WISE – Water Industry Safety Event

In 2018, WIOA conducted for the first time a Water Industry Safety Event (WISE) that was hosted by Melbourne Water.  This event brought safety professionals together to network and learn from others in the industry with the aim of improving the safety performance of the industry.

John Harris Life Membership

At the Victorian Conference in Bendigo, WIOA presented our highest individual award to John Harris.  In receiving the award, John became the eighth Life Member in the Association’s 45 year history.

In 1994 John attended an AWWOA Committee meeting to talk about the development of the national water training package. He took on the role to represent both WIOA & ASU on the package development committee that saw the first ever national training package developed.

John has represented the water industry on skills committees since the late 1990’s in his roles on the Australian Local Government Training Board; then Government Skills Australia and most recently Australian Industry Standards.  He has been Chair of the Water Industry Reference Committee from 2005 to the present.

No matter how busy he is, John always makes himself and his time available to WIOA (including out of hours). He has been an invaluable sounding board to discuss ideas or issues as his opinion is always highly respected.

Australia’s Best Tasting Tap Water

The national Final was held in Toowoomba in October. The winners of each of the Ixom Best Tasting Tap Water competitions held in the various States were pitted against one another with the community of Toowoomba invited to taste the samples and cast their vote.

More than 150 residents of the Toowoomba community joined the WIOA contingent to judge the samples at the Grand Central Shopping Centre in October. The members of the public were asked to try each blind sample of water from the separate schemes and note the different tastes present in the tap water

In one of the closest competitions ever staged, the Wannon Water sample came up trumps over the entries from NSW, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania to win the award.

The Wannon Water sample will now go on to represent Australia at the International Water Taste Test conducted in Berkley Springs, USA in February 2019.  We encourage all water businesses to enter their respective State competitions in 2019, and we look forward to adding even more States to next year’s national competition.

WIOA Tour of New Zealand

The 2018 WIOA operators tour of New Zealand began in Wellington and comprised visits to 11 water and wastewater treatment plants over 5 days, followed by attendance at the WIOG annual conference in Palmerston North.  In all 15 representatives from 5 Australian States made it the largest group to date.

The WIOG conference was well attended and the format was great. Good to see the interesting initiatives being discussed and innovations in development.

Tours like this only can happen with the support of WIOG and people like tour guide Bruce Nesbitt, WIOG Committee Member Damian Lawsen and Executive Officer Craig Hiddleston who give their time freely to show the WIOA contingent around. Our thanks are also extended to all the operators, in particular those who offered their time for weekend site visits. They were all very accommodating and knowledgeable, happy to share their time and experience.

WIOA Talks Webinars

WIOA Talks (webinars) provide members from all over the country the opportunity to get together to hear the latest updates and share knowledge and experiences – and all from the comfort of their own desk!

In 2018, a total of 9 webinars were delivered covering a wide range of general interest and technical topics. The information presented was sourced from industry experts, many of whom are WIOA members, all with the intention of providing access to the latest information to Members.

The WIOA Talks provide an opportunity for collaboration with other water industry organisations and aim to inform members across Australia and internationally. Over 320 individuals participated in the webinars in 2018 and the feedback has been positive, advising that the content has generally been beneficial

Using the Adobe Connect web conferencing software, WIOA Talks provide members another way to access information using an immersive online meeting experience. WIOA will continue to provide access to high quality information online again in 2019. If you have suggestions for future webinar topics, or have information you would like to present at a future webinar, please contact the WIOA office.

2.4% increase in conference attendance

In 2018, WIOA conducted operationally focused conferences in NSW, Queensland, Victoria and for the first time in South Australia. A total of 3,269 attendees from all states in Australia as well as a from overseas participated in the technical sessions or the exhibitions.

WIOA also conducted a Water Industry Safety Event (WISE) that was hosted by Melbourne Water.  This event brought safety professionals together to network and learn form others in the industry with the aim of improving the safety performance of the industry.

WIOA conferences provide a forum for water industry operational employees to come together and discuss issues, share experiences, learn about the latest product and technology developments, and network with their peers.

5.2% Increase in Membership

Reaching the 4,000 member mark was an exciting achievement and further growth above this level in 2018 to 4,239 indicates that there is a growing exposure and acceptance of why the association exists and what it does.

We trust that all existing members will continue to spread the word about the benefits of membership to others in the operational side of the water industry and assist us to promote and grow the leading association working for operational employees.

70,440 Web Hits

The WIOA website is critical for the association to be able provide current information to our members and stakeholders. The site was made over in recent years and has become much more user and device friendly. We have plans to further develop the content and functionality of the site during 2019 to include access to a members portal which will allow members to keep their details up to date.

During 2018 the WIOA websites received a total of 70,440 entrances, a 17.92% increase on the previous year. The number of users accessing content through mobile or tablet devices was 24.39% of all traffic.

Our presence in social media channels also increased during 2018 with WIOA communicating with members via Twitter, Facebook, Linked In and providing more content on the WIOA YouTube channel. Across all the social media sites, there was an increase of users of 58.85%.

Our YouTube videos had a massive increase of 181.53% with the addition of some high-quality resources linked through the WIOA website. The video “Safe water mains repair” was developed in consultation with Western Water, Goulburn Valley Water and Peter Mosse and the video “Potable water tank inspections, water bucket test” was provided to WIOA for distribution by Aqualift Project Delivery.

Our Linked In presence reached 1,100 followers which equates to a 132.24% increase in followers over the previous year thanks to the site maintenance undertaken by Kathy Northcott.

WIOA is investigating additional ways our online presence can be more effective for members and to provide content that is valued by our members.