Out of the box thinking scores award

Article image - Out of the box thinking scores award BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) Sponsor Mark Swinnerton presents Mayor Deirdre Comerford and Chief Operating Officer for Water and Waste Services David Brooker with Councilís Out of the Box Award.

Mackay Regional Council’s water and sewerage department has won a Resource Industry Network’s 2015 Chairman’s Award.

Recent innovations implemented by the department will potentially save the Council about $100 million over the next decade.

Mayor Deirdre Comerford and the team accepted the Out of the Box Award for innovation on behalf of council at the Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre.

“Ultimately the award recognises the long-term sustainable changes that have been made to the way water and waste services are delivered in Mackay.

“High population growth over the past decade and tariff growth well in excess of inflation prompted us to think outside the box to find long-term water management solutions.

“A key factor in our success has been the introduction of improved governance processes through the addition of the Water and Waste Advisory Board, a group of external experts who provide guidance on operational and capital decisions.

Recent innovations implemented by the department will potentially save Council about $100 million over the next decade.

“Tangible examples of the transformation of our operational processes include the introduction of an intelligent water network throughout Mackay that is assisting in reducing the region’s water consumption and helping us to reduce our capital expenditure.”

Other examples include the introduction of real-time water-quality monitoring at the water source in Dumbleton Weir, allowing Council to react quickly to changes in water quality.

All of Council’s water extraction and treatment facilities now use tablets to automatically capture data and this information is conveniently held in a single centralised database.

Council is also currently trialling sewer manhole monitors to manage and prevent potential overflows with great success.

Water and Sewerage portfolio councillor Frank Gilbert said Council was proud to be the first water utility in Australia to implement Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) technology.

“The water meter-reading data collected by AMR is also available to residents through council’s new myh2o.qld.gov.au website so they too can keep a close eye on their water consumption, reduce their usage where possible and become aware of leaks as soon as they occur.”

In the past year alone, council has identified 5000 properties with water leaks, resulting in significant water and monetary savings.

“Collectively these initiatives have enhanced our capacity to cater for our region’s growth rates, both current and projected.”

Resource Industry Network is a non-profit membership group that represents, supports and assists companies actively involved in the resource sector.