Come on a water journey at Ozwater'22 in Brisbane

Australian Water Association

Friday, 01 April, 2022

Come on a water journey at Ozwater'22 in Brisbane

Ozwater is the Australian Water Association’s (AWA) annual international water conference and trade exhibition and the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. This year the conference is being held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre from 10 to 12 May.

The theme for Ozwater’22 is Our Water Journey and will explore the journeys and stories of the entire water community. With 2022 being the 60th anniversary year of the Association, this theme is even more important in reflecting on achievements so far and looking ahead to future challenges and opportunities.

The program will explore First Nations people’s knowledge and participation, recognising and valuing the traditional responsibility for land and water of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It will explore the building of constructive and positive future partnerships for sustainable water management and how we need to progress engagement with Indigenous Australians and, in turn, how to move beyond this into meaningful actions.

The conference will delve into the unique challenges of the provision of water and sanitation services in rural, remote and regional areas. Water management in these areas also often intersects with agriculture, viticulture, mining and ecosystem services. Given water crosses, boundaries, borders and industries, the section will explore the actions required to ensure a thriving rural, remote and regional Australia.

Among the most popular conference themes is the exploration of effective asset management, planning and delivery. Critical to providing safe and reliable services at an affordable cost, the theme covers green assets and natural environment management.

In exploring excellence in operations, the conference will look at how the provision of safe and secure water and sanitation is critical to ensure providers efficiently meet the needs of the customers and communities they service. As water management continues to digitise, operations now include digital systems and physical ones.

The conference stream of People & Culture, Diversity, Inclusion & Equity will explore the importance of the people who make up the water community, as a diverse and inclusive workforce is shown to be a more productive one. In recent, challenging times, it has never been more important to ensure the psychological, emotional, intellectual and social wellbeing of others in the water community.

In delivering excellence in customer experience, the conference will engage with the customers who are provided with an essential service every day daily. With so many diverse types of water users who are being serviced and with the continued evolution of expectations from the community, embracing customer experience strategies and technologies will be crucial.

The conference will delve into leadership in governance and progressive regulation and how important this element is in achieving the desired outcomes at customer and organisation levels.

In the theme of Resilience & Water Security, the challenges facing cities, towns and basins the world over will be looked at. Confronting these and taking action on and building resilience to climate change will be integral as we transform the ways we work together.

We have seen first-hand the water community’s role in safeguarding community and environmental health, playing a key role in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. But this belies the less dramatic but undoubtedly beneficial role it has played in providing drinking water and sewerage services to the community and improving the built and natural environment in both Australia and abroad.

The conference will be looking ahead at achieving a circular economy and exploring what actions are underway to minimise waste and make the most of resources. As the linear model of extraction, production, consumption and disposal has ended, we look to the future, as wastewater treatment plants will be resource recovery centres with water, carbon, nutrients and energy recovered and returned to the community.

It will also explore the ongoing threat of climate change and extreme events, discussing success stories from recent droughts, floods and fires and how we can be better prepared for future disasters and mitigate the effects of climate change.

Looking ahead to the communities of the future, it looks at the key role water management plays in achieving sustainable and thriving communities by understanding their needs, involving them in decision-making, improving sustainability and livability, and delivering multiple benefits to those being serviced. The conference will also continue to look at the ideas that think creatively to solve our water challenges.

Over Ozwater’s three days, there will be over 130 technical and case study presentations, plus 82 poster pitch presentations across eight streams. There will also be over 200 national and international exhibitors from all aspects of water management. Alongside this are 16 workshops and panels and several site tours of innovative water and wastewater facilities around Brisbane.

In AWA’s 60th year, Ozwater continues to be forward-thinking and encouraging, driving a sustainable water future

Image caption: Australian Water Association Chief Executive Officer Corinne Cheeseman.

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