coliban water program

Victoria’s Coliban Water has become the first water corporation in Australia to participate in the American Water Works Association’s (AWWA) Partnership for Safe Water Distribution System Optimisation program.

Executive General Manager Water Quality, David Sheehan, said the organisation was proud to be the first non-North American water corporation to participate in the program.

“The aim of the program is to provide water corporations with a structured process to review and optimise their water distribution networks, by identifying areas where there is potential for improvement,” Mr Sheehan said. 

“The program provides a holistic review process of Coliban Water’s water distribution networks, and participation demonstrates our commitment to improving our performance, while giving us the ability to benchmark our performance against similar utilities across North America.” 

A pilot of the program was conducted by reviewing the Echuca Water Distribution Network, allowing Coliban Water to identify areas where the water distribution network is performing well, or where there is room for improvement.

“It is assessing our water distribution network from when the treated water leaves the water treatment plant right through to our customers, such as: what is the water pressure like? Are the tanks and mains being cleaned at the right frequency? Are the valves working as they should be? As well as whether we are appropriately allocating the capital and staff necessary to complete the required actions.

“We are really proud of some of the results, including our water quality monitoring coverage and the maintenance of disinfection residual, which helps keep our drinking water safe for our customers.

“We also found a number of opportunities for process improvements, which will be implemented.” 

Several major projects are already underway in the Echuca Network which complement the findings of the program, including a new 6ML treated water storage tank and pump station, and the upgrading of the high lift pumps at the Echuca Water Treatment Plant.

The project has involved the entire business due to the range of information that had to be collated and reviewed, and the subsequent development of an action implementation plan.

“Our submission will now be peer reviewed by the AWWA and their panel of experts, and, depending on the outcomes of the review, we will look at how we might roll out the program to the other water distribution networks that we operate throughout our region,” Mr Sheehan said.

Data will now be sent to the AWWA each year as part of continuous benchmarking.

Before joining the Utility team, Eliza worked as a freelance journalist for a number of years. Eliza has the rare talent of being able to find the nuggets of gold in otherwise average source material, and like any self-respecting member of gen-Y is a whiz when it comes to social media marketing and management.

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