qldwater Blog

eFlash #434

eFlash #434
Date: 15-May-2020

Information for Water Industry Managers and Practitioners in the Queensland Water Industry.

Weekly Update – 15 May

Our sixth online “essentials” networking event happened yesterday with 84 attendees at its peak.  

Water Supply Regulation Update including COVID-19 response 

Hamish Butler (Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy)

Hamish commenced as Director – Water Supply Regulation in March this year, just as the COVID-19 emergency was beginning. For the water supply regulator, the protection of public health is more important that regulatory compliance, but throughout the emergency the focus has been on the continuation of water supply monitoring and verification monitoring. Communication with the regulator on issues faced by service providers as a result of COVID-19 (such as access to laboratory services) was complicated by the fact that it cannot provide advice that is contrary to law. However, with the passing of the COVID-19 Emergency Response Bill on 22 April, there is scope for the department to lawfully delay some statutory requirements, such as pushing back statutory deadlines and re-issuing of notices, which must be assessed on a case by case basis. In his presentation Hamish outlines the approach that the regulator is taking to resolve issues encountered by service providers and manage the risk to public health. 

Townsville – a water sensitive city in the making 

Chris Manning (Townsville City Council) 

Townsville is located in the tropical north coast of Queensland, with a climate characterised by high rainfall falling over 4 months of the year and very high evaporation. As a result, the city has very high water usage, up to 500L per person per day of which 70-85% is used outdoors. The city is one of six nationally that is collaborating through the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities. Modelling of the city's infrastructure compared with improvement scenarios shows that there are opportunities to reduce runoff and resultant nutrient loads, decrease urban air and land surface temperatures while decreasing water usage for irrigation. Some new developments are incorporating passive watering detention systems into their designs, reducing or even removing water usage for irrigation. Chris shares the insights and learnings from the journey so far and what the next steps are for Townsville.

The presentations are available here. If you don’t have access to Zoho, please contact Rob Fearon or email “Connect to Zoho” to rfearon@qldwater.com.au to be sent an invitation.  The recording of this webinar is available at: https://youtu.be/lmw5hx4-brc.

The next event will be on Thursday 21 May at 10am (note it will be a 90 minute session) with the following speakers:

Dean Barnett – Intelligent Water Networks (Victoria)

“Program update and exploring opportunities for collaboration”

Intelligent Water Networks is a collaboration among the majority of Victorian water utilities and Dean is its recently appointed Program Director. IWN recognises that Victorian utilities face a common set of challenges and the partnership investigates new technologies and innovations to meet them.  Dean will provide an overview of major IWN projects and if there is interest, we will look at how Queensland collaborators may be able to get involved.

Troy Pettiford – Whitsunday Regional Council (and qldwater TRG Chair)

“How to prepare future leaders for the transition from tools to team”

Troy is WRC’s Chief Operating Officer and this presentation is a repeat performance of one he gave at qldwater’s March water skills forum, at the request of water skills partnership members.  The presentation was described in feedback from that event as “a great insight into leadership approaches and… a valuable resource for developing staff.”

Adam Lovell – Water Services Association of Australia

“National response to COVID-19”

Adam is WSAA’s Managing Director and qldwater maintains a healthy collaboration with both WSAA and the NSW Water Directorate.  Along with Australian Water Association representatives, Adam represents our industry through a committee reporting to the National Coordination Mechanism established to address COVID-19 impacts, and will provide an update on the work of that group including positioning our sector to respond to economic stimulus opportunities.

Register for this event here: 


It would be advisable to test your connection, video and audio prior to the event, if you haven’t participated before.  More detailed instructions are available here.

COVID-19 Update

The new COVID-19 information being added to our Zoho forum is reducing as we move towards recovery.  A quick summary of the main action in the last fortnight.

    • DNRME has today provided a revised chemical supplier list.
    • The group of commercial service providers who responded to the call first made in March to participate in a reference group to be ready to assist members in the event of critical staffing shortages has been stood down for now, but we will remain in contact via email and reconvene if the need arises.  Some of these have contributed capability statements which have been listed on our main COVID-19 page, but I’d like to acknowledge all for their advice and readiness to act (in no particular order) – KBR, Aurecon, Aquatec Maxcon, Jacobs, Trility, Veolia, Suez, Viridis, Simmonds and Bristow, Bligh Tanner and Hunter H2O.
    • More details from the Queensland Government on the process for easing restrictions have been released.
    • Updates to the COVID-19 Resources post including details of the state’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Bill, state and federal committee structures, LGAQ Battleplan, and declared COVID hotspots.
    • Various government communiques.

    Welcome new qldwater Affiliate Members – Simmonds and Bristow, Wagners CFT

    Simmonds and Bristow has recently joined the Directorate as an affiliate member, and offers a range of engineering, relief operations, training and other services to our sector.

    Wagners CFT has also joined, marketing its well-established composite fibre technologies to the water sector.

    Water security KPIs

    DNRME is undertaking a communications campaign about water security KPIs that councils now report through SWIM. The campaign highlights the importance of these KPIs and how they are used by the Queensland Government. We will be sharing elements of this campaign through various channels in future including the following:

    Fast fact: Availability of water supply

    The KPIs QG2.12-2.14 provide a better understanding of the nature of a scheme’s water supply and the potential risk to supply continuity. They should include:

    • the volume of water that is available/accessible from all sources
    • historical behaviour of the water supply
    • assumptions on inflow/streamflow/recharge based on Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) climate projections
    • available contingency supply (i.e. one that will be accessible when required, no major works required)
    • anticipated water use, accounting for any demand management

    It looks like we are heading into another dry period and even outside of the drought-declared areas, some water sources across the State are at a lower level than we would like. The water security KPIs provide a ready mechanism to communicate transparently about the current and predicted state of water supplies for Queensland communities and keep the State Government informed about any possible risks.

    PFAS NEMP 2.0 Released - amendment

    Last week we published an article around the release of the PFAS NEMP 2.0, where we described some key changes to final guideline values compared to the draft version. One of these was incorrectly stated, and is corrected as follows:

    • the recreational water quality guidelines have been revised upwards from 0.7 µg/L to 2 µg/L (sum of PFOS and PFHxS) and 5.6 µg/L to 10 µg/L (PFOA).

    The PFAS NEMP 2.0 can be downloaded from the DAWE website at: https://www.environment.gov.au/protection/chemicals-management/pfas

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