. In these instances, the Lone Worker app helps to keep our workers connected,” said Mr Johnson. Ben Spedding, a South East Water treatment plant officer, has been using the Lone Worker app since its inception. “The app has prompted me to keep safety top of mind and to think about potential risks on the job. It’s also good to know that someone will be alerted if things go wrong,” he said. “The app can easily be customised to suit the requirements of different work environments. It has applications for workers

in building and construction, engineering, onsite inspection, water and sewer, and taxi industries, to name just a few. A number of government organisations are also looking to use the app to improve their workplace safety,” said Mr Johnson. “These are exciting times in safety and risk management. We are constantly updating the Lone Worker app, based on feedback and practical suggestions from users, and are currently working on an international version of the app as well as a panic alarm function. We are also in the process of integrating the app with our 24/7 operations contact centre and individual business monitoring systems,” concluded Mr Johnson. The Lone Worker app was developed by iota, the commercial arm of South East Water, which was established to promote innovative ideas and proven technologies to the utility sector. Lone Worker Lite is free and available from the iTunes app store. For more information about the Lone Worker app, visit iota.net.au or call 1300 643 711.

TAKING A CUSTOMER-CENTRIC APPROACH TO BILLING Given the dramatic changes in climate, regulation and consumer behaviour, it is no longer possible for today’s water utility to use the business processes that worked well in the 20th century. In addition, many water companies are faced with aging infrastructure, which significantly increases the cost of maintenance, as well as changing regulatory requirements.

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Water Business With so many factors impacting business operations, utilities need to be able to respond to changes swiftly and efficiently. By implementing a solution such as Oracle Utilities Customer Care and Billing, water utilities can adopt and design customercentric business processes that are flexible and enable regulatory reporting requirements to be met quickly and accurately. In many respects, the call centre is the lifeblood of an organisation’s customer service strategy. Yet many call centres may still be dependent on outdated legacy systems. This makes it difficult – if not impossible – for them to respond quickly to customer queries. Likewise, data collection and billing errors can take significant time to properly research and often require calling customers back hours or even days after the initial call. Not only does this frustrate customers, who want their problems resolved immediately, but it is also a costly and non-productive use of call centre workers’ time. Oracle Utilities Customer Care and Billing streamlines call centre activities, increasing customer satisfaction and regulatory compliance while reducing costs. Water utilities must minimise the time it takes to turn customer consumption into billing statements and billing statements into payments. Customers pay more quickly when they receive easy-to-read, accurate bills. Oracle Utilities Customer Care and Billing allows utilities to do all this, in addition to monitoring debt levels, adjusting collection methods to the specific financial situations of individual customers – consumer, corporate, or industrial – and better managing deposits to speed payments and reduce uncollected debt. Any customer care and billing solution chosen to support an organisation must be scalable enough to grow as the utility

does. The solution will also need to be able to accommodate single-customer signups or add large numbers of customers simultaneously without affecting overall system performance. Additionally, it must facilitate swift adjustment of service offerings and prices and accommodate changing regulatory requirements. In the past, many water utilities have simply re-created their existing business processes when implementing a new customer information or billing system. Oracle’s Utilities Customer Care and Billing Express Implementation for Water Utilities changes that. It offers a set of proven, streamlined business processes that are designed, configured and ready to go using water industry best practices from around the world. Common utility processes like collecting customer information, processing meter reads, producing bills, and collecting amounts owed follow a logical business flow that varies little across most utilities. Using these standard, proven business processes can significantly slash implementation time and cost. Express Implementation enables organisations to:

MICROVI AND MWH GLOBAL PARTNER ON WATER AND WASTEWATER PROJECTS IN ASIA PACIFIC Leading treatment technology company, Microvi Biotechnologies is partnering with global leading wet infrastructure firm MWH Global to bring its revolutionary water technologies to Australia and the Asia Pacific. Building on a number of commercial projects already operating in Australia, Microvi and MWH are working on projects that deal with the treatment of wastewater removing organic carbon and ammonia and a variety of pollutants in water, including nitrate. Future plans include working with three major water utilities in the Asia Pacific to build large-scale demonstration plants that will incorporate Microvi’s technologies based on its proprietary MicroNiche Engineering platform. MWH, a global company with nearly 8,000 employees across six continents, engages in the engineering, construction,

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and most technically advanced wet transportation projects for municipalities, governments and multi-national private corporations throughout the world. Microvi’s suite of technologies offers significant advantages over conventional methods including: smaller footprint, no secondary waste or sludge, lower energy demand and ease of retrofit to existing plants. This combination of advantages has the potential to revolutionise the water and wastewater industry.

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