eFlash #443

eFlash #443

eFlash #443
Date: 31-Jul-2020

In this edition: Essential Webinars| Hrudey @ WIOA Virtual Water| Emerging Contaminants Consortium Support for Queensland Research Centres| Public Works Professionals.

1. Essentials Webinars – last week and 20 August 

Our Essentials Webinar on 23 July included the following presentations: 

1. The Productivity Commission Inquiry – National Water Reform

Commissioner Dr Jane Doolan and Associate Commissioner Drew Collins outlined the scope of the current inquiry including recommendations relevant to urban water and sewerage services from the last report published in 2018. Key themes include water planning (climate change and indigenous access and engagement), measurement and accounting, compliance and environmental water management, while urban water themes focus on service delivery, integrated water cycle management and government investment in infrastructure. 

Importantly, the review is expected to lead to an opportunity to renew the National Water Initiative. 

Submissions based on the Issues Paper are due by 21 August 

2. qldwater submission to the PC Inquiry 

Dave Cameron and Rob Fearon (qldwater)

qldwater is preparing a submission for the PC Inquiry into National Water reform and the NWI on behalf of its members, which include all local council owned water and sewerage service providers in Queensland. The issues for the sector are impossible to address in their entirety in a half hour session – instead five major topics were selected, each of which were couched in terms of a provocative statement and “more balanced” proposed points for inclusion in the submission. In the webinar, feedback via live polling was sought from participants on each of the topics, which will be used to guide the development of the qldwater submission.

The polling results were very interesting – with very few respondents across 5 topics suggesting that the proposed positions were “too radical,” most indicating they were “about right” but an average of 40% of participants across the polls indicating they were “too conservative.” 

As an example, for the topic of Institutional Models, the summary position expressed was:

  • Take advantages of economies of scale (collaborate, change governance where appropriate etc.)
  • Better infrastructure planning and management
  • Distinct strategies for struggling communities
  • Objective decisions making (free from politics)
  • Link to national advocacy to drive state-wide improvement.

The poll responses were 21% too conservative, 75% about right, and 4% too radical, suggesting a strong appetite among 80+ participants for some level of review. 

A few participants expressed interest in reviewing our submission but time will be tight and it’s unlikely that we will be able to collate comprehensive feedback. If you are particularly keen to review or have strong ideas on any sections in the Issues Paper, please provide details to dcameron@qldwater.com.au as soon as possible and we will do our best to incorporate. 

3. CCTV and Asset Data Management at Gladstone Regional Council

Neels Kloppers (Gladstone Regional Council)

Gladstone Regional Council has been operating a CCTV inspection program for the past 7 years, with a dedicated van operating 7 days a week 10 hours a day conducing CCTV surveillance of cleaning, overflows as well as routine inspections. This has created a very large amount of data that must be managed in order to provide input to the renewal programs. Neels discussed the use of the ReticManager software and how the implementation has resulted in improved investment decision making and consequent cost savings for the council.

The video and presentations are available here

The next 90 minute session will be held on 20 August 2020 – you can register using this link.

We have three speakers covering a diversity of topics:

  • Jenna Baas from Sunwater will speak on "The Sunwater Cultural Journey", reprising her very well received presentation from the Water Skills Forum back in March.
  • Dr Yarong Song from the Advanced Water Management Centre at UQ will outline her research "Protect Sewer: Investigate sewer corrosion using multidisciplinary techniques"
  • Sean Askew from Bundaberg Regional Council will speak on "Our program management software – Monday.com. Capital delivery success…"

2. Hrudey @ WIOA Virtual Water

qldwater sponsored internationally renowned drinking water expert Prof Steve Hrudey's presentation at the Water Industry Operators Association Virtual Water event on 22 July. Steve presented a number of case studies including details of the 2016 Havelock North incident. 

WIOA had over 160 individual connections for the session but know that many more would have seen the presentation in groups and subsequently through the recording. 

The video will continue to be available through the Virtual Water site for a while for qldwater members, but we have secured a copy to store permanently here. It is really worth a look and an excellent awareness/training aid for staff. 

3. Emerging Contaminants Consortium Support for Queensland research Centres   

The past two months have been exceedingly busy for the Queensland Consortium for Research and Advocacy on Contaminants, with submissions for the federal government’s National Environmental Science Program (NESP) and CRC Programs both closing.

The Consortium is a partnership of eight interested councils which aims to influence state and national policy, research and communications to lead future discussions about priority contaminants affecting Queensland water and sewerage service providers. Current member councils are: Cairns, Gold Coast, Logan, Mareeba, Redland, Tablelands, Toowoomba and Townsville.

The Consortium has chosen to support three funding bids for research centres through two grant programs.

The NESP “Sustainable Communities and Waste Hub” program provides funding from the second half of 2020 through to June 2027, with partner contributions to be matched by government funding. There were five separate bids for the program that we are aware of, only one of which can be successful. The two Queensland-based hub proposals supported with in-kind contributions by the Consortium are:

  • Griffith University, led by Professor Chengrong Chen 
  • The University of Queensland, led by Professor Zhiguo Yuan 

Both of these research teams have the capability and local knowledge to provide a conduit for the Consortium to influence research into contaminants such as PFAS and microplastics to support our industry. A decision on whether either will be successful is expected within the next month.

In addition, the Consortium has chosen to support the Clean Australia CRC bid. CRC funding is for a period of 10 years to commence in July 2021. The Clean Australia CRC is one of five CRC bids relevant to our sector including: ONE Basin; Water in Northern Australia; Water Security and Thriving Coasts. The Consortium has elected to invest a modest cash and substantial in-kind contribution to the Clean Australia CRC, with which we will secure the opportunity to influence research and policy in a way that will be of benefit to the Queensland urban water sector.

The Clean Australia CRC bid is being organised by the team that manages the highly successful CRC for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment. Over its 10 years of operation, CRC CARE has demonstrated a strong focus on developing and influencing policy, particularly in regard to PFAS management. The research programs for the proposed centre have a strong focus on contaminants and risk management: developing alternatives to traditional HBT outcomes for risk assessment; ecotoxicological assessment of emerging contaminants; preventing pollution by avoiding landfill for low risk resources; and developing technologies for remediation and management of contaminants.

If you are interested in more information about the Queensland Consortium for Research and Advocacy on Contaminants, please contact Rob or Louise. The Consortium website can be accessed here. For member council access to the website, please contact Louise.

4. Public Works Professionals   

Looking for a new location to hold your next course, workshop or committee meeting? Public Works Professionals (our new shared offices at Eagle Farm, close to the airport) has a wide range of sophisticated training rooms and meeting rooms available to suit everyone.

Guests also have access to a wide range of facilities from a video studio, onsite and street parking, catering options, high speed internet and dining facilities.

Want to find out more? Click here for more information.

qldwater  - The Queensland Water Directorate, a Business Unit of the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia, Qld. 

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