As we face a future affected by climate change, the reliability of our water systems becomes more important than ever. But when water security covers such broad ground, where do water authorities focus?
Interflow’s Contracts Manager, John Weaver, said that at the centre of most water security success, is a wellmaintained asset base. “In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s there was a flurry of new sewer and water construction throughout Australia. In the late 80’s and early 90’s, the sector moved away from new construction and towards asset management.”
Legislation was introduced that required councils and water authorities come up with long-term plans to maintain the value of their assets.
“That led to a lot of the relining work that Interflow did from the early 1990’s, which is how we became deeply involved in water security,” Mr Weaver said. While maintenance will always be a core focus, the attention of water managers is also shifting towards ensuring water supply will not be affected by climate change.
“In other words, how do we take the stuff that falls from the sky, hold on to it and reuse it over and over again. That’s the next phase of water security.” Mr Weaver believes that recycling will play a major role in the water security solution in Australia. This has to do with reusing wastewater in the potable supply, as well as considering where wastewater is being sent.
“Right now there is a great deal of discussion around treated water being reinjected into aquifers for storage, and then being reused, for example,” Mr Weaver said. “Western Australia has led the charge in this space, and replenishing groundwater with purified recycled water is now common practice in Perth.”
How do water managers prevent water loss?
Non-revenue water loss is a very big issue in Australia and globally. In Australia, according to the Bureau of Meteorology, non-revenue water loss stands at around ten per cent of water utilities’ system input.
“Of course, the more that networks reduce water loss, the less water we will require in the long run,” Mr Weaver said. “And so, a large part of the solution lies in the network. How can the water network be optimised and operated with a program that identifies potential leaks before they actually occur? “That solution involves a mix of data-driven technology and proactive renewals programs.”
How can interflow help with water security?
Interflow’s role in water security right now is in collaborating with water authorities on their water and sewer renewals targets. The organisation’s goal is to continue to improve the reliability and service life of water assets, meaning water authorities should be seeing less bursts and leaks, and instead conducting more proactive maintenance and renewal.
“A big part of the solution comes from innovation and better ways of doing things, which is what Interflow does best,” Mr Weaver said.
“When we’re part of the conversation from the beginning, we can often help release funds and resources into other areas, so water authorities can continue to improve.
For more information, visit www.interflow.com.au
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