Kwatye Award

In partnership with Thermo Fisher Scientific Australia, WIOA invites applications for the Kwatye Award.

The term ‘Kwatye’ means water to the aboriginal Arrente people from the Northern Territory.  For many people in Australia, water is a resource more precious than gold.

The Kwatye Award commenced in 2005 and was originally designed to encourage creativity, recognise innovation and celebrate passion within the water industry.  It had a very broad focus and was centred on completing a project of benefit to the Australian water industry.  There have been some outstanding projects completed, but the level of interest on an annual basis was not as strong as originally anticipated

Focus on Professional Development

The focus of the Award encourages water industry operational practitioners to nominate to undertake a professional development activity, project or opportunity.

The Kwatye Award is open to all financial individual WIOA Members.  The Award funding of up to $6,600 is available for undertaking the development activity and can be spent on:

  • Course or program fees
  • Texts or resource materials required
  • Travel, accommodation and living expenses
  • Other costs associated with the opportunity

Applications will be accepted from individuals or teams, provided all members of a team are individual WIOA members and an independent judging panel will review applications and determine the Award winner.


  • The award is open to individual or teams
  • All applicants must be Individual Members of WIOA
  • Must be employed in an operational role in the water industry
  • Must not be employed by a “product supplier” (can be from a company providing operational services to the industry)
  • Must have employer support and their endorsement to apply

The Development Activity

  • Must be relevant to the current position or career development
  • Must be completed within a two year period

Sharing outcomes with the industry

  • The Award winner must produce a short (5 minutes maximum) video on completion of the activity which can be used to promote the Award to potential future applicants.  The video should include the following core requirements:
    • Nature of activity and the outcomes realised
    • How the outcomes benefitted the individual
    • Any benefits which are strategically important to the Water Industry and WIOA
    • Any alliances or networks developed and how they can be used in the future
  • The Award winner will produce an article that can be reproduced in a WIOA publication or a paper to be presented at a WIOA conference on the outcomes
  • The Award winner will present to an audience of WIOA members the outcomes (eg: at WIOA interest day)

Selection Criteria

  • Creativity / Innovation
  • Practicality
  • Benefit to the personal development of the Applicant/Nominated person/s
  • Benefit to the water industry, community and/or employer

Applicants are asked to:

  • Describe the proposed activity and how it can benefit the individual, the water industry and/or WIOA, if funding was available. (Maximum 2 pages)
  • Outline the personal benefits expected from being awarded the Award. (Maximum 1 page)
  • A personal profile on the applicant/nominated person/s should be included in the
  • submission; this should include skills, qualifications, work experience, interests and hobbies. (Maximum 1 page)


  • Applicants will be asked to provide a summary of expenditure on conclusion.
  • The declaration must be signed and accompany the application.
  • Whilst not compulsory, it is suggested applicants discuss the Award and its conditions with their employer.

Contact WIOA to find out more or phone 03 5821 6744.

2017 Kwatye Prize Winner – Max Gray

Congratulations to Max Gray from Trility in South Australia who was announced as the winner of the 2017 Kwatye Prize at WIOA’s Victorian conference held in 2016.

Max identified a Research and Development project to investigate the applications and use of Remote Operated Vehicles in conjunction with high resolution and thermal imaging cameras in the water industry.

Max Gray (L) with David Crossley from Thermo Fisher Scientific.

Kwatye Prize Winners

2017 Max Gray – Trility2017 Max Gray – Trility
2016 Rodney Priest – Goulburn Murray Water
2015 Frank Rinaldo – North East Water
2014 Michael Fawcett – South East Water
2013 Mick Clewes – North East Water
2012 Mark McConnon – TasWater
2011 Rod Curtis – Western Water
2010 Russell Evans – Power & Water
2009 Bernd Vetter – Utility Services
2008 Paulus des Anges & Nick Bray – Grundfos Pumps & Goulburn Valley Water
2007 Graham Thomson – Barwon Water
2006 Anthony Evans – Wannon Water
2005 Eddy Ostarcevic – GWM Water

Applications close on 20 July annually.