An Australian water utility has joined the top utilities in the world by becoming one of the newest members of the Leading Utilities of the World network.

Yarra Valley Water made the announcement in May 2019, joining the global alliance of the world’s most successful and innovative water and wastewater utilities.

To become a member, utilities must be nominated by an existing member company and must demonstrate outstanding innovation in at least three areas such as energy efficiency, drought and water scarcity, new business development etc.

Member organisations benefit from opportunities to collaborate on projects and to learn from some of the world’s best water utilities about innovation benefitting both customers and the environment.

Yarra Valley Water Managing Director, Pat McCafferty, said that the organisation looks forward to collaborating with other members and turning new methods of innovation into improvements for customers and the local environment.

“We are strong believers in collaboration, learning from others and providing industry leadership. The challenges faced in the water sector globally such as climate change and population growth call for a new way of doing business.

“No single water utility has all the answers, but we look forward to working alongside other utilities to solve the challenges we all face.”

Six key areas underpinned Yarra Valley Water’s induction into the Leading Utilities of the World network. These included becoming an environmentally restorative water utility, building resilience to sustain Melbourne’s liveability, delivering ongoing bill reductions to customers and aiming to become fully digital.

Providing greater community value and sustaining a high-performing organisational culture were also among the six areas key to Yarra Valley Water’s nomination.

Yarra Valley Water’s commitment to delivering improvements for its customers and the environment has been demonstrated by several recent projects.

The organisation recently engaged its customers in a citizen’s jury when developing its price submission for the Essential Services Commission.

The process incorporated the feedback of more than 24,000 customers and aimed to address the challenge of balancing price and service that is fair to everyone.

Yarra Valley Water has also been making strides towards its goal of producing 100 per cent of its own renewable energy by 2025.

The organisation recently partnered with 12 other Victorian water corporations to form Zero Emissions Water, a new organisation that will allow the water corporations to purchase solar energy at a cheaper price.

Work to install solar panels in the car park of Yarra Valley Water’s Mitcham head office recently concluded. This will provide nearly a third of the head office’s power needs.

Yarra Valley Water’s flagship waste to energy plant at Wollert, the first of its kind in Victoria, has been operating for almost two years and has generated almost 7,900,000kWh of clean energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and landfill.

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