New Mayors and Councillors have been sworn in across Queensland, and there is no better time to promote the portfolios of water and waste. While underground infrastructure may be out of sight, keeping it out of mind can be costly – and deadly - in the long run.
We put together our Top 5 Tips for elected representatives relating to water and sewerage services, which we’ll be sharing on our social media sites. Please share them around and get the conversations going in your local community!
Councils are responsible for providing a food-quality product to customers’ taps come rain hail or shine, and this is a complex process for Queensland’s varied water sources.
The most recent major incident was not too far from home in Havelock North, NZ, where hundreds of people fell ill and three died when a council bore water supply became contaminated with bacteria. An inquiry is determining how the council should have prevented the incident.
Getting on top of assets and optimising infrastructure planning has the greatest financial leverage for financial sustainability for water and sewerage services. This is because of the high cost and long-life of capital meaning that even small changes at decision time magnify benefits (or costs!) for communities over time.
Queensland has more people living in outer regional areas than any other state in Australia including over 370 urban communities, more than half of which service fewer than 500 people. Small communities share the same risks as large ones but often have fewer resources to address increasing expectations of the community and regulators. The water industry continues to experience numerous challenges, from natural disasters to changes in water regulation. Our members have experienced devastating floods, fires and the challenges and restrictions brought on by the Corona Virus all in the last year!
Ensuring you have secure supplies now and into the future to meet the growing needs of communities is difficult in a State with variable supplies and unpredictable weather. Partnerships between service providers and water intensive industries like tourism, agriculture and mining need to be developed and all users need to pay their fair share. Best practice community engagement is needed to help communities make informed decisions and understand the value of existing services.
The quality, cost, resilience and reliability of your water and sewerage services are only as good as your people.Building the skills and careers of workers in the water sector is a long-standing issue. These workers are employed to develop, maintain and operate the infrastructure that protects the livelihoods of all Queenslanders, yet despite this significant responsibility and skill levels required for this work they are often overlooked, and it can be hard to maintain adequate employment and training for some significant roles.