Water Journal November 2011

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Volume 38 No 7 NOVEMBER 2011 RRP $16.95 inc. GST





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Journal of the Australian Water Association ISSN 0310-0367

Volume 38 No 7 November 2011

contents REGULAR FEATURES From the AWA President

Lucia Cade


Tom Mollenkopf


Let Us Know What You Think!

From the AWA Chief Executive Not Surviving, Thriving

WaterAUSTRALIA Report A Chance To Seize a Leadership Role My Point of View The Great Divide – Political Will And Industry Vision

An abandoned water well in the Moroccan desert. See page 50.

Les Targ


Ian Law


Letters to the Editor




Industry News


AWA News


Conference Review


SPECIAL FEATURES The Future is in Good Hands

The Story Behind the Stockholm Junior Water Prize

Corinne Cheeseman


Putting Policy Frameworks in Place

Developing AWA Policy Principles

Andrew Speers


Expanding Deserts Around the Globe

Falling Water Tables Are Driving People From Their Homes

Lester R Brown


Environmental and Planning Laws

Theresa Le Bas


How Well Do You Understand Water Quality?

Annette Davison


Protecting the Integrity of Wastewater Treatment Plants Duties & Obligations of Directors in Public Utilities AWA CONTACT DETAILS Australian Water Association ABN 78 096 035 773 Level 6, 655 Pacific Hwy, PO Box 222, St Leonards NSW 1590 Tel: +61 2 9436 0055 Fax: +61 2 9436 0155 Email: info@awa.asn.au Web: www.awa.asn.au

DISCLAIMER Australian Water Association assumes no responsibility for opinions or statements of fact expressed by contributors or advertisers.

COPYRIGHT AWA Water Journal is subject to copyright and may not be reproduced in any format without written permission of the AWA. To seek permission to reproduce Water Journal materials, send your request to journal@awa.asn.au WATER JOURNAL MISSION STATEMENT ‘To provide a journal that interests and informs on water matters, Australian and international, covering technological, environmental, economic and social aspects, and to provide a repository of useful refereed papers.’ PUBLISH DATES Water Journal is published eight times per year: March, April, May, July, August, September, November and December.

EDITORIAL BOARD Chair: Frank R Bishop; Dr Bruce Anderson, AECOM; Dr Terry Anderson, Consultant SEWL; Michael Chapman, GHD; Robert Ford, Central Highlands Water (rtd); Anthony Gibson, Ecowise; Dr Brian Labza, Vic Health; Dr Robbert van Oorschot, GHD; John Poon, CH2M Hill; David Power, BECA Consultants; Professor Felicity Roddick, RMIT University; Dr Ashok Sharma, CSIRO; and E A (Bob) Swinton, Technical Editor.

EDITORIAL SUBMISSIONS & CALL FOR PAPERS Water Journal welcomes editorial submissions for technical and topical articles, news, opinion pieces, business information and letters to the editor. Acceptance of editorial submissions is at the discretion of the Editor and Editorial Board. • Technical Papers and Technical Features Bob Swinton, Technical Editor, Water Journal – bswinton@bigpond.net.au AND journal@awa.asn.au. Papers 3,000–4,000 words and graphics; or topical articles of up

to 2,000 words relating to all areas of the water cycle and water business. Submissions are tabled at monthly editorial board meetings and where appropriate are assigned referees. Referee comments will be forwarded to the principal author for further action. Authors should be mindful that Water Journal is published in a three-column ‘magazine’ format rather than the fullpage format of Word documents. Graphics should be set up so that they will still be clearly legible when reduced to two-column size (about 12cm wide). Tables and figures should be numbered with the appropriate reference in the text (eg, see Figure 1), not just placed in the text with a position reference (eg, see below), as they may end up anywhere on the page when typeset. • General Feature Articles, Industry News, Opinion Pieces and Media Releases Anne Lawton, Managing Editor, Water Journal – journal@awa.asn.au • Water Business and Product News Lynne Bartlett, National Relationship Manager, AWA – lbartlett@awa.asn.au

UPCOMING TOPICS DeceMBeR 2011 – Desalination – IDA Conference Report; Water Treatment; Water Reclamation. MARCH 2012 – Water in Mining; Water Recycling; Sewer Processes; Smart Water Systems/Metering; Pipelines, Controllers, Leak Detection; Rainwater Tank Technology; Environmental Impacts. APRIL 2012 – Catchment Management; Aquifer Recharge; Stormwater Use; Automation & Telemetry.

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 the AWA. Contact Lynne Bartlett, National Relationship Manager, AWA – lbartlett@awa.asn.au Tel: +61 2 9467 8408 or 0428 261 496.

PUBLISHED BY Australian Water Association (AWA) Publications, 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




Journal of the Australian Water Association ISSN 0310-0367


A replenished Rosslynne Reservoir in Gisborne, Victoria. See page 72.


Volume 38 No 7 November 2011

Murrumba Downs Sewerage Treatment Plant. See page 82.


GREENHOUSE EMISSIONS Calculating the Cost of Gas Emissions From Wastewater

B Hutton, E Horan & D Rouch


M Brandt & K Drzewucki


L McLean & A May


P Woods et al.


G Finke, T Brammer, J Beecher & G Frougas


Calculating carbon tax liabilities from wastewater treatment and biosolids stockpiling Energy Efficiency in the Municipal Water Cycle

Presented at presented

The best technologies in the international water and wastewater industry Sustainable Water Solutions in a Time of Climate Uncertainty Strategies for a medium-sized authority Carbon Abatement Opportunities at Sydney Water

Presented at presented

Applying the Cost of a Carbon Abatement Tool ODOUR MANAGEMENT The Odour Control Facility at Murrumba Downs WWTP

Presented at presented

Commissioning and optimisation of an automated wet chemical scrubbing system RESOURCE MANAGEMENT Resilience of the SEQ Water Grid

During the January 2011 flood event, supply was maintained to more than 95% of the region

D Spiller, C Owens, G Horton & S Banks


WATER BUSINESS New Products and Business Information


Advertisers’ Index


OUR COVER Around the globe, falling water tables and advancing deserts are driving people to leave their villages and seek water sources elsewhere, giving rise to a growing number of environmental refugees. See our article by Lester R Brown, President of Earth Policy Institute, on page 50.




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from the president

We’re Listening … So Let Us Know What You Think! Lucia Cade – AWA President As I write this column we at the Australian Water Association (AWA) are about to launch into our strategic review process, so naturally my mind is turning to the future. And because so much of the strength of AWA lies in its members and volunteers, I ask you to participate in this review process by sharing your views about the future. Over the coming months, AWA’s management, branches and board will examine pretty much every aspect of our organisation’s activities, as well as what is happening in the water sector as a whole. The aim will be to identify the most important issues that need to be addressed and how we might best address them. We want to provide the best value to you, our members. To me, this means both in our specific services, such as conferences and seminars, and regular news updates, as well as in the more general sense of representing the water sector well, and providing balanced and independent thought leadership. To do this we need to identify the issues that will be important to the ongoing sustainable management of water in Australia in terms of infrastructure, resource management, people and governance, to name a few. This is where you come in. Our infrastructure report cards continue to show systemic underinvestment in infrastructure across all categories, including urban water and wastewater and stormwater and, in the rural sector, in irrigation infrastructure. The biggest issues are in both the long-term planning in the face of climate variability and the integration of different sources to create balanced local portfolios of solutions to manage the risk that variability brings. A significant additional issue with infrastructure is how it can be funded most efficiently and what is the most equitable sharing of risk and reward with the private sector when it is involved. Water resource management in Australia is characterised by responsibility for elements of the water cycle spread across levels of government, different regulatory authorities and vastly different economic drivers – depending on whether the use and return of water is for urban, rural, environmental, industrial

4 NOVEMBER 2011 water

or mining purposes. Environmental and health regulations that stipulate how water can be used and in what condition it must be returned vary across the country. Water is charged at different rates across the country and within states and regions. The people who work in the water sector are fundamental to success – an obvious statement, I know. We are increasingly hearing that there is a skills shortage. But what does this mean we need to do? What are the critical skills we need, now and in the future across the sector – in the utilities, in the mining and resources sector, in the rural and irrigation sector, in the natural resource management and in governance and policy? Governance models and industry structure remain areas of interest. Much improvement in the efficient management of water, water infrastructure and utilities has been achieved through governance reforms over the last decade. But there are still different regulatory controls and guidelines and governance regimes in every state and territory. Overall there is a lack of cohesiveness and common purpose between the levels of government, the regulators, natural resource management bodies – and even, it sometimes seems, between government departments and ministerial staff. So what are your views on the state of play in the water sector… the challenges and the opportunities? What would you like to see change, or not be lost? What do you want from AWA? Please share your views by emailing me at: info@awa.asn.au. In addition, AWA intends to once again run its online State of the Water Sector Survey, seeking your views on a range of water matters. In the first iteration of the Survey 1162 responses were received, providing AWA with sound evidence of the views of water sector participants that has been used as a basis for numerous submissions to government. Please participate in the second Survey (which will be announced in AWA’s e-News and in Water Journal) – and encourage your colleagues to do so too. As always, I hope you enjoy this issue of Water Journal.

regular features

from the chief executive

Not Surviving, Thriving Tom Mollenkopf – AWA Chief Executive As this edition of Water Journal hits your desk, AWA will have just concluded its 2011 Annual General Meeting. As a not-for-profit membership association, we are incorporated as a Company Limited by Guarantee. This means that we aim to deliver benefits for members and the broader water community in a collaborative and efficient way while acting in accordance with the highest standards of corporate governance and accountability. A part of that responsibility is for the Board and Chief Executive to report on the financial position of the Association, in accordance with the provisions of the Corporations Act, as well as to be held accountable for progress against our objectives and plans. These are responsibilities that the Board and management of AWA take seriously. While we are largely led by the efforts and energy of our members who devote their time freely for the benefit of the sector, behind the scenes there is a substantial financial as well as human investment. We are entrusted with not only the members’ fees, but also revenues from our many conferences and events, corporate partners, advertisers and exhibitors, to name a few. And while we are ‘not-for-profit,’ equally we cannot be ‘for loss’. For AWA to survive, it must tread that fine line, balancing income and expenditure. For AWA to thrive, it must deliver value to the people at its heart: the members. For all of us in the water sector, the past year has again been filled with change, challenge and progress. We have been reminded of the variable and volatile physical environment in which we operate. The arrival of rains in much of the east of the nation comes as no surprise to most, but it has certainly created a conundrum within our communities and among our elected leaders. There have been other fundamental changes: in governments around the country, in numerous financial fluctuations and in shifts in community attitudes as we increasingly see the true cost of water services reflected in the price of water. Notwithstanding the challenging circumstances in which we have been operating, AWA has continued to grow its membership base. Our net membership increased for the fifth consecutive year. Principally, this is because our activities and events around the country, through our branches, specialist networks and industry programs, continue to deliver value to the sector. As a membership association, the ability to grow member numbers and their involvement in our activities are key success indicators.

accounting for some capital losses, this has brought us back to a very small deficit. This leaves us in a sound condition to continue to meet the needs of the water sector for the coming years. In the past year, in response to member feedback, AWA has increased its role in the policy and advocacy space. Through industry submissions, the Association has raised the profile of the sector to State, Territory and Federal Governments, as well as the media and the general public. Indeed, we are increasingly being requested to provide input to government policy development and are on key government committees. AWA has also facilitated the exchange of ideas, innovations and successes through our comprehensive calendar of events and through our specialist networks. Our annual national conference and exhibition, Ozwater, has consolidated its place on the AWA events calendar. It is the stand-out water event in Australia due, in no small part, to the fact that it is member led and professionally supported by our management team. Our industry programs have been set up for specific industry needs, including the Australian and New Zealand Biosolids Partnership, H2Oz, Water Industry Capacity Development initiative and others. Some time ago, we established waterAUSTRALIA as a discrete entity to raise the visibility of Australia’s water industry globally, increase exports of goods and services, and drive a globally competitive sector through industry development. AWA believes that a sustainable water sector depends on a sustainable industry where our collective and individual capacity can flourish. We have, therefore, committed to grow this program through our financial and practical support over the coming years. This initiative builds on numerous collaborative arrangements with myriad national and international bodies. Australia’s role and recognition internationally is no more evident than in our recent successful bid for the International Water Association’s World Water Congress. This major event has been secured thanks to the support of the City of Brisbane, Queensland Government and the whole of the Australian water sector. AWA will partner with IWA to deliver this event in Brisbane in September 2016. The 2011 Annual Review (and the full audited Financial Statements) are available on the AWA website. I am confident these reports demonstrate that AWA, with the passion and energy of its members, does not just survive, but thrives.

Importantly, despite fickle financial conditions, AWA has been able to deliver a sound financial result. For the year ended 30 June 2011, our operating performance delivered a small surplus. After



wateraustralia report

Our Chance to Seize a Leadership Role Les Targ – CEO, waterAUSTRALIA My thoughts this issue are turned to what I consider to be an exciting opportunity for Australia’s water sector – one which, however, requires the collaboration and coordination of participants across its entire scope. WSAA’s Report Card for 2011 makes a number of recommendations supporting the adoption of the ‘Cities of the Future’ philosophy. This is consistent with a range of public policy objectives and makes eminent sense –─being efficient with our water, maximising recycling and re-use, creating less power-intensive, distributed systems, ensuring we trap as much precious rainfall and run-off for local treatment and use, and balancing the needs of consumers, communities and the environment represent the visionary blueprint for water-sensitive cities. What an opportunity this presents for Australia!

Getting to Market First While there are several “water-sensitive” technologies and products already on the market around the globe, there is tremendous scope for the development of integrated systems and technologies that will ultimately deliver the vision. As yet, no country has emerged as the front-runner to pioneer this relatively fresh market niche. There is still plenty of work to do and further R&D investment is required to provide reliability, safety and economy. However, no water leader I have spoken to doubts that these criteria will be met. waterAUSTRALIA’s commercial vision for the sector is that Australian technology can get to market first and establish a global niche – one in which there is tremendous potential. So what does Australia need to do to seize this leadership position? Commonwealth and state governments can provide part of the framework by co-ordinating their policies and industry assistance programs. Issues such as national harmonisation of standards and providing incentives for technology development and adoption for industry, communities and consumers would go a long way to encourage investment. Our research community, led by our world-renowned CSIRO, has a major role to play. It is already advancing down the water-sensitive cities path, with some of our universities heavily involved in specific aspects. Co-ordination among research investors and providers on research programs, while not always easy to facilitate, would clearly help achieve more – perhaps

6 NOVEMBER 2011 water

in less time. Ensuring the research is plugged into effective commercialisation and adoption processes is of paramount importance and requires collaboration between researchers and industry.

Important Roles Our utilities, local water authorities and local planning agencies also have very important roles to play. Encouraging new, home-grown technologies is difficult when you have the responsibilities that these organisations have for public safety and financial management. Some fresh approaches to government policy may help, but no-one should expect radical shifts – technologies will clearly still need to be proven and suppliers will need to demonstrate their capacities to meet contractual requirements. However, I am optimistic that, over time, it may be possible for industry, utilities and local water authorities to collaborate and provide encouragement and assistance to emerging companies and technologies. The industry also needs to play its part. Integrators, such as our large consulting firms, are often well placed to identify opportunities for new technology and work with SMEs to sensibly introduce them into projects. Innovators, particularly SMEs, need to be responsive and adopt effective business development strategies if they are to develop and capitalise on new technologies and solutions. Some countries find it easier than does Australia to coordinate their activities in the national interest. There are several reasons for this, which is probably a topic for another occasion. What we do know, however, is that Australia would need to work especially hard to secure the buy-in of the majority of our key agencies and the industry behind any co-ordinated effort. Can we develop a national will and focus across the entire water sector? Is it possible to prepare an overarching strategy for our water sector? Our work to develop strategies for export have demonstrated the interest and goodwill of key government and industry stakeholders to build a viable water sector in Australia, and it is probably not a great stretch to develop the concept more broadly. I am aware that there are water leaders who have separately envisaged the development of a national water sector strategy. Champions will be required to make it happen. I add waterAUSTRALIA’s support to such an initiative. The prize will make it very worthwhile.

regular features

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my point of view

The Great Divide – Political Will and Water Industry Vision Ian Law, Principal, IBL Solutions Ian Law runs his own business and has consulted widely in Southern Africa, South East Asia and Australia on advanced reuse systems and the necessity to diversify water supply options. Water recycling is playing a significant role in the diversification of our nation’s water supplies and we have seen tremendous growth in its application over the last few years. There is still much to be done, however, if we are to reap the full benefit of the advanced forms of this option for water management into the future, particularly with the expected growth in our population. As we strive to develop sustainable supplies for our cities into the future, there is increasing pressure to consider all options and, in particular, potable reuse. Australia has had Guidelines in place since May 2008 for the Augmentation of Drinking Water Supplies with water reclaimed from municipal effluents or stormwater. Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA), in its Occasional Paper 25 of July 2010, Implications of Population Growth in Australia on Urban Water Resources, stresses the need for a diversified portfolio of water supply options to meet the future water needs of an increased population. It notes: “It is expected that the development of a diverse portfolio of water supply options including recycled water for non-drinking and drinking purposes, desalination, rural to urban water trading, rainwater tanks, groundwater, stormwater and dams will be required to mitigate the risks associated with population growth and climate change. There should not be any blocks to the different sources of supply and each case should be examined on its merits.” Further, WSAA notes: “It is imperative that there are no policy blocks in place that would preclude a source of water being considered for inclusion in a diverse portfolio of water supply options.” How is it then, that despite the fact that we have in place Guidelines endorsed by three prestigious bodies (EPHC, NHMRC and NRMMC), and that our peak water industry association (WSAA) stresses the importance of considering all water supply options, there are two states (South Australia and Victoria) that have policies in place precluding the potable reuse option from consideration ? It is suggested that these policies are driven by a lack of ‘political will’, which in turn results from advice based on sensationalised media reports and/or perceptions of community concerns. Despite the fact that no such policy exists in

8 NOVEMBER 2011 water

Queensland, a decision was taken prior to that state’s election in 2008 not to commission the Western Corridor IPR scheme on the grounds of a perceived reduction in public support (which was, in fact, still in excess of 50 per cent). This $2.6 billion scheme is currently operating with a vastly reduced capacity, supplying high quality water to two power stations – it is, in essence, a stranded asset that has resulted from a political decision made in the heat of an election.

Growing Frustration This lack of ‘political will’ is causing a growing frustration in the industry as it strives to ensure that future water supplies are developed on a sustainable basis, very much as per the recommendations put forward by WSAA. Water professionals in Australia have shown in papers published in Water and presented elsewhere at international and local conferences, that potable reuse and, indeed, direct potable reuse, is a safe and sustainable water supply option that must be considered in the development of future water supply portfolios. Judging by the reports on the Ozwater’11 Conference, there is an increasing acceptance of the reality that potable reuse must be considered for future supplies – even for our coastal cities. Potable reuse has recently been enshrined in legislation in California in that a Bill was passed by the Californian State Senate in October 2010 instructing that state’s Department of Public Health to complete indirect potable reuse regulations and evaluate direct potable reuse. California thus views potable reuse as a viable option. Australia has had Guidelines for both indirect and direct potable reuse in place since 2008 and all jurisdictions should now adopt the recommendations of the 2010 WSAA report and openly include potable reuse in any options evaluation exercise. Some will disagree and may ask ‘why bother?’, as it will be too difficult to change the way ‘political’ decisions are made. They may doubt that potable reuse will ever be accepted as a viable option in Australia. This ‘business as usual’ attitude is giving rise to problems across the water industry, two examples of which are: 1.

The lack of ‘political will’ places an undue burden on the regulators in some states when well-intentioned, viable recycling options are brought forward by utilities for discussion/approval – the Merrifield proposal to reuse stormwater for potable purposes in Melbourne is a good example of this. As the proposal goes against Government policy, the regulators are put in an invidious position.

regular features

my point of view 2.

With communities in many areas asking for, and expecting, water recycling schemes, numerous dual or purple pipe systems are being installed, despite the industry knowing since 1997 that such schemes are not cost-effective and can generally only be funded through subsidies and/or Federal Government contributions. The high-cost impost of these schemes was again stressed by National Water Commission Water Commissioner, Chris Davis, at a joint WSAA/ WateReuse Association conference in Sydney in November 2010. It is likely that if potable reuse is ever implemented in the areas served by these dual pipe schemes in the future, there will be a substantial ‘stranded asset’ item appearing on the responsible utility’s balance sheet.

We must remove this divide between water supply reality and ‘political will’ if we are to ensure cost-effective and sustainable water supplies into the future. How can this be achieved? Given that ‘political will’ is driven by perceptions of community attitudes – as evidenced by the Western Corridor decision in Queensland – there would appear to be a clear need to focus on the community at large as, if they accept the advantages of including potable reuse into the mix of options, the politicians will surely follow. It was Mahatma Ghandi who said: “If the people lead, the leaders will follow”.

a different presentation of water use and reuse can overcome the issues related to stigma and disgust created by a typical linear project scenario that focuses on the source – wastewater. Groundbreaking research in this area has recently been reported on by the National Water Commission in Australia and the WateReuse Research Foundation in the US. It clearly shows that the stigma can be overcome by using appropriate terminology, by putting water recycling into context, and by ensuring the community is familiar with the urban water cycle of use and reuse. The Australian Water Recycling Centre of Excellence (AWRCE) has taken up this challenge and is about to commission a project that will address one of its four goals – that of overcoming the barriers to reclaimed water being viewed as an acceptable ‘alternative water’ for augmenting drinking water supplies. This project has the objective of developing a National Demonstration, Education and Engagement Program that supports successful public engagement and addresses stakeholder concerns through the provision of contemporary scientific information on the urban water cycle and potable reuse. It will involve leading edge methods of communication to overcome known social barriers to acceptance and adoption.

Overcoming Stigma

This project has wide industry support – both local and international.

While many investigations into community attitudes towards water recycling for potable purposes have been undertaken, only a few have placed water recycling into context or note that water is used and reused around the world by downstream communities. There has been little or no research on whether

Finally, there is a clear need for individuals and/or organisations to take up an advocacy role to assist in removing the divide and ensure that future generations applaud our initiatives rather than denigrate our poorly made decisions, the results of which they have to live with.

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letters to the editor

Impacts on the Fishing Industry Dear Editor, I am writing in response to the letter, “Learning To Live With Nature” from Steve Posselt (Water Journal, August 2011, page 12). In 2008 I submitted an application, and was eventually accepted as a presenter, to Enviro 08 with my paper titled, Aquatic Ecosystem Productivity Relies on Water Managers and Sustainable Cities. I went on to present this same paper (updated) at Riversymposium 2009. I do not have a science degree and am not an expert at presenting, but I am frustrated at the failure of my community to acknowledge the impacts on my industry. The commercial fishing industry in New South Wales has been reduced, removed, restricted and confined progressively over the 30 years that my family have been Dear Editor, In 1985 there was a Clarence River Committee which held seminars and the like about the famous Clarence. Following these events, a steering committee was formed with representatives from several interest groups funded by the then Maclean Shire Council. Around the same time, the New South Wales State Government foreshadowed the Total Catchment Management Committees, which subsequently came to exist and still exists. Between the steering committee’s time and the current status quo, the Clarence Environment Authority was created. Various interest groups, including local government and the Clarence River Fisherman’s Co-operative, provided funding. Around 1989, when the Total Catchment Management was created, the Clarence River Environment Authority (CREA), of which I was chairperson, closed down. The CREA did a lot of research, which remains in my possession. The Total Catchment Management Committee, when offered this research without cost, declined to accept it. In the research, submissions by the Fishing Co-operative and the Primary Industry Department were examined. Clear from the research was evidence of major variations in catches of all species of fish from one year to the next. Also clear was a seven-year running average since records began in 1946 remaining effectively constant. The bulk of flood mitigation took place in the 1970s. Work was effectively completed in 1976 with the Maclean levee. Obviously flood mitigation did not change fish catches.

involved with it. It has been reduced from around 4000 fishers to close to 1200 fishing businesses today. It is this way because of the constant debate about sustainability and productivity. Suicide, depression, anger and frustration are common in the industry. Intellectual knowledge has been lost with the demise of historic fishing families.

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Australia is becoming more and more reliant on imports of fish to our country, while the commercial fishing fleet is being blamed constantly for any depletion and sustainability of our country’s fish stocks. I thank the AWA and Steve Posselt for his letter. You have restored some of my faith in my own beliefs and the world of water and catchment management. Mary Howard GAICD, NSW Women’s Industry Network Seafood Community, Member AWA Fortunately professional fishermen are aware and realise that a finite fish yield divided among fewer fishermen produces larger catches per fisherman. That awareness is now driving the licence number reduction efforts. Over many millenniums the balance between people numbers and other environmental factors comes from wars and bubonic plague. That method of “living with nature” seems to have worked. It seems to me that while a return to such systems of population management is alright for Steve and/or the Greens, it will not sit well with the high proportion of people whose very existence would need to be sacrificed. In recent times, management of flood gates and construction of a large culvert in the Romiaka Channel area have reduced stagnation with little objection. All civil engineers have duties to look after all people as well as the environment. A new wave of would-be dam busters threatens more damage than benefit. How best to provide for people and the environment should and will always, quite rightly, continue to be examined and debated. Colin W Jenkins, Former Chairman of Clarence River Environment Authority, FIE Aust, Member AWA


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Send your letters to: Letters to the Editor, Water Journal, PO Box 222, St Leonards, NSW 1590 or email: journal@awa.asn.au Letters may be edited for length.


NOVEMBER 2011 11




The World Bank has posted an online brochure that showcases innovative and diverse initiatives from across its water portfolio. Case studies range from the Water Footprints Network that supports businesses improving their water use efficiency, to innovative financing mechanisms helping to expand rural water access in Kenya.

In our September Crosscurrent section we ran an item stating that a $54 million rollout of water meters in Tasmania had been criticised on a number of fronts. Southern Water, driver of the project, has since informed us that these claims, which were originally reported in Tasmanian media, had been found to be unsubstantiated, misleading and incorrect. Water Journal apologises for any offence or embarrassment caused to any of the parties involved with the Water Metering project. For an update on the scheme, please turn to page 18.

Australia has been announced as the winner of the international bid to host the International Water Association’s World Water Congress in 2016. Following a series of site visits in Australia, Brisbane has been selected as the 2016 Congress venue during the International Water Association’s Governing Assembly Meeting in Vienna. AWA will partner with the International Water Association to deliver the event.

National The National Water Commission has released its comprehensive assessment of water reform progress in Australia, calling on governments to stay the distance on their reform commitments. In its 12 recommendations to COAG, the National Water Commission urged governments to show renewed leadership, listen to local knowledge and take communities with them as they decide how to balance economic, social and environmental demands. The National Water Initiative: Securing Australia’s Water Future is available from the National Water Commission website at www.nwc.gov. au

The National Farmers Federation (NFF) has urged the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) to consider the health of the river, local farmers and dependent communities in making their final decisions regarding the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

The National Centre of Excellence in Desalination Australia has offered $3.8m to fund 11 innovative new desalination research projects across Australia. Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, Senator Don Farrell, announced the successful projects at a ceremony marking the opening of Australia’s first dedicated national desalination research facility and Desal Discovery Centre.

WetlandCare Australia has launched its 5th annual National Art and Photography Competition to celebrate World Wetlands Day. The aim of the competition is to engage and build the capacity of local communities to protect, promote and restore our precious wetlands. This year sees the introduction of Open and Youth categories for Indigenous artists to complement the established categories in Art and Photography that are open to all Australian residents. For more information please go to: www.wetlandcare.com.au

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Victoria Lal Lal Reservoir recently overflowed for the first time in 15 years, marking a recovery for Ballarat and Geelong’s water storages. Water Minister Peter Walsh said the recovery of the dam was due to above average rainfall and the fantastic water saving efforts of Ballarat and Geelong residents.

Water Minister Peter Walsh has announced the appointment of new directors to the boards of Melbourne’s water corporations. This year, a record 630 expressions of interest were submitted to the Department of Sustainability and Environment for review by an independent selection panel. Chief Executive of AWA, Mr Tom Mollenkopf, was appointed to the Board of Western Water.

Victoria University researchers have received almost $2.7 million in grants from government and industry partners for three innovative desalination projects. The projects will focus on improving efficiency in groundwater desalination techniques, industry guidelines for regulators and policy makers and prevention of biological fouling during desalination.

A new suburb being built south of Melton is set to create a benchmark for Victoria by officially becoming Australia’s first water-neutral suburb. Toolern, which is expected to house 50,000 residents by 2030, will be the first suburb in Victoria where a potable water substitution target is being included in its precinct structure plan. Homes in the new development will be supplied with Class A recycled water from the Surbiton Park Recycled Water Plant to flush toilets, water gardens and wash cars.

Queensland Minister for Energy and Water Utilities Stephen Robertson has asked key water agencies, including Seqwater, to accelerate the recommendations contained in the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry Interim Report. In addition, Mr Robertson has instructed his department to fast-track an investigation into raising the Wivenhoe Dam walls to increase the flood mitigation buffer.

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crosscurrent The Queensland Cabinet has been briefed by the Bureau of Meteorology on what to expect from the coming wet season. Premier and Minister for Reconstruction, Anna Bligh, said the Cabinet also received an update on the Government’s implementation of the Commission of Inquiry’s recommendations. The Premier said that key actions by the Government included a review of the Wivenhoe, Somerset and North Pine Dams Flood Mitigation Manuals; a clear line of command to lower the dams and a review of disaster management plans of 22 local governments that are susceptible to flooding.

Queensland’s Water Utilities Minister Stephen Robertson has officially opened Dalby’s second reverse osmosis plant, which will bolster the region’s water supplies. Mr Robertson said the $6.4 million plant was vital to support the population growth in the region and the burgeoning resources industry, but also to protect the community from future droughts.

Unitywater has teamed up with the University of Queensland (UQ) and infrastructure services company, Veolia Water Australia, to optimise water recycling technology and investigate new methods of purifying treated wastewater. As part of a project funded by Veolia, Seqwater and UQ, research undertaken by the University’s Advanced Water Management Centre (AWMC) evaluates the impact of water quality on the operation of reverse osmosis membranes for wastewater recycling with a purpose-built pilot plant at Caboolture in South-East Queensland.

Southern Seawater Desalination Plant near Binningup (WA) is now open. Parliamentary Secretary for Urban Water, Senator Don Farrell said the completion of Western Australia’s second major desalination plant will assist the state to meet its water security needs. The Australian Government contributed $18.4 million during initial construction of the plant to help ensure any future expansion is as cost effective and efficient as possible.

Australia’s first Desal Discovery Centre and dedicated national Desal Research Facility have been opened by WA Water Minister Bill Marmion at the National Centre of Excellence in Desalination. NCEDA’s new $5 million national facilities at Murdoch University’s Rockingham campus will be used by the Centre’s scientists from 13 universities and CSIRO working with industry to improve desalination technologies, and are the result of unique collaboration between state and federal governments.

Australian Capital Territory A National Climate and Water Briefing was held in Canberra last month. The two-page summary and full presentation are available on the Bureau of Meteorology website at: www.bom.gov.au/water/newEvents/presentations.shtml

South Australia The SEQ Water Grid’s Luggage Point Advanced Water Treatment Plant has won the 2011 International WateReuse Project of the Year award.

Water levels in the Ibis Dam at Irvinebank will be lowered by a further three metres following independent verification that the dam is structurally unsound. Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) Director-General, Jim Reeves, said DERM became concerned about the dam, built in 1907, after core drilling by SunWater in June 2010 found the dam wall was not a mass concrete structure, as previously thought.

Up to 45 litres of groundwater will be saved every second through an important project to protect the iconic Great Artesian Basin. Work has now begun in South Australia on the third phase of the Great Artesian Basin Sustainability Initiative that will help protect the precious water resource.

The Australian and South Australian Governments have finalised an agreement for Australian Government funding of $228 million towards the expansion of the Adelaide Desalination Plant to 100 gigalitres, as part of its total commitment of $328 million towards the plant.

Western Australia Water Corporation Chief Executive Officer Sue Murphy has announced that Programmed Facility Management (Programmed FM) had been chosen as the utility’s new partner to provide operations and maintenance services within Perth and Mandurah. She said the new partnership would take the form of an Alliance agreement of which the Corporation had extensive experience.

A new $37.2 million wastewater treatment scheme has been officially opened in Broome to help cater for the town’s growth and increase the use of recycled water. Water Minister Bill Marmion, who opened the scheme in Broome, said the project included a new treatment plant, a pump station in Roebuck Estate and a 9.9km pipeline.

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The Clayton Regulator in the Goolwa Channel will be removed following an agreement between the Australian and South Australian Governments. Federal Minister for Water Tony Burke and the South Australian Minister for the River Murray, Paul Caica, have announced funding of more than $3.8 million to restore the connectivity through the Goolwa Channel. A similar amount will be contributed by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority towards the project.

Early works are now underway along Old Port Road on the $58.6 million Waterproofing the West – Stage One project. This project will allow more harvesting, treatment, storage and supply of stormwater and will also mitigate flood risk in Adelaide’s western suburbs.

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Member News

Sydney Water has won two major awards for the St Marys Water Recycling Project. The first was a state-wide award for Project Management in the Sustainable Projects Category at the NSW Project Management Achievement Awards. The second was an award for Engineering Excellence “Highly Commended” in the Environment and Heritage Category at the Engineers Australia Awards Sydney Division.

Ray Longmire, formally of KSB, has joined ITT Water & Waste Water as joint Key Account Manager of Sydney Water, alongside Kay Millard.

The NSW Irrigators Council has welcomed the “current thinking” of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority to acknowledge sustainability of groundwater sources in the state and to exempt them from further cuts. Council Chief Executive Officer says officers of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority told an industry briefing in Canberra yesterday that the Achieving Sustainable Groundwater Entitlements (ASGE) program across NSW should be recognised as having achieved the sustainability benchmark.

The Treasurer and Member for Manly, Mike Baird, has announced the start of construction of Sydney Water’s $70 million Northern Beaches Storage Project in Brookvale. Mr Baird said the project will help to reduce the frequency of wastewater overflows into local waterways during heavy rain.

LinkWater CEO Peter McManamon has been named Queensland Public Sector Professional of the Year at the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) Queensland Awards.

VicWater has announced the appointment of Tony Wright as the Association’s new Chief Executive Officer. Tony has extensive experience in water and power utilities across Australia. In recent years Tony has been employed by the Power and Water Corporation in NT and prior to that he was General Manager Planning and Strategy at Central Highlands Water.

Julian Briggs has joined Aurecon as Competency Leader, Water and Wastewater Treatment. Julian is a chemical engineer with 20 years’ experience, specialising in process design, the last 16 of which were with CH2M Hill.

AQuApheMerA The Government has outlined $6.55 million in funding for construction of a new pipeline to deliver clean, potable and secure water to Barraba in northern NSW. Water Minister Tony Burke and Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government, Simon Crean, announced funding towards the $19.7 million project to build a new 27-kilometre pipeline to supply water from Split Rock Dam to Barraba residents.

Sydney Water has made a submission to The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) for review of Sydney Water prices. IPART will determine a new price for water, wastewater and stormwater services in Sydney, the Illawarra and Blue Mountains. The four-year pricing structure will apply from 1 July 2012.

The first drops of water have been pumped along the $120 million Mardi-Mangrove Link on the Central Coast of NSW. The pipeline will help secure water supplies for the people of the Central Coast. It will ensure there is enough water for the growing population and reduce the frequency of use of water restrictions for demand management. The project is an initiative of Gosford City and Wyong Shire Councils, with Australian Government funding of $80.3 million through its Water Smart Program and an additional $40 million combined from the two Councils.

The NSW Minister for Finance and Services, Greg Pearce, has launched a new hydro-electric plant at Prospect which will generate enough power for 1,500 homes. The plant converts potential energy from water flows from Warragamba Dam, which range from 5,000 to 12,000 litres per second, into electricity.

16 NOVEMBER 2011 water

I noticed a surprising opinion piece in eWater CRC’s International Issue of H2O Thinking magazine, Volume 7, titled No short-cuts in water politics, quoting John Briscoe, Gordon Mckay Professor of the Practice of Environmental Engineering at Harvard University, on dams (www.ewater. com.au/h2othinking/?q=2011/07/no-short-cuts-waterpolitics). In his view, the hijacking of water management responsibility by anti-dam, unaccountable, single issue groups showcases the wilful hypocrisy of some of the more extreme environmentalists in the developed world – his rationale being that no developed country has achieved its prosperity without investing heavily in infrastructure development. Interestingly, the article identifies Briscoe, formerly of the World Bank, as being widely credited with first creating and then destroying the World Commission on Dams. Formed to research the environmental, social and economic impacts of large dams – as it was recognised that dams created winners and losers and little attention was being paid to the negative impacts – the commission then wound up, apparently after social and environmental activists joined forces to introduce guidelines that developing countries considered unreasonable. The result was that China took the place of the US and other rich nations to support the current construction of more than 200 dams in Africa and Asia – hopefully including consideration for those negative impacts that Briscoe tried to address. It is gratifying to see eWater including in its journal such articles that highlight the critical importance of a balanced approach to development, rather than single issue, selfish approaches. It also highlights the unfortunate consequences those approaches can have. – Ross Knee

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industry news Tasmania’s Water Meter Installation Project on Track The largest roll-out of water meters in Australia in recent decades is on track for completion by mid-2012 in Tasmania. Southern Water, which is installing around 60,000 residential and commercial/industrial meters across southern Tasmania, began residential installations in April this year. The roll-out represents a major investment for Southern Water and underpins a legislated move to two-part pricing (fixed and variable tariffs) from July 2012. Southern Water believes that households in its region currently use around 375KL of water on average per annum. According to Southern Water’s CEO, Mike Paine, a cost benefit analysis undertaken by Marchment Hill to assess the value of the $30 million residential project took into account the impact of water meters and the presence of pricing signals to bring water consumption to sustainable levels. The predicted reduction in water use across greater Hobart will help lower the costs of sourcing, treating and pumping water. The data collected through metering will also provide Southern Water with the means to identify and tackle water leakage in its networks. The project has already enabled Southern Water to defer expensive infrastructure projects and redesign others.

Southern Water is quality checking all meter installations in its massive roll-out of around 60,000 water meters.

While the high-profile project attracted some opposition before installations started, Southern Water’s market research before, and field experience since, demonstrates a high level of acceptance by the community.

Planning is also underway to install around 3,500 commercial and industrial water meters across the region. The next phase will be the upgrade or replacement of Southern Water’s existing fleet of around 26,000 meters.

“With local government elections underway in November, a big project which touches on almost every residence has provided a ripe subject for debate,” Mr Paine said.

The Elster 20mm V100 water meter with Waveflow Automated Meter Reading (AMR) technology has been selected for residential installations. This technology allows meters to be read from the street using a drive-by methodology – a process which reduces the need for meter readers to enter properties.

“The greatest challenge has been convincing some of our customers of the need for meters, when they see abundant supplies of water in the Hobart region. Southern Water has implemented a comprehensive community relations program – one of the largest conducted in Tasmania – aimed at explaining the connection between water use, water prices and asset planning.

With residential installations reaching the half-way milestone, completion is expected by the deadline of mid-2012.

At a cost of $30 million, Southern Water’s project is partially funded by a $5 million grant from the Australian Government’s Water for the Future initiative through the National Water Security Plan for Cities and Towns Program.

“In reality, the experience in the field is that we are experiencing all the normal challenges expected of a major project of this size. This includes the issues which emerge when installing meters on ageing infrastructure on the customer side, and reinstatement issues. “The project has successfully reached installation rates of around 250 meters a day and head contractor, Skilltech Consulting, a UXC company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, has more than 120 personnel in the field recruited through local plumbing contractors,” Mr Paine said. Southern Water is quality checking every installation.

18 NOVEMBER 2011 water

Southern Water’s Customer Service Centre Manager, Ross Milner, out and about explaining the benefits of water meters and automated meter reading technology.

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industry news Australian Drinking Water Guidelines Updated The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has released the 2011 version of Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG). The guidelines provide the Australian community and the water supply industry with guidance on what constitutes good quality drinking water. The upgraded Community Water Planner, a web-based tool designed to assist small communities to develop drinking water management plans, was released at the same time. The CWP covers microbial, physical, chemical and radiological risks to water supply. Both the ADWG and CWP can be accessed via the NHMRC website at: www.nhmrc.gov.au

National Centre of Excellence in Desalination Opens Australia’s first Desal Discovery Centre and dedicated Desal Research Facility were officially opened in September by WA Water Minister Bill Marmion at the National Centre of Excellence in Desalination Australia (NCEDA) in front of hundreds of visiting international water experts. NCEDA’s new $5 million national facilities at Murdoch University’s Rockingham campus in Western Australia will be used by the Centre’s scientists from 13 universities and CSIRO working with industry to improve desalination technologies, and are the result of unique collaboration between state and federal governments.

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At the ceremony, Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water Senator, Don Farrell, announced that the $20 million federally-funded Centre has just offered $3.8m to fund 11 innovative new desalination research projects across Australia – boosting the number of NCEDA projects to 33. Substantial commercial industry From left: Professor Richard Higgott, David support for the new NCEDA facilities Furukawa and NCEDA CEO Neil Palmer. was honoured with thanks for new gold sponsorships and donations of $500,000 worth of new plant and equipment. Murdoch University Vice Chancellor, Professor Richard Higgott, made a surprise announcement during proceedings, bestowing a rare Honorary Professorship on NCEDA Chief Scientific Officer, David Furukawa, for his outstanding pioneering contribution to desalination in Australia and worldwide over the past 40 years. It’s only the third such award Murdoch has ever made. NCEDA CEO, Neil Palmer, thanked the WA state government, Australian federal government and Murdoch for their foresight and support in creating the Centre’s new world-class facilities and welcomed the ongoing investment.

SEQ Water Grid’s Advanced Water Treatment Plant Wins Award The SEQ Water Grid’s Luggage Point Advanced Water Treatment Plant has won the 2011 International WateReuse Project of the Year award. SEQ Water Grid spokesperson Barry Dennien said the plant was awarded the honour, from over 47 other nominations from around the world, because of its innovative technology and processes.

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“We are incredibly proud of this achievement and once again it illustrates the high standards of the assets that make up our connected Water Grid in South-East Queensland. Even though South-East Queensland currently has a very strong water security position, our ability to reclaim and purify water is our insurance policy against future droughts, and the Luggage Point Advanced Water Treatment Plant is helping to drought-proof Brisbane’s water supply for the foreseeable future,” he said. The Plant has supplied more than 10,150 megalitres of purified recycled water to industrial customers – water that would otherwise have come from drinking water supplies.

20 NOVEMBER 2011 water

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NOVEMBER 2011 21

industry news The Luggage Point Advanced Water Treatment Plant is one of three treatment plants owned and operated by Seqwater in the Western Corridor Recycled Water Scheme that produces purified recycled water from wastewater. The scheme supplies purified recycled water to South-East Queensland’s power stations and new industrial customers as required. Seqwater spokesperson, Cedric Robillot, said the plant has the ability to provide up to 70 megalitres per day of purified recycled water. “In addition to this primary function the plant also provides considerable environmental benefits reflecting extensive testing and research undertaken during construction by the Luggage Point Alliance, in partnership with joint venture partner CH2M HILL,” Mr Robillot said.

”The plant is significantly reducing the level of nutrients entering the Brisbane River by reclaiming treated wastewater that would otherwise be discharged directly into the River and Moreton Bay.” The process at the plant involves nutrients and micro-contaminants being extracted as the water passes through a flocculation and settling step, followed by a system of micro-filters, reverse osmosis membranes and UV-advanced oxidation reactors. The 2011 International WateReuse Project of the Year Award was presented by the International WaterReuse Association on September 12, during the 26th Annual WateReuse Symposium in Phoenix, Arizona, to recognise facilities whose significance and contributions have advanced the water reuse industry internationally.

Sydney City’s $6.9m Energy Overhaul The City of Sydney expects to save $1.3 million a year by overhauling the energy and water performance of its major buildings. Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP said the $6.9 million project would also be a big step towards achieving the City’s ambitious carbon reduction targets.

An aerial view of Luggage Point AWTP.

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“Retrofitting the City’s buildings with energy and water efficiency technologies will significantly reduce our costs – in fact, the project will pay for itself within six years,” the Lord Mayor said. “It will also cut 7000 tonnes of carbon emissions a year, taking the City’s overall emissions reductions from 6.8 per cent to 19.9 per cent – well on the way to our target of 70 per cent by 2030 (on 2006 levels).”

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Winners of the Peter Cullen Eureka Prize The National Water Commission congratulates the winners of the Peter Cullen Eureka Prize for Water Research and Innovation on their outstanding contribution to water science. Professor Quentin Grafton, Dr Hoang Long Chu and Professor Tom Kompas from the Crawford School of Economics and Government at the Australian National University, and Associate Professor Michael Stewardson from the Department of Infrastructure Engineering at the University of Melbourne, won the award in Sydney in September. The Chair of the Commission, Ms Chloe Munro, announced the prize at the Eureka Awards Ceremony. “This innovative model – the first in the world to allow decision makers to allocate water in real time while considering the state of the river system – has the potential to play an important role in determining how we make water sharing decisions that optimise environmental and economic outcomes. In doing so, it supports the objectives of the National Water Initiative and is a fitting tribute to Professor Peter Cullen.


The program will retrofit 46 of the City’s major buildings, including Town Hall House, the Woolworths Customs House in Sydney. building, Customs House, pool centres, community centres, libraries and car parks. They will be fitted with energy efficient lighting, air-conditioning and heating, centralised power management systems to reduce energy consumption by computers depending on activity, and voltage reduction units to slash electricity use in pumps, fans and lights. Water-saving devices including aerated taps and shower heads, cistern modifiers in toilets and waterless urinals, will also be installed.


“Cities are responsible for 70 per cent of carbon emissions globally, so it’s essential that we take firm action now to green our offices and buildings.”


industry news “The model is of global significance and could potentially be adapted to any river system in the world where there is adequate information on hydrology and ecology. This will enhance Australia’s reputation as a world leader in water management and water science. The Commission would like to take this opportunity to wish the winners well with the future development of this important innovation,” said Ms Munro. The Peter Cullen Eureka Prize for Water Research and Innovation is sponsored by the National Water Commission in honour of Professor Peter Cullen’s legacy as one of its founding Commissioners.

Global Desalination Market Grows The global desalination market continues to grow, according to the 24th GWI/IDA Worldwide Desalting Plant Inventor, which covers the 12 months ending June 30 2011. The numbers were released at a briefing on the State of Desalination held at the IDA World Congress on Desalination and Water Reuse in Perth in September. The total global capacity of all plants currently online is 66.5 million cubic metres per day (m3/d), an increase of 8.8 per cent over the 2010 inventory. The total worldwide capacity of all desalination plants, including those online, under construction and/or contracted, stands at 77.4 million m3/d. In all, including plants under construction, 747 plants with a combined capacity of 5.3 million m3/d have been added to this year’s inventory, as compared with 499 plants and 3.1 million m3/d added to the previous inventory. Of the capacity added to this year’s inventory, a total of 2.3 million m3/d has been contracted since January 1 2011. There are now 15,988 desalination plants worldwide, up from 15,180 in 2010. Desalination is used in 150 countries around the world, providing some or all of the daily water needs of an estimated 300 million people. “The desalination market continues to grow, despite completion of major projects in key markets and the effects of global economic issues. Population and economic growth, pollution of existing water resources, and climate change continue to drive the need for new and reliable sources of water. Desalination is one of the answers. It continues to be an increasingly important part of global water solutions for the 21st century,” said Lisa Henthorne, Director and Past President of IDA.

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About Xylem Xylem Inc. (XYL) is a leading global water technology provider serving markets related to water infrastructure, focusing on the transportation, treatment and testing of water and applied water, encompassing all uses of water in the residential, commercial, agricultural and a range of industrial markets. The company’s leading brands such as Bell & Gossett, Flygt, WTW and Flojet, among water NOVEMBER 2011 25 others, have served their respective markets for many years. Xylem sells products and services in more than 150 countries all over the world. Headquartered in White Plains, N.Y., the company has more than 12,000 employees and pro forma annual revenues of $3.6 billion. The company was formed in November 2011 following the spinoff of the water-related businesses of ITT Corporation.

industry news Improving River and Wetland Health

As stated in its recent report, The National Water Initiative – Securing Australia’s Water Future, the National Water Commission strongly supports environmental water purchases and recognises the positive outcomes they are delivering in the Murray-Darling Basin.

National Water Commissioner, Professor Stuart Bunn, launched a national report on the Framework for the Assessment of River and Wetland Health at the Riversymposium 2011 conference in Brisbane in September.

“However,” said Professor Bunn, “the Commission also found that governments need to improve how they monitor the ecological results of environmental watering. This is essential to build community confidence in the benefits of recovering water for wetlands and rivers.”

Professor Bunn said, “This framework can be used to compile a consistent and comparative picture of river and wetland health across Australia. This is important because it allows governments to better prioritise investments in river and wetland health projects and the delivery of environmental water.”

The development of this practical framework is a step towards being able to produce an authoritative national assessment of river and wetland health that brings together the results of existing monitoring programs conducted at state, territory and basin scales. Professor Bunn said, “The framework uses a comprehensive model based on seven river and wetland health components that range from catchment disturbance through to water quality and the condition of fish and other aquatic species. The framework has now been successfully tested by experts and found to be suitable for use around the country. “The National Water Commission developed the framework in cooperation with states and territories. It is now up to governments around Australia to use the framework to improve the way they assess and monitor river and wetland health.”

The new framework will be used to compile a consistent picture of river and wetland health across Australia.

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industry news $2M Project to Improve Water Quality at Malabar Beach One of Sydney’s most polluted beaches is being cleaned up, with Sydney Water and Randwick City Council starting work on a $2 million project at Malabar Beach. Under the joint project, two stormwater pipes that discharge into the beach will be diverted into a Sydney Water pipe that flows out at the old cliff face outfall well away from the swimming area. Randwick Mayor, Scott Nash, welcomed the commencement of the project. “We’ve been concerned about the poor water quality for many years. Malabar Beach is regularly identified by the Government’s Beachwatch report as ‘very poor’ and swimming is not recommended after heavy rainfalls,” Mayor Nash said. “I’m pleased Council has worked cooperatively with Sydney Water to come up with a program that’s set to improve the water quality of the beach. The project will ensure any contaminants entering the stormwater pipes are discharged further away from the swimming area.” Sydney Water Asset Strategy Leader Rod Kerr said: “The project is jointly funded with $1 million provided by the Office of Environment & Heritage to Randwick City Council, $400,000 from the NSW Environmental Trust’s Urban Sustainability Program and $600,000 from Sydney Water. The decision to divert the stormwater pipes follows extensive discussions between Sydney Water, Randwick City Council, the Office of Environment and Heritage, and local community representatives and will lead to significant improvements in water quality at Malabar Beach.”

NWC Report Released The National Water Commission has released its comprehensive assessment of water reform progress in Australia, calling on governments to stay the distance on their reform commitments. Launching the report, Commission Chair Ms Chloe Munro said, “This independent report shows that actions under the National Water Initiative have made water use more efficient, sustainable and secure – and this helped Australians weather the worst drought on record. States and territories have put rules in place for how water is shared, providing clearer directions for communities, industries and the environment – regardless of whether water is scarce or plentiful. “Water trading has given farmers welcome options to buy and sell water as they need, depending on seasonal conditions and commodity prices. We’ve seen governments step in to buy water for the environment. That has put cash into communities as well as being a cost-effective way to return much needed water to precious wetlands. “Better planning decisions are being made because more is known about Australia’s water resources – and about the important connections between surface water and groundwater. “Our cities and towns have more options for water supply and better water security than they did a decade ago. However, just because rain gave parts of the country a reprieve by refilling dams and replenishing rivers, that doesn’t mean we can afford to stop the clock on reform.”


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Developing properties in built up areas near water and sewer pipes What do you need What is best practice? to do? Before you disturb an asset belonging to a water utility you need to get their permission. Remember that the asset you may be thinking of disturbing is most likely serving a number of customers in the area and that any interference with the asset could affect their service. In regard to sewerage assets there are health and environmental implications for those working on the job as well. Water utilities, such as City West Water, South East Water and Yarra Valley Water are only too ready to help you with your development. A simple telephone call can get the ball rolling.

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Before you start a development talk to you local water utility to see how the development might affect the local water supply and sewerage systems, and find out what needs to done so that your development will proceed smoothly. Melbourne’s water utilities are standing by to help you with your development. No one likes to hold up work and an early approach will avoid any future problems.

Who does this apply to? Developers use contractors for their building works, and these in turn often use subcontractors. Everyone involved in

a development needs to make sure that before they work on an existing water supply or sewerage pipe they have the right approvals from the pipe’s owner.

What does the law say? Section 63 of Water Industry Act 1994 says that you must not connect to or remove any works from water utility assets without first obtaining a permit. Section 66 goes on to say that you must not place filling or build a structure on, over, or within one meter of a water utility asset. Did you know that this is legislation and that by not complying you are breaking the law? You can be fined or even go to prison as a result. Why take the risk? Contact your water utility before you begin works.

Who to call? City West Water on 13 1691

South East Water on 13 92837

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NOVEMBER 2011 29

industry news PIPE JOINING SOLUTIONS In its 12 recommendations to COAG, the National Water Commission has urged governments to show renewed leadership, listen to local knowledge and take communities with them as they decide how to balance economic, social and environmental demands.

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The Commission has suggested it’s time to step up the pace on urban water challenges and deliver more liveable cities, It has also backed much needed investments in science and skills, and proposed incentives to spur action. Other recommendations call for water reform objectives to be better coordinated with other important policy areas, such as energy and resources, regional development, natural resources management and climate change adaption strategies. The National Water Initiative: Securing Australia’s Water Future is available from the National Water Commission website at www.nwc.gov.au

KBR Principal Consultant for Harbour Expansion KBR has been selected as the principal consultant by the Seymour Whyte Smithbridge Joint Venture to deliver the Townsville Port Inner Harbour Expansion (TPIX) project for Port of Townsville Limited. Townsville Port is the third-largest multi-commodity port in Queensland.


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As principal consultant, KBR will provide design engineering, construction support and certification services. In collaboration with Seymour Whyte Smithbridge Joint Venture, KBR will work to expand and strengthen Berth 8 to facilitate bulk loading of mineral concentrates and fertiliser, while allowing for the works associated with future materials handling infrastructure. At Berth 10, KBR will provide design services associated with the construction of a new wharf to accommodate cruise liners, the Navy’s landing helicopter dock (LHD), ships and commercial shipping. The Berth 10 redevelopment will also include construction of a multi-use terminal facility, creation of a public realm along the Ross Creek foreshore, as well as reconfiguration of associated roads and trunk services. “Award of this contract builds upon KBR’s past success in the maritime and coastal engineering sector, including two recent major port projects in Queensland,” said Colin Elliott, President, KBR Infrastructure and Minerals. “We are pleased to have been selected for the TPIX project, identified by the Queensland Government as critical to the area’s future economic growth, and look forward to applying our multidisciplinary project expertise for a successful expansion.”

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Nominate now at: www.awa.asn.au/awards



NOVEMBER 2011 31

awa news Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme The Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme (WELS) labels a range of products for water efficiency, helping Australian households to save water and money. Currently a new Strategic Plan for WELS is under development. Following an independent review of the scheme’s initial five years in operation, a new WELS Advisory Group (WELSAG) has been established and includes representation from AWA and WSAA. The group advises the Australian, State and Territory governments on a range of matters including the development of a strategic plan for the WELS scheme for the period 2012–2015. WELSAG is accountable to the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Officials’ Group (WELSOG) and provides advice on policy and operational matters including: • The WELS three-year strategic plan; • Possible changes to the scheme including product coverage and the application of water efficiency standards; • Communications and marketing strategies; • Compliance, enforcement and complaint processes; and • Matters and proposals as requested by WELSOG and/or the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. WELSAG members have met twice since August, with a third meeting planned this month [October 2011]. The WELSAG Chair will attend parts of WELSOG meetings to report the Advisory Group’s views on the above matters. The members of WELSAG have been appointed to cover a range of key stakeholders including small and large retailers, plumbing products, whitegoods, plumbing regulators, water utilities and consumers. Senator the Hon Don Farrell, Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, invited the following individuals to become members of WELSAG. Each person has been appointed individually by the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC): • Mr Ian Carmody (WELSAG Chair), Con-Serv Corporation Australia, representing small retailer/plumbing business; • Ms Jo Benvenuti, The Consumer Utilities Advocacy Centre, representing consumer groups; • Ms Corinne Cheeseman, Australian Water Association, representing water industry professionals and organisations Australia-wide; • Ms Cilla de Lacy, Water Corporation. Nominated by WSAA, representing water utilities; • Mr Ian McAlister, Consumer Electronics Suppliers’ Association (CESA), representing whitegoods suppliers; • Mr Ian Forte, Electrolux Home Products. Nomination put forward by Australia Industry Group (AiG) (Australia-wide), representing whitegoods suppliers; • Ms Carmel M Coate, Plumbing Products Industry Group (PPI Group), representing plumbing products suppliers; • Mr Shayne La Combre, National Plumbing Regulators Forum (NPRF); representing plumbing regulators; • Mr Benjamin Normoyle, Derni Retail. Nominated by Australian

32 NOVEMBER 2011 water

WELSAG with Senator Don Farrell at the first meeting in Adelaide in August 2011. From left to right: Corinne Cheeseman, Cilla de Lacy, Graeme Marshall, Jo Benvenuti, Ben Normoyle, Carmel M Coate, Ian Forte, Senator Farrell, Ian McAlister, Ian Carmody. National Retailers Association (ANRA), representing whitegoods suppliers/large retailers; • Mr Graeme Marshall (WELSAG Ex-officio), Assistant Secretary Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Branch, DSEWPaC. • More information on WELSAG and progress on the development of the new strategic plan can be found at: www.waterrating.gov.au/advisory-group.html

Emerging Water Leaders: Research Identifies Three Key Roles By Dr André Taylor, Leadership Specialist, International WaterCentre. Recent research by the International WaterCentre (IWC) has identified and characterised three important leadership roles played by emerging, non-executive water leaders in Australia who are instrumental in advancing more integrated forms of water management. This research was undertaken to help inform the content of the IWC’s new Water Leadership Program (www.watercentre.org/leadership), which is supported by the Australian Water Association (AWA) and Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA). The IWC first reviewed the international literature on water leadership, and then developed a national online survey. Throughout the survey, members of the Australian water industry were asked to assess the relevance of several leadership roles (identified from the literature) to their organisations. This provided new information on the relevance of particular roles to different types of organisations. The survey also gathered feedback on the relevance of specific leadership attributes associated with each role, such as key leadership behaviours, personal characteristics, types of knowledge and social networking features.

Three Leadership Roles The first non-executive leadership role is the Project Champion role. Emergent leaders in this role act as change agents to initiate and strongly drive processes of change, as well as integrated water management projects and policies. They are highly motivated, stand out early in processes of change and excel at exerting influence. They drive projects on a day-to-day level, unlike more senior ‘executive champions’. They frequently

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awa news Leaders in this role also commonly play the ‘project/team leader’ role, and work closely with other leaders to deliver projects (eg, more senior ‘enabling leaders’). An example of a water practitioner fulfilling this role is a project champion who works with others to initiate and strongly drive a pilot project that showcases an innovative aspect of integrated water management.

Mr Michael Galloway, Water Cycle Management Team Leader at Manly Council (NSW), the recipient of the National Water Commission Water Leadership Scholarship (2011/2012) to attend the IWC Water Leadership Program. promote innovations, question the status quo, and communicate clear and compelling visions for projects. They are also adept at building social networks, alliances and coalitions across organisational boundaries, as well as finding, forming and manipulating venues in which to successfully exert influence. The most effective champions are also good at engaging executives and/or politicians, and gathering their support.

The second role is the Enabling Leader role. Leaders in this role enable others to find solutions to complex challenges involving integrated water management. They create environments where people (often less senior people) from across organisational boundaries can interact, collaborate, experiment, take risks and learn together. Senior enabling leaders (eg, executive champions) may also help leaders at the project level by gathering political and executive support for initiatives, providing resources, sharing risks, fostering supportive organisational cultures and mentoring. They commonly work across organisational boundaries and often link people within an organisation to external people (eg, connecting industry practitioners with researchers). They can be creative in the way they approach problem solving and help to foster innovations at a technical level. They are also adept at seeing “the bigger picture” and the systemic way in which projects and policies interact both within and outside the water sector. These leaders are usually more senior in organisations than ‘project champions’ or ‘team/project leaders’. Their seniority usually provides them with more freedom to network, collaborate and search for innovative ideas. Enabling leaders


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awa news at the middle management level often play an important role in managing inter-organisational conflict that can occur between ‘top-down’ administrative leadership by senior decision-makers and ‘bottom-up’ emergent leadership by less senior leaders (eg, project champions). Although enabling leaders often ‘champion’ integrated water management projects, this leadership role is often less visible and more subtle than the ‘project champion’ role. An example of a water practitioner fulfilling this role is an enabling leader who facilitates a forum for stakeholders to come together to work on a challenging water issue (eg, a ‘community of practice’). The third role is the Project/Team Leader role. Leaders in this role are formally responsible for delivering outcomes from teams working on integrated water management projects. Their role includes building, managing and monitoring the performance of teams. They also build and communicate shared visions for projects, clarify objectives and roles, manage conflict, and foster creativity. In addition, they manage resources and information, and may engage in coaching and mentoring behaviours. Members of the team may be the team leader’s staff or colleagues. The need for advanced leadership skills increases when the team spans boundaries (eg, multi-disciplinary teams that span several organisational units and geographic locations) and the leader needs to rely on his/her personal power to exercise influence rather than position power (ie, their authority). Effective water leaders in this role understand the technical detail, demonstrate strong interpersonal skills, and have the ability to think systematically. This is a relatively common water leadership role that can be undertaken in combination with the ‘project champion’ or ‘enabling leader’ roles. For example, a ‘project champion’ may act as a change agent to initiate a new project, and then become the official ‘project leader’ to deliver it. An example of a water practitioner fulfilling this role is a project leader who is responsible for preparing an ‘integrated water management plan’ which requires input from a wide variety of professionals.

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Development Implications This research has been used by the IWC in two ways. First, it was used to build benchmarking tools (eg, a customised, online 360-degree feedback instrument) that emerging water leaders can use to assess aspects of their leadership and identify opportunities for improvement. Second, it was used to identify relevant material to include in the IWC Water Leadership Program. For example, it validated the relevance of several extant leadership theories and models, such as transformational and complexity leadership theories. It also highlighted the need to help emerging water leaders to build specific skills such as systems thinking, social networking and engaging executives. For more information please email: a.taylor@watercentre.org or visit: www.watercentre.org/leadership.

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The Australian Curriculum Project The introduction of a national school curriculum, the Australian Curriculum, presents an opportunity for water businesses and government agencies that deliver water education programs to collaborate more than in the past. Under the auspices of AWA, an Australian Curriculum industry-wide project will provide the means for the water sector to ensure the quality of water


NOVEMBER 2011 35

awa news education messages delivered across all learning areas. This will lead to widespread uptake of key messages and informed communities who are able to make balanced decisions about future water issues and infrastructure, such as desalination and recycling projects. School water education programs are now an important part of customer service for water businesses. They provide an effective interface where key water messages are delivered to the community. In addition, water education programs play a role in enhancing stakeholder relations. The concept of an industry program, The Australian Curriculum Project, has been developed by representatives in the water sector. An initial Project Steering Committee was formed and met on 16 June in Sydney to discuss the scope of the project, which has informed a business plan for the project. The committee includes members from Sydney Water, Water Corporation, Qld Department of Environment and Resource Management, SA Water, Melbourne Water and AWA.


Importantly this project offers the opportunity for the water sector to collaborate with national education agencies such as the Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority (ACARA) and Education Services Australia (ESA). This collaboration is essential in ensuring existing water education materials are updated, new materials are developed and all resources are integrated into the Australian Curriculum and produced in a new and useable digital format. By working together it will mean there will be less duplication of resources, efforts can be shared and costs can be saved.

Call for Papers Closing date November 30 2011 Supporting publication:

9 th IWA Leading-Edge Conference on Water and Wastewater Technologies 3–7 June 2012 Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre Brisbane, Australia 36 NOVEMBER 2011 water www.let2012.org

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WHO SHOULD ATTEND? • • • • • • • •




Chief Executives Heads of department Decision-makers and industry leaders Senior managers Regulators Policy makers Thought leaders, and Those interested in the leading edge of water sector management in both urban and rural areas.


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HYATT HOTEL CANBERRA 2 - 3 NOVEMBER 2011 The Australian Water Association (AWA) National Water Leadership Summit showcases the most influential and engaging water industry leaders in Australia. Speakers are recruited directly by AWA and include CEOs, senior managers and board representatives from some of Australia’s leading government and private sector organisations. Each year a prominent international speaker brings a unique perspective on external developments affecting the sector. This year delegates will be honoured with the presence of Governor Christine Todd Whitman, CEO of the Whitman Strategy Group, former Governor of New Jersey, and former Administrator of the United States EPA. Themes of the 2011 Summit will include: Structural and Governance Reform in the Urban and Rural Water Sector; Opportunities and Barriers to Private Sector investment in Water; and the Management of Assets in a Carbon Constrained Future. The event will include extensive networking opportunities and a pre-summit dinner will be addressed by one of Australia’s leading commentators on water and the Australian environment.

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awa news Desired outcomes of the project are to: • Provide national leadership and co-ordination so that teachers and students have access to best practice water education materials; • Maximise the opportunity that the Australian Curriculum represents for water agencies across Australia to provide programs and materials that extend equity of access to all schools; • Extend the delivery of water education by working in collaboration with the water sector, Centres of Excellence and the education sector; • Use new technologies and provide online updated and new resource material that will sit within the Australian Curriculum; • Increase student knowledge of career pathways in the water industry and improve water literacy and terminology; • Ensure water-related curriculum resources are supported by professional development for teachers. For more information on this exciting new industry project, please contact Fleur Johnson, AWA Project Manager for School and Community Education, by email at: fjohnson@awa.asn.au or phone (02) 9467 8423.

National Water Leadership Summit AWA’s 2nd Annual National Water Leadership Summit will take place on 2–3 November 2011 at the Hyatt Hotel, Canberra. This is an event not to be missed. Most conferences on the water landscape provide information about technical issues, research developments or analysis on particular topics – all valuable, indeed essential, for the water sector practitioner wanting to stay on top of developments. The National Water Leadership Summit, however, takes a different approach. Speakers at this event are chosen for their capacity to talk about the future of the water industry, the key issues that will affect it, and how these might be responded to or even changed through industry action. The audience that attends hears and interacts with industry leaders and opinion formers.

This year’s keynote speakers include Christine Todd Whitman, head of the Whitman Strategy Group. Governor Whitman is former governor of New Jersey and Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency. Her international experience will be complemented by Megan Clarke, Chief Executive of CSIRO. We will also be honoured by the presence of the new Managing Director of Singapore Public Utilities, Mr Chew Men Leong. Other speakers will include: the Hon. Tony Burke, Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities; James Cameron, CEO of the National Water Commission; Paul Broad, newly installed CEO of Infrastructure NSW; Kim Wood, Managing Director, Allconnex; Professor Robert Hill, Chair, Australian Carbon Trust; Roch Cheroix, CEO of Degrement; and Eamonn Kelly, General Manager, Water with Thiess Services, among others. CSIRO will also launch its new publication titled Water: Science and Solutions for Australia at the event. Visit: www.awa.asn.au/EventDetail.aspx?id=4294971634 for more information.

Queensland Branch News Mackay Hosts Regional Water Conference Mackay Regional Council hosted the AWA Regional Conference from 8–9 September. The conference, titled: “It never rains, it pours”, focused on the unique challenges of managing the water cycle in North Queensland and attracted over 100 attendees.

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awa news Water and wastewater portfolio councillor, Deirdre Comerford, said the conference was a great opportunity for water industry workers to share knowledge and experience with one another. “The past year has seen an extended wet season, extraordinary cyclones and devastating floods throughout Queensland, making it a tough year for us all,” she said. “Having the opportunity to come together as an industry and learn from one another’s experiences is invaluable.”

Mackay Mayor, Col Meng, opening the AWA Regional Conference in Mackay.

The conference included a wide range of presentations from flood recovery to a new smart metering technology being trialled in Mackay. In addition, Council showcased two of its major projects to delegates, along with site tours to the upgraded Nebo Road Water Treatment Plant and the Mackay Water Recycling Project at Bakers Creek.

Tasmania Branch News AWA/EIANZ Technical Seminar The AWA in Tasmania recently held a joint seminar with the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand (EIANZ) in Launceston. Speaker, Michael Attard, Scientific and Technical

Kathryn Pugh, Pres. EIANZ Tasmania, and Michael Attard, NRM North. Officer, NRM North, provided an overview of NRM North’s Tamar Estuary & Esk Rivers Program including information on the Ecosystem Health Assessment Program (EHAP), Lake Trevallyn Algal Bloom project and the Seafood Safety Working Group. The second speaker, Michael Dickson, Director of Green Shadows Commercial Pty Ltd, gave a presentation titled A Perspective on Wastewater Treatment. The presentation outlined new ways to approach wastewater management, including Michael’s thoughts on where the wastewater management industry is heading and a case study on an Acid Mine Drainage pilot project at MMG on the West Coast of Tasmania. Twentyfive members and industry colleagues attended the event, which both Associations agreed was a worthwhile collaboration.


NOVEMBER 2011 39

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

WA Corporate Bronze Ishigaki Oceania Pty Ltd Aeration International Pty Ltd


NEW CORPORATE MEMBERS NSW Corporate Bronze Arid Lands Environment Centre Nubian Water Systems Pty Ltd Corporate Silver Armidale Dumaresq Council Watson-Marlow Pty Ltd

QLD Corporate Silver Central Highlands Regional Council Corporate Bronze Australian Water Engineers Australian Tank Maintenance

Corporate Bronze H2O Conservation Solutions Pty Ltd

NEW INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS NSW A. Chadwick, B. O’Connell, D. Loughran, D. Jacobs, L. Huxedurp, K. Boyes, S. Oosthuysen, N. Jacobsen, S. Bayliss, F. Hartley, A. Behrens, B. Porter, A. Doig, D. Powell, D. Griffiths, B. Wilde, I. Storie, G. Muller, S. Lakshmanaa, T. Higson, O. Kardos, L. Finnegan, M. Williams, L. Beth NT D. Griffen, L. Seddon QLD B. Butler, C. Salmon, I. Johnson, P. Hudson, L. Susarla, M. Sinclair, C. Ryan, C. Conley, D. Caruso, D. Platts, D. Pymble, J. Corfield, J. Liu, N. Chand, S. Creighton, M. Thomas, P. Thomson, M. Skepper, J. Craik, W. Hislop SA L. Mosley, O. Thorne, L. Maxwell TAS L. Bonar

VIC M. Ayre, R. Laffaut, B. Rahimi, D. Mennie, E. Longworth, G. Steyn, G. Del Grande, S.Cassar, P.Leerson, J. Hicks, K. Wilson, N. Miller, S.GreenwoodSmith, R. Daly, WA K. McAuley , S. Simba, A. Shaw, C. Van Zandt

NEW STUDENT MEMBERS NSW M. Maswabi, QLD J. Ruiz Anderson, M. Jallow

YOUNG WATER PROFESSIONALS NSW R. Barton VIC L. Gao, L. Ehrenfried, A. Leo, C. Ferguson WA S. Suter

If you think a new activity would enhance the AWA membership package please contact us on our national local call number 1300 361 426 or submit your suggestion via email to membership@awa.asn.au.

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 October

Mon, 24 Oct 2011 – Wed, 26 Oct 2011

14th NSW Engineers-Operators & Regional Conference, Byron Bay, NSW

Wed, 26 Oct 2011

The Water Recycling Guidelines – Phase 2, Brisbane, QLD

Thu, 27 Oct 2011

SA YWP Industry Breakfast, Adelaide, SA

Thu, 27 Oct 2011

The Water Recycling Guidelines – Phase 2, Sydney, NSW

Wed, 02 Nov 2011 – Thu, 03 Nov 2011

2nd Annual National Water Leadership Summit, Hyatt Canberra, ACT

Thu, 03 Nov 2011

ACT Student Awards Presentation Evening, Canberra, ACT

Thu, 03 Nov 2011

WA YWP My Water Career: Hydrology and Hydrogeology, Leederville, WA

Fri, 04 Nov 2011 – Sat, 05 Nov 2011

QWater’11 Regional Conference, Sunshine Coast, QLD

Tue, 15 Nov 2011

WA Undergraduate Water Prize Presentation , Leederville, WA

Thu, 17 Nov 2011

VIC YWP Mentoring Breakfast, Melbourne, VIC

Sat, 19 Nov 2011

SA Awards Dinner, Adelaide, SA

Wed, 23 Nov 2011

AWA Climate Change Adaptation Planning, Brisbane, QLD

Thu, 24 Nov 2011

ACT Branch Christmas Party & Award Presentations, Canberra, ACT

Fri, 25 Nov 2011

WA Water Awards 2011 Gala Dinner, Perth, WA

Tue, 29 Nov 2011

VIC Technical Tour – Black Rock WWTP and Northern Water Plant Bus departs Melbourne and Geelong, VIC

Thu, 01 Dec 2011

WA YWP My Water Career, Perth, WA

Thu, 01 Dec 2011

NSW Legends of Water Seminar & Christmas Party, Sydney, NSW

Thu, 01 Dec 2011

VIC End-of-Year Celebration, Melbourne, VIC

Thu, 08 Dec 2011

SA Technical Meeting, Adelaide, SA

Fri, 09 Dec 2011

QLD Branch Christmas Party, Brisbane, QLD

Tue, 28 Feb 2012

Technical Seminar, Hobart, TAS

Sun, 25 Mar 2012 – Tue, 27 Mar 2012

IWA Water Security Conference – Resilience 2012, Sydney, NSW

Wed, 28 Mar 2012

Stormwater Seminar, Launceston, TAS


Tue, 24 Apr 2012

Technical Seminar, Hobart, TAS


Tue, 08 May 2012 – Thu, 10 May 2012

Ozwater’12, Sydney, NSW

Tue, 22 May 2012

Technical Seminar, Hobart, TAS



February March

40 NOVEMBER 2011 water

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conference review

Catchment Management ‘Healthy Catchments, Healthy Communities’ was the theme of a recent AWA conference on Catchment Management, which was held at the state-of-the-art Wangaratta Performing Arts Centre in north-east Victoria on 22–23 August 2011. Written by Pat Feehan, Conference Chair. Over 150 delegates attended the conference, which was organised by AWA’s Catchment Management Specialist Network (SN). The session topics for the two-day conference included: • Catchment management – what it is and why it’s important; what are our expectations and what we want from it; • Demonstrating and quantifying land use impacts on water quality – the connection between land management and water quality; the importance of catchment condition as a determinant of water quality; • Setting priorities and managing risks – linking drinking water risk management with catchment and river health programs; • Catchment management toolkit – what tools can we use to manage risks? Physical (works) and non-physical approaches. Decision making processes; • Catchment and water quality monitoring and evaluation – using monitoring to design and guide catchment management activities; • Valuing catchments as business assets – funding catchment management activities; cost-benefit analysis. Reflecting on the event, Conference Chair, Pat Feehan, Director, Feehan Consulting Pty Ltd, said: “The program was ambitious, but the relevance and quality of speakers, and their willingness to come to Wangaratta to talk about catchment management, was most gratifying. Some of the more technical presentations were balanced by ‘reports from the coalface’ from field-based catchment management practitioners.” He noted that it is very difficult for catchment managers to be across all aspects of catchment management. It is important for practitioners to be aware of sources of relevant information and a conference such as this provides that opportunity. The sessions covered a wide range of topics which demonstrated the scope of catchment management. Each topic could be the subject of a conference on its own, but the organising committee wanted to ensure the event had widespread appeal and, as the first such AWA conference, that a broad range of topics was covered. Over the two days a total of 31 speakers represented a variety of topics and disciplines involved in catchment management, including:

• Lawyers. Mr Feehan also noted the importance of working out where in a catchment to make a difference. Presentations by Kirsten Verburg (Spatial Diagnosis of Water Quality), Ted Lefroy (Linking Investment To The Condition Of Natural Resources), Gary Jones (eWater Source Integrated Catchment Modelling System) and Christobel Ferguson (Catchment Pathogen Budgeting) all gave insights about where or how to target catchment management activities. The need to involve municipalities in catchment management was highlighted by Narelle Martin, who spoke of her work with municipalities in Canada in the wake of the Walkerton incident, and Rob Franklin who discussed development and septic tank issues north of Melbourne. Andrew Watkinson outlined South East Queensland Water’s efforts to link catchment management activities with water quality objectives. Barwon Water’s Jared Scott provided examples of his organisation working closely with the local catchment management authority to achieve outcomes beneficial to landholders and the two organisations. The often overlooked social aspect of catchment management was covered in presentations by Blair Nancarrow (Methodology For Policy Development In The Context Of Recreation In Drinking Water Catchments) and Ted Lefroy (on behalf of Wendy Merritt – Factors Affecting Landholder Adoption Of Best Management Practices). Feedback from participants indicated that the conference successfully met the expectations of attendees. A pre-conference tour inspected urban stormwater wetlands in Wangaratta, the Wangaratta Drinking Water Treatment Plant and the Reedy Creek catchment – a source of sediment which threatens the values of the lower Ovens River. The tour was led by Veronica Lanigan from the North East Catchment Management Authority. The tour concluded with a tasting of fine wines at Sam Miranda’s winery at nearby Oxley. (The winery also provided some of the conference door prizes.) David Sheehan, Co-Convener of the Catchment Management Specialist Network, said the SN would now be challenged to continue with the momentum generated by the conference. The network is now developing ideas for future activities. He said the SN is working to ensure that conference papers and presentations would be made more widely available than only to conference attendees. The papers and presentations are a wonderful resource for catchment management practitioners.

The committee was ably assisted by Gail Reardon (AWA Victorian Branch) and Elena Sidorova (AWA National Office).

• Researchers;

• Social scientists;

• Economists; and

The conference organising committee was Pat Feehan (Chair), Feehan Consulting; Christobel Ferguson, ALS Environmental; David Sheehan, Dept of Health (VIC); Rob Considine, Melbourne Water; and Bob Ford (retired, Central Highlands Water).

• Policy makers;

• Modellers;

• Land and water managers;

Professor Gary Jones, Chief Executive, eWater CRC.

42 NOVEMBER 2011 water

For more information on the Catchment Management Specialist Network please visit: www.awa.asn.au/Catchment_ Management.aspx

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The Future is in Good Hands Brilliant young minds provide solutions to water issues as part of the Stockholm Junior Water Prize Corinne Cheeseman, AWA National Manager – Technical Programs Each year, the international Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP) competition brings together the world’s brightest young scientists to encourage their continued interest in water and the environment. Each of the finalists represented in Stockholm are the champions of national competitions with thousands of participants entering unique projects in 30 countries. The competition is open to young people between the ages of 15 and 20 who have conducted water-related projects focusing on local, regional, national or global topics of environmental, scientific, social or technological importance. The international winner receives a US$5,000 award and a prize sculpture. As a result of the national competitions, thousands of young people around the world become interested in water. This year, the SJWP celebrated its 15th anniversary and welcomed the winners of national competitions in Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Canada, Chile, China, Cyprus, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Singapore, Slovak Republic, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom, Ukraine, US and Vietnam.

The SJWP is part of World Water Week in Stockholm – an international conference which focuses on developing world water and sanitation issues. Both SJWP and World Water Week are run by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI). The water challenges our younger generations face will be more intense, intricate and expansive than ever before. Looking Australian Finalist Mathuja Bavanendrakumar. at the work that was brought to Stockholm, they created a compelling case to show they are up to the task.

After 15 years, the SJWP has shown that brilliant young minds can find inspiration in some unlikely places. Ingenious teams from the world over have shown how to clean water and protect marine environments with everything from oysters to eggshells. They also see opportunity and hope where most find challenges, and develop solutions that are cost-efficient, immediate and applicable the world over.

The Australian Water Association (AWA) has been the national organiser for the Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP) since 1998. Each year AWA runs a national water science competition for high school students and selects a representative to go to Stockholm and compete in the international final. The SJWP is regarded as one of the world’s best international student prizes and enjoys the patronage of HRH Princess Victoria of Sweden, who attends the Awards Ceremony each year and is introduced to all of the national finalists.

During their time in Stockholm, all of the finalists have the opportunity to meet and learn from the present leaders of the global water community (as part of World Water Week in Stockholm), and make life-long friendships with international compatriots who share a passion for water and science. They also have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to receive the international prize from HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden during the exciting prize ceremony.

The SJWP has been well supported in Australia through sponsorship and in 2010/11 was sponsored by ITT Water and Wastewater, SA Water and Allconnex Water. Sponsorship covers the costs of running the award and travel costs to go to Stockholm for the winning student and the AWA organiser. In Stockholm, the SJWP finalists participate in a five-day cultural program and give short presentations to the ‘International Jury’, which determines the winner.

Seeing Opportunity in Challenges

Bright young contestants from around the globe come together at the 2011 Stockholm Junior Water Prize Competition.

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Does Phosphate Run-off from Golf Courses Contribute to Eutrophication in Adjacent Water Bodies? By Mathuja Bavanendrakumar This study investigated whether phosphate run-off from golf courses contributes to eutrophication in adjacent water bodies. Seven golf courses with internal lakes were randomly selected in the Gold Coast and, for each, a water body within a onekilometre radius was chosen. It was found that all internal lakes in the golf courses and adjacent natural water bodies tested had eutrophication occurring in them, indicating moderate to high risk of algal toxication. Moreover, five out of seven golf-course internal lakes and three out of seven of the adjacent water bodies had excessive phosphate concentrations, which indicates that run-off from golf courses is likely contributing to the eutrophication. The study concluded that reduced fertiliser use on golf courses could lessen local eutrophication.

The International Jury includes experts within the field of water who, by committee consensus, appoint the winner of the international final. The decision is based on the written report, a short presentation of the display material and interviews with the finalists. The Stockholm Water Foundation Board appoints the Jury members. The 2011 International Jury members were: Dr Fredrik Moberg (Chair), Sweden; Mr Björn von Euler, US; Ms Charlotte de Fraiture, Ghana; Ms Eileen O’Neill, US; Dr Piet Lens, Netherlands; Ms Susana Sandoz, Bolivia; Mr Alex Simalabwi, Sweden; and Ms Helene Brinkenfeldt (Secretary), SIWI, Sweden. This year Corinne Cheeseman, AWA’s National Manager – Technical Programs, accompanied Australia’s representative to Sweden. As an SJWP national organiser Corinne participated in a number of activities with the SJWP finalists, had the opportunity to share ideas with other national organisers, and received a free registration to attend World Water Week in Stockholm.

Congratulations to our Australian Finalist Mathuja Bavanendrakumar was the Australian SJWP finalist for 2011. Mathuja is 17 years old and from the Gold Coast, Queensland. Mathuja submitted her project while she was attending Queensland Academy for Health Sciences. She finished school last year and is now doing a pre-medical degree at the University of Queensland. Mathuja was an excellent representative for Australia. A description of her project is given in the box above. American teenager, Alison Bick, won the 2011 Stockholm Junior Water Prize and a Diploma of Excellence was given to Prasan Warnakula from Sri Lanka. Alison received the 2011 Stockholm Junior Water Prize from HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden. The American teen has developed a

low-cost portable method to test water quality using a mobile phone. Alison worked for four years on her project, which combines micro-fluidic devices, cell phones and chemical indicators to evaluate water quality. Her innovative method does not only accurately assess the bacteria content of water. It is both significantly faster and up to 200 times less expensive than standard testing procedures.

American teenager Alison Bick (right), this year’s SJWP winner.

“This year’s winning project reflects truly out of the box thinking to find a solution to an important real world problem that is relevant in both a developing and developed country context,” said the International Jury in its citation. “It is the result of a creative, multi-faceted, and long-term effort that was triggered by an actual problem in the local community. It has the potential to revolutionise our ability to monitor water quality in a way that is fast, accurate, more flexible and less expensive than existing technologies.” “I thought it was absolutely fascinating to speak to all the different contestants from all the different nations and cultures,” Alison said after receiving the prize. “It was something I’ve never experienced before. I am really excited to win such a prestigious contest. Hopefully I’ll keep in contact with the other contestants and collaborate one day.” A Diploma of Excellence was awarded to Prasan Warnakula from Sri Lanka for his project, ‘From pollutant to pulp: industrial symbiosis of textile finishing, paper recycling and pulp production’. The International Jury said, “This year’s diploma of excellence is awarded to a project that reflects a refreshing new way of systems thinking that is highly needed for future sustainability. The jury was very impressed by the independent nature of the investigation and especially the innovative approach to conducting the experiments using equipment adapted from items readily available in the home environment. The principle of this detailed project is inspired by nature and will soon be applied in a much larger context: a real world example of industrial symbiosis in a developing country.”

Corinne Cheeseman (AWA) and Mathuja Bavanendrakumar meet HRH Princess Victoria before the SJWP Ceremony.

Entries are now open for AWA’s National Stockholm Junior Water Prize Competition 2012. For more details visit: www.awa.asn.au/sjwp or email Fleur Johnson at: fjohnson@awa.asn.au Entries close 30 November 2011.


NOVEMBER 2011 45

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Putting Policy Frameworks in Place The evolution and implementation of AWA’s own policy initiatives will not only guide the development of policy within the Association, but will also enable AWA to speak with a more consistent voice across the various State and Territory branches and within National Head Office. Written by Andrew Speers, AWA National Manager – Policy. Earlier this year, a small project was undertaken to look at how other member-based organisations deal with policy issues. The organisations to which the Australian Water Association (AWA) compared itself ranged from other water organisations – such as Water NZ, the American Water Works Association (AWWA), the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association (CWWA), Irrigation Australia and EUREAU (the European Federation of National Associations of Water and Wastewater Services) – as well as other related organisations such as the Housing Industry Association (HIA), Energy Networks Association (ENA) and Smart Grid Australia. The approaches taken by most of these organisations are broadly analogous to those followed by AWA. Some organisations see their role as involving a high degree of advocacy, whereas others produce guidelines and advice mainly for use by members, although there is a tendency toward the former. This is a space that AWA hopes increasingly to occupy.

Influence of Fundamental Principles In some organisations, policy development activities are guided by an articulation of the organisation’s fundamental principles. For example, HIA has developed a formal Policy Framework that sets out its guiding principles, which help to shape its policy responses. As part of a recommendation to the AWA Board earlier this year, it was proposed that AWA develop a similar policy framework. This recommendation was accepted by the Board.

1. The health of consumers should be protected. The purpose of water and wastewater systems has always been to protect the community’s health. Policy proposals should support this goal. 2. Communities and stakeholders should be consulted about policies that affect them. Policy decisions will always have an impact on someone or some group. AWA believes that appropriate consultation with communities and other stakeholders is an essential inclusion in policy. Thus, where appropriate, AWA will comment on the effectiveness of consultation mechanisms included in draft policies, or will recommend policies be amended where appropriate consultation is lacking. Consultation should be meaningful and be undertaken early in the policy development process so that the outcomes of consultation can be accommodated. 3. Policies should be based on sound evidence. AWA acknowledges that there will always be uncertainty. Nevertheless, policies that are rigorous with regard to the gathering of evidence and which are based on sound and current science, will be encouraged. 4. Effective and transparent governance frameworks should underpin all water related institutions. AWA believes that the roles and responsibilities of the different institutions contributing to the delivery of safe and reliable water services – including operators, regulators and managers – should be clearly stated, whether they be publicly or privately owned. Responsibilities should be assigned to avoid duplication and gaps in coverage. The highest levels of probity and transparency in decision making should be established by responsible institutions. In reviewing policy proposals AWA will comment on any deficiencies it perceives in governance arrangements.

The recommendation was not without precedent. The AWA Specialist Network on Water Management Law and Policy has already flagged its intention to develop such a framework. The stimulus provided by the Board’s resolution led to the convening of a workshop attended by most of the members of the Specialist Network’s Governing Committee at which initial ideas for such a framework were developed. Through a number of iterations these were refined and, during July–August this year, were published in draft form; members were invited through AWA’s e-News newsletter to provide comment. The enthusiasm with which members responded is testament to their commitment to the industry and the development of AWA as an advocate for the sector.

5. Pricing of water services should be transparent and fully reflect the costs of supply.

The purpose of the Principles is to guide the development of policy in AWA. This includes the development of the Association’s own policy initiatives, and the development of comments and submissions to government about emerging policy developments included in draft legislation, discussion documents, White Papers and the like. Existence of the Policy Principles will promote consistency in the comments made by the various State and Territory Branches and the National Office.

6. Policy proposals should contribute to the sustainability of Australia’s water resource use.

The Policy Principles are, in themselves, also a statement of the broad issues of concern to the Association and will be promoted as such. They have been endorsed by the Board and can be found on AWA’s website (www.awa.asn.au) under the News and Advocacy tab.

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Price setting should meet at least the minimum standards set out in the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Pricing Principles. Where cross-subsidies are needed, they must be transparent (whether those cross-subsidies are required to support essential infrastructure that would otherwise be loss making, or whether they are required to assist those in society least able to contribute). Importantly, prices charged for water services should include positive and negative externalities. COAG identified, in 1994, the need to include externalities in prices charged for water services, but insufficient progress has been made since.

AWA accepts the Brundtland Commission definition of sustainable development as the most widely accepted: “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. AWA interprets this definition as including intra- as well as inter-generational equity and believes that policies and programs must be culturally sensitive. Also important is the relationship between water services and other utilities (for example, the impact on energy consumption and greenhouse gas generation and the provision of water services).

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feature article 7. Reform objectives should be clearly articulated and cost benefit analysis carried out on all policy proposals. AWA believes that the objectives of any reform proposal must be clearly stated and that measures of progress towards those objectives should be articulated. The costs and benefits of proposals should be identified and compared with each other and against the status quo, and such analysis should include positive and negative externalities. AWA recognises that it is difficult to monetarise some impacts and benefits. Nevertheless, AWA believes it is important that rigorous methodologies be employed to enable comparison of benefits and costs, even if these cannot be expressed in monetary terms. 8. Individuals’ freedom of choice should be protected. Water is essential for human wellbeing and for the wellbeing of the environment. It is a renewable resource, but not always available when required or in the volumes needed, and there may be limitations on the environment’s capacity to assimilate pollution caused by water services. AWA, therefore, accepts that at times of critical shortage or acute or chronic impact, policies that temporarily restrict consumer choice may be needed. However, when shortages are not acute and once serious impacts are ameliorated, AWA generally favours policies that allow consumers freedom to choose how to meet their water needs. AWA believes, nevertheless, that users must always meet the full costs of the demands they place on the system, including externalities.

9. Water supply and related management options should not be arbitrarily limited. The direction of water reform over the past 15 years has been towards the establishment of an independent, sustainable water sector. Arbitrary decisions by governments to limit the options available in water supply or in water management are antithetical to the direction of this reform and are counter-productive. AWA believes that sustainable water management will only be achieved if the widest possible range of options is available for consideration and if individual options are only ruled out after rigorous analysis of their economic, social and environmental impacts. 10. Flexible and adaptive policy approaches that can be tailored to changing circumstances should be preferred to those that are rigid or incapable of adaptation. By way of example, a policy that incorporates an externality in a price charged is likely to be a better policy than one that seeks to ameliorate that externality through bans or other government interventions, as the former allows consumers freedom to make choices that suit their circumstances, rather than being rigidly bound by government decree. 11. Policies should contribute to the water sector’s reputation over the long term. The water sector has contributed significantly to the wellbeing of Australians, and to the protection of public health and the environment. While reform may generate controversy at times, policy proposals should not bring the sector into disrepute over the long term.

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Expanding Deserts, Falling Water Tables and Toxic Pollutants Driving People from Their Homes The following article is an extract adapted from the book, World on the Edge, by Lester R Brown, President of Earth Policy Institute. People do not normally leave their homes, their families, and their communities unless they have no other option. Yet as environmental stresses mount, we can expect to see a growing number of environmental refugees. Rising seas and increasingly devastating storms grab headlines, but expanding deserts, falling water tables and toxic waste and radiation are also forcing people from their homes. Advancing deserts are now on the move almost everywhere. The Sahara desert, for example, is expanding in every direction. As it advances northward, it is squeezing the populations of Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria against the Mediterranean coast. The Sahelian region of Africa – the vast swath of savannah that separates the southern Sahara desert from the tropical rainforests of central Africa – is shrinking as the desert moves southward. As the desert invades Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, from the north, farmers and herders are forced southward, squeezed into a shrinking area of productive land. A 2006 UN conference on desertification in Tunisia projected that by 2020 up to 60 million people could migrate from sub-Saharan Africa to North Africa and Europe. In Iran, villages abandoned because of spreading deserts or a lack of water number in the thousands. In Brazil, some 250,000 square miles [650,000 square kilometres] of land are affected by desertification, much of it concentrated in the country’s northeast. In Mexico, many of the migrants who leave rural communities in arid and semi-arid regions of the country each year are doing so because of desertification. Some of these environmental refugees end up in Mexican cities, others cross the northern border into the United States. US analysts estimate that Mexico is forced to abandon 400 square miles [1040 square kilometres] of farmland to desertification each year.

Photo: KFEM

In China, desert expansion has accelerated in each successive decade since 1950. Desert scholar Wang Tao reports that over the last half-century or so some 24,000

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Lack of water is increasingly forcing people to desert their homes. villages in northern and western China have been abandoned either entirely or partly because of desert expansion. China is heading for a Dust Bowl like the one that forced more than 2 million “Okies” to leave their land in the United States in the 1930s. But the dust bowl forming in China is much larger and so is the population: China’s migration may measure in the tens of millions. And as a US embassy report entitled Grapes of Wrath in Inner Mongolia noted, “unfortunately, China’s twenty-first century ‘Okies’ have no California to escape to – at least not in China.” With the vast majority of the 2.3 billion people projected to be added to the world by 2050 being born in countries where water tables are falling, water refugees are likely to become commonplace. They will be most common in arid and semi-arid regions where populations are outgrowing the water supply and sinking into hydrological poverty. Villages in northwestern India are being abandoned as aquifers are depleted and people can no longer find water. Millions of villagers in northern and western China and in northern Mexico may have to move because of a lack of water.

Lester R. Brown, who has been described as “one of the world’s most influential thinkers” by the Washington Post, is Founder and President of Earth Policy Institute, a non-profit environmental research organisation based in Washington, DC. During a career that started with tomato farming, Brown has been awarded 25 honorary degrees and has authored or co-authored over 50 books. One of the world’s most widely published authors, his books have appeared in some 40 languages. In 1985 the Library of Congress requested his personal papers, noting that his writings and work had “already strongly affected thinking about problems of world population and resources”. His recent book, entitled World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse, is available online at www.earth-policy.org/books/wote

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feature article April 1986. This started a powerful fire that lasted for 10 days. Massive amounts of radioactive material were spewed into the atmosphere, showering communities in the region with heavy doses of radiation. As a result, the residents of the nearby town of Pripyat and several other communities in Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia were evacuated, requiring the resettlement of 350,400 people. In 1992, six years after the accident, Belarus was devoting 20 per cent of its national budget to resettlement and the many other costs associated with the accident. When a devastating earthquake and tsunami hit Japan in March 2011, the ensuing nuclear crisis at the badly damaged Fukushima Daiichi power plant forced tens of thousands of people from their homes. Whether they will be able to return or will become permanently displaced is a question that remains unanswered.

An abandoned water well in central Morocco. Thus far the evacuations resulting from water shortages have been confined to villages, but eventually whole cities might have to be relocated, such as Sana’a, the capital of Yemen, and Quetta, the capital of Pakistan’s Baluchistan province. Sana’a, a fast-growing city of more than 2 million people, is literally running out of water. Quetta, originally designed for 50,000 people, now has a population exceeding 1 million, all of whom depend on 2,000 wells pumping water from what is believed to be a fossil aquifer. In the words of one study assessing its water prospect, Quetta will soon be “a dead city”. Two other semi-arid Middle Eastern countries that are suffering from water shortages are Syria and Iraq. Both are beginning to reap the consequences of overpumping their aquifers, namely irrigation wells going dry. In Syria, these trends have forced the abandonment of 160 villages. And a UN report estimates that more than 100,000 people in northern Iraq have been uprooted because of water shortages. A final category of environmental refugee has appeared only in the last 50 years or so: people who are trying to escape toxic waste or dangerous radiation levels. During the late 1970s, Love Canal – a small town in upstate New York, part of which was built on top of a toxic waste disposal site – made national and international headlines. Beginning in August 1978, families were relocated at government expense and reimbursed for their homes at market prices. By October 1980, a total of 950 families had been permanently relocated. A few years later, the federal government arranged for the permanent evacuation and relocation of all 2,000 residents of Times Beach, Missouri, after the US Environmental Protection Agency discovered dioxin levels well above the public health standards.

Separating out the geneses of today’s refugees is not always easy. Often the environmental and economic stresses that drive migration are closely intertwined. But whatever the reason for leaving home, people are taking increasingly desperate measures. Some of their stories are heartrending beyond belief. As a general matter, environmental refugees are migrating from poor countries to rich ones, from Africa, Asia, and Latin America to North America and Europe. Some of the largest flows will be across national borders and they are likely to be illegal. The potentially massive movement of people across national boundaries is already affecting some countries. The United States is erecting a fence along the border with Mexico. The Mediterranean Sea is now routinely patrolled by naval vessels trying to intercept the small boats of African migrants bound for Europe. India, with a steady stream of migrants from Bangladesh and the prospect of millions more to come, is building a 10-foot-high fence along their shared border. Maybe it is time for governments to consider whether it might not be cheaper and far less painful in human terms to treat the causes of migration rather than merely respond to it. This means working with developing countries to restore their economy’s natural support systems – the soils, the water tables, the grasslands, the forests – and it means accelerating the shift to smaller families to help people break out of poverty. Treating symptoms instead of causes is not good medicine. Nor is it good public policy.

While the United States has relocated two communities because of health-damaging pollutants, the identification of more than 450 “cancer villages” in China suggests the need to evacuate hundreds of communities. China’s Ministry of Health statistics show that cancer is now the country’s leading cause of death, and with little pollution control, whole communities near chemical factories are suffering from unprecedented rates of cancer. Young people are leaving for the city in droves, for jobs and possibly for better health. Yet many others are too sick or too poor to leave. Another infamous source of environmental refugees is the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Kiev, which exploded in

A crumbling remnant of China’s Great Wall in an intense sandstorm in the desert near Yellow River, Ningxia Province, northern China.


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Protecting the Integrity of Wastewater Treatment Plants How environmental and planning laws play a key role This article was prepared by Theresa Le Bas, formerly a Senior Associate in Maddocks’ Planning & Environment Team.

Essential Urban Infrastructure In stark contrast to the general perception that the vast quantities of wastewater we send every day to wastewater treatment plants have little value, the plants themselves are extremely valuable. Despite this recognition, however, the integrity of these plants is under constant threat. Wastewater treatment plants represent essential urban infrastructure. Every resident in every urban area expects to be able to flush the toilet or pull the plug and see wastewater disappear without the need for further thought or action. Many industrial processes also need to lawfully discharge large quantities of trade waste without the risk of interruption. To put the value of wastewater treatment plants into context, Melbourne Water owns and operates the city of Melbourne’s sewerage system, which serves a population of more than three million people. It takes years and many millions of dollars to design, approve, construct and commission wastewater treatment plants. They cannot be replaced quickly or easily. The single most significant challenge to maintaining the integrity of wastewater treatment plants is protecting the ability of these plants to continue to operate in the face of increasing pressure to use and develop surrounding land for uses that are not compatible with the environmental impacts associated with wastewater treatment processes. In this article, we discuss the environmental and planning issues arising in relation to wastewater infrastructure in the context of the Victorian regime. However, these issues are equally important in other jurisdictions.

Environmental Law Issues

Air quality policy The EPA establishes design criteria for emissions of mixed odorous substances, such as those produced by wastewater treatment plants, in the State Environmental Protection Policy (Air Quality Management) (Air Quality Policy). The Air Quality Policy establishes design criteria for a new wastewater treatment plant to achieve acceptable odour emission levels. Acceptable odour levels for existing wastewater treatment plants are considered on a case-bycase basis, as upgrades and modifications are approved and implemented, and in accordance with what odour emission reduction can be achieved by adopting best practices.

Buffer Guidelines The treatment processes employed within wastewater treatment plants can, and sometimes do, have an impact on the environment, with the emission of offensive odours the most significant concern to nearby residents. For this reason, the EPA recommends the implementation of buffer distances for wastewater treatment plants in its Recommended Buffer Distances for Industrial Residual Air Emissions, EPA Publication No. AQ 2/86, July 1990 (Buffer Guidelines). Buffer distances are intended to discourage the development on land within a designated area that is sensitive to the operation of wastewater treatment plants. The Buffer Guidelines provide for variations to recommended buffer distances, but only after specified criteria, such as effectiveness of emission control technology, complaints history, plant size and topographical issues, are considered.

Photo: Ba rw on wa te r

The Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) administers the Environment Protection Act 1970 (EP Act). The EPA is responsible for producing environmental policies and guidelines, as well as issuing and enforcing works

approvals and licences that manage the environmental impacts of wastewater treatment plants. Following is a brief overview of EP Act policies, guidelines and approvals relevant to the establishment and operation of wastewater treatment plants.

The Northern Water Plant, which will treat wastewater from Geelong’s northern suburbs, incorporates a varied buffer distance of 300m.

52 NOVEMBER 2011 water

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feature article Works approvals and licences Construction of Barwon Region Water Authority’s new $94 million Northern Water Plant in Geelong began in March 2011. The plant’s construction is authorised by a works approval issued by the EPA because the plant itself constitutes a ‘prescribed premises’ for the purposes of the EP Act. All wastewater treatment plants processing more than 5000 litres of sewage a day are defined as Type A prescribed premises, and require both a works approval from the EPA (to be constructed and commissioned) and then a licence from the EPA (to operate). When construction of the Northern Water Plant is completed at the end of 2012, the plant will: • Treat domestic wastewater from Geelong’s northern suburbs; • Treat trade waste from Shell Oil’s refinery (the plant will be constructed adjacent to the crude oil tank farm, which forms a part of the refinery); • Supply fit-for-purpose recycled water to Shell for use in its refinery boilers and for fire-fighting reserves;

will be monitored and assessed and the effectiveness of odour control measures will be monitored. The works approval also included a standard condition preventing the approval taking effect until all planning permits required under the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (P&E Act) to use and develop land for the purposes of the plant had been obtained.

Planning Law Issues When reviewing planning permit applications for wastewater treatment plants, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) must take into account and give effect to, among other things, the Air Quality Policy and the Buffer Guidelines. VCAT decisions considering new wastewater treatment plants are rare, because proposals to either create new plants or expand or modify existing plants are not in themselves common. VCAT’s consideration of the proposal to use and develop land in Geelong for the Northern Water Plant would have been one of the few recent decisions on a new wastewater treatment plant.

• Supply recycled water to irrigate local recreation fields; and

What is more common, however, is for VCAT to consider proposals to use and develop land within buffer areas for existing wastewater treatment plants.

• Produce biosolids for beneficial reuse opportunities.

The Alexandra Wastewater Treatment Plant Buffer

While the Buffer Guidelines recommend a buffer distance of 400m to the nearest residential dwelling, the Northern Water Plant incorporates a varied buffer distance of 300m. Because the Northern Water Plant will incorporate covers on major odour emission sources and odour extraction and treatment technology, the EPA agreed the plant had satisfied relevant Buffer Guidelines criteria for a variation to the recommended buffer distance. The works approval conditions imposed on the Northern Water Plant include requirements to: • Submit an environmental management plan to the EPA describing how environmental impacts will be managed during the construction phase; • Construct the plant in accordance with the works approval application submitted to the EPA;

The Alexandra WWTP is owned and operated by Goulburn Valley Water. It was built in 1970 and upgraded in 2002. Additional land was purchased for buffer purposes after the completion of the upgrade. The plant receives domestic wastewater and septic tank waste from Alexandra and its surrounds, as well as trade waste from a local abattoir. Both the land occupied by the wastewater treatment plant and the additional land purchased for buffer purposes is zoned Public Use 2 in the Murrindindi Planning Scheme (Scheme). Mr Weightman owned two lots of land to the immediate north of the wastewater treatment plant. However, part of that land lay within the plant’s recommended buffer area. Mr Weightman’s

Photo: Water CorPoration

• Submit a commissioning plan to the EPA detailing how, once the wastewater treatment plant is operating, odour emissions

A good example of this is VCAT’s decision to reject an application by a local resident, Mr Weightman, to build a dwelling on land located within the buffer area of the Alexandra Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) in the Goulburn Valley (Weightman v Murrindindi SC [2005] VCAT 1097).

Woodman Point, south of Perth, currently serves a catchment population of 600,000, which is expected to double by 2045.


NOVEMBER 2011 53

feature article land was zoned Rural Living in the Scheme. He applied to the Murrindindi Shire Council (Council) for a planning permit to build a residential dwelling on his land. However, the Council refused to grant a permit on the basis of the proximity of the dwelling to the wastewater treatment plant. Mr Weightman applied to VCAT to review Council’s refusal. VCAT affirmed the Council’s decision on the following grounds: • The proposed dwelling would be 350m inside the Buffer Guidelines’ recommended buffer distance of 700m for the Alexandra WWTP; • The Buffer Guidelines placed an onus on Mr Weightman to justify why the recommended buffer area should be varied to allow his proposed residential use inside the wastewater treatment plant’s buffer area. In the course of its decision, VCAT expressed frustration at the general lack of recognition of wastewater treatment plant buffer areas, which could leave many residents unaware of potential restrictions on the future use and development of their land.

The Woodman Point Wastewater Treatment Plant Buffer Inadequate recognition of wastewater treatment plant buffers in planning schemes is not an issue unique to Victoria. For instance, an almost identical scenario occurred in Western Australia recently with, not surprisingly, the same results for the applicant landowner, Mr O’Brien (O’Brien & Anor and City of Cockburn [2008] WASAT 240 and O’Brien and City of Cockburn [2010] WASAT 101). Western Australia’s State Administrative Tribunal (SAT), which exercises a jurisdiction very similar to VCAT in Victoria, considered two structure plan proposals in 2008 and then again in 2010 by a nearby resident, Mr O’Brien, to subdivide his property for residential development. Mr O’Brien’s property was located within the buffer area of the Woodman Point Wastewater Treatment Plant. Woodman Point is 30km south of Perth’s CBD. It is owned and operated by WA’s Water Corporation, which operates 102 wastewater treatment plants throughout the State and is the largest wastewater treatment plant in WA. It was constructed in 1966, and has since been the subject of expansion projects. It currently serves a catchment population of 600,000, which is expected to double by 2045. Plans are already underway to double the plant’s current design capacity. The City of Cockburn Town Planning Scheme No.3 (Scheme) recognised, albeit not very clearly, a buffer area around Woodman Point to manage odour emissions. Woodman Point has an extensive history of odour problems and complaints. The City of Cockburn, therefore, refused to advertise the O’Briens’ proposed structure plan, leaving the O’Briens with no other option to progress their subdivision plans but to seek a review of the City’s refusal in the SAT. The O’Briens contended that odour problems from the plant were now minimal and residential development of their property should, therefore, be allowed to proceed. For this reason, the Water Corporation applied for and obtained an order from the SAT requiring the production of documents held by the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) recording numerous complaints made by the O’Briens to the EPA and the Minister for Environment about odour emissions from Woodman Point over a number of years.

54 NOVEMBER 2011 water

The SAT noted that the documents produced by DEC showed the O’Briens did not make any complaints from February 2007 onwards which, the SAT suggested, was more likely evidence of the O’Briens’ desire to progress their structure plan proposal rather than evidence of improvements in odour emissions from Woodman Point. In 2008, the SAT refused to allow the O’Briens’ structure plan proposal to proceed, stating: • There were ongoing odour problems affecting the O’Briens’ land; • The EPA’s advice to the Minister for Environment to retain Woodman Point’s buffer area, until planned odour upgrade works and modelling had been completed, is an appropriate and proper course of action; • A residential development proposal within an area subject to ongoing odour emissions is not consistent with orderly and proper planning. The O’Briens once again applied to the SAT to review the City of Cockburn’s refusal in late 2009, which was again refused. The Tribunal stated that it “is aware that the Woodman Point WWTP is a major service facility fundamentally important to the urban infrastructure needs of the southern metropolitan area. It will have an on-going function and a likelihood of greater demands for waste water treatment service in coming years. In the circumstances, it is important not to anticipate a reduction of its buffer requirements prematurely in the absence of sound, science-based reasoning. That reasoning is not yet to hand.” Once again the SAT determined in its 2010 decision that residential development within the Woodman Point buffer area was not consistent with orderly and proper planning and refused to allow the O’Briens’ second structure plan proposal to proceed.

Conclusions Wastewater treatment plants provide an essential service to urban populations. Provision for, and recognition of, buffer areas is an essential environmental and planning law tool in protecting the integrity of the long-term ability for wastewater treatment plants to continue to serve their catchment populations. The piece-meal erosion of buffer areas through the ad hoc approval of incompatible land use and development within buffer areas not only places unnecessary compliance pressure on existing wastewater treatment plants, it can also fundamentally undermine future proposals to expand or modify existing plants or establish new plants to serve the needs of growing populations. The environmental and planning law regimes recognise that, in some circumstances, the public good must take priority over individual landowners’ expectations regarding the future use and development of their land. An urban population’s requirement for secure, uninterrupted access to wastewater treatment services is such a circumstance. The ongoing vigilance of local governments and the courts in protecting the integrity of wastewater treatment plants through the recognition and maintenance of buffer areas is, therefore, a critical component in ensuring the longevity of these valuable components of urban infrastructure.

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feature article

DuTIes anD OblIgaTIOns Of DIreCTOrs In publIC uTIlITIes How well do you understand water quality? a Davison, b burford, s alden Corporate governance and the duties of directors have been placed ‘front and centre’ in light of the recent Centro Property Group decision, particularly given the findings that directors must scrutinise and question information they are presented with and not accept advice from executives unequivocally. Consequently, in this article, we review the obligations of directors, with a particular focus on statutory-owned corporations, and how the Centro findings have helped add context to considerations and decisions that directors may make in relation to water quality.

Introduction In 2007, the ASX Corporate Governance Council (2007) released the second edition of its Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations, in which it set out the meaning of corporate governance: “Corporate governance is ‘the framework of rules, relationships, systems and processes within and by which authority is exercised and controlled in corporations’. It encompasses the mechanisms by which companies, and those in control, are held to account (Owen, 2003). Corporate governance influences how the objectives of the company are set and achieved, how risk is monitored and assessed, and how performance is optimised.” Fundamental to the concept of corporate governance, specifically for statutory-owned corporate water utilities, is how decisions are made not just in relation to finance, law and water quantity, but also to water quality (Davison, 2011). In fact, the Framework for Management of Drinking Water Quality within the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (NHMRC/NRMMC, 2004) states that all employees of the organisation should be aware of and support the drinking water quality objectives of the organisation. The implication from the Framework, therefore, is that a ‘corporate to coal-face’ understanding of water quality issues should exist and that decisions relating to water quality should be made within this context. In this paper, we look at a recent court decision that helps shed light on what is expected from directors of organisations and set this decision within the context of managing water quality within state-owned corporate organisations.

Duties and Obligations There are various statutes within Australia that set out the duties and liabilities of directors and officers. Examples of some of the provisions are provided in Table 1. However, it must be remembered that there is a multitude of statutory obligations on directors and officers extending into many areas, such as, but not limited to, environmental, public health and occupational health and safety law, many creating personal liability provisions for directors and officers. The key statement in all of the obligations hinges on the following – i.e. that a director or officer: “must exercise the degree of care and diligence that a reasonable person in a like position would take”.

56 NOVEMBER 2011 water

But what constitutes an appropriate degree of care and diligence, what are the expectations at the director and officer level, and how do these relate to the management of ‘fit-for-purpose’ water quality? To answer this, a recent court decision has helped to create some structure around what is considered appropriate from a ‘principle’-based viewpoint within a finance context.

The Centro Case The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) took action against directors and an officer (Mr Nenna) of Centro Properties Limited (‘CPL’), Centro Property Trust (‘CPT’) and Centro Retail Trust (‘CRT’) (otherwise referred to as Centro in this paper) largely under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (the Act). Australian Securities and Investments Commission v. Healey [2011] FCA 717 (27 June 2011) (‘Centro Case’) Among the main issues in the Centro proceedings was the following in relation to directors’ duties and obligations: (d) Whether a reasonable director in the like position of the directors was required to have: (i) “sufficient” knowledge of “conventional” accounting principles and practices, including that current liabilities generally mean financial obligations which must be “paid” or “satisfied” within 12 months of the balance date and that significant events which occur after that date must be disclosed in the financial report; and (ii) applied their minds and carried out a careful review of the 2007 accounts to determine whether they accurately reflected the financial position and performance of consolidated entities known to them. (f) Whether the directors received a declaration in accordance with s295A(2) prior to approving the accounts, and the consequences of any failure to comply with s295A. (g) Whether the directors failed to exercise their powers and discharge their duties with the requisite degree of care and diligence, or failed to take all reasonable steps to secure compliance with the Act. Justice Middleton found the directors and officers breached their duties when they approved the 2006–2007 financial statements, which did not disclose that Centro was required to repay billions of dollars of debt within a matter of months. While this case obviously concerns financial acuity and diligence, there are many learnings for water utilities in what might be expected from directors and officers in being aware of the quality of the water product produced and understanding the implications of their decision-making on maintaining ‘fit-forpurpose’ water quality (Table 2). The outcome in Centro was that each director was held to have contravened sections 180(1), 601FD(3) and 344(1) of the Act, in that each director failed to take all reasonable steps to secure compliance with officers’ duties, both generally and

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feature article with respect to financial records and reporting, as well as to exercise the degree of care and diligence required of them. The Federal Court of Australia, once satisfied that the above provisions had been contravened, held that each director was to make a declaration of contravention in accordance with section 1317E of the Act, specifying: a. the Court that made the declaration; b. the civil penalty provision that was contravened; c. the person who contravened the provision; d. the conduct that constituted the contravention; and e. if the contravention is of a corporation/scheme civil penalty provision – the corporation or registered scheme to which the conduct related. In addition to the declaration being made, the Court may order each director to pay the Commonwealth a pecuniary penalty of up to $200,000 or may disqualify each director from managing corporations for a period the Court considers appropriate, under sections 1317G and 206C of the Act respectively.

Conclusions Corporations engaged in the business of producing water products should ensure that: • They have an appropriately qualified board; • The board is suitably balanced to cover the various disciplines required of a water company, including: - Technical excellence (how the water process operates and the consequences of failure to meet water quality guidelines/standards); - Operational excellence; - Safety; - Accounting; - Environmental; and - Legal. A failure to address these points could mean directors could be found to have contravened their obligations. Directors, therefore,

Table 1. Example of duties and obligations of directors and officers. Statute


Provisions schedule 10 – Duties and liabilities of directors and other officers Part 1 3 Duty and liability of certain officers of statutory SOC [Stated Owned Corporation – our addition] In this clause “officer” of a statutory SOC means:

State Owned Corporations Act 1989

(a) a director of the SOC, or NSW

(b) the SOC’s chief executive officer, or (c) another person who is concerned, or takes part, in the SOC’s management. (2) An officer of a statutory SOC must act honestly in the exercise of powers, and discharge of functions, as an officer of the SOC. (3) In the exercise of powers and the discharge of functions, an officer of a statutory SOC must exercise the degree of care and diligence that a reasonable person in a like position in a statutory SOC would exercise in the statutory SOC’s circumstances. s123 application of Corporations act to officers of gOC [Government Owned Corporation – our addition] (1) In determining for the purposes of the Corporations Act the degree of care and diligence that a reasonable person in a like position in a GOC would exercise in the circumstances of the GOC concerned, regard must be had to – (a) the application of this Act to the GOC; and

Government Owned Corporations Act 1993


(b) relevant matters required or permitted to be done under this Act or another Act in relation to the GOC; including, for example – (c) any relevant community service obligations of the GOC; and (d) any relevant directions, notifications or approvals given to the GOC by the GOC’s shareholding Ministers. (2) This section has effect despite the Corporations Act. s180 Care and diligence – civil obligation only Care and diligence – directors and other officers

Corporations Act 2001


A director or other officer of a corporation must exercise their powers and discharge their duties with the degree of care and diligence that a reasonable person would exercise if they: were a director or officer of a corporation in the corporation’s circumstances; and occupied the office held by, and had the same responsibilities within the corporation as, the director or officer.


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feature article need to be able to demonstrate that they have taken steps to gain an understanding of the key issues associated with these aspects of the water business. In addition, the directors themselves should assess those around them (fellow board members), as well as themselves, to ensure they are bringing into the boardroom the right level and mix of capability and understanding to acquit themselves in the role they are in. Given that utilities are producing, or are responsible for, an ever-diversifying suite of water products, the range of water quality issues that directors will need to be aware of is, similarly, also increasing.

The authors Dr annette Davison (email: annette@iconnexx.com.au) is Director of iConneXX Pty Ltd, a company engaged in developing and auditing risk-management plans. bob burford is principal, BB Tech Consulting, Sydney, NSW. He has an interest in water industry strategic issues.

scott alden is a partner of DLA Piper, working in the Finance and Projects team in Sydney, NSW. Scott provides commercial advice to both government and private sector projects in relation to all kinds of projects, including water and other infrastructure projects.

references ASX Corporate Governance Council, 2007: Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations. 2nd Edition. Davison AD, 2011: Enterprise Risk Management. Risk appetite and risk tolerance: how robust are yours? Water 38(5): pp 65–68. NHMRC/NRMMC (National Health and Medical Research Council and National Resource Ministers Ministerial Council), 2004: Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. ISBN Online: 1864961244. Owen, 2003: Justice Owen in the HIH Royal Commission, The Failure of HIH Insurance Volume 1: A Corporate Collapse and Its Lessons, Commonwealth of Australia, April 2003 at page xxxiii and Justice Owen, Corporate Governance – Level upon Layer, Speech to the 13th Commonwealth Law Conference 2003, Melbourne 13–17 April 2003 at page 2.

Table 2. Centro reasoning and its application to state-owned water utilities. Reasoning A director is an essential component of corporate governance. Each director is placed at the apex of the structure of direction and management of a company. The higher the office that is held by a person, the greater the responsibility that falls upon him or her. The role of a director is significant as their actions may have a profound effect on the community, and not just shareholders, employees and creditors. This proceeding involves taking responsibility for documents effectively signed-off by, approved, or adopted by the directors. What is required is that such documents, before they are adopted by the directors, be read, understood and focused upon by each director with the knowledge each director has or should have by virtue of his or her position as a director.

The case law indicates that there is a core, irreducible requirement of directors to be involved in the management of the company and to take all reasonable steps to be in a position to guide and monitor. There is a responsibility to read, understand and focus upon the contents of those reports which the law imposes a responsibility upon each director to approve or adopt.

…..a director should acquire at least a rudimentary understanding of the business of the corporation and become familiar with the fundamentals of the business in which the corporation is engaged; a director should keep informed about the activities of the corporation; whilst not required to have a detailed awareness of day-to-day activities, a director should monitor the corporate affairs and policies; a director should maintain familiarity with the financial status of the corporation by a regular review and understanding of financial statements; a director, whilst not an auditor, should still have a questioning mind. A board should be established which enjoys the varied wisdom, experience and expertise of persons drawn from different commercial backgrounds. Even so, a director, whatever his or her background, has a duty greater than that of simply representing a particular field of experience or expertise. A director is not relieved of the duty to pay attention to the company’s affairs which might reasonably be expected to attract inquiry, even outside the area of the director’s expertise.

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Consideration for Water Utilities Directors need to have an understanding of water quality, not just of finances, law and water quantity.



Decisions of directors in relation to water quality could have a profound effect on the community in terms of public health and wellbeing if the provision of the water product is not fit for purpose. A director should understand the resourcing implications for the maintenance of continued supply of fit-for-purpose water quality. A director should understand the community health and environmental implications of the supply of water that is not fit for purpose. Directors would not be expected to understand the minutiae of water quality at the coal face but they would be expected to understand where in their systems critical control points existed, ie, where if a process failed, the customer could potentially be supplied with unfit water, and the consequences of this supply of unfit water.


Directors should be asking management to include water quality reports as a separate line item on their board meeting agendas. Directors should be seeking out data on water quality, including near hits to critical control points, and not just relying on data that show whether the Australian Drinking Water (or other) Guidelines or contractual obligations have been met. A director, if not conversant in water quality, is obligated to make it his or her business to at least understand the business of water supply and its relevant requirements.



A director should have read, understood and complied with the corporation’s relevant water quality policy as this effectively sets the corporation’s standard of duty in this context.

A utility’s board should include those who understand the engineering and scientific aspects of water quality provision, not just the provision of water quantity.

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greenhouse emissions

CALCULATING THE COST OF GAS EMISSIONS FROM WASTEWATER Calculating carbon tax liabilities from wastewater treatment and biosolids stockpiling B Hutton, E Horan, D Rouch Dr Duncan Rouch is the corresponding author. Email: duncan.rouch@rmit.edu.au

Abstract Under the Federal Government’s proposed carbon tax legislation, a price will be placed on emissions of greenhouse gases including methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). These two gases are substantially emitted during wastewater treatment. We outline how to calculate emissions of CH4 and N2O from wastewater and sludge treatment processes. Further, we provide an example calculation for emissions of methane from sludge pan-drying and biosolids stockpile storage, using data on organic degradation from a large metropolitan treatment plant located in Melbourne. A cumulative total of 6.874/t of CO2e per t of biosolids was estimated to be emitted, after one year of pan-drying and three years’ stockpiling of biosolids. This would incur tax of $174.59/t at a carbon price of $25.40/ tCO2e or $378.05 at a price of $55. These figures do not include emissions from the “liquid train” of wastewater treatment, or any N2O emissions.

Introduction On 10 July 2011 the Federal Government announced its plan to introduce a carbon emissions tax. Initially a flat charge of $23 per tonne of emissions will be levied on the top 500 commercial polluters, for example, Macquarie Generation Australia and BlueScope Steel. The tax is designed to increase 2.5 per cent every year for the next three years, reaching $25.40 on July 1, 2014. In July 2015, the tax system will convert to an emissions trading scheme. Thereafter, the price will fluctuate with the market, but a price ceiling will be set at $20 above the expected international carbon price for 2015–2016 (Commonwealth of Australia, 2011). European Union Emissions Trading System carbon credits are forecast to cost on average of $32 (€24) per tonne in 2013, ranging from $29 to $35 per tonne (Chestney, 2011). The upper price limit

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in the Australian carbon trading scheme could, therefore, be approximately $55, rising as the cap is tightened. The “carbon tax” covers not only emissions of carbon dioxide, but other greenhouse gases including methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). CO2 emissions generated from waste management are considered to be from biomass sources and, therefore, are not taxed (DCCEE, 2011). CH4 and N2O will, however, attract a high levy: a kilogram of N2O is equivalent to 298 kilograms of carbon dioxide. Methane emissions are currently estimated using a global warming potential of 21 (that is, they trap 21 times as much heat as an equivalent weight of carbon dioxide). A more accurate figure of 25 will be introduced from 2014 (IPCC, 2007). The aim of a carbon trading scheme is to reduce CO2-equivalent emissions from one sector, such as waste, to create a “carbon credit” to sell to companies with power stations, which cannot so easily reduce their own emissions. When a carbon trading scheme is introduced, wastewater and land managers, like farmers, will be able to trade carbon credits. They will need to accurately measure their existing emissions and then reduce them, as many landfill managers have already done. Significant emissions of greenhouse gases occur in wastewater treatment. Methane is emitted in anaerobic or partially anaerobic conditions such as anaerobic lagoons. N2O is emitted during nitrification and denitrification of wastewater. Both gases are emitted from drying ponds and biosolids storage stockpiles. The carbon price will initially apply to facilities or activities that individually produce more than 25,000 tons of CO2-e emissions per year (Commonwealth of Australia, 2011). Will wastewater treatment plants be covered by the tax? Our calculations suggest that initially the larger ones will be taxed. Smaller ones will have longer to act and are likely to benefit financially from carbon credit trading, by reducing their emissions and selling carbon credits. So how do we assess the

wastewater industry’s potential liabilities and opportunities under the scheme?

Calculating Carbon Tax Liabilities for Wastewater Treatment and Biosolids Storage Simplified prototype treatment trains for a metropolitan and a regional wastewater treatment plant are shown in Figure 1. For a metropolitan plant, screened sewage is piped to a primary sedimentation tank. It then undergoes activated sludge treatment. Secondary sedimentation of activated sludge produces a second round of sediment. If an anaerobic digester is available, the sediment is digested. The digested solids are then dewatered, or dried in a drying pan. The biosolids may then be landfilled, subjected to long-term storage or other treatment, and applied to soil. In contrast, for a smaller regional plant, after screening sewerage may undergo biological treatment in a trickling filter, followed by a sequence of three lagoons, of which the first two involve facultative biological treatment of organic material. The wastewater is generally further treated to clarify, denitrify and disinfect it, before being discharged to the environment (for example, to the sea). Greenhouse gases are emitted throughout these treatment trains, where organic materials and nitrogen-containing inorganic compounds meet biological activities, especially under anaerobic conditions.

Emissions of Greenhouse Gases Methane CH4 (methane) is emitted by sewage in anaerobic or partially anaerobic conditions, for example from sedimentation tanks, anaerobic treatment ponds, lagoons, drying ponds and biosolids storage piles. It is also produced in the anaerobic digester, but in this case it is generally captured and may be used as process fuel.

Nitrous oxide As well as emitting methane, biosolids also emit N2O. The amount depends on the type of wastewater treatment used: a warm

technical features

greenhouse emissions • Shallow anaerobic lagoon (<2 metres): 0.2;

A. Metropolitan WWTP

Screened sewerage input

Sedimentation: CH4, N2O emitted

Sludge Pan Drying: CH4, N2O emitted

• Unmanaged aerobic treatment: 0.3; • Deep sludge lagoons (>2 metres): 0.8.

Biosolids Stockpiling: CH4, N2O emitted Activated Sludge: N2O emitted

Anaerobic digester: CH4 collected

Methods Emissions from wastewater treatment and sludge treated on-site are worked out separately then added together.

B. Regional WWTP (Lagoon system) Sludge harvested & dried: CH4, N2O emitted

Screened sewerage input

Recycled water Trickling filter: CH4, N2O emitted

Facultative Lagoon 1: main CH4 emission

Facultative Lagoon 2: less CH4 emission

Detention Lagoon 3: little CH4 emission


Figure 1. Simplified wastewater treatment trains for producing biosolids for a metropolitan WWTP (A); a regional WWTP with lagoon treatment (B). For lagoon treatment, emissions would serially fall lower across the three lagoons, as most of the sludge would settle in the first lagoon. stagnant lagoon would emit more N2O than cool flowing wastewater (IPCC, 2006a). N2O is produced in conditions of low oxygen by facultative anaerobes (bacteria that can obtain their oxygen either from air or from nitrates, nitrites and sulfates. These are common in human faeces). In fully anaerobic conditions they obtain oxygen by reducing nitrates and nitrites to N2O, and then reducing N2O to N2, which is not a greenhouse gas. In fluctuating lowoxygen levels some of these bacteria do not take the last step, so the potent greenhouse gas N2O is emitted. Therefore, to control emissions of both methane and N2O, wastes should be treated completely anaerobically (with methane capture) or completely aerobically. Alternating between anaerobic and aerobic conditions causes high N2O emissions (Otte et al., 1996). In contrast, fully aerobic treatment (for example, rapidly bubbling aerobic treatment ponds) produces mostly CO2 emissions, which do not need to be estimated.

What is the MCF? The methane correction factor (MCF) is a measure of how anaerobic a site is. A totally sealed landfill has MCF = 1 (100% anaerobic). A rapidly bubbling, fully aerated wastewater pool has MCF = 0 (no methane is produced). An MCF of 0.3 means that 30% of the organic material in a pool is degraded anaerobically. The methane correction factors for wastewater treatment are given in a table on page 340 (DCCEE, 2011) for various types of treatment. These are: • Managed aerobic treatment: 0;

Calculating Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Wastewater Treatment Methane

Emissions of methane will occur from upstream wastewater treatment processes, such as sedimentation/clarifying and activated sludge, and also from downstream drying pans and lagoons (Figure 1). Methodologies for calculating emissions from wastewater treatment processes are provided in the Department of Climate Change’s National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (Measurement) Technical Guidelines (DCCEE, 2011), Chapter 5 – Part 5.3, div 5.3.2. Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) can be measured directly or calculated from the population served by the WWTP, assuming 58.5 kg per person per year. The methane generated in the plant from wastewater and sludge is the total COD treated on-site times an emissions factor (EF) and a methane correction factor (MCF). COD released in effluent, or sludge sent to landfill or other off-site storage, is calculated separately (see Equation 1). 1) CH4gen = [(CODw – CODsl – CODeff) x MCFww x EFwij] + [(CODsl – CODtrl – CODtro) x MCFsl x EFslij]

Where: • COD factors are: CODw for wastewater, CODsl for sludge, CODeff for effluent, CODtrl for sludge sent to landfill, CODtro for sludge otherwise stored off-site; • MCFww and MCFsl are the MCFs for wastewater and sludge, respectively; • EFwij and EFslij are the EFs for wastewater and sludge, respectively. The default emission factor for both sludge and wastewater is 5.3 tonnes CO2-e per tonne COD. The MCF may be different for sludge and wastewater if

they are treated differently. As with landfill, methane from wastewater treatment and biosolids storage can be captured and flared or used as fuel, so lowering greenhouse emissions. The method to be applied in these circumstances is as for the solid waste disposal method (DCCEE, 2011, section 5.25).

Nitrous oxide N2O emissions from wastewater treatment are difficult to estimate. Equation 2 provides a rule-of-thumb method for calculation of nitrogen in wastewater. N2O emissions depend on how the effluent is disposed of (DCCEE, 2011, division 5.3.5). 2)

Nin = Protein x FracPr x P

Where: • Nin is the amount of protein in the influent wastewater; • Protein is the estimated average amount of protein consumed per person per year, 36kg/ person/y; • FracPr is the fraction of nitrogen in protein, 0.16; • P is the number of people supported by the WWTP. So, for a population of 1000 people, Nin = 36 kg x 0.16 x 1000 = 5.76 tonnes per year. If the effluent is released to enclosed waters, a default value of 4.9 tonnes of N2O (in CO2-e) is produced per tonne of nitrogen (DCCEE, 2011, divisions 5.3.1 to 5.5.0). So, for a population of 1000, N2O emissions as CO2-e = 28.2 tonnes. These emissions also are likely to occur in drying pans and lagoons. The IPCC (2006b, “Waste” Chapter 6) indicates that there is a wide range of variability for N2O emissions, and it is advisable to measure them directly. In contrast, if the effluent is released to the deep ocean, N2O produced is negligible.

Calculating Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Drying and Stockpiled Biosolids For assessing emissions from pan-drying or from stockpiled biosolids (Figure 1A), methods are available in IPCC (2006a), on which the Australian guidelines are based.

Methane Biosolids stockpiles are considered to be a form of solid waste disposal on land (UNFCCC, 2010b; IPCC, 2006a, Vol 5, table 3.1 p 3.14). Emission factors are: • Managed – anaerobic



NOVEMBER 2011 61

greenhouse emissions • Deep (>5 m waste) and /or high water table


• Shallow (<5 m waste)


• Uncategorised SWDS


Table 1. Tax on methane emissions from 1 tonne (DS) of biosolids during storage at $25.40/t and $55/t.

The formula for calculating methane emissions from solid waste is provided in the NGA Factors (DCCEE, 2010a, Table 41) (see Equation 3):

Where: • Q is the Quantity of solid waste in tonnes, from waste records or contractor invoices;

• 16/12 is the conversion rate of carbon to methane. The Technical Guidelines (DCCEEE, 2010) use a more precise figure of 1.336. • R is recovered methane during the year, in tonnes. This is methane captured and flared or used for energy production. • OX is oxidation factor. Default value: covered, well-managed landfills: 0.1. Uncovered landfills: 0. This refers to the fact that some methane oxidises while passing through the soil cover over landfill. It does not apply to uncovered sites; • 21 Official “Global warming potential” used to convert methane to CO2-e (until 2014).

Rate of Decomposition The rate of decomposition and the total amount of organic material remaining at a waste disposal site or stockpile can be directly measured or calculated by

62 NOVEMBER 2011 water

Accumulated CH4 as CO2-e4

Accumulated tax

Accumulated tax

Kg/kg DS



at $25.40/t CO2-e

at $55/t CO2-e

























Notes: 1. Year 1 corresponds to pan-drying, while years 2 to 4 correspond to stockpile storage. 2. VS data (Rouch et al., 2011).

• DOC is Degradable Organic Carbon as a proportion of the waste type – eg, sludge is 0.05 (5%) degradable organic carbon;

• Fl is the fraction of methane in “landfill” gas. Default value: 0.5. The methane fraction in gas from anaerobic digestion and wastewater treatment may be as high as 70%. The remainder mainly comprises CO2;



3) Emissions in tonnes CO2-e = ( ( Q x DOC x DOCF xF1 x 16/12) – R ) x ( 1 – OX ) x 21

• DOCF is the fraction of DOC dissimilated (converted to gas). Default value = 0.5. In anaerobic conditions, eg, landfill, only half of the organic material will be converted to methane or CO2. The rest is sequestered long-term (this does not apply to uncovered waste sites);

VS reduction2

3. Assumes 50% methane content of gas, MCF = 0.6 (IPCC, 2006a). 4. GWP = 25 (IPCC, 2007).

Equation 4 (DCCEE, 2011; Division 5.2.2): Where: 4)

∆Cos(t) = Cos(t) x (1−e−k)

• Cos is the opening stock; • t is the reporting year (the year since commencement of the scheme); • e is Euler’s number, the exponential function: 2.718; • k is the “methane generation rate”. The rate of sludge decomposition depends on temperature and humidity: “k” values are higher in warm, wet conditions. Default “k” values for each state are given in DCCEE (2011), p. 315. Those for the southern states of Australia are based on IPCC estimates for boreal/ temperate zones, based largely on European and Scandinavian studies, and “k” values for warmer Australian climates may be incorrect (one Victorian landfill study (GHD, 2010) found the default value to be too low). Also, decomposition is generally faster in uncovered waste than in landfill. For greater accuracy, the “k” value may be calculated on a site-by-site basis from measured data. This is important for facility operators who wish to demonstrate that they have reduced their emissions. See DCCEE (2011, p. 318–323), for the required methods.

Nitrous oxide It is recommended that N2O emissions from biosolids stockpiles should actually be measured.

uncovered or waterlogged sites which can be used to calculate emissions from biosolids drying pans and stockpiles. For the method for calculating emissions, see Equation 3. Alternatively, emissions can be directly measured. The rules are strict (approved methods are set out in DCCEE (2011, Chapter 5 Part 5.17F). Methane does not escape uniformly from waste piles, but finds weak spots, usually at the sides of piles, or “batters”. Emissions from these spots can be >1000-fold higher than those from stable areas. For example, consultants GHD (2010) found flux readings of 0.01g of methane/m3/hour on surface areas of a landfill pile, yet one weak spot emitted 62.1g/m3/hour – a factor of 62,000 higher. Therefore, the site must undergo a “walk over” by an independent expert using a portable gas meter, able to detect hydrocarbon gases at a minimum of 10 ppm. Then “hotspots” are mapped and an estimate of total emissions is made. Expert consultants can calculate a site-specific “k factor” to estimate the decay rate. This can also be done from laboratory measurements of volatile solids. The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency has assessed various technical methods for measuring methane emissions, scoring them from “good” to “poor”. This is a useful guide for facility operators and consultants (DCCEE, 2010b, Table 4.6.)

How to Conduct a Waste Storage Site Survey

Example Calculations for Emissions of Methane from Sludge Drying Pans and Biosolids Stockpiles

The IPCC (2006a, Table 3.1) provides values for solid waste disposal at

A large number of samples were taken from sludge drying pans and biosolids

technical features

greenhouse emissions stockpiles at a metropolitan WWTP over a period of a year (Rouch et al., 2011). Stockpiles were tested after one year, two years and three years, to give a “snapshot” of the effect of ageing on the biosolids. Levels of Kjeldahl nitrogen and volatile solids (a marker for degradable organic carbon) were tested by the ALS, accredited by the National Association of Testing Authorities. The results indicated a steady decline in levels of both organic nitrogen and volatile solids, consistent with dissimilation of organic material to gases CO2 or CH4 and of nitrogen to N2 or N2O. Testing of samples indicated that decomposition in the upper layer of the biosolids stockpiles was largely aerobic, therefore emitting mostly CO2. However, anaerobic conditions appeared to occur below about 500mm from the surface and, therefore, would emit methane. The yearly rate of decomposition of organic material is shown in Table 1 (left-hand column). The Australian guidelines for estimating emissions from solid wastes and wastewater treatment are derived from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) values. Australian values from the Department of Climate Change’s Technical Guidelines (DCCEE, 2011) and IPCC (2006) were used for calculating emissions. These give an estimated “methane correction factor” (MCF) for various types of wastewater and sludge treatment. Drying pans sampled were generally more than 2m deep. As the MCF for deep lagoons (>2m) is 0.8, we conservatively assumed MCF = 0.6. Unmanaged deep stockpiles of deposited waste (> 5m) have a default MCF value of 0.8, shallow unmanaged sites an MCF of 0.4, and deep compacted sites have an MCF of 1. We again conservatively assumed an MCF of 0.6 for the stockpiles. (Choosing a higher MCF would produce a higher figure for total emissions.) The loss of volatile solids (VS) in digested sludge from drying pans and also from biosolids piles was known from VS analysis. Because this measured data was available it was not necessary to estimate the amount of degraded decomposable organic carbon (DOCF), or the decomposition rate. We therefore used a modified version of Equation 3, as Equation 5. 5)

CH4gen = DOCF x F x 1.336 x MCF x 25

The quantities of dissimilated volatile solids were multiplied by the fraction

of methane in “landfill” gas F (0.5), the MCF (0.6), and a factor of 1.336, as recommended in the Technical Guidelines (DCCEE, 2011), to convert from carbon to methane (this is approximately 16/12 as shown in Equation 3). The oxidation factor in Equation 3 is equal to 1 as there was no cover material, so it can be omitted. The R factor can also be omitted as no methane was recovered. To convert the methane to CO2-e, we used a GWP factor of 25, as this figure will be in use by 2014. To calculate tax liabilities, we then multiplied total tonnes of CO2-e by the two estimated values for the carbon tax of $25.40 and $55 per tonne.

Results Results are summarised in Table 1. From data on VS reduction it was estimated that one tonne of dry solids produced approximately 3.297 tonnes of methane as CO2-equivalent in the first year (including the pan-drying process) and a cumulative total of 6.874 t DS after three years of stockpiling. The cumulative tax incurred would be $174.59 per t DS at a tax of $25.40 per t CO2-e, or $378.05 per t DS at a tax of $55 per t CO2-e. The amount of biosolids from one drying pan at a metropolitan WWTP is about 1,000 t. So the accumulated carbon tax liability per pan, after three years of stockpiling at $25.40 per tonne of carbon emissions, would be $174,590. At $55 it would be $378,050. The output of dried biosolids in southern Australia is approximately 20 tonnes per 1000 people (MWC, 2010). Therefore, at $25.40, the potential tax from methane alone is $3,491.80 per thousand people, and at $55 per tonne it would be $7,561. For a large WWTP servicing millions of people, the tax liability would be tens of millions of dollars. The figures reported here are for methane emissions from sludge drying ponds and biosolids storage only. They do not include emissions from the upstream wastewater processes, or the initial production of the sludge. These also omit values for nitrous oxide emissions. Rouch et al. (2011) found that total Kjeldahl (organic) nitrogen levels diminished significantly during storage, from a mean value of 15% of freshly anaerobically digested sludge, to 0.05% of a sample of three-year old dried biosolid (taken from near the surface) and 0.01% taken at a depth of 500mm. This nitrogen may have dissimilated to a gaseous form, N2 or N2O. Thus nitrous

oxide emissions from stockpiles are likely to be significant and could add as much again to the tax liability. Under carbon trading a reduction in emissions could mean that carbon credits are earned. While various Australian cities and regional areas have a range of practices concerning treatment, storage and use of biosolids, the large scale of the problem (and opportunity) is apparent.

Conclusions: Future Treatment Options to Reduce Carbon Tax Liabilities Clearly the potential carbon tax would be a substantial additional cost on wastewater treatment, so it is important to consider how treatment systems can be altered to reduce greenhouse emissions. One method of reducing emissions is to cover the waste material (eg, sludge or biosolids) and capture the methane. This is already done by landfill operators, who use best-practice management techniques, including gas wells and a vacuum system to capture more than 75% of the methane. Similar methods could be used on-site to reduce emissions from biosolids stockpiles. Another method is treatment in an anaerobic digester. In both cases captured methane can be used for the production of energy. Alternatively, sludge must be very thoroughly aerated, which is difficult with solids. Covered anaerobic treatment also prevents emissions of N2O. Improved treatment options nominated by the UNFCCC (2010) include: • Optimising efficiency of existing anaerobic digesters; • Addition of anaerobic digesters to current small treatment systems (which could include a simple cover-andcollect system); and • Direct application to land. In addition, composting with a simple cover-and-collect system might be a possible improvement, though that would provide difficulties for physical management, such as for turnover. Methods such as tunnel composting may increase N2O emissions (Amlinger et al., 2008). By comparison, collecting greenhouse gas emissions from liquid sludge would appear to be a more practical option. For land application the microbial safety of biosolids produced by revised treatment systems would need to be assessed in line with current regulations.


NOVEMBER 2011 63

greenhouse emissions The Authors

A, Carbon pricing mechanism. www. cleanenergyfuture.gov.au/wp-content/ uploads/2011/07/Consolidated-Final.pdf Chestney N, 2011: Bar cap ups 2013 UN carbon price forecast by 10 percent, Reuters 12/4/2011. www.reuters.com/ article/2011/04/12/us-carbon-barcapidUSTRE73B2JY20110412.

Barbara Hutton is a research student at the Department of Civil, Environmental & Chemical Engineering, RMIT University, supervised by Mr Ed Horan. Ed Horan is the Program Director, Master of Sustainable Practice at the Department of Civil, Environmental & Chemical Engineering, RMIT University. Dr Duncan Rouch (email: duncan.rouch@ rmit.edu.au) is the principal postdoctoral researcher in a Smart Water Fund Project at Biotechnology and Environmental Biology, School of Applied Sciences, RMIT University.

References Amlinger F, Peyr S & Cuhls C, 2008: Greenhouse gas emissions from composting and mechanical biological treatment. Waste Management Resources, 26, pp 54–55. Commonwealth of Australia, 2011: Securing a Clean Energy Future: the Australian Government’s Clean Energy Plan: Appendix

DCCEE, Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, 2010a: National Greenhouse Accounts (NGA) Factors. July 2010. www. climatechange.gov.au/~/media/publications/ greenhouse-acctg/national-greenhousefactors-july-2010-pdf.pdf DCCEE, Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, 2010b: Review of the NGER (Measurement) Determination, August 2010. DCCEE, Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, 2011: National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (Measurement) Technical Guidelines June 2011, Chapter 5 – Parts 5.17F and G, and Part 5.3. www.climatechange. gov.au/government/submissions/reporting/~/ media/publications/greenhouse-report/reviewnger-measurement-determination-paper.ashx GHD, October 2010: “Report for Wollert Landfill: Flux Testing and Emissions Estimates”, available from Hanson Landfill Services, Melbourne. IPCC, 2006a: Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, Waste, Vol 5, Ch 3, pp. 3.14. www.ipcc-nggip.iges.or.jp/public/2006gl/pdf/5_ Volume5/V5_3_Ch3_SWDS.pdf

IPCC, 2006b: Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, Waste, Vol 5, Ch 6, pp. 6.13. www.ipcc-nggip.iges.or.jp/public/2006gl/pdf/5_ Volume5/V5_6_Ch6_Wastewater.pdf IPCC, 2007: Changes in Atmospheric Constituents and in Radiative Forcing, pp. 212. www.ipcc. ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1chapter2.pdf MWC, Melbourne Water Corporation, 2010: Tender documents: Expressions of Interest: Implementation of a research and development project for ...“Beneficial Use” of biosolids states that MWC produces approximately 60,000 tonnes of biosolids from a population of three million people. Otte S, Grobben N, Robertson L, Mike SM, Jetten M & Gijs Kuenen J, 1996: Nitrous Oxide Production by Alcaligenes faecalis under Transient and Dynamic Aerobic and Anaerobic Conditions. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, July 1996, pp. 2421–2426 Vol 62, No 7. Rouch DA, Fleming VA, Pai S, Deighton M, Blackbeard J & Smith SR, 2011: Nitrogen release from air-dried biosolids for fertiliser value. Soil Use and Management, September 2011, 27, pp 294–304. UNFCCC (2010): Indicative simplified baseline and monitoring methodologies for selected small-scale CDM project activity categories. AMS III.H Methane recovery in wastewater treatment. cdm.unfccc.int/filestorage/8RIV5 MZ4AG7YE9UQJ6HSL3NTFXD1C0/EB58_ repan22_AMS-III.H_ver16.pdf

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presented Presented at

greenhouse emissions

EnERgy EffIcIEncy In ThE MunIcIpAl WATER cyclE The best technologies for energy efficiency in the international water and wastewater industry M Brandt, K Drzewucki Abstract After manpower, energy is the highest operating cost item for most water and wastewater companies. The energy demand from the water industry can represent 1–2% of a nation’s CO2 emissions compared with the demand from domestic water heating which represents 5–7% (UK, Australia). Energy consumption has increased recently and this trend will continue due to: • New technologies to meet higher potable water and effluent quality standards; • Population growth and urbanisation driving higher demands for safe drinking water from finite resources; • Regulations and standards requiring energy-intensive treatment processes. The Compendium is a collection of over 120 best practice case studies and a review of the best technologies for energy efficiency in the international water and wastewater industry, 26 of which were Australian examples. It represents a thorough review of currently available technology and best practices, which can be adopted or adapted by companies worldwide. The benefits of the Compendium will be increased comprehensive guidance on energy efficiency, reduced energy use and cost, and a reduction in carbon footprint.

Introduction and Background Population growth, urbanisation linked to greater demands for safe drinking water and increasing levels of treatment to meet more exacting water quality standards will all contribute to even greater demand for energy by the municipal water sector in the future. Water and energy resources are finite or limited and availability is further constrained by environmental and social stakeholders. Future changes to regulations and standards will require additional energyintensive processes to achieve more exacting requirements. High energy consumption will affect the water industry

worldwide and is inextricably linked to the issue of climate change and carbon emissions. It is, therefore, important to minimise the use of energy by optimising efficiency across the water cycle. Measures to support moves towards carbon neutrality are to be commended, but energy efficiency in the water industry is an immediate concern. Pumping represents upwards of 80% of water supply energy demand and at least 30% for wastewater. For sewage services the major single energy demand is for aeration; up to 60% or more of the usage. The best opportunities for reducing energy demand are linked to these high usage components. Recognising the need to address energy efficiency in the water industry, the Global Water Research Coalition (GWRC) initiated a research project to document current international best practices in energy efficiency and technologies for the design and operation of water industry assets. Developments and future opportunities were identified that delivered: • Incremental improvements in energy efficiency through optimisation of existing assets and operations – the ‘low-hanging fruit’; • More substantial improvements in energy efficiency from the adoption of novel (but proven at full scale) technologies. Laboratory trials were specifically excluded. GWRC members, as represented by four Continental Coordinators in Australasia (Australia and Singapore), Europe, South Africa and the US, contributed to the study. The Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) compiled the Australasian energy efficiency report in partnership with PUB Singapore. The report showcases 26 energy efficiency initiatives which were collected as case studies to a consistent pro-forma from WSAA Members (large Australian urban water utilities) and PUB Singapore.

Study Scope The study addressed the whole water cycle from abstraction to discharge, including water treatment and distribution; wastewater conveyance and treatment; water reuse; sludge treatment and disposal; and included water conservation. The report has also identified hydraulic energy recovery from turbines and generation from waste and sludge through CHP technology where they are incorporated in water cycle assets. Each continental group compiled a report of best examples submitted by individual utilities in their region. The four regional reports were then combined into a Compendium of Best Practices and Case Studies, with the best examples of energy efficiency being presented in the main report together with a review of the best technologies for energy efficiency in the international water and wastewater industry. All case studies included in individual national and regional reports have been reproduced in the Compendium.

Approach to Study and Report A ‘priority short list’ was compiled, identifying the key areas within the water cycle with the highest energy demand and, hence, those parts of the water cycle and technologies thought most likely to yield the greatest energy savings. Initially the list was divided between the incremental savings from optimisation of existing assets and the more substantial savings from investment in novel processes or technologies. However, as the study progressed it became clear that there was considerable overlap and that any differentiation created a false division between opportunities. Therefore, differences were highlighted within the detailed descriptions of process components. The priority shortlist was used by the Continental Coordinators to identify relevant case studies of cost-effective energy reduction projects that validated, conflicted with or extended the initial


NOVEMBER 2011 65

greenhouse emissions

Presented at presented

Table 1. Water cycle energy saving matrix and global case study summary. Africa

Australia & Singapore

WATER CYCLE ENERGY SAVING MATRIX Energy Estimate (% of whole) Conservation (Water & Energy) Demand Management

Leakage Reduction


North America

Drinking Water Raw Water




Wastewater Distribution








HW2, HW3

HW2, HW3

HW2, HW3






Infiltration/Inflow Reduction


Optimise Gravity Flow


Pumping and Pumps

UU3, ScW5, SSW2, AW1, TVW1, TVW2, SEW1, SWW3, NM1, HW1, SAW1, MW1, AWU1

Catchment Transfer

SSW1, TVW3, TVW4, UU1, AW2, ScW6, KWR2, PUB1, SAW1, WC1, WC2, MCW1, QWD1

ScW2, UU4, UU5 SAW1

YW4, ScW4

ST4, ESP1 AW4, AW5, AW7, DCWW1, ScW3, SnW1, WW1, YW3, YW5, UU6, UU7, ST6, ST7, BW1, SW1




PC1 WW3, NW2, PUB2 ST1, ST3, VE2

Nutrient Removal RAS Pumping


Membrane Treatment


AW6, SAW1, MW2











Thickening/ Dewatering

ST8, ST9

Digestion / Co-digestion

YW2, ST5, VE4, EAW3, PUB4, PUB6, BCC1, SEW2 CM1

Sludge Drying


Building Services Mini Hydro-Turbines

AW3, SW2 VE1, MW3, SAW2, SEW1

ScW1, SWW2

Wind Turbines Solar Power Generation Biogas/CHP

66 NOVEMBER 2011 water




ACUA1 IEUA2 UU2, SWW1, SE2, EAW1, EAW2, MW4, SAW3, SW3, SW4, CWW2, IEUA1, CB1, CC1, KC1, LAC1

technical features

presented Presented at

study conclusions. Each Continental Coordinator drafted their regional report, summarising the findings from their case studies using a relatively prescriptive methodology and data collection pro-forma. The resultant Compendium format is an electronic document comprising fact sheets and case studies accessed through a Water Cycle Energy Saving Matrix (Table 1). The matrix covers the whole water cycle from raw water abstraction through treatment and distribution, to sewerage, treatment and disposal, and includes the various techniques and processes used in the industry, from conservation and leakage control, through pumping, primary, secondary and tertiary treatment to sludge processing. Building services and renewable energy such as hydro-turbines and sludge gas combined heat and power (CHP) are included where they form integral processes within the supply and disposal cycle. Standalone and remotely located processes are not included. The matrix uses colour coding to show the level of potential energy savings for each principal activity at each step along the water cycle. The areas highlighted in green represent those where the greatest potential for energy savings exist. White represents areas with limited potential or for which no case studies were identified. Areas highlighted in grey are those with no energy-saving potential. A requirement of the Compendium was that, if it was to be of value to the industry, it had to be ‘user friendly’, with easy access to all the supporting data within the document. The electronic version of the document, therefore, contains links to enable the user to navigate between the matrix, fact sheets and the case studies, and the four Continental Reports. The fact sheets describe the issues and opportunities for improving energy efficiency and technology options by component and estimates of potential savings based on the case study references. Most process areas have one fact sheet, but to cover pumps and their systems there are eight, including subjects such as correctly sizing pumps for their duties, hydraulics and variable speed drives (VSDs).

greenhouse emissions

wastewater aeration. This aligned with the initial conclusions on processes with higher energy demands in the ‘priority short list’ findings. There was a lack of coverage in some areas of the water cycle, notably in the treatment sections, particularly for clean water, confirming the initial view that ‘water supply’ utilities have fewer options for reducing energy consumption than ‘sewerage utilities’. We were also aware that some utilities have been optimising their treatment processes as the opportunity arises, such as linked to plant replacement or refurbishment. However, these improvements have possibly not been reported as case studies, either because the utilities considered the actions not to be worthy of reporting, or not fully documented, or because the optimisation gains may have been hidden under other projects, subject headings or budgets. Generally, the case studies are focused within components of the water cycle identified as priority areas in the matrix, but some improvements, such as conservation, can have a wider impact on the water cycle than within a single component or part of the process.

Electricity tariffs vary widely around the world and consequently energy cost is not a representative metric for international comparison. Therefore, kWhr/Ml or kWhr/m3 was used to report cost benefit and compare case studies. Payback periods were also estimated. The areas in Australia that submitted case studies were major urban areas in the south-east corner of Australia and included Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Newcastle and Geelong. Energy consumption within these utilities varies according to local circumstances and regulations. While for the purposes of this study, it was intended for WSAA to align this breakdown with the energy saving matrix (Table 1), the response to WSAA’s request for energy consumption and potential energy savings data was sparse. In lieu of this some data was taken directly from a WSAA-sponsored study titled Energy use in the provision and consumption of urban water in Australia and New Zealand, (Kenway et al., 2008) which is an appropriate substitute. As previously stated, the two components with the greatest opportunity for energy reduction are pumping throughout the water cycle and aeration for wastewater treatment.


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case Study Returns Table 1 shows the 121 case studies submitted by the Continental Coordinators, identified by region and category of energy usage. The matrix illustrates that the majority of opportunities focused on pumping and



NOVEMBER 2011 67

greenhouse emissions

Presented at presented

pumping Efficiency Pumping represents upwards of 80% of clean water and at least 30% for wastewater energy demand. Historically utilities focused on reducing energy costs rather than energy demand through tariff management, but this approach may have distracted from saving energy; however, national Carbon Reduction Commitments and Targets should redress the balance. Table 2 summarises six pumping interventions with the greatest potential for energy savings.

Table 2. Energy saving from pumping interventions. Duty Point

Intrinsic Pump

Duty Change

Waste Water

Duty Range

Saving (%)

12 to 30

3 to 63

6 to 11




Variable Speed Drives (VSDs) enable turndown of machinery to match operating conditions. Where only one pump is expected to cope with a wide duty range or seasonal or diurnal variations, VSDs are an economical solution. Modern VSDs include power factor management and one case study showed an 83% saving. However, VSDs use power to drive their electronics and typically take 4 to 5% of the rated motor power. One case study described the removal of an energy-wasting throttling valve linked to the replacement of a fixed speed pump with a VSD. The Compendium includes case studies of pumps being replaced to improve the efficiency of fixed speed operation, thus dispensing with VSDs. If pumps can be accurately sized for their duties the 4 to 5% power savings can be added to significant capital cost savings. One example confirms that for high static head and low friction head system curve a VSD will have little influence over the pump system efficiency. Furthermore, operating one VSD pump with other fixed speed pumps leads to inefficient pump performance due to the best efficiency points not being matched. For a number of parallel duty pumps, VSDs should be fitted to all, and their speeds should be controlled as one in order to match the pumps’ Best Efficiency Point (BEP) to the duty point. A few studies of borehole pumps have shown that attention to the aquifer draw-down can save energy. One case study demonstrates that using multiple pumps, each at low flow, instead of running a single pump at the required total flows, results in less aquifer draw-down, lower pumping head and, thereby, energy demand. However, borehole pumps and their long, small-diameter motors are not very efficient. One case study showed that replacement by line-shaft pumps with conventional surface-mounted motors was beneficial. There were few examples of pumps being replaced on energy efficiency grounds. Most are replaced for other reasons including reduced blockages, changed designs, and an incorrect original selection. The small number of examples reflects the relatively high cost of plant replacement and the payback time involved. This approach is likely to change as the whole life cost of energy rises and cost benefit analyses suggest reduced financial return periods. One case study of a large distribution (supply) area describes the use of real-time software model incorporating electrical costs of delivering different water sources to schedule the use of the least costly sources first and only run more costly resources if necessary. While this technique incorporates some tariff management, the same principles are applicable

68 NOVEMBER 2011 water

Figure 1. Case Study Example: Pump efficiency improvements 2007–2008, resulting from mechanical overhaul (Melbourne Water, Australia). to energy saving by optimising the supply/demand balance rather than maximising storage. Other examples show benefits from optimising the control philosophy of single, albeit complex, stations. Performance testing has been used to assess the potential for savings, and in most cases worthwhile savings were demonstrated; however, there is a risk that for some installations there are limited opportunities for efficiency savings and that the testing costs are not recovered. However, one case demonstrated a more cost-effective approach was to test a complete zone, thereby identifying those pumps offering the best potential for energy gains. Applying internal coatings to pumps is an accepted practice and is often included as part of a routine or major maintenance overhaul in addition to, for example, replacing packed glands with mechanical seals or sleeve bearings with roller elements on older pumps. However, the consequence of multiple interventions is that the economics of a single intervention becomes masked by the combined effects of all the changes and their costs. The converse is that an economically viable payback may not be viable from one intervention alone and that a broader multiple intervention approach may be needed to justify expenditure.

Aeration for Wastewater Treatment There were 15 case studies offered by participating utilities relating to wastewater aeration for Activated Sludge Plants (ASPs). Aeration typically represents 50% to 60% of a sewage treatment works’ energy demand. Therefore, any improvement in aerator performance will have a significant impact on the overall energy demand for the treatment works. Table 3 illustrates the relative energy demand of wastewater treatment processes.

Table 3. Energy saving from process interventions Biological (percolating) filters Low


Energy use High

Means of Saving

Anaerobic membrane bioreactor Bio-aerated flooded filter Step-fed activated sludge (ASP) Nutrient removal ASP Conventional membrane bioreactor

Aeration is supplied by blowers through a series of pipes and diffusers into the mixed liquor in the ASP tank. Aeration efficiency is, therefore, influenced by a range of factors including:

technical features

greenhouse emissions

presented Presented at

• Blower inlet air conditions; • Blower condition, wear, seal, bearing and lubrication system maintenance; • Control system accuracy, response time, instrument cleaning and calibration; • Air distribution system sizing, pipes, control valves and flow measurement; • Diffuser condition, type, internal cleanliness and size of bubbles; • Depth of aeration tank, and diffuser floor coverage; • Strength of mixed liquors, upstream treatment, homogeneity; • Matching of different components in the system. The case studies suggested that potential savings of up to 40% could be achieved from a variety of interventions such as: • Check blower flow rate and head against metered electrical input; • Check system pipework, valves and control set-points for best settings; • Install Real Time Control based on incoming flows and loads and the effluent consent by installing or upgrading PLC controls; • Install ammonia-derived DO control; • Install variable speed drives to surface aerators; • Upgrade/replace diffuser grids, aerator paddles; • Replace blower drive belts with non-slip belts; • Replace/refurbish blower gear boxes (optimise gear ratios);

Figure 2. Case Study Example: 20–23% energy savings from PLC controller changes at ASP (Barwon Water, Geelong, Australia). On complex sites where more than one treatment stream is operating, the flexibility to change the emphasis between an activated sludge plant and a filter process has obvious advantages. This is also evidence where the need for tertiary treatment may be marginal and could be reduced or avoided by efficient operation of primary and secondary processes.

conclusions and Recommendations The study conclusions can be summarised as: 1.

All water conservation and leakage reduction gains, which include pumping within the cycle, will have a proportional reduction in energy consumption.


excellence in


• Consider blowers with no gearboxes and magnetic bearings; • Maintain/refurbish air transfer pipework; • Dedicated team to optimise plant performance/deliver efficiencies. ASP case studies focused on changing dissolved oxygen control to ammoniabased control. Savings of up to 50% have been reported by relatively simple means of changing instruments and control software. In one example, similar benefits were derived from monitoring inlet loads to regulate flow rates, thereby allowing blower output and energy demand to be reduced. Other examples describe improved control over secondary high energy use processes which are seasonal, such as nitrification, but are incidental to the consent standard.

One pipeline contractor is committed to executing world class projects for its customers.


A Monadelphous Group Ltd company


NOVEMBER 2011 69

greenhouse emissions 2.



Pumping represents up to 90% of energy consumption for clean water and up to 30% for wastewater processes. Potential reductions include: a.

Between 5% and 10% improvement on existing pump performance;


Between 3% and 7% improvement on pump technology;


Between 5% and 30% in some pumping situations where the operational set-up has been changed from the design condition. Energy savings are feasible in more complex and largescale systems, but frequently show marginal payback using current financial analyses.

There is scope for up to 20% improvement in clean water processes, but the energy use in this category is low. There may be potential in clean water processes opportunities associated with older DAF, membrane packages, U/V systems and ozone plants. Between 50% and 60% of the energy consumed in the wastewater cycle is used in Activated Sludge Plants. Potential reductions include: a.

Up to 25% performance improvement depending on investment to date;


Up to 50% reduction is possible by aligning control parameters with the consent;

Presented at presented


There is potential for optimising wastewater processes towards increasing primary sludge production, reducing secondary treatment loads and increasing gas yields to Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant with minimal investment.


There is potential for up to 15% improvement in building services.


Renewable energy, mainly in the form of CHP from sludge gas, could contribute significantly to reducing the net energy demand of the water industry.


‘Water supply only’ companies will have limited opportunities for improvement compared with those wastewater companies deriving energy from sludge.


For the whole water cycle, overall energy efficiency gains of between 5 and 15% seem realistic. But gains will depend heavily on the characteristics and current performance of the system, its operational management, the regional environment and geography.

10. Cost-benefit

analyses should use electricity price increases projected to about half the design life of the plant; ie, at least 10 years into the future.

11. Negotiations

on consent standards should include a net pollution assessment to balance pollution removed by treatment against pollution caused through increased energy demand. The balance must include electrical power generation and distribution efficiency.

All the above savings are indicative only, suggesting order of magnitude gains for companies that either have not started or have implemented only limited energy efficiency measures. Some companies have made significant progress installing new equipment and refurbishing existing equipment with energy use reduction in mind. They are less likely to realise gains at the upper end of the ranges through future interventions. One objective of the study was to use the case studies to understand regional, environmental, regulatory and operational management differences between companies. However, there was insufficient comparative data to be able to make such distinctions apart from geography; a utility’s energy demand is very dependent on the locations of its sources and fresh water delivery regime and wastewater collection and disposal, the optimum being by gravity. This is particularly illustrated by a comparison of the major Australian cities, as shown in Figure 3. The study also made recommendations to progress knowledge in, and application of, energy efficiency throughout the water cycle. The recommendations included: 1.

Consider whether incremental improvements or technologies described in the case studies are relevant to local or regional energy efficiency initiatives and follow the advice and examples where applicable.


Use future electricity prices in cost/ benefit analyses, projected to about

100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50%

Other energy – demand


Wastewater – treatment


Wastewater – pumping


Water supply – treatment


Water supply – pumping

e Ade


e ban Bris

rne lbou Me




Figure 3. Energy demand for four Australian utilities, 2008 (WSAA, 2010).

70 NOVEMBER 2011 water

technical features

presented Presented at


greenhouse emissions

half the design life of the proposed facility, say 10 years.

practices, which can be adopted or adapted by companies worldwide.

Rationalise the energy required to achieve consent standards with pollution from generation of that energy; include the overall fuelelectricity-water pump system efficiency, which is about 20%.

The benefits of the Compendium to the water industry will be increased comprehensive guidance on energy efficiency, reduced energy use and cost, and a reduction in carbon footprint. There may also be benefits in communication of status and expectations of the industry’s contribution to national and global energy and carbon reduction targets.


Confirm the comparative energy demand of various enhanced sludge treatment processes.


Pursue sludge gas CHP and opportunities for co-digestion with other wastes.


Do a more in-depth statistical analysis of water industry data to confirm or correct energy usage and potential savings numbers.


Update the international compendium on a regular (bi-annual) interval to include more contact with academia for research on new processes etc.

The compendium provides advice and examples of how savings can be costeffectively realised, as detailed in the fact sheets and illustrated by the case studies. It represents a thorough review of currently available technology and best

Acknowledgements The authors wish to thank the following co-authors: Adam Lovell, Executive Director, Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA); Roger Middleton, Research Project Team Member, Black and Veatch; Puah Aik Num, Deputy Director, Technology & Water Quality Office, PUB, Singapore; Gordon Wheale, Project Manager, UKWIR; and Frans Schulting, Managing Director, GWRC; as well as the many utility contributors for the detailed and varied collection of case studies submitted; the Global Water Research Coalition members world-wide, as represented by four Continental Coordinators in Australasia and Singapore, Europe, South Africa

and the US; and to UK Water Industry Research, which managed the project on behalf of GWRC, for permission to prepare and present the paper.

The Authors Malcolm Brandt (email: brandtm@bv.com) is a Divisional Director of Black & Veatch with technical responsibility for research and water distribution management related projects including asset management, demand management and water loss reduction. Kristy Drzewucki (email: Kristy.Drzewucki@wsaa. asn.au) is the Environment & Sustainability Program Coordinator for WSAA. Her role is to coordinate programs/projects that are developed via the three associated member networks she manages: Energy & Greenhouse, Environment and Water Conservation.

References GWRC/UKWIR, 2011: Energy Efficiency in the Water Industry: A Compendium of Best Practices and Case studies. Global Report. GWRC/UKWIR.


NOVEMBER 2011 71

greenhouse emissions

SUSTAINABLE WATER SOLUTIONS IN A TIME OF CLIMATE UNCERTAINTY Strategies for a medium-sized authority L McLean, A May Climate Variability and the Water Industry Management of water resources has attracted the nation’s attention. In Victoria, we have gone from “water scarcity with wide scale water restrictions, water efficiency targets and large augmentations for supply security” to “experiencing the highest rainfall on record in much of the state with floods causing widespread damage and low demand”. This is just a reminder that Mother Nature can turn our world upside down in a moment. This reminds me of another “matriarch”, this one from my family. My grandmother turned 95 in September this year, and one of her (many) sayings was, “The smartest ideas are often the simplest”. This saying, of course, related to her amazing craftwork, not water. She would often buy a piece from someone else, just to break it down to see how it was put together, then look to improve the piece, but in an even simpler form. Current climate predictions indicate that the heavy rains of 2010–11 were a brief hiatus from long-term drought. Scientists believe that we will again return to a long, intense period of drought, which could last up to 20 years. This means we need to optimise our water resources effectively now and work with our communities to deliver sustainable, secure and efficient water solutions. These solutions are not only about reducing the amount of water used, but also the energy required to deliver our water supplies, while adapting to an uncertain climate future. The water industry is one of the sectors that is most highly vulnerable to climate variability. Water supply security and accelerating population growth will make meeting the needs of future generations extremely challenging. Over the last decade, lower rainfall and hotter days over much of Victoria have been one of the most noticeable signs of this variability. Victoria is responding to this challenge by developing integrated water cycle management solutions. These solutions and supply “portfolio” options differ greatly from just a few years ago when the majority of water consumed

72 NOVEMBER 2011 water

by customers across Victoria was sourced directly from local reservoirs. The search for additional water sources has required water to be pumped over long distances and treated for the desired end use. These options are typically more energy intensive compared to traditional supplies and highlight the increased relationship between water and energy into the future.

A Key Relationship: Water and Energy Water corporations are currently a key consumer of electricity and in Victoria are collectively counted among the top 20 electricity-consuming businesses (VWIA, 2008). A recent survey of eight Victorian water corporations indicated that seven of them are projecting energy consumption increases. The key factors for increased consumption are population growth, diversifying supplies to meet water security challenges, and increasing standards and regulatory requirements for water treatment to ensure water supplies are fit for purpose and beneficially used. The diversification and increased treatment of water supplies has seen (portfolio) investments in desalination, dual water pipelines, recycled water treatment and distribution as well as stormwater substitution for non-potable uses in the urban environment. These new water sources and associated treatment requirements provide a greater level of long-term water security; however, they are typically more energy intensive compared to traditional gravity-fed sources from protected catchments. Electricity is likely to be a major input in ensuring the delivery of sustainable water management services across much of Australia. In addition to increasing electricity usage to deliver integrated water supplies, electricity prices are expected to increase as a result of diversification of electricity sources, including natural gas and renewable energy, regulatory reform, network investments to meet the challenges of rising peak demand, ageing assets and network security (Australian Energy Regulator, 2009), as well as the future price on carbon.

Electricity in Victoria is traditionally sourced from brown coal, which has a high relative greenhouse impact. It is expected under a business-as-usual scenario that the carbon footprint of the water industry will increase with increased electricity consumption. With a corresponding increase in energy usage, costs, greenhouse gas emissions and the water industry’s contribution towards climate change would also be expected to increase. Western Water’s response is to set a challenge for itself to deliver integrated water-cycle solutions to our region while minimising our costs and carbon footprint.

The Climate Challenge for Western Water Western Water is located to the northwest of Melbourne. The region consists of a mix of suburban development around the fringe of Melbourne and extends into regional Victoria. Western Water services a population of over 150,000, which is expected to double in the next 10 years. Population growth rates across our region regularly exceed state averages. In the future, it is expected that population growth will remain strong, given the planned growth of Toolern, south of Melton, and the proposed urban growth within the region as part of ‘Melbourne at 5 million’. As population increases, so does the pressure on our limited water resources, and the challenge is to ensure sufficient water is available to supply the increasing population in a sustainable way. New ‘greenfield’ developments of urban growth provide a great opportunity to deliver planned, holistic and tailored water supply solutions to our newest communities. Geographically, the Western Water region is in a “rain shadow”, with average rainfall across the region generally below the State’s average. The region was one of the first to experience drought conditions. Western Water has a history of proactively meeting the region’s water supply demand in a high-growth and low rainfall environment, particularly by supplementing drinking water with

technical features

greenhouse emissions alternative water supplies for nonpotable uses. A clear focus has been the aspirational target of 100% beneficial use of recycled water, and while this target has not yet been achieved, up to 88% of all water has been recycled each year. It is predicted that climate variability will reduce the reliability of traditional water supply and demand models, with more hot days, more dry days and more storm events. Fifteen years ago, 100% of our towns’ water was sourced from local reservoirs. Since then, local storage levels have reached a low of less than 7%. In 2000, after a number of years in drought, Western Water built infrastructure to connect into the Melbourne Water supply. During 2008–09, approximately 94% of all water consumed by our customers was supplied from the Melbourne Water system. This new supply source was at a relatively high financial cost and resulted in increased energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions as a result of pumping water long distances. In a period of less than 10 years, local water reliability reduced from 100% to 6% of all water supplied to customers. During 2010–11, high rainfall over the region has replenished local water sources, which has enabled towns such as Gisborne and Melton to be again supplied by these local sources, saving carbon emissions and costs. In a time of climate uncertainty, planning is critical to ensure reliable water services into the future. Western Water has developed a 20-year Growth Strategy to plan for water supply to meet demand in the region. This Strategy outlines key actions to ensure we have water supply security while safeguarding the health of our environment, and to optimise our

portfolio choices. As part of this planning process Western Water has reviewed its traditional approach to service delivery. These traditional approaches have included centralised systems, reliance on rainfall-dependent sources, peak demand planning, structured decision-making and a narrow service offering. As part of this planning process, Western Water has identified the need to plan for uncertainty and high population growth, and ensure security through a diversified portfolio of supply options and inter-connection of water supplies. Adaptation to climate variability to sustainably manage our water resources and provide not just water services but water solutions to our customers is required.

Western Water’s Climate Change Strategy Western Water’s Vision is “to be a leading service provider working with our community towards a sustainable future”. To be true to this Vision, Western Water has a responsibility to: mitigate our greenhouse gas emissions to reduce our contribution to climate change; and adapt to the reality of its impacts on our operations and our customers. Western Water’s Climate Change Strategy is our response to that responsibility. It aims to best position the organisation in terms of both mitigation and adaptation. The Strategy encompasses Western Water’s progress and plans for: • Climate change mitigation – our contribution to reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change; and

• Climate change adaptation – how we are preparing for the impacts on our business, and our customers, of changes in the climate that have already commenced. • The Strategy recognises that climate change is not just an environmental issue – it is a business one as well. From a mitigation perspective, the Strategy sets Western Water on a pathway to achieve its aspirational target of zero net [Scope 1 and 2] greenhouse gas emissions by 2017–18. During 2010– 11, Western Water achieved a 27% reduction in net emissions against the base line year of 2004–05 and remains committed to continued net reductions in carbon footprint. These targets ensure greenhouse gas emissions are a key consideration in all business decisions and encourage investments that reduce our exposure to long-term carbon price and increased energy cost risks by reducing the energy and emissions intensity of the services provided. The impacts of climate variability include periods of lower inflows into our reservoirs, poorer water quality in our catchments, higher peak flows of stormwater, higher risks of heat-related asset failures and higher energy costs. We face major uncertainties in planning how to manage these impacts. There is no way to predict exactly how much temperatures will rise and when, precisely how much water will flow into our reservoirs, and what the scale and timing of extreme weather events will be. This means we need new tools that allow us to make decisions that will assist across a wide range of possible outcomes, rather than deliver an optimum result for just one outcome. These tools are key parts of our risk-based adaptation response. This response involves projects that minimise or remove unacceptable risks to water security (including price), and the long-term security of our operations and assets in the context of an operating environment impacted by wider extreme events. I asked my grandmother if it was true that one of her knees ached before it rained. But at 95 years old, she no longer remembers which knee it was, or even whose knee it was, although she does admit that most things ache a lot lately! But what about climate change, I ask.

Victorian Water Minister Peter Walsh and Sam Pitruzzello of Pitruzzello Estate, an olive grove which will receive recycled water through the Gisborne Recycled Water Scheme.

“Silly question really, what hasn’t changed since 1916?” she responds. “But you should have seen the Mallee dust storms in the 1920s, or been there in the 1930s floods. Amazing.”


NOVEMBER 2011 73

greenhouse emissions Table 1. Net Greenhouse Gas Emissions (tonnes CO2e) – Five Years Total Net (Scope 1 and 2) Emissions (tonnes CO2e)











Table 2. Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Source – 2010/11. Direct Emissions (Scope 1)


Nitrous Oxide Emissions

3,052 2,966

Population served






Methane Emissions

Drinking water consumption (ML)






Diesel Consumed


Unleaded Petrol Consumed


Gaseous Fuel Combustion


B20 Biodiesel


Indirect Emissions (Scope 2)


Vic Grid Electricity Consumed


Reduction from GreenPower Purchase


Offsets Purchased and Retired


Voluntary Carbon Units


Total Net Scope 1 and 2 Emissions (tonnes CO2e)


In response to climate change, Western Water aims to deliver value to customers through innovation and rigorous planning and management and through prudent investment and efficient operations. These obligations are central to the development and implementation of the Strategy, and are critical in justifying actions to both our customers and independent regulators. Future progress will depend on how well we work with Government, regulators, other stakeholders and the community. Without these stakeholders’ involvement and support, mitigation and adaptation cannot be successful.

Carbon Footprint Continued progress towards Western Water’s aspirational target of Zero Net Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions has been made. In 2004–05, Western Water produced more than 30,000 tonnes of carbon emissions, equivalent to pollution from 6,925 cars. In the past year, net greenhouse gas emissions were reduced to 21,621 tonnes, 29% below those of 2004–05. A slight increase in net emissions compared to 2009–10 was observed as a result of the revised calculation methodology for fugitive emissions consistent with the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme. This

resulted in an additional 2,084 tonnes of carbon emissions generated from the treatment of wastewater (Scope 1 emissions) from the previous methodology. Emissions generated from the consumption of grid electricity reduced by 10% or 1,511 tonnes of carbon emissions compared to 2009–10. This indicator suggested that the carbon emissions associated with our services are reducing, although the region is experiencing high population growth. Approximately 78% of greenhouse gas emissions are generated through the consumption of Victorian electricity grid power. The breakdown of Western Water’s emissions sources for 2010–11 is provided in Table 2. Greenhouse gas emissions are classified into three defined categories – Scope 1, 2 and 3. Scope 1 are direct emissions within organisational control. Scope 2 are indirect emissions from purchased energy, mainly electricity. Western Water currently reports on Scope 1 due to our essential activities and Scope 2 due to the use of electricity. Western Water continued to extend the scope of greenhouse gas reduction actions to consider ways of influencing Scope 3 activities, which are undertaken outside the organisation’s boundary. Knowing where emissions are generated in our supply chain will allow Western Water to make strategic purchasing decisions that minimise our energy and carbon risk profile in the future. Progress against the Strategy is updated monthly as part of Western Water’s Strategic Management Reporting tool, the Balanced Scorecard, and communicated publicly via the Annual Report. A copy of our Climate Change Strategy is also publicly available on our website at www.westernwater.com.au

Climate Change Mitigation – Reducing our Carbon Profile

Western Water’s Willimigongon Reservoir.

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Western Water is tracking well against our aspirational target of Zero Net Carbon Emissions by 2017–18. Progress is being made towards a Milestone target of a 50% reduction by 2012–13 from a baseline year for which 30,434 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions were reported.

To guide action planning and investment decisions, Western Water has adopted a carbon management model which reflects the prioritisation of emissions reduction ahead of the purchase of offsets. This model reflects a continuous improvement process to ensure new practices and technologies are captured as they emerge over time. At Western Water, our emissions mitigation program was developed through a collaborative process and extends across the organisation. The program is overseen by our Environment Committee and draws on ideas generated by employees through the Green Ideas Program and Workshops. Reductions have been achieved through a range of initiatives including: • Energy efficiency audits and retrofits at depots and offices; • Improving pumping efficiencies along water and sewerage pipelines by converting to gravity systems; • Installation of energy-efficient blowers and aerators at our recycled water plants; • Development of a Green Travel Plan, which included the installation of biodiesel facilities to use as a substitute to diesel for use by outdoor fleet vehicles, among other activities; • Investing in renewable energy technologies such as cogeneration and solar power; • Embedding energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in decisionmaking processes;

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greenhouse emissions • Use of reflective paints on roofed plants and facilities; • Purchase of Green Power and other offsets. Approximately 1 tonne of greenhouse gas emissions are generated for every megalitre of water supplied and a further estimated 2 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions are generated for every megalitre of sewage treated. Over the last three years, total bulk drinking water demand and sewage inflows into Western Water’s water recycling facilities have remained relatively stable, while regional population growth has increased. This is primarily due to customers’ water conservation efforts and contributes towards reducing our total carbon footprint through reducing projected treatment and distribution requirements. There is still considerable uncertainty associated with future carbon regulation in Australia. However, any future cost on carbon or mandatory renewable energy targets will have an impact due to the energy dependence of our operations and our broader exposure to a carbon price. Without future efficiency improvements a $23/tCO2e emission permit price equates to an estimated annual increase in our direct electricity costs of $400,000 under a full passthrough scenario, based on 2010–11 consumption (a crude estimate at best, but remember to keep things simple).

Rosslynne Reservoir in Gisborne at below 4% capacity in 2008.

It is essential to track and quantify our greenhouse gas emissions monthly, along with the associated carbon cost of our activities. This will assist us to keep our energy costs lower in the future, easing pressure to increase future water prices for our customers. Looking forward, a preliminary list of projects has been developed to further cut emissions. In considering these, Western Water will target projects that reduce our exposure to long-term carbon price risks by reducing the energy and emissions intensity of our operations. These projects include: • Investing in energy efficiency measures across all sites and potentially partnering with the Victorian Government’s Greener Government Buildings initiative; • Investigation into new technologies such as sludge pre-treatment and assessing the commercialisation of growing and harvesting of algae

Rosslynne Reservoir earlier this year after being replenished by high rainfall.


NOVEMBER 2011 75

greenhouse emissions at recycled water plants for energy production; • Identifying less energy- and greenhouse-intensive alternatives during investments in capital infrastructure, such as the installation of more efficient pumping regimes and transfer systems, and alternative processes; • Optimising our water resource supplies, including maximising the use of lowenergy locally sourced resources, such as recycled water, groundwater and stormwater, and influencing water consumption patterns to minimise long-term carbon impact; • Investigating increased renewable energy generation. • Assessing the expected impact the introduction of a carbon tax will have on Western Water’s services. Western Water has implemented a number of key projects to mitigate our carbon footprint. A number of these are outlined here.

Melton Biogas Cogeneration Plant As part of measures to achieve our target, a biogas co-generation plant was installed at the Melton RWP. This plant utilises biogas, a by-product generated during the production of recycled water, to produce heat and energy. The biogas co-generation plant has been operational since August 2010. To date, the plant has generated approximately 600 MWh of electricity, which is equivalent to offsetting 738 tonnes of carbon dioxide. With significant growth planned for the Melton region, biogas available for electricity production at the cogeneration plant will also increase with time. The implementation of this project has the potential to offset carbon dioxide emissions by 1,800 tonnes per year. The biogas co-generation plant produced enough energy to provide the energy needs for the Class A Recycled Water Plant at Melton, which supplies ‘fit-for-purpose’ recycled water to residential customers in Eynesbury and the growth area of Toolern. It is expected that the operation of the Class A recycled water plant will achieve carbon neutrality through heat and electricity produced by the cogeneration plant and the purchase of a minor amount of offsets. The verification process is currently underway to assess the plant’s carbon neutrality against the National Carbon Offset Standards.

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As part of this verification process, Western Water led the Victorian water industry project to develop a Carbon Neutral Guide for the water industry using the biogas co-generation plant as a case study. This project has attracted the interest of Low Carbon Australia, which oversees Carbon Neutral Claims.

Melton EcoDepot The Melton EcoDepot is an ambitious project that aims to deliver Western Water its first carbon-neutral depot. Works at the depot commenced with the implementation of a range of energyand water-efficient measures identified through a recent audit, such as: the de-lamping of lights; switching off appliances when not in use; installing motion sensors; and cleaning of light diffusers and the installation of a split system heating unit. The roof of the depot was also applied with a heat-reflecting paint to reduce heat stress among staff in summer and reduce summer cooling needs. Staff at the Melton depot have also installed a 22,000 rainwater tank for vehicle and equipment cleaning and a biodiesel filling station has been installed. In June, a 2 kilowatt solar array was placed on the depot roof to produce renewable energy to power around 22% of the depot’s energy needs. The sustainability initiatives at the depot have helped to significantly reduce the site’s energy consumption by 44% at this time. The installation demonstrates an environmentally sensitive approach to depot operations.

Partnering with the Water Industry on Climate Change Initiatives Western Water partnered with the water industry through the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) to develop a Cost of Carbon Abatement Tool. The tool provides Western Water with a methodology for assessing the cost effectiveness of a range of options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Through this partnership, Western Water was also involved in developing a Victorian water industry energy and carbon price forecast, which will be used to inform purchasing decisions and plan for the future, as well as a calculator to assist energy and greenhouse reporting requirements for the water industry. In partnership with Victoria University, Western Water is undertaking research into the use of algae as biofuels. When harvested, this algae could be utilised in our digester to generate additional biogas, which could then create heat and electrical energy through the biogas co-generation plant. There

are current knowledge gaps prior to commercialisation of this process. This research is aiming to close these gaps and is looking to identify growth rates of the selected algae species, ideal growth conditions and discover the most efficient technique for harvesting the algae.

Energy Saver Incentive Scheme Western Water has also continued its involvement in the Victorian Energy Saver Incentive Scheme, which is a State Government initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with the creation and sale (to date) of 94 Victorian Energy Efficiency Certificates (which is equivalent to savings of 94 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions) from our WaterTight residential customer assistance program.

Adaptation to a Variable Climate Western Water recognises the potential threat that climate variability and population growth poses, and a multifaceted response to sustainable and integrated water cycle management has been developed. We have already had some experience of what that will be like, with high population growth, drought and record flooding rainfall all experienced over the past few years. To date, Western Water has focused on improving our climate resilience by ensuring we have access to alternative portfolio sources of water to supplement the water available from our own reservoirs. This has involved considerable investment in upgrading water supply, sewerage and recycled water systems and assets. Such work has included: • Building pipelines from Melbourne to provide greater water security and improving interconnections to the Melbourne system, including desalinated water. The desalination plant will provide further water security, with greater access to a climateindependent supply of drinking water for a growing population. • Increasing storage and supply capacity of recycled water facilities. In 2009–10, Western Water recycled 85% of its water. This led to the replacement of over 1,500 million litres of drinking water with recycled water where it was fit for the purpose, and a 50% reduction in drinking water supplies to areas where Class A recycled water is provided via dual pipe. • Integrated water cycle management and third-pipe recycled water supply in large-scale residential developments to provide drinking water alternatives.

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greenhouse emissions • Providing community education for water conservation and efficiency, water recycling and cleaner production. • Minimising water losses and infiltration through our infrastructure. • Working with key stakeholders in the planning process to ensure integrated water cycle solutions form part of all new growth areas. The development of Western Water’s climate change adaptation program represents a challenge for the business. We have to plan for a future which is uncertain. In fact, adaptation can be defined as risk management under uncertainty. There is a wide range of possible climate impacts and we do not know exactly how much temperature will increase, when they will increase, how much water inflows will vary, and when. We also do not know what the scale and nature of future extreme weather events will be. Importantly, climate change is not expected to be smooth or linear; rather, it will be characterised by abrupt changes and extreme events, which are hard to predict or manage. These challenges will require a different approach to water supply planning. The traditional planning and decisionmaking tools that we have used will not work for us in dealing with this uncertainty. Those traditional tools work best when there is only one or a few possible different scenarios to plan for, and when the differences between competing scenarios are relatively small. This means we need to develop new tools that allow us to make robust decisions – that is, decisions which will work across a wide range of possible outcomes. It also means that we will have to be ready to change our strategies and plans quickly as events unfold. This will require us to work closely with the community and our stakeholders.

What the Future Holds Western Water will undergo significant change in the next couple of decades, given the opportunities to create smart, sustainable water solutions that are resilient to climate variability and effectively minimise the carbon footprint. The two outstanding features of the region are: 1.

It is one of the fastest-growing urban areas in Australia, with the new suburb of Toolern alone expected to absorb an extra 60,000 residents by 2030 – equivalent to an extra 22 new people a day.


The region is one of the lowest-rainfall areas in Victoria, with less than 500mm falling in an average year. In 2009, rainfall was just 250mm.

The new Toolern Precinct requires working with key stakeholders to develop a secure water future for this growth area which will include stormwater capture and recycled water to homes. Western Water sees this as an opportunity to create a “water-neutral” suburb of the future and a showcase for integrated water cycle management. Toolern will build on our learnings from the award-winning water-sensitive urban designed Eynesbury Township, which has achieved a 50% reduction in potable water use. Toolern will use Eynesbury as a benchmark for improvements and is already the first suburb in Victoria to have integrated water management principles included in its Precinct Structure Plan. Our aim is to work towards 100% net reduction in potable water use – the first water-neutral suburb in Australia.

Concluding Remarks There is no more important issue for our community’s future than the secure supply of water. This is especially important in a time of high population growth and climate variability. Western Water aims to be a leader, not just within the water industry, but for the whole community, within the water/ energy nexus space. Our vision: To be a leading service provider working with our community towards a sustainable future. To achieve it we must invest in sustainable water management for the future. To break down the water energy nexus into some of its simplest forms could mean: 1.

A portfolio approach to water management is required – the same as an investment portfolio, but each supply source has its own unique costs and risks. Understand and update your portfolio regularly, particularly from an energy use perspective;


Don’t treat all water to its highest standard for all uses; a risk based, fit-for-purpose approach is required;


Don’t ignore low-tech solutions. Use Mother Nature (UV/gravity/soils/nutrients etc) to advantage. As examples, Western Water has replaced our largest sewerage pump station with a gravity sewer, and used reflective paints and ventilation to minimise temperature on pump stations etc, with significant benefits;


Create your own energy. Use biogases, solar, heat, turbines and so on, for your own purposes;


Create (and use) your own offsets. Consider all potential offset sources such as any plantations, VEECs, solar or green energy opportunities.

Add this aspirational goal on water use with Western Water’s other key goals of: • 100% water recycling (up to 88% already achieved); • 100% biosolids beneficially reused (achieved); • 100% biogas reused (achieved at the Melton plant); • Net zero emissions (one-third of the way there). I often get asked about the reason for setting aspirational targets. There is some risk in setting easily achievable targets, in that this is exactly what you will get. With aspirational goals, well you just might get there too. Western Water now has a new paradigm for water management called WaterSphere. WaterSphere plays a central part in how we plan our new growth areas as well as work with our existing customer base. Through this approach we are working towards appreciating the true value that water has in creating financially viable and liveable communities. We will be working with our communities not only to be a service provider but a solution provider. This will involve greater collaboration with planning authorities and land developers, to identify integrated water cycle management solutions with the notion that “all water is good water” to create greater customer value.

The Authors

Les McLean (email: les.mclean@ westernwater.com.au) is General Manager, Commercial Services, Western Water, Sunbury, VIC. Anna May is Acting Manager, Renewable Resources, Western Water.

References Australian Energy Regulator, 2009: ‘State of the Energy Market 2009’, O’Young, Edwin (2009). Not just a carbon hit on electricity prices. Source: Port Jackson Partners. VWIA, 2008 (Victorian Water Industry Association): Energy and Greenhouse Data.


NOVEMBER 2011 77

greenhouse emissions

Presentedatat presented

refereed paper

CARBON ABATEMENT OPPORTUNITIES AT SYDNEY WATER Applying the Cost of a Carbon Abatement Tool P Woods, R Hynes, M Jones, R Walters, J Sullivan, M Ferguson Abstract Sydney Water and its Energy Partners (Energetics and WorleyParsons) have identified and assessed a range of opportunities that could cost-effectively reduce Sydney Water’s carbon emissions from operational energy consumption by up to 20%. As part of this project Sydney Water developed a Cost of Carbon Abatement (CCA) Tool to assist in assessing and comparing carbon emission reduction opportunities. The CCA Tool is a flexible, dynamic decision support tool that provides a common analysis platform and a flexible interface that supports scenario modelling and user-defined presentation of outputs.The CCA project is helping Sydney Water meet its carbon neutrality commitment at least cost and prepare for a future carbon price.

Introduction Finding ways to transition to a low carbon economy is a challenge for organisations around the world. For Sydney Water, recent increases in electricity prices, its carbon neutrality commitment and the likelihood of a legislated carbon price all reinforce the business case for energy and carbon emission reduction initiatives. Sydney Water is committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2020 for its operational energy consumption, with a 60% reduction on 1994 levels by 2012. This commitment imposes an internal price on carbon emissions from Sydney Water’s operational energy use – any emissions that cannot be reduced must be offset, at a cost to the business. Wastewater utilities are in the unique position of being both major energy users and potential sources of renewable energy. Sydney Water had the 57th largest Scope 2 (grid electricity) greenhouse gas emissions in Australia in 2008–09 (DCCEE, 2010), and the third largest Scope 2 emissions among Australian water utilities. However, Sydney Water has also installed biogas and mini hydro generators that provide up to 20% of the company’s electricity needs. There are many more opportunities for carbon abatement that exist for Sydney Water in a range of areas including energy efficiency,

78 NOVEMBER 2011 water

additional energy capture from sewage and the use of renewable energy technologies such as solar and wind.

• Preliminary analysis – perform a quick analysis to get an estimate of the costs and benefits of each opportunity;

To help Sydney Water understand potential energy and carbon reduction opportunities, and improve the process by which business decisions are made about these opportunities, the Sydney Water Energy Partnership (Sydney Water, WorleyParsons and Energetics) developed and populated a Cost of Carbon Abatement (CCA) tool.

• Detailed analysis/populate CCA input template – gather detailed costs and benefits data and then populate the data input template in the CCA Tool.

The objectives of the project were to: 1.


Identify and assess carbon abatement opportunities and, for each opportunity, calculate the potential carbon emission reductions and the cost per tonne of carbon emissions reduced; Develop a strategic decision support tool to standardise and simplify the assessment of carbon abatement opportunities.

The CCA Tool was adapted from McKinsey’s national marginal abatement cost curves and applied to a single company (McKinsey, 2008).

1. Determine analysis criteria

2. Opportunity identification

3. Preliminary screening

4. Preliminary analysis Option input template 5. Detailed analysis

CCA Tool

Methodology There were two distinct parts to the project – identifying and assessing carbon abatement opportunities; and developing the decision support tool (the CCA Tool). The Energy Partnership (WorleyParsons and Energetics) led the opportunity identification and assessment, while Sydney Water developed the CCA Tool. The methodology for identifying and assessing appropriate carbon abatement opportunities for analysis involved a number of steps (see Figure 1): • Determine analysis criteria – the project team agreed on the scope of the assessment and the criteria for assessing opportunities;

6. Populate CCA input template

Figure 1. Opportunity assessment methodology.

• Opportunity identification – identify all available options at the generic technology level;

The project considered any opportunity to reduce Scope 1 (direct combustion emissions, excluding fugitive nitrous oxide) or Scope 2 emissions from purchased electricity. Only new opportunities or those that had not reached business case approval were included in the project.

• Preliminary screening – perform highlevel screening to remove opportunities with fatal flaws (ie, barriers that would make the opportunity impossible or highly unlikely to implement);

Approximately 110 opportunities were originally identified in this study. These were identified by drawing on a wide range of Energy Partners’ expertise, previous engineering studies performed by the

technical features

refereed paper

greenhouse emissions

presented Presentedatat

Table 1. Preliminary screening criteria. Screening criteria

Possible values – Pass

Possible values – Fail

• R&D near term (< 10 years) Technology status

• Pre-commercial pilot • Commercially available

• R&D long term (≥ 10 years)

• Technology in use at SWC

HSE impacts

• No HSE concerns

• Adverse visibility, noise, odour, air quality, biodiversity or safety impacts

Political/social acceptance

• No adverse political/ community impacts

• Adverse political/ community impacts

Opportunity compatibility

• Opportunity compatible with SWC operations

• Opportunity not compatible with SWC operations

Project scope

• All other projects • Scope 1 & 2 GHGs

partnership, and by researching publicly available literature (eg, opportunities considered by other Australian and international water utilities). For example, the addition of macerated food waste to anaerobic digesters to increase biogas production had been considered previously by Sydney Water’s engineers. Installation of additional co-generation engines fired by biogas at sewage treatment plants, mini-hydro plants, wind and solar power had been assessed in an earlier renewable energy generation study. Opportunities were identified in the areas of energy efficiency, demand management, waste heat recovery, energy capture, greenhouse gas capture and destruction, and alternative low or zero emissions energy sources. Opportunities were first screened at a high level to ensure that they were compatible with Sydney Water’s operational limitations (eg, available land and land usage restrictions), and were within project scope. The key screening criteria applied are shown in Table 1. Approximately 20 opportunities failed the preliminary screening step. The remaining 90 opportunities were refined and some were split into multiple opportunities. For example, the ‘wind turbine’ opportunity was split into separate opportunities according to turbine size, and sites with a very high wind resource were separated from other potential sites. Opportunities that failed screening but which had some merit for Sydney Water were marked for future research. These included microbial fuel cells, sewage treatment plant aeration control improvements and membrane bioreactor technology.

Out-of-scope projects: • Offsetting projects • N2O abatement projects

The preliminary analysis step assessed the net present value per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions (NPV/t CO2-e) abated per annum (for each opportunity), which provided a second screening step. The NPV used high-level approximate data for initial capital cost, annual operational expenses and savings from annual avoided energy consumption. Opportunities were then prioritised on the basis of agreed thresholds of cost per tonne of emissions abated and the tonnes of emissions abated per annum. This reduced the number of opportunities to approximately 65, which progressed to a detailed assessment. The detailed analysis step used the Sydney Water CCA Tool. The tool was populated with financial data including detailed capital and operational expense estimates, and installation project management costs. Where appropriate, a lag time was included Opportunity for each project to Input Template account for the time required for project Opportunity description implementation in Assumptions both expenditure Risk assessment and savings. Savings

Where an opportunity would generate electricity (eg, wind, solar, biogas or biomass sources), the opportunity was generally sized in order to meet site demand rather than focus on export of electricity to the grid.

The assessment accounted for benefits from the generation of renewable energy certificates, any other green credits (eg, NSW Energy Savings Scheme Certificates) and feed-in-tariffs (where they may exist).

CCA Tool Development The CCA Tool is an Excel-based tool that enables an assessment of opportunities to reduce carbon emissions in terms of the volume reduction, associated costs and benefits, and risk. Sydney Water developed the Tool in parallel with the early stages of the opportunity identification and assessment. The ‘Option Input Template’ in the Tool was essential for the detailed analysis of each opportunity (Step 5 in Figure 1). The major output of the Tool is a Cost of Carbon Abatement Curve, showing the volume of carbon abatement potential for each opportunity in order of increasing cost, along with a flexible data table summarising key information. The Tool has four main sections: Opportunity Input Template, Generic Inputs, Calculations and Results (see Figure 2). The Option Input Template (‘O-Template’) must be populated for every opportunity that is to be shown on the CCA Curve. It ensures a standard approach to data gathering and input, so that opportunities can be assessed on a consistent basis. Both qualitative and quantitative data is captured in the O-Template. Qualitative data includes information such as location, land requirements, technology type and status, and a basic risk assessment. Quantitative data includes electricity and other energy savings, renewable energy generation, generation of green credits (eg, Renewable Energy Certificates), and all project installation, maintenance and management costs.

Calculations Common calculation Detailed option outcome viewer


Generic Inputs Common assumptions applied to all opportunities Scenario assumptions

Results Scenario variables Interactive data table Graphical results – cost curve Data quality checking Administration of graphics

Figure 2. Basic structure of the CCA Tool.


NOVEMBER 2011 79

greenhouse emissions The Generic Inputs worksheet includes assumptions that are common to all opportunities, such as electricity and energy prices, greenhouse conversion factors and carbon prices. The Calculations worksheet enables the user to view detailed output for a single opportunity. A summary of the key data for every opportunity from the Calculations page appears on the Results page, which also includes the CCA Curve. The Results worksheet includes all of the options for altering the format and content of the CCA Curve; for example, the Scenario Data Table (Figure 3) allows the user to easily change key assumptions and redraw the CCA Curve. The Results sheet also contains some data quality checks that assist the user in identifying errors or inconsistencies in the input data. Scenario Data Table

have cut emissions from electricity use by 20%. The most notable opportunities from the analysis included: 1. Energy efficiency Most of the opportunities with a potentially positive economic return were related to energy efficiency. Water distribution optimisation has a large abatement potential and a favourable levelised cost. Aeration systems are a large consumer of electricity at most wastewater treatment plants, and have good abatement potential at a favourable levelised cost. Energy efficiency opportunities in buildings had a favourable levelised cost but only a small abatement potential. This is because Sydney Water has recently consolidated its office staff into energy-efficient buildings at Parramatta and Potts Hill. 2. Waste heat


Period of evaluation, years


Electricity price level Mandatory carbon prices


Voluntary carbon prices


RECs are valued

Presentedatat presented

N - Retain RECs as emission reduction credits (ie RECs generate no income)

Avoided costs included


Figure 3. Scenario Data Table. An example of a cost curve produced by the CCA Tool is shown in Figure 4. It shows the annual average emission reduction over the evaluation period (eg, 30 years) against the levelised cost per tonne of emissions reduced. The levelised cost is calculated as the present value of all costs and savings, divided by the present value of the emission reductions over the evaluation period. Any opportunity that appears below the line (ie, with a negative value on the y-axis) is cost-effective over the evaluation period. The zero line on the y-axis (ie, the x-axis) represents business as usual, including carbon costs (if the user has included a carbon price in the scenario).

Results and Discussion This project showed that Sydney Water has the potential to cost-effectively reduce a large proportion of its carbon emissions. Approximately half the assessed opportunities have a positive economic return (depending on scenario choice), with the potential to reduce emissions by up to 100,000 tonnes CO2-e per annum, which represents over 20% of carbon emissions from operational energy use. This is in addition to the recently installed biogas cogeneration and mini hydro plants, which

80 NOVEMBER 2011 water

There is significant abatement potential and a favourable levelised cost in using additional waste heat from existing biogas engines to run a steam turbine. 3. Energy capture The assessment considered opportunities to install additional biogas engines as well as increase biogas generation at existing sites. It identified a number of favourable opportunities, including the addition of macerated food pulp to sewage sludge digesters, chemically assisted sedimentation and ultrasonication of sludge to improve anaerobic digestion. 4. Greenhouse gas capture Biosequestration was assessed as having moderate abatement potential at a low levelised cost. The production of biochar from sludge had high abatement potential but at a relatively high levelised cost. Algal biofuels had a moderate abatement potential but at a very high levelised cost. 5. Alternative zero or low-emission energy sources Large-scale wind turbines at a number of Sydney Water sites had large abatement potential with a very favourable levelised cost. Solar opportunities, while having similar abatement potential to wind, had levelised costs in the order of hundreds of dollars per tonne of emissions abated. 6. Research opportunities A number of opportunities were not included in the CCA Curve but were flagged for future research, including microbial fuel cells, geothermal power generation, and aspects of aeration systems and water distribution.

refereed paper

The CCA Tool provides a common calculation platform and a flexible interface that supports scenario modelling and outputs. For example, users can quickly compare changing forecasts of energy pricing, carbon emissions trading costs, voluntary carbon costs and external funding for different abatement scenarios. The Tool also allows the user to colour the bars of the graph according to a range of categories, such as project type, risk level, technology status and capital required. This provides additional insight when comparing opportunities on the Curve. Sydney Water is currently using the CCA Tool to develop a new Energy and Greenhouse Gas Strategy. The Tool helps assess the impact of technological, economic, environmental, political and societal trends that could influence Sydney Water’s activities over the next 10–20 years. The strategy work developed a number of scenarios that defined a range of possible future business conditions. The Tool was used to develop an abatement curve for each future scenario by varying key input parameters such as electricity and gas price forecasts, the greenhouse conversion factor for electricity and green commodity pricing. It also enabled different energy consumption projections for each of the scenarios to be modelled. As a result, Sydney Water has been able to set challenging but realistic emission reduction targets that will save money as well as carbon. Sydney Water has committed to saving another 40,000 tonnes of emissions per year by 2020 through implementing the ‘below the line’ opportunities identified in the CCA Curve. This commitment, when combined with savings from existing projects, will enable Sydney Water to keep non-renewable electricity purchases at pre-1998 levels, despite over 20% growth in customers, greater security of water supply and greater levels of wastewater treatment. The Scenario Data Table (Figure 3) allows the user to decide whether to retain or sell Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) from renewable energy generation projects. It is generally accepted that RECs from a renewable energy opportunity should be retained and voluntarily surrendered if the company wishes to claim the associated emission reduction. However if the RECs are retained, their financial value is not included in the cost benefit analysis. The alternative approach is to sell the RECs and buy cheaper carbon offsets. In this case the financial value of the RECs is included, but the Tool allows for an additional cost for the purchase of offsets.

technical features

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greenhouse emissions

presented Presentedatat


Levelised cost, $/tCO2e

Project Type

Energy Efficiency Renewable Energy Generation Waste Heat GHG Capture/ Destruction Energy Capture

Annualised average GHG savings, t CO2e

Figure 4. Example of a Cost of Carbon Abatement Curve produced by the CCA Tool. A number of opportunities identified by the CCA project are currently being progressed through additional studies. For example, food waste co-digestion at wastewater treatment plants and large wind turbines are now the subject of further feasibility, risk and economic assessment. The CCA tool is a powerful tool for addressing carbon mitigation that is of interest to a wide range of Australian water utilities. As a result, the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) funded further development of the Sydney Water CCA Tool for use by its members. To date, 15 Australian water utilities have purchased a licence for the Tool, with further interest from around the world. The CCA Tool won the Research Merit Award at the 2010 AWA NSW Awards and contributed to Sydney Water being awarded the 2010 NSW Green Globe Award for public sector energy management.

Conclusion This study has allowed Sydney Water to: • Assess the cost and abatement potential of a large range of carbon abatement opportunities; • Compare the relative cost effectiveness of emission reduction opportunities; • Test the impact of changing electricity and carbon prices on cost effectiveness; • Develop a broader and more detailed Greenhouse and Energy Strategy, including new emission reduction targets. The strength of the CCA Tool is in its flexibility to quickly and easily generate new scenarios and present the results according to the needs of the user. The standardised Option Input Template ensures a consistent basis for comparing opportunities. The CCA project is helping Sydney Water to meet its carbon neutrality commitment at least cost and to prepare for a future carbon price.

Thanks to Adam Lovell of WSAA for his support in developing the CCA Tool into a product available under licence to Australian water utilities.

The Authors Phil Woods (email: philip. woods@sydneywater. com.au) is the Principal Eco-Efficiency Analyst at Sydney Water and is the main contact for external organisations interested in the CCA Tool. Jessica Sullivan (email: jessica. sullivan@sydneywater.com.au) is currently the Climate Change Adaptation Project Manager at Sydney Water and was the project manager responsible for delivery of the CCA Tool. Matt Ferguson is a Senior Technical Advisor in Product and Servicing Strategies at Sydney Water and is the technical specialist behind the CCA Tool. Rob Hynes is a Principal Consultant with four years’ experience in Carbon Abatement Strategy for a number of water utilities. Rick Walters is Principal Consultant – Sustainability & Climate Change with WorleyParsons. Mike Jones is a Principal Consultant with Energetics and has been working within the Sydney Water Energy Partnership for the past four years.

References Department of Climate Change & Energy Efficiency (DCCEE), 2010: 2008–09 National Greenhouse & Energy Data by Corporate Group. DCCEE, Canberra, Australia. McKinsey & Company, 2008: An Australian Cost Curve for Greenhouse Gas Reduction: www.mckinsey.com/clientservice/sustainability/ Costcurves.asp.

Delivering innovative water, wastewater and reuse solutions.


NOVEMBER 2011 81

odour management

Presentedatat presented

refereed paper

The odour conTrol FAcIlITy AT murrumBA downS wwTp Successful commissioning and optimisation of an automated wet chemical scrubbing system G Finke, T Brammer, J Beecher, G Frougas Abstract The Murrumba Downs Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) has recently been upgraded to increase capacity of the facility to 30.8 megalitres per day in order to meet the demands of a growing population within Brisbane’s Northern Growth Corridor. The project utilised the latest technology in biological nutrient removal and odour control in order to meet rigorous environmental standards. A significant part of the works was the construction of a new Odour Control Facility (OCF) to eliminate nuisance odours to the surrounding community. The OCF has a capacity of 67,000m3/hr and comprises a two-stage wet chemical scrubbing system (Venturi scrubber, followed by a packed bed scrubber incorporating the Odorgard® catalyst system) using sodium hydroxide and sodium hypochlorite. In addition, an emergency bypass activated carbon filter system was provided. This paper details the steps in commissioning and optimisation of the odour plant to achieve the required discharge requirements of the project.

Introduction The Murrumba Downs Waterways for Life Alliance was created in September 2007 to deliver, in two stages, the design and construction of an advanced water treatment plant (AWTP) and an upgraded wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). The WWTP upgrade allows the plant to treat wastewater for the projected population of 2016. The Waterways for Life Alliance comprised John Holland, MWH (Montgomery Watson Harz) and Pine Rivers Regional Council, which later became Moreton Bay Regional Council (MBRC) and is now UnityWater. The first stage of the Alliance, the construction of the AWTP, commenced in September 2007 and was completed in September 2008. The second stage, the WWTP upgrade, commenced in June 2008 and was completed in January 2011, resulting in a reduction of nitrogen and phosphorous content in the treated effluent. The high-quality discharge complies with the EPA regulation

82 NOVEMBER 2011 water

that limits nitrogen to 3mg/l and phosphorous to 1mg/l, making it significantly cleaner when it is released into the Pine River. This paper relates to the OCF plant constructed under the WWTP upgrade, which included the following process/equipment: • Provision of a new inlet works; • Provision of two new Flow & Load Attenuation Tanks (FLATs); • Provision of a new multistage activated sludge Bioreactor No. 2; • Modification of the existing activated sludge Bioreactor No. 1;

This paper details the steps in commissioning and optimisation of the OCF to achieve the required discharge requirements of the project.

Background The existing WWTP was the subject of community complaints and did not comply with the requirements of the current QLD EPA guidelines with respect to odour emissions. The upgrade of the WWTP involved the addition of process units, which (without suitable odour management) would increase the odour footprint of the site and risk increased community impact.

• Modification of existing RAS system on existing Clarifiers No. 1 & 2;

An existing biotower, which was located towards the south of the plant, extracted odour from the following areas:

• Provision of 2 new Clarifiers No. 3 & 4;

• Inlet Works – Exit from Grit Chambers;

• Provision of new cloth media tertiary filtration system;

• Inlet Pumping Station 102; • Inlet Pumping Station 103.

• Provision of a new in-channel UV disinfection system; • Upgrade of the existing biosolids handling facilities; • Provision of a new odour management system including odour covers, ducting, chemical scrubbers and exhaust air stack; • Provision of new chemical systems; • New outfall pipeline to Pine River. INLET PUMPING STATIONS 102 & 103 INLET WORKS FLATS BIOREACTOR 1 –

• Inlet Works – Screenings Building;


The existing odour treatment plant was undersized to be able to cope with the increase in odour sources or achieve the required performance, thus a new, larger plant was proposed. The odour plant portion of the overall project comprised the design, supply and delivery to site, installation, testing, commissioning, optimisation and performance testing of a two-stage odour control system to treat 67,000m3/hr of foul





















Figure 1. Process Flow Diagram.

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air to a 500 OU/m3 discharge specification. This part of the contract was carried out by Aromatrix Australia. The new OCF treats odorous air from the following sources: • New Inlet Works; • New Flow & Load Attenuation Tanks (FLATs) 1 & 2; • New Bioreactor 2; Anaerobic Zone:

• Installation test plans for mechanical, civil and electrical were completed by the relevant installer. This included cable checks for the electrical equipment and hydrostatic testing of vessels.

• Observe control characteristics and retune loops as required to optimise process;

• Pre-commissioning checks were then completed by the commissioning team, the construction team and the vendors to ensure the equipment was ready for commissioning. This included loading of the control system software and I/O tests.

Issues during commissioning

• Unit commissioning was then completed, which included Site Acceptance Testing of software and recirculation of water through process equipment.

- Anoxic Zone - Swing Zone - De-aeration Zone - Common Post Anoxic Tank;

• Process commissioning – introduction of odour load from WWTP and chemicals (Sodium Hypochlorite and Sodium Hydroxide).

• Augmented Bioreactor 1 - Anaerobic Zone - Anoxic Zone

• Process optimisation – tuning of ORP and pH PID control loops for each chemical scrubber.

- Swing Zone - De-aeration Zone; • Inlet Pumping Station 102; • Inlet Pumping Station 103; • Dewatering System Sludge Storage Hopper; • Dewatering System Truck Loading Bay.

odour plant Flowsheet The Odour Control Facility (OCF) process flow is detailed in Figure 1, although this excludes the standby carbon filters.

The OCF is designed on the loads summarised in Table 1 and based on an airflow of 67,000m3/hr at 20oC. Tables 2 and 3 show the required Venturi and final stack discharge qualities respectively.

commissioning procedures Commissioning of the OCF was undertaken in a systematic process to ensure a high standard was achieved. The sequential commissioning phases were as follows:

During the commissioning of the Murrumba Downs WWTP (and commissioning of wastewater treatment plants in general), issues always arise irrespective of the amount of testing which is undertaken. Issues which arose during the commissioning process of the OCF included the following: • Low load conditions and the subsequent impact on the pH and ORP control loops; • Over-sized equipment due to the low load (e.g. chemical dosing pumps and flowmeters); • Appropriateness of sampling methods (Di-methyl Sulphide measurement interference);

• Performance and reliability test – two separate 14-day tests were completed with stringent guidelines on equipment reliability and discharge limits from the stack (including Hydrogen Sulphide, Mercaptans, Dimethyl Sulphide and odour).

• Storm events leading to power failures;

The sequence in which the commissioning was undertaken can be summarised as follows:

- Chemical dosing pump rates;

• Once pre-commissioning checks were completed, commissioning was undertaken with full load;

design parameters

• Undertake 1st performance test.

• Ensure all sub-systems available; • Commission under Mode 1 operation; • Set blowdown rates from Odorgard and Venturi scrubbers; • Observe control characteristics (pH/ ORP) with Odorgard catalyst off-line and adjust control loops; • Once pH and ORP suitably controlled within correct range and no elemental sulphur being generated, Odorgard catalyst brought online;

Table 1. Odour Control Unit design loads.

• Uncontrolled chemical release; • Equipment reliability: - Chemical dosing pump Profibus communication errors/power and signal line interference;

- H2S analyser foundation fieldbus communication errors; - pH and ORP probe response times; - Water supply system failures. Further discussion is provided on some of these issues, as follows: • Dosing pump communication faults – spurious faults were being generated by the Sodium Hypochlorite and Sodium Hydroxide dosing pumps. Initially it was thought to be an issue with the power supply and signal lines. Surge protectors/filters were installed but some faults remained. The code has currently been modified to mask the incorrect faults, while further

Table 2. Required Venturi discharge quality.



Average Load

Peak Load

Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S)




Ammonia (NH3)




Mercaptans (R-SH)




Parameter Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S)

Maximum discharge concentration (ppm)



Di-methyl Sulphide (DMS)



Mercaptans (R-SH)



VOCs (1)





Di-methyl Sulphide (DMS)








Design % removal









NOVEMBER 2011 83

odour management discussions are undertaken with equipment suppliers to fully resolve the problem. • Sodium Hydroxide pump faults – pumps were not providing correct flows initially. All valves were cleaned and PRVs/PSVs were reset. • ORP control loop (Sodium Hypochlorite dosing) – this loop was difficult to tune due to the sensitive relationship between ORP and chlorine concentration. This was eventually fine-tuned and now operates effectively. • Chemical flowmeters – due to lower than expected inlet concentrations, flowmeters were oversized for the low dose rates being sent to the Venturi and Odorgard scrubbers. These were replaced with flow meters of a lower range. • During commissioning, there was an uncontrolled release of approximately 3000L of 12.5% Sodium Hypochlorite into the Venturi scrubber. Due to the volume of Sodium Hypochlorite, it could not be discharged to the inlet works using the blowdown pump station and, therefore, was taken offsite. Procedures were subsequently put in place to prevent a repeat of this occurrence. • Due to project time constraints, the OCF was initally run using only the standby carbon system during the WWTP flow tuning phase. • pH and ORP probes were initally not responding well due to probe insertion depths which contributed to PID loop tuning problems. Probe housings were subsequently replaced to improve flow path and response times. The use of the foundation fieldbus communication protocol for the H2S analysers, together with the Delta V site wide control system, proved problematic. High H2S alarm points and discrepancy

Presentedatat presented

alarms between dual validation units were incorporated to protect the catalyst from high H2S concentrations. Communication errors related to several units, resulting in spurious readings (ie, extremely high and low concentrations) which caused high alarm set-points to be exceeded, which shut down the Odorgard scrubbing system. After considerable time and effort trying to correct these errors, the communication protocols for these analysers were changed to 4-20mA analog outputs, which solved this problem entirely. The issue concerning low loads and the appropriateness of sampling methods is discussed later in this paper. The advantage of commissioning most of the plant while having the construction team still available on the site was invaluable, ensuring defects were immediately attended to and rectified. As such, all of the above issues were attended to immediately.

process commissioning and optimisation The following provides a brief description of the level of automation integrated into the OCF and outlines the system performance and optimisation phases which were undertaken as part of the commissioning activities. A high level of control, automation and redundancy has been integrated into the OCF, some of which is listed below: • Dual pH and ORP probes for each scrubbing system; • PID control loops for sodium hydroxide and sodium hypochlorite dosing (ie, pH and ORP control) for both scrubbing systems; • PID control loops for maintenance of recirculation pump flowrates for both scrubbing systems; • Dual inlet Odorgard scrubber H2S

Table 3. Required Odorgard discharge quality. Parameter

Design % removal at peak inlet design load

Maximum discharge concentration at peak load (ppm, unless stated otherwise)

Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S)



Di-methyl Sulphide (DMS)



Mercaptans (R-SH)





Chlorine VOC (average Mol. Wt 120)

There shall be sufficient removal of Ammonia and VOCs to achieve stack discharge max. concentration specified (at peak load)

84 NOVEMBER 2011 water

Total including all contaminants not to exceed 500 OU

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analysers (to protect catalyst) with discrepancy alarms); • Automatic catalyst bypassing based on pH and ORP set-points and other alarm conditions; • Automatic probe cleaning cycles (based on time period and probe discrepancy alarms); • Automatic Sodium Hypochlorite dosing pump gas purging; • Four modes of plant operation with automatic changeover on various alarm conditions. For the pH and ORP control loops, three regions were configured with Gain, Reset and Rate coefficients able to be independently applied to each region. This provided considerable flexibility for control of each parameter. The effectiveness of the Odorgard catalyst is sensitive to pH and ORP conditions and needs to be protected if these conditions are unfavourable. The system at Murrumba Downs employed automated inlet, outlet and bypass valving, which isolated the catalyst if the pH dropped below 8.3 or the ORP below 500mV. Only once levels were raised above these set-points was the catalyst allowed to be brought back online. The main areas which caused problems or provided the most significant level of optimisation were: • Tuning of pH and ORP Control; • Sampling Methods. These are discussed in more detail in the following sections.

Tuning of ph and orp control The pH and ORP feedback control system is critical to the successful operation of the facility. Initial set-point and tuning parameters were configured based on the design inlet concentrations. For example, Venturi and Odorgard scrubber set-points of 9.2 and 450mV, and 9.5 and 750mV were set for pH and ORP respectively. The ORP set-point for the Venturi scrubber was 450mV in order to generate elemental sulphur and reduce the required hypochlorite demand. Alternatively, the Odorgard ORP set-point was maintained at 720mV in order to produce dissolved sulphates and limit elemental sulphur that could cause blockages to the scrubber packing and catalyst. The first performance test was carried out between 11 and 24 November 2009, with results summarised in Table 4. It should be noted that the Venturi ORP varies from 400 to 500mV, due to the fact

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ph trend

ph trend

orp trend orp trend

Figure 2. Venturi scrubber pH and ORP trend.

Figure 3. Odorgard scrubber pH and ORP trend.

that the ORP is unstable within this range (ie, small changes in the hypochlorite concentration create relatively large changes in the ORP). For the Odorgard system, the ORP setpoint is much higher and the variability less due to the stability within this range (see Figures 2 and 3).

concentration with 8 values out of the 50 over the required 1000OU limit. Note that as per the EPA license requirements, the required maximum outlet odour concentration was initially 1000 OU/m3 for the first test due to the staged upgrade program. This was reduced to 500 OU/m3 for subsequent performance tests.

The results of this first test show that all parameters met the contract specification limits except for the outlet odour

Table 4. Summary of results for 1st performance test (11–24 November 2009). Date



During this test, a number of system faults/reliability issues arose that resulted in ‘downgrade’ of the normal operating mode as follows: • H2S analyser foundation fieldbus communication errors; • Dosing pump Profibus communication errors/power and signal line interference;

Control loop set-points: Venturi pH set-points ORP set-points

9.2 450

• Probe failure during a clean cycle;


Odorgard pH set-points ORP set-points

9.5 720

• Service water pump failures.


Inlet H2S concentrations (continuous measurement)


0 to 23 (average = 6.5)

Outlet concentrations: H 2S Mercaptans Di-methyl Sulphide Odour

ppm ppm ppm OU/m3

<0.04 <0.008 <0.003 41 to 2,050 (average = 453)

• Storm events leading to power failures;

It is considered that these system faults resulted in unstable operation and caused odour breaches, as discussed. For this reason, the test was considered to have failed and needed to be repeated once the system faults had been addressed. The repeated test was carried out from 16–29 March, to ensure odour levels were at their maximum, and the full performance of the system could be tested. It was also considered that the Odorgard ORP set-point could be reduced due to the much lower inlet concentrations

Table 5. Summary of results for repeated 1st performance test (16–29 March 2010).

Table 6. Summary of results for 2nd performance test (1–14 July 2010).





Control loop set-points: Venturi pH set-points ORP set-points Odorgard pH set-points ORP set-points Inlet H2S concentrations (continuous measurement)


9.2 450


9.5 650

Odorgard pH set-points ORP set-points

6 to 33 (average = 17)

Inlet H2S concentrations (discrete samples only)

<0.006 <0.005 <0.009 81 to 353 (average = 185)

H 2S Mercaptans Di-methyl Sulphide Odour

Outlet concentrations: H 2S Mercaptans Di-methyl Sulphide Odour

ppm ppm ppm OU/m3


Control loop set-points: Venturi pH set-points ORP set-points




9.2 450


9.5 670


1.0 to 4.0 (average = 1.7)

Outlet concentrations: ppm ppm ppm OU/m3


<0.023 N/A N/A 60 to 303 (average = 138) NOVEMBER 2011 85

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Presentedatat presented

Table 7. Comparison of gas measurement methods. Pollutant

Table 8. Comparison of analysis methods for the measurement of Di-methyl Sulphide.


Inlet concentration to Venturi and Odorgard scrubbers Electrochemical sensor (Draeger Polytron 7000)/Gastec adsorption tube

H 2S Ammonia

Gastec adsorption tube


Gastec adsorption tube

Di-methyl Sulphide

Gastec adsorption tube/GCMS

Carbon Dioxide VOCs

Gastec adsorption tube Stack outlet

H 2S

Gastec adsorption tube/GCMS


Gastec adsorption tube/GCMS

Di-methyl Sulphide (DMS)

Gastec adsorption tube/GCMS Electrochemical sensor (Draeger Polytron 7000)

Gastec Method No. 77


20 Nov 2009




21 Nov 2009




22 Nov 2009




23 Nov 2009




24 Nov 2009




25 Nov 2009




Sampling methods The sampling methods employed are summarised in Table 7.

Dynamic olfactometry (AS4323.3:2001)



As detailed in Table 6, all the results obtained indicated that the plant successfully passed the required performance, with the highest value of 303 OU being recorded and an average of 138 OU, which were well below 500 OU requirement.

MiniRAE 2000 portable VOC monitor

Chlorine Gas


The contract required an additional performance test for H2S and odour only, on the completion of an upgraded wastewater treatment reactor. The results for this test are summarised in Table 6.

MiniRAE 2000 portable VOC monitor


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With regards to the testing of DMS, issues occurred during the performance trial involving saturation of the TBM prefilter on some Venturi inlet and outlet adsorption samples. As a result, Gastec’s gas sampling system No. 53 was used for measurement of the remaining DMS samples (which incorporate a Pyrotec Pyrolyzer pre-treatment stage) as recommended by Gastec Corporation. This sampling system does not have the same interference potential as their sampling No. 77; however, the lower detection limit is only 0.2ppm.

Note: Concentrations in ppm unless specified.

than design. This was also supported by the presence of a chemical/chlorine smell noted in the stack discharge during the first test and preliminary tests leading up to the re-test. The results from the second test are summarised in Table 5. It should also be noted that leading up to the performance trial, wet weather conditions significantly reduced the inlet H2S concentration. This proved particularly difficult during the retuning phase of the feedback loops, with multiple set-point changes required prior to the formal test.

For the measurement of DMS on the stack discharge, concentrations above the required concentration limits were observed using the adsorption tube method. Since it was

Table 9. Performance trial results. Parameter (discrete sampling except where advised)

Min (ppm)

Ave (ppm)



Max (ppm)

No. of Samples

Specification Requirement Std. Dev.

Removal at Peak Load (%)

Max discharge conc. (ppm)

Inlet to Venturi scrubber H2S – On-site analyser


† (see notes)








Ammonia – Tubes






Mercaptans – GCMS











Carbon Dioxide – Tubes













Stack outlet H2S – On-site analyser




† (see notes)












Mercaptans – GCMS






























VOC – PID Odour (OU/m ) 3

Notes: N/A = not applicable † Continuous measurement taken over entire sampling period

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odour management realised. Based on these results, the OCF has achieved the design performance requirements with 100% compliance.

Table 10. Summary of power consumption and other consumables. Date



Sodium Hypochlorite



Sodium Hydroxide






Potable water



Power consumption



conclusion Overall, the Murrumba Downs WWTP OCF commissioning process ran smoothly, with only a few issues arising. As a whole, the project commissioning was successful and the major design aims have been achieved on time and on budget. Issues were identified and defects rectified in a timely manner, by having the construction team available during the commissioning and optimisation process.

Murrumba Downs Sewerage Treatment Plant. assumed that cross-interference was the reason for the higher than expected results rather than this being all due to DMS, two additional odour samples per day were taken as a substitute. In order to investigate the accuracy of Gastec’s sampling system No. 77, samples were analysed by both this method and GCMS (Gas Chromatography – Mass Spectroscopy), which has no such interference. The results of this analysis are presented in Table 8, which show GCMS results significantly lower than those measured using adsorption tubes.

The chlorine concentration measured from the stack discharge was zero (ie, 0.000ppm) throughout the trial, which satisfied the contract requirements that concentrations not exceed 0.5ppm.

plant Final performance

For Ammonia, the inlet concentrations were generally higher than the average and peak design load concentrations of 0.2ppm and 0.5ppm respectively. Nonetheless, the average removal efficiency across the Venturi scrubbing system was 70%, which was higher than the guaranteed minimum level of 50%.

Performance testing of the facility was a critical aspect of the project. An extensive sampling program was specified, requiring duplicate gaseous sampling and analysis over each of the 14 days for Hydrogen Sulphide, Mercaptans, DMS, VOCs, Ammonia, Carbon Dioxide and Odour Dilution Units. Samples were taken from the inlet of the OCF, between the Venturi and Odorgard scrubbers and at the discharge to the ventilation stack. Samples were taken at different times of the day throughout the 14-day period to ensure coverage of different diurnal conditions. As discussed, there were a number of issues associated with the first performance trial. These were addressed with the repeated first test performance data as shown in Table 9.

Based on results of GCMS analysis, the maximum discharge concentration from the stack for Hydrogen Sulphide, Mercaptans and Di-methyl Sulphide was 0.006ppm, 0.005ppm and 0.009ppm respectively. These are all below the specification requirement of 0.05ppm, 0.01ppm and 0.01ppm respectively.

The average, 95th percentile and maximum odour concentrations at the stack discharge were 185 OU/m3, 330 OU/m3 and 353 OU/m3 respectively, with a standard deviation of 75 OU/m3. These are below the specification requirement of 500 OU/m3 from the ventilation stack. Power consumption and other consumables are listed in Table 10. The optimisation undertaken throughout the commissioning phase has resulted in substantially lower chemical and water consumption with reduced power consumption also being

Acknowledgements The Murrumba Downs Waterways for Life Alliance team as a whole is acknowledged, as are members of UnityWater. It should be noted that an extra special thank you must be forwarded to the Wastewater Treatment Manager, King Intrapaiboon, and the senior operator, Dan Keenan, who assisted the team throughout the commissioning and process proving phase of the project. In addition, the contributions of the following people are gratefully recognised: Russell Wall, Rhonda Bostock, William Oldroyd, John O’Hara, Gavin Milton and Johnson Yeh.

The Authors Gary Finke (email: gary. finke@aromatrix.com.au) is Managing Director, Aromatrix Australia Pty Ltd, Brisbane, QLD. Tate Brammer was Commissioning Officer, John Holland Water & Enviro, then Treatment Plant South Manager, UnityWater, and is currently overseas. Jane Beecher is Commissioning Engineer and George Frougas is International Operations Manager, both with John Holland Water & Enviro.


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ReSIlIenCe Of tHe SeQ WAteR GRID During the January 2011 flood event, supply was maintained to more than 95% of the region D Spiller, C Owens, G Horton, S Banks Background The South-East Queensland (SEQ) Water Grid is a diverse system of water storages and treatment facilities with interconnecting bulk water pipelines. It includes more than 50 dams and weirs, more than 40 water treatment plants, and nearly 600km of bulk water mains. The SEQ Water Grid was established in 2008 in response to the worst drought in South East Queensland’s recorded history. It now provides water security for the region in the face of continued population growth and climate change. The SEQ Water Grid has since proven its ability to deliver improved water quality and reliability. This resilience was demonstrated during the January 2011 flood event, throughout which supply was maintained to more than 95% of the affected region without interruption or degradation to quality. This paper describes the operation and benefits of the SEQ Water Grid, with examples from the flood event and a more routine water quality incident. The operation of the SEQ Water Grid occurs through the combined efforts of the SEQ Water Grid Manager, Seqwater and Linkwater, working in partnership with the local Distribution-Retail entities.

Regional Approach The SEQ Water Grid represents a fundamental shift in the management of water supply in South-East Queensland. Underlying this shift is recognition that water is a regional resource and should be planned for and managed as such. This principle underpins all aspects of water management in South-East Queensland, from demand management to the management of water quality and reliability risks. Prior to the construction of the SEQ Water Grid, South-East Queensland was supplied from eight discreet water supply zones, with different owners and operators and differing levels of security and service outcomes. Due to the lack of inter-connection between these zones, restrictions were frequently applied in some parts of the region, while

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dams in other parts were full or overflowing. For example, the Gold Coast experienced a severe drought in 2002 that resulted in stringent water restrictions and a plan to construct a pipeline to Brisbane. A few years later, during the Millennium Drought, the water supply in Brisbane’s dams fell to below 17%, while Gold Coast dams were overflowing. Similarly, operational issues often had to be managed on a local basis, without access to backup supplies in surrounding areas. A regional approach to water supply planning, management and operation has been made possible by a combination of new infrastructure and institutional reforms.

Water Grid Infrastructure The drought response involved the construction of 11 major bulk water supply projects, at a combined cost of about $5.5 billion. These include: • The $2.5 billion Western Corridor Recycled Water Scheme (WCRWS), which consists of approximately 205 kilometres of pipeline and three advanced water treatment plants. It has the capacity to supply up to 232 ML/d of purified recycled water to power stations, industry and agriculture and to supplement drinking water supplies in Wivenhoe Dam when combined dam levels drop below 40%. • The $1.2 billion Gold Coast Desalination Plant, which has the capacity to supply up to 125 ML/d of potable water. • A range of works on the Logan River, including Wyaralong Dam, an off-stream storage and a weir. Operated conjunctively, the projects will supply approximately 71 ML/d in normal conditions. • 450 kilometres of new bulk water pipelines to connect the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane, Brisbane and the Gold Coast, and Toowoomba to Wivenhoe Dam. These projects mean that water security and supply risks can now be managed

on a regional level, rather than on an individual storage or system basis. They enable the centralised management of the water supplies, with the optimisation of the system as a whole. This involves a range of considerations, ranging from forecast demand to water quality risks and the variable costs of production, treatment and transport.

Water Security In relation to water security, the SEQ Water Grid is designed and operated to achieve specified Levels of Service objectives. These objectives include that Medium Level Restrictions occur no more than once every 25 years, on average. Assessed against these objectives, the construction of new infrastructure will increase the system yield from about 350,000 megalitres per annum (ML/a) to about 550,000 ML/a once complete. This includes the benefits of interconnection of water supply regions, which are significant. The interconnections maximise the yield of the system as a whole. For example, the interconnections increased the yield of the existing supplies in 2006 by about 14%. At almost 60,000 ML/a, this dividend is larger than the capacity of the Gold Coast Desalination Plant. According to a recent Infrastructure Australia report on the water security of urban regions across Australia, SouthEast Queensland has the highest level of water security of any urban area (PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2010). This security means that the next source of supply might not be required until 2021, beyond the completion of projects currently underway. This forecast is based on an average total consumption of 375 litres per person per day and future high series population growth. However, if there is only medium series population growth, the timeline for the next major supply changes to the mid-2020s (Queensland Water Commission, 2010).

Supply reliability The interconnected SEQ Water Grid means that most demand zones can be supplied from multiple sources. It means

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that most parts of the region now have one or more back-up options for bulk water supply, with full redundancy in supply to key population centres. Where a demand zone has the ability to be supplied in part from sources outside its usual supply, local water treatment plants can reduce production during water quality, maintenance and failure events. For example, where a demand zone has the ability to be supplied in full from sources outside its usual supply, any local water treatment plants can cease production during a water quality event that may impact on product water, completely avoiding a potential impact on consumers. Alternatively, the water produced from the affected water treatment plant may be able to be blended with water transferred from other sources, reducing the impacts on consumers.

Figure 1. Desalination plant production from December 2010 to June 2011.

This flexibility also allows us to take advantage of the latent capacity in connected demand zones. South-East Queensland now has about 700,000 ML/a of treatment capacity available, compared to current demand of about 290,000 ML/a. Interconnection means that this capacity can be used in ways not possible in the past. For example, we have permanently demobilised assets of higher water quality risk. Asset utilisation is also being improved, exploiting latent capacity and thereby deferring or avoiding the need for system capital expenditure.

the management of water quality in South-East Queensland. This plan ensures that the safety and aesthetic quality of drinking water is protected; that drinking water is delivered in accordance with the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines 2004; and that these outcomes are achieved in an efficient and effective manner, taking advantage of the options the SEQ Water Grid provides. The forthcoming version includes a risk assessment for each potential operating mode, and identifies the preferred option.

Current Operating Strategy

Currently, the SEQ Water Grid is being operated in efficiency mode, in order to reduce operating costs and defer capital expenditure. This is made possible by supply to South-East Queensland being secure, due to dams being full or near full, new infrastructure being completed and demand continuing to be low.

The flexibility outlined above means that the SEQ Water Grid can be operated in a wide range of operating modes. The preferred operating mode is specified every six months, through the SEQ Water Grid Operating Strategy. This operating mode is refined and implemented monthly, with Grid Instructions being issued to the Water Grid Service Providers. The preferred operating mode takes into account a range of issues, including: • Dam levels and water security levels; • Capacity constraints on the SEQ Water Grid components, such as maintenance;

Current Operations

Key decisions to reduce the operating costs were made in December 2010. These included: • For the desalination facility, operating in standby mode. It will return to fulltime operation if the region’s dam capacity drops to 60%.

• Implications of the various supply options on the resilience of the water supply system.

• For the WCRWS, supplying purified recycled water from two of the three advanced water treatment plants, with the other plant being demobilised. The scheme would be brought back online if combined dam storage levels trended towards 40%, which is the trigger point to add purified recycled water into Wivenhoe Dam.

These decisions are informed by a series of whole of Water Grid plans. This includes the SEQ Water Grid Quality Management Plan, which coordinates

The South East Queensland Water Strategy highlights the importance of these climate-resilient supplies, explaining that the system yield would reduce from

• Operating costs of the various supply options; • Water quality implications of the various supply options;

545,000 ML/a to about 445,000 ML/a if we are not able to introduce purified recycled water into Wivenhoe Dam when key SEQ Water Grid storages fall to 40% of combined capacity. This reduction would bring forward the time at which the next source of supply is required. However, while critical to our long-term water security, these facilities do not need to be operated at capacity at all times. Rather, they can deliver this security as standby facilities – increasing the amount that can be taken from dams when storage levels are high. This standby operation reduces operating costs and energy consumption. The key is to ensure that they remain available. For example, the Gold Coast Desalination Plant can come online again within 24 hours if needed to maintain water supply or manage quality across the entire SEQ Water Grid. It has been called on many times since this decision was made, as illustrated in Figure 1, often returning to full production within 10 hours of an instruction. At other times it produces about 25 ML twice a week, compared to a total capacity of about 125 ML/d.

emergency Response One of the major benefits of the SEQ Water Grid is that this preferred operating philosophy can be altered easily in response to any number of unplanned or external situations. For example, the ability to produce water in one subregion (e.g. the Sunshine Coast) and move to an adjacent subregion (e.g. Moreton Bay) allows increased flexibility to ensure water requirements can be met. Some examples of triggers that could potentially result in changes to the operation of the SEQ Water (cont’d overleaf)


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Case Study 1: January flood Response In January 2011, a major flood occurred in South-East Queensland. Major incidents such as this will inevitably impact on key assets. Damage to multiple water treatment plants (WTPs) and water and sewage mains, chemical shortages and widespread access issues contributed to a reduced ability to deliver safe drinking water through conventional water treatment processes. Despite these challenges, the SEQ Water Grid continued to deliver safe drinking water. There was only one instance where water supply could not be provided. This occurred for three days, in one of the worst-hit areas, the Lockyer Valley, which was isolated for several days due to high flood waters. In other areas that were impacted, supplies were tankered in or bottled water supplies were delivered. Within the connected area of the SEQ Water Grid, production decreased at key water treatment plants due to operational constraints as a result of turbid raw water quality caused by the flooding. The impacts were most pronounced in central South-East Queensland. At the peak of the floods, more than 10 tonnes per second of wreckage, debris and silt flowed past the extraction points for the WTPs in the upper reaches of the Brisbane River. Impacted plants included Mt Crosby Eastbank and Westbank WTPs, the largest plants in the region and the key sources of supply for Brisbane, Ipswich and Logan. The Mt Crosby Eastbank WTP was also impacted by a mechanical issue, while production from the North Pine WTP was restricted due to poor raw water quality.

Figure 2. Affected water treatment plants, 10 January 2011.

These interruptions resulted in treated water storages being depleted to critical levels. In response, the Gold Coast Desalination Plant increased output to help ensure a continued supply of high-quality drinking water. After being mixed with water from other treatment plants, desalinated water was piped to Brisbane via the Southern Regional Water Pipeline to ensure maximum quality water supply. In addition to supplies from the desalination plant, water was also transferred from the Gold and Sunshine coasts into central South-East Queensland. Even with these measures in place, treated water storages fell to critical levels before the main WTPs, including Mt Crosby, came back online. Other WTPs were offline due to interrupted power supplies or inundation due to local flooding. These included Canungra, Kooralbyn, Jimna, Linville, Lowood, Esk, Somerset, Kenilworth, Woodford and Caboolture. Several of these plants are the only source of supply for surrounding towns so it became a priority to repair them. The surrounding towns were also made a priority for the delivery of bottled water and for tankers. Other challenges included the inundation of local access roads, hampering efforts to deliver key chemicals vital to the water treatment process. This caused critical chemical shortages for some water treatment plants. However, thanks to the SEQ Water Grid being used to its full extent, and the effective actions of Grid Service Providers in operating their water infrastructure under very challenging conditions, drinking water continued to be supplied to almost the entire region. Boiled water notices were issued for some towns in the Lockyer Valley and Somerset areas, along with Marburg in Ipswich. While no contamination of the water supply was confirmed, the notices were issued as a precaution. This precaution was needed while repairs to flood-damaged water infrastructure were carried out. To ensure the community continued to have access to safe drinking water, the SEQ Water Grid coordinated the emergency response through the SEQ Water Grid Emergency Response Plan. The response to the flood event involved all elements of the SEQ Water Grid. Without the infrastructure and the expertise within the Grid Service Providers, it is highly unlikely that water would have continued to be supplied to areas in Brisbane, Logan and Ipswich (with the exception of Marburg) without interruption or the need for water to be boiled before drinking. Additionally, having the skills and expertise within the Grid Service Providers, and the emergency management arrangements in place, allowed for a timely and effective response. Support was provided to the most affected entities by others, especially in South-East Queensland, through mutual aid arrangements. While improvements to these arrangements can and are being made, the overall response was sound. This is reflected in the statement by the Flood Commission of Inquiry that stated it considers that the response demonstrated by those involved in the provision of drinking water in South-East Queensland was appropriate in all the circumstances.

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Grid include asset failure or unavailability due to planned or unplanned events or water quality pressures from deteriorating raw water quality. These changes are coordinated through the SEQ Water Grid Emergency Response Plan, which directs a coordinated effective response in the event of an emergency. Through this plan, the SEQ Water Grid now has an emergency response process equal to any in Australia. This process leverages the strength of the regional interconnection and capacity of both staff and resources embodied in the water grid. It relies on a structured, well-rehearsed set of protocols underpinning a clear chain of command. While there is scope for improvement, the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry found that the existing emergency and disaster planning framework was adequate, and the preparations appropriate.

resource management With the SEQ Water Grid Emergency Response Plan in place, all Grid Service Providers through the supply chain have clear, step-by-step guidance on how to respond to SEQ Water Grid emergencies, providing the region with an unprecedented level of readiness. Each Water Grid participant also has its own internal Emergency Response Plan for detailed incident management and asset recovery. Emergency management has been a key focus for all Water Grid participants since 2009, with an extensive testing and training program. In 2010–11 alone, more than 90 people were trained in the emergency response plan and several desktop and test exercises were held to simulate a crisis situation. These training activities provided Water Grid Participants with the necessary skills to successfully

respond to an emergency. These skills included both technical and professional staff and relied upon the combined efforts of all Water Grid entities.

Decision Support System The SEQ Water Grid Manager is putting in place a new decision support system to inform the development of its six-monthly SEQ Water Grid Operating Strategy and monthly Grid Instructions. Currently, the preferred means of operating the Water Grid is determined by engineers, taking into account a number of separate models. For example, water security impacts of alternative operating modes are assessed using WATHNET. The decision support system will integrate these separate models, enabling better decision making and improved overall outcomes. It will enable more

Case Study 2: Water Quality On a more routine basis, the SEQ Water Grid’s resilience can also be used to respond to unplanned or external water quality events. This case study demonstrates how this functionality was called upon in late April 2011 in response to a hardness and conductivity event in the Mt Crosby plants’ source of intake water, the Mt Crosby Weir. The Mt Crosby Weir is situated along the mid-Brisbane River. Its primary water sources are Lakes Wivenhoe, Somerset and Manchester, and the management of these catchments is the responsibility of the relevant bulk water authority, Seqwater. However, the mid-Brisbane River also receives quantities of water from other minor inputs below the Wivenhoe Dam wall, where catchment management is not possible. These include Black Snake Creek and Lockyer Creek, which are both known to be particularly high in hardness and conductivity. During the April 2011 event, Black Snake Creek appears to have caused the most impact; its hardness exceeded 2,000 mg/L CaCO3 and its conductivity approached 10,000 µS/cm. It is also likely that Lockyer Creek contributed to the event; its hardness averaged around 380 mg/L calcium carbonate (CaCO3) and its conductivity exceeded 1,000 µS/cm. Due to this poor raw water quality, treated water exceeded the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG) hardness limit of 200 mg/L CaCO3 (NHMRC 2004) and came close to exceeding the limit for total dissolved solids of 500 mg/L (based on conductivity readings and the ADWG-suggested method for converting total dissolved solids to conductivity). With the Mt Crosby product water’s hardness at around 100 per cent higher than average, and conductivity at around 150 per cent higher than average, a strategy to transfer water from elsewhere and blend with the impacted water was enacted. The SEQ Water Grid has been used in this manner previously in response to a methylisoborneol event in the summer of 2009–10, which also impacted on the Mt Crosby intake water (Owens, 2011). The aim of the strategy was to ensure water supplied to the two million people in the Brisbane and Ipswich demand zones remained of the greatest possible quality. In this instance, water of better aesthetic quality was transferred from the Gold Coast region to the Brisbane and Ipswich demand zones through the Southern Regional Water Pipeline. This included an increase of production at the Gold Coast Desalination Plant – the product water of which continues to be demonstrated as excellent, with hardness averaging tightly around 55 mg/L CaCO3 and conductivity around 110 µS/cm (SEQ Water Grid Manager, 2011). Within 24 hours of the event being recognised, the desalination plant ramped up production to 50 ML/d. This water was transferred through the Southern Regional Water Pipeline to Brisbane. Transfers also included water from the Molendinar WTP, and to a lesser extent the Mudgeeraba WTP. In practice, water transferred through the Southern Regional Water Pipeline is blended with water from the Mt Crosby plants at a point before being supplied to Queensland Urban Utilities for distribution to Brisbane and Ipswich. Hence, all water received by consumers was the blended product, optimised around the SEQ Water Grid’s operational, financial and water quality constraints. While it is possible for the Southern Regional Water Pipeline to transfer a greater volume of water, it would necessitate a significant increase in production of the desalination facility, to well above baseline levels. Although this could be easily and quickly performed in extreme emergencies, it was deemed an unnecessary expense in an instance such as this, a moderate aesthetic event. The extent to which the SEQ Water Grid’s resilience is called upon must always be optimised in context of the aforementioned constraints.


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resource management options to be considered and the optimal solutions to be identified more easily. The system will initially optimise operations for cost and water security, assessed against the Levels of Service Objectives made by the Queensland Minister for Energy and Water Utilities. It will highlight the cost of varying from this mode of operation, such as for water quality or reliability reasons. Future versions may optimise for water quality and reliability also, based on multiple objectives.

Conclusion Thanks to the SEQ Water Grid’s interconnected, flexible and cohesive systems, more than 90% of South-East Queensland’s drinking water customers have the added security of being supplied from multiple water sources. This is a rapid turnaround from South-East Queensland being 95% reliant on rainfall. That dependence has now been reduced to 75%. Regardless of climatic conditions, the SEQ Water Grid offers both technology and innovation, and with this, a resilient, secure water supply of the highest quality. The interconnected SEQ Water Grid allows us to transfer water to where it is

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needed most. Dual flow pipelines allow us to move treated drinking water from Noosa to Coolangatta. It allows us to choose our water from both new and existing sources across the region. It also allows us to blend our water sources. We are able to draw on the Gold Coast Desalination Plant as a climate-resilient source, as we did in the immediate aftermath of the January flood, to supplement our water supply whenever it is required. SEQ Water Grid resilience and agility, underpinned by reformed institutional arrangements and an effective emergency response plan, were critical to our successful response to and recovery from the impacts of the January 2011 floods on water supply and quality. SEQ Water Grid organisations adapted to the circumstances, demonstrated agility and worked cooperatively to achieve success.

the Authors

Shelley Banks (email: shelley. banks@seqwgm.com.au) is Senior Communications Officer, all with SEQ Water Grid Manager, Brisbane, Australia.

References PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2010: Infrastructure Australia – Review of Urban Water Security Strategies. Retrieved 31 August 2011 from: http://www.infrastructureaustralia.gov.au/water/ files/UrbanWaterSecurityReportForInfrastructureAustralia.pdf. Queensland Water Commission, 2010: South East Queensland Water Strategy. NHMRC & National Resource Management Ministerial Council, 2004: Australian Drinking Water Guidelines 6. Retrieved 24 August 2011 from: http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines/ publications/eh34. Owens CE, 2011: Bulk drinking water blending: management and mitigation of aesthetic water

Dan Spiller (email: daniel. spiller@seqwgm.com.au) is Director of Operations, Chris Owens is Water Quality Officer, Grant Horton is Water Engineer, and

quality issues. Ozwater’11, 10 May 2011, Adelaide Convention Centre. SEQ Water Grid Manager, 2011: Customer Confidence Report (Bulk Water). Retrieved 24 August 2011 from: http://www.seqwgm.qld. gov.au/Customer-confidence-report.aspx.

Designer and manufacturer of high efficiency, low speed floating and fixed surface aerators from 3kW to 220 kW with an unmatched 5 year, unlimited hours guarantee. By-Jas offers flexible financing and delivery solutions including rental, purchase and fully maintained operating leases. Ring now for a current stock list. Other products in our range include settling tanks (12 designs), packaged sewage and water treatment plants, reuse filters and clarifiers to Class B and Class A standard. For more information, contact: By-Jas Engineering Pty Ltd PO BOX 424, HASTINGS VIC 3915 Tel: (03) 5979 1096 Fax: (03) 5979 1524 www.byjas.com.au

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ILMAP SAnd FILter nozzLeS now AvAILAbLe In AuStrALIA And new zeALAnd

Tecpro Australia is proud to be the official Australian and New Zealand Distributer for the complete range of ILMAP high precision, Italian-made sand filter nozzles. ILMAP has been manufacturing thermoplastic filtering nozzles for water treatment for over 40 years. Over that time they have mastered their production techniques to provide the highest precision filter nozzles from the best quality materials to ensure maximum performance and durability.

resistance. Suitable for contact with drinking water and drinking liquids, this material can be used up to a maximum operating temperature of 135°C.

ILMAP’s decades of experience have helped make them the world experts on designing, sizing and supplying the ideal filtering solutions for any water treatment system. Together with the team of Technical Consultants at Tecpro Australia, ILMAP can help you find the perfect filtering system to fit your needs and budget. For data sheets and more information about ILMAP’s complete product range, visit www.tecpro.com. au or email sales@tecpro.com.au and request a complete ILMAP catalogue.

weLcoMe to Merck MILLIPore

ILMAP filter nozzles are used in the treatment of drinking water, demineralisation, urban and industrial wastewater treatment, desalination plants, and the filtration of water for irrigation and swimming pools. They offer pressure and gravity filter nozzles for every possible application, with an extensive variety of designs available in a comprehensive range of shapes, slot sizes, and materials. In addition to polypropylene, the range is available in a variety of special plastic formulations for increased strength, durability and chemical resistance:

• Mineral-filled polypropylene (40% mineral talc) for increased dimensional stability and compression strength under higher temperatures; and • PVDF (polyvinylideneflouride) for optimal mechanical strength, abrasion resistance, thermal stability, purity and chemical


Merck Millipore is organised into three business units combining complementary Merck and Millipore products and services, enabling advanced, integrated solutions to meet our customers’ complex challenges: • Lab Solutions supplies a comprehensive range of proven, validated products and services for research, analytical and clinical laboratories in a wide range of industries. This range includes chemicals and reagents, chromatography products, biomonitoring tools, water analysis tools and equipment (including the WTW product range) and water purification systems, as well as everyday laboratory consumables.

• Glass-filled polypropylene (30% fibre glass) for increased strength and temperature resistance, with a permitted maximum operating temperature of 110°C;


Merck Millipore, a division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, was created following the acquisition of Millipore Corporation, Billerica, USA by Merck KGaA. The Merck Millipore division was launched in January 2011 and offers solutions that enable scientists to conduct life science research easily, efficiently and economically. With a range of more than 40,000 products, Merck Millipore is one of the top three suppliers of tools to the life science, laboratory and analytical industries.

Our Laboratory Water team are currently searching for the customer with the oldest Milli-Q water purification system in Australia – if you think this


Peter Everist Hugh McGinley Owen Jayne Hugh McGinley David Foot

03 9863 3535 02 9325 5822 08 8348 1687 02 9325 5822 08 9346 8557

could be you, please contact our Laboratory Water team on 1300 135 386 – the prize (to be awarded in mid2012) is a brand new Milli-Q system.

• Bioscience provides integrated workflow solutions that help customers in academia and bio/pharmaceutical industries understand complete biological systems and identify new therapeutic targets. This product range also includes filtration equipment for both laboratory and field use. • Process Solutions supplies products and services used by bio/pharmaceutical customers to develop and manufacture therapeutic drugs safely and efficiently. From November 2011 we are pleased to announce that our local integration will be complete and we will be able to accept orders for both Merck and Millipore products on one orderand provide one delivery from our consolidated on-site warehouse. To find out more, please call 1800 335 571 or (03) 9728 7600.

FIrSt PreSS SySteM For oFF-the-SheLF ScheduLe 10S StAInLeSS SteeL PIPe Victaulic, the world’s leading manufacturer of mechanical pipe joining systems, has introduced Vic-Press, a flame-free press system that joins pipe in a matter of seconds. Vic-Press is the industry’s first ANSI Schedule 10S pipe-sized press-toconnect system designed for off-the-shelf ASTM A-312 Schedule 10S stainless steel pipe. An industrial-grade solution for quickly and reliably joining small-diameter piping systems, Vic-Press offers increased strength and durability and improved flow characteristics compared to light-wall tube systems. It is a safer, more efficient pipe assembly than welding, threading and flanging, and meets or exceeds industry standards. Vic-Press is used with standard Schedule 10S stainless steel pipe, which offers increased strength and durability and eliminates the need to stock specialty pipe. The pipe-wall thickness of ANSI Schedule 10S pipe is up to double that of light-wall tube. As a result, Vic-Press


peverist@wigroup.com.au hmcginley@wigroup.com.au ojayne@wigroup.com.au hmcginley@wigroup.com.au dfoot@wigroup.com.au


NOVEMBER 2011 93

new products & services offers a superior life cycle, up to three times the end-load performance, up to twice the bend-load performance, up to a 52 per cent increase in available flow, and up to a 23 per cent reduction in pressure drop per 100 linear feet (30 metres) of pipe over tube-sized systems.

and creating a rigid, permanent, leak-tight joint. Patent-pending press detection technology enables the installer to confirm any unpressed joints as the system is filled. The Vic-Press system requires 70 per cent fewer man-hours than welding to install, and significantly reduces rework. No flame or arc is required as with welding, reducing risk to workers and surroundings. With pressure tolerances up to 500 psi (3450 kPa), Vic-Press exceeds ANSI class 150 standards. Vic-Press meets ASME B31.1, 31.3 and 31.9 support requirements. The system is also ANSI/ NSF 61 certified for potable water up to 82°C.

The Vic-Press system is quick, simple and safe to install. Pipe is cut to size and deburred, marked for visual verification, and inserted into a lubricated coupling, fitting or valve. The Victaulic PFT510 handheld pressing tool is used to press the component onto the pipe-end, providing a positive mechanical interlock

The Vic-Press system is available for ½ to 2-inch (15–50mm) Type 304/304L and Type 316/316L pipe. Vic-Press products feature Grade “H” HNBR gaskets, suitable for services up to 98°C. Alternative materials, including EPDM, fluoroelastomer and silicone, are available for services up to 121°C. Vic-Press is ideal for many wet and dry industrial and commercial applications, including potable water, oil, compressed air, lubricated air, non-combustible gases and general chemical services.

wAter InFrAStructure GrouP wInS AwArd For rehAbILItAtIon Project Water Infrastructure Group’s Bondi Ocean Outfall Sewer (BOOS) Rehabilitation Project, which involved rehabilitating 911 metres of sewer with two different relining technologies for Sydney Water, has won this year’s Australasian Society for Trenchless Technology (ASTT) Rehabilitation Project of the Year Award. The project began in January 2010 and is part of Sydney Water’s $A560 million SewerFix Program to improve the sewerage system and help protect community health, the local environment and beaches. The 120-year old sewer is heritage listed.

For more information please visit: www.victaulic.com

PIPES Wagga Wagga 2012 Expo, Trade Exhibition & on site Field Demonstration 13th & 14th March 2012 www.pipeswagga.com.au


94 NOVEMBER 2011 water

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new products & services new vALve IMProveS PerForMAnce oF wAter retIcuLAtIon SySteMS

The hotly contested Australasian Society for Trenchless Technology Awards recognise excellence, innovation in concept, novelty in technology, environmental benefits, occupational health and safety benefits, and outstanding achievement in Australasia’s Trenchless Technology industry. Water Infrastructure Group project manager, John Gillan, explained that it is crucial to keep the BOOS in a good structural condition as there is no alternative to collect and transport the sewage from Sydney city, inner west and eastern suburbs. “We used a combination of two technologies – our own Panel Lok uPVC lining system and Calcium Aluminate Cement (CAC). This project was the first time that Sydney Water had used CAC on a large scale for sewer rehabilitation. “Water Infrastructure Group has a lot of experience in applying CAC products and as part of this project conducted a largescale trial of two commercially available CAC products. We worked in close cooperation with Sydney Water, their consultant KBR and the CAC product suppliers BASF and Kerneos and a NATA accredited testing agency. A significant outcome of the trial was the technique we developed to achieve consistent bond strength between CAC and brickwork. Previously, there was no data available on bond strengths, but we now have a good understanding of the issues and a reliable technique to achieve the performance results we want,” John explained. Brian Mahon, Group Manager Construction, said that Water Infrastructure Group had developed its Panel LokTM lining system into a highly refined, efficient and cost-effective process.“Our Panel Lok system is ideal for relining a wide range of pipes and we have focused on developing it for oviform pipes like the BOOS. “It’s great to see this project win the Rehabilitation Project of the Year Award. We had a great team and it is very rewarding to see their efforts recognised,” Brian said.

Providing and maintaining a secure, reliable reticulated potable water supply has long been a problem for the local councils that serve rural and regional communities. Smaller townships in particular often have a system that is unable to deliver a consistent flow because mains are under-sized or have low pressure problems, so water flow at peak periods can reduce to a trickle. In many such communities residents rely on water from their rainwater tanks to augment the town supply and help sustain an acceptable flow over the day; however, the success of this measure requires regular rainfall to keep tanks topped up. Product design specialist, Applidyne Australia, has come up with an answer in the form of a pressurised valve that can be easily and cheaply fitted to the pipe that delivers water from the mains to the home. Developed in conjunction with Salisbury Council in South Australia, the valve allows a regulated “slow” fill from the town supply into residents’ rainwater tanks at a rate the town system can sustain. Readily adjustable set-points control the ingress of town water, cutting off the flow when it reaches the desired level within the tank. This level can be set to provide sufficient for daily needs while still leaving space to collect rain.

from peak periods by flattening out the supply curve. They are not costly (we estimate around $200 each) and are easy to install,” says Paul van de Loo, managing director of Applidyne Australia. According to Paul, the valve also has a role in reuse applications, particularly the collection and distribution of stormwater. He says local government authorities throughout Australia are actively pursuing schemes to promote the reuse of stormwater. These include the provision of treated stormwater to homes through a small-diameter reticulation system, which is far less expensive than a full flow system.

The whole system ensures households always have sufficient water at reasonable pressure for their daily requirements. “Our development means the efficiency of local reticulation systems can be substantially enhanced without a major investment in infrastructure such as a fullsize new water main and pump stations. The valves essentially “shave” demand


NOVEMBER 2011 95

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A disadvantage is that small bore systems do not provide sufficient flow rate for many domestic purposes such as running a garden sprinkler or washing a car. One solution is to provide each home with a rainwater tank to receive the recycled water and a pressure pump to provide required flow rates. The Applidyne valve can be fitted to the tank inlet pipe, allowing a slow fill to an agreed cut-off point, again leaving room for stormwater in the event of a downpour. When the tank overfills, water is dumped into the stormwater system. A two-way flow meter on the valve registers the volume of recycled water accepted by the householder from the reticulation system and also that of stormwater dumped from the tank.

Applidyne Australia has developed the valve to advanced prototype level and is currently seeking parties who can assist in both an extended trial and product commercialisation. Email: paulv@applidyne.com.au or visit: www.applidyne.com.au for more details.

AD VE RTIS E RS ’ IN D E X ABB Australia


ITT Water & Wastewater



ITT (Wedeco)




James Cummings & Sons








KSB Australia


Bintech Products


KT Pipelines


Brown Brothers Engineers




By-Jas Engineering


Monadelphous Group


Campbell Scientific Australia


Nu Flow Technologies 2000


Comdain Infrastructure CompAir (Australasia)



Pipe Lining & Coating


Pipes Wagga Wagga




Piping & Automation Systems




Plasson Australia


ES & S


Projex Group




Franklin Electric


Grundfos Pumps


Sulzer Pumps






Hickory Group


Thermo Fisher Scientific


Hobson Engineering




Hydro Innovations


Trojan Technologies


Ph 1800 664 852

Invent Pacific


Tyco Water


ITT Fluid Technology


Victaulic Australia/New Zealand


ITT RCW Lowara


Water Infrastructure Group



96 NOVEMBER 2011 water


water business

6000 experts working in 140 countries around the world Working on winning hearts and minds

Historically, ITT Water & Wastewater was part of the ITT Corporation, a global engineering and manufacturing company providing advanced technical and operational services to markets within Defence, Aerospace and Fluid Technology. Effective November 2011, ITT’s water-related division becomes a new standalone water company known as Xylem. At Xylem, we will continue to be deeply involved in every stage of the water cycle. We will retain all of our industry leading product brands including Flygt, Godwin, Leopold, Sanitaire and Wedeco which will continue to be available through our sales, rental and service networks. The attitude is what makes us who we are. We are the grand total of our outstanding product brands: Flygt, Sanitaire, Wedeco, Leopold and Godwin. And we draw on the support of our strong global resources to work in close partnership with you, wherever in the world. To us, there are 140 innovative ways of working on winning your heart and mind. www.ittwww.com.au

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Where do you find Franklin Electric? Industrial applications. Vineyards.

Golf courses. Building services.

Now more than ever, you can find Franklin products in places you never thought to look. Our centrifugal, VR - Series stainless steel pumps with DrivE-Tech provide reliable, long-term operation that performs over a wide variety of applications. Above and below ground, Franklin has water systems products for all sorts of pumping and pressure boosting applications.

VR vertical multistage pump with DrivE-Tech VFD

www.franklin-electric.com.au • 1300 FRANKLIN 1300 372 655 FE693B 8/11