The Water Quality and Health Network's recent meeting brought together 50 practitioners from 25 different water utilities, from across the country, hosted by Tweed Heads Shire Council, over a period of two and a half days.

The meeting aimed at tackling the pressing challenges of water management in an era marked by climate change and evolving regulatory landscapes. The event served as a platform for WSAA members to share insights, explore new ideas, and strengthen collaborations.


At the heart of the discussions was a collective examination of the industry's preparedness to manage water quality against the backdrop of greater uncertainty and more extreme weather events. The engagement covered shared experiences, particularly on how to navigate the uncertain regulatory requirements against a backdrop of evolving demands. The consensus from members underscored a need for a proactive stance in supporting the actions needed to meet these evolving standards.


The meeting was not just confined to the conference room; it included hands-on site tours that provided members with a tangible look at the challenges and innovations in water management. The Bray Park Weir, a critical infrastructure for the Tweed's water supply, was a focal point, demonstrating the practical measures and ongoign challegnes taken to mitigate the risks of saltwater intrusion during high tides and sea-level anomalies. The Bray Park Water Treatment Plant provided insight into membrane technology and management systems to delivery secure and safe water to the Tweed Shire, Finally,  Clarrie Hall Dam was also featured, highlighting its role and management practices in sustaining river flow during dry spells as well as the dual function as a recreational resource.


Workshops at the meeting sparked engaging conversations, particularly around the need to update versus the need for a new WSAA HBT Manual. The discussions delved into what was missing from the existing guides and what could be improved to support the implementation of microbial HBTs more effectively now and into the future.


The Community Water Planner (CWP) workshop brought to light the significant progress made and the challenges that remain, especially given the limited resources at hand. The conversation pivoted on how the industry could collectively support action to close the gap and address the needs for a what new CWP could look like.


Presentations by industry experts such as Tania Strixner-Harvey, Yulia Shutova, and Brian Hester provided valuable case studies and research findings on managing Blue Green Algae, the validity of the supernatant return rule, and the critical examination of filter media in treatment processes respectively, 


Drawing on insights from IWA WaterMicro23, the meeting also navigated the strategic use of Boil Water Advisories, considering their role within the broader context of public health benefits.

The meeting concluded with a number of significant actions and next steps for the network in helping to drive the needs of the industry forward in protecting Public Health and Environment Quality


A thank you to Mitchell Alward and Brie Jowett, as well as the other members from Tweed Shire Council, who helped make the meeting such a great success.

10 Nov 2023

Jason Mingo

Jason Mingo

Manager Liveable Communities