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Monitoring key for regional supply

By Michael Scalzo

A north-western Victorian water supplier has signalled regional collaboration remains an integral asset to the Victorian water industry as it eyes a post-pandemic plan.

GWMWater leaders joined other water-industry players at an annual state water conference in Melbourne last week, with the two-day event dedicated to ‘resilience and readiness’.

Customer and employee experience executive manager Adele Rohde said as people and the industry dealt with ongoing post-pandemic-restriction supply chain and worker shortage challenges, GWMWater maintained an eye on a price minimisation and value maximisation plan.

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“The conference provided an industry-wide insight into the challenges the water sector might face as we emerge from the pandemic,” she said.

“But it was also a chance to focus on what makes GWMWater unique as a water monitor and supplier of regional water. There are great opportunities to collaborate as a sector to make sure, as a whole, we can all be as prepared as we can be in the face of constantly evolving water supply challenges.”

Mrs Rohde said digitisation remained a strength of GWMWater, which allowed the company to keep on top of water-situation changes across a large Wimmera-Mallee region.

“We are ahead as a digital monitoring organisation, where we can always monitor the status of our storage tanks, treatment plants, the status of our pumps, as well as with our GPS systems where we can’t quickly identify operators closest to an issue,” she said.

“In such a large region, like the one we service, it is important to be on top of this kind of thing.

“Digitisation remains something we know will feature heavily in the continual upgrade of our technology – especially in an environment that can change quickly.”

Mrs Rohde said Coliban Water, which supplied water in Bendigo and Gippsland, offered a thought-provoking presentation at the conference on emergency response plans.

“It was an interesting panel presentation, with Coliban leaders discussing how important it is to communicate with communities as quickly as possible when things go wrong,” she said.

“In their case, it was the impact of severe storms that affected aspects of water supply. It is an area which showed our digitisation methods are further down that journey than our counterparts, which again, because of the geography and size of our region, we were forced to innovate our monitoring methods early.”

Mrs Rohde said GWMWater was in the process of paneling a community consultation group, which would focus on making sure its water services remained as affordable as possible.

“We have a lot of pipes and infrastructure and it is always about finding that balance between renewal and upgrade of our infrastructure, while making sure we keep prices as affordable as possible,” she said.