Sydney Water makes hay while the streets are quiet
Despite social isolation measures in place throughout the Greater Sydney region, Sydney Water frontline workers have been working 24/7 to deliver essential water and wastewater services to its five million customers.
Over the past year, frontline crews have been responding to the impacts of drought and resulting soil movement, which have led to contracted underground pipes and increased damage to the network.
Sydney Water Incident Site Manager John Daoud explained that the recent rainfall has also brought challenges, with heavy rain triggering a landslip in Wentworthville, near Parramatta, eroding the Toongabbie Creek embankment.
“We attended the site immediately to investigate, and found a wastewater carrier had been impacted by the erosion of the creek bank,” he said.
“We quickly mobilised our equipment onsite, set up a bypass to protect the environment and connect with the existing wastewater while we worked to identify a permanent fix of the pipes.
“This is just a snapshot of what we do every day — while most people are in self-isolation, our work didn’t stop because of COVID-19.”
Sydney Water crews are taking advantage of the quiet streets, particularly in the CBD, to prioritise repair and upgrade projects. Work includes replacing several valves, which under normal circumstances would be difficult to complete due to traffic and customer impacts.
Head of Program Delivery Mark Simister said, “Network projects are also seizing the opportunity of the quieter streets to do work which might normally be disruptive.
“We are being as agile as possible in the way we program our works so we can minimise the impacts of the projects to customers now and once lockdown restrictions are lifted.
“This work includes upgrades to parts of the stormwater network throughout the city, along with road restoration work as part of Refresh Woolloomooloo.”
Thanks to a trial of new software in its contact centre, Sydney Water staff can work from home and continue to provide services to customers.
“The lockdown has presented us with the opportunity to fast-track technology to enable our Contact Centre, Customer Hub and Customer Care teams to receive call customer phone enquiries at home,” explained Customer Services General Manager Kathy Hourigan.
“Our contact centre is continuing to offer advice on the range of financial support programs we have available to ensure our customers have resources to pay their bills.”
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