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  • James Howey

Water and Sunshine - AWA NQ Regional Conference

I had the opportunity to attend the AWA North Queensland Regional Conference this year, held in beautiful Townsville. The city put on a great show for the event, with a fantastic venue overlooking Magnetic Island and weather so good it was hard to believe it was still winter!

The conference touched on a wide range of topics relevant to water operations in regional areas, particularly North Queensland. The keynotes covered topics including disaster management during the unprecedented rainfall event in Townsville this year (Wayne Preedy ESM), strategies and challenges in treating sewage for the great barrier reef (Rob Fearon and Ryan Cosgrove), fostering local talent for long-term results (Carmel Krogh OAM) and the strategy for securing the water supply for Townsville (Inga Davis).

It isn't possible to do the presentations justice in a short blog post, but there were plenty of standouts amongst a high-quality crowd, including:

  • Hugo Salmon (Aurecon's most beautiful engineer) discussing the (unfortunately unsuccessful) case for expanding the Luggage Point recycled water scheme, including learnings for framing recycled water business cases

  • Hugh Abetz (AECOM) with an innovative and low-cost use of level sensing to moderate pump discharge and prevent sewer overflows during flood events

  • Leah Sertorio (QUU) presenting a case study on identifying reservoir integrity issues, planning and verifying refurbishments

  • Damien Baillie (Trility) showing a practical implementation of reservoir baffling to improve C.t. at Douglas WTP

  • Laura Kuskopf (GHD/JCU) and Anna Whelan (Townsville City Council) presenting an ongoing project to develop a sampling and analysis quality plan to detect contaminants of emerging concern.

  • Mojgan Samadi (GHD) presenting treatment strategies for PFAS, including some of the latest technologies being testing in GHD laboratories

  • Laura Shiels (Townsville City Council) on the management of Naegleria Fowleri

  • Martine Watson (Unitywater) and Frank Wilson (Mornington Shire Council) with a presentation that was ostensibly about an ocean outfall replacement, but movingly presented the challenging conditions in remote Queensland and the importance of partnerships for regional and remote communities.

Congratulations to Laura and Anna for taking the gong for best paper! I look forward to seeing what is in store next year at the regional conference in Mackay!

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