Congratulations to Paul Beard from Water Corporation in Western Australia who was announced as the winner of the 2019 Kwatye Prize at WIOA’s South Australia conference.
The Water Corporation project included two components, the development of a Native Seed bank in partnership with the Mamabulanjin Aboriginal Corporation and the Kimberley Community Grants Project.
Courtesy of award sponsor TRILITY Paul undertook a One week all-expenses paid cultural exchange trip to China that included flights, accommodation, meal & transfer allowances, Beijing Water project site visits as well as some sightseeing opportunities.
My travel buddy Craig Vallance (TRILITY) and I arrived in Beijing China on Sunday 3rd November and were greeted by our knowledgeable guide and friend for the week, Meng. Our base was the Baifuyi Hotel in the centre of Beijing’s buzzing Embassy Precinct.
My first impression of China was nothing like I had expected. What I thought would be congested and dirty, was actually lusciously green and clean, with workers on every corner sweeping up the autumn leaves. It was bloody cold for a lad from the Kimberley.
Our first outing was a visit to Beijing Water Groups headquarters for a meet and greet with Mr George Law, who welcomed us with the best coffee I have ever tasted. I was presented with Beijing Water Groups business structure and vision for the future. As the third largest utility in the world with 50,000 staff across the globe; it was impressive to see that Environment was one of the hot topics and business units within the company.
Craig and I were then given a tour of a waste water treatment plant and an award winning water treatment plant in Raoyang, I was most impressed with the dedication of the staff that worked in these two plants, who all took pride in their work area. The General Manager of the Raoyang Water Treatment Plant runs a very tight ship and whilst the language barrier was a challenge, it was evident that we operate in a similar style and share the same vision and values.
In between business activities Craig and I were whisked along freeways to some of the most mind-blowing world heritage sites you could think of. These included the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, Jingshan Park and most excitingly the Great Wall of China.
On our arrival at the Great Wall we (in our wisdom) decided we would climb the steep side because it wasn’t as busy as the not so steep side. After reaching the summit and descending to the bottom for an ice-cream, somebody mentioned that we should climb the other side; no one was game to give in so up we went again.
The trip was nothing short of sensational and it was refreshing to see how water and waste water services have synergies, but can also differ, from one country to the next. I would like to thank WIOA for the award and TRILITY for the amazing prize, this really was a once in a lifetime experience and I am extremely grateful for the honour.