Four new QWRAP projects commenced

Four new QWRAP projects commenced
Date: 12-Jan-2021

Four new QWRAP projects were funded and commenced since the release of the last QWRAP newsletter. The projects cover a diverse range of activities, but have in common the aim to address key issues facing QWRAP regions and the water sector as a whole. Sometimes clichés are true – the most important assets in the water sector are people, and two of the recent projects deal with supporting staff to build knowledge and forge networks with other experts within the industry. 

The first is an FNQROC implementation of the well-proven ‘hub-training model’ for water industry workers. The “Joint Training for Certificate III in Water Industry Operations” project extends beyond simple procurement savings for the four participating councils by providing opportunities for staff from different organisations to learn from each other, build networks and understand infrastructure, systems and processes of neighbouring councils. At the request of the QWRAP Project Steering Committee, the project also includes a communications component to share the benefits, processes and learnings from running the hub training model with other regions.

The WIM Alliance “SEQ Study Collaboration Tour” is also focused on building knowledge, skills and network for water sector staff. The project will see two managers from each of the WIM Alliance councils hosted in round table meetings with four SEQ utilities to discuss a range of topics on best-practice management of water and sewerage services. The round-table meetings promote collegial learning across the sector and are an opportunity to build networks for utility staff but also share information among progressive water businesses. The project timing is being determined in part by COVID restrictions and availability of all parties and will proceed towards the middle of 2021.

If staff are the highest priority for water and sewerage services, then the systems they use to monitor and control water and sewerage services are high on the second rung of importance. All utilities use SCADA systems to control and monitor utility assets, often remotely using telemetry. The RAPADSWA “Telemetry and SCADA Concept of Operation” project is part of an ongoing award-nominated program (see above) to allow the councils to progress towards a standardised SCADA and telemetry system across the region. This would be a first of its kind approach in regional Queensland where SCADA systems are typically a mix of many different old and new platforms and approaches. This inhibits joint procurement, sharing of information and critical spares and common understanding of control systems. The RAPAD councils along with some other regions are investigating ways that their systems can be aligned to provide more effective and efficient services for customers across multiple communities.

The fourth recently funded project deals with the critical issue of water security and sustainability for small towns. The DASB group are undertaking the “Water Supply Security Statement Template Trial” to test a new template for assessing and reporting water security in small towns with Killarney within Southern Downs Regional Council chosen for the initial pilot. The project will undertake and assessment of water security using the DNRME template but will also assess the template’s suitability and utility for similar towns. The benefits of this work could thus extend to councils within and beyond the DASB region regardless of whether they are participating in QWRAP and assist in consistent assessment of small (and often remote) water supplies across Queensland.

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