World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


UC study into Sydney water utility

UC study into Sydney water utility finds robust level of water security for a disaster

February 27, 2013

A University of Canterbury (UC) study into Sydney’s water utility has found the Australian city has a resilient water infrastructure including a high volume desalinisation plant to provide a robust level of water security in the face of any major disaster.

The study was headed by Dr John Vargo, co-leader of UC’s Resilient Organisations research programme. Sydney Water was instrumental in facilitating Australian support of Christchurch water infrastructure recovery during the response to the earthquakes.

Dr Vargo said as an organisation Sydney Water had a strong focus on resilience and understood its position as a critical lifeline provider. Sydney Water commissioned UC to conduct the study.

``They have worked closely with their community to increase water service resilience including water conservation, community reporting of water main breaks by social media and maintaining continuity of service in the face of extreme events.

``Potable water is crucial to human life and a community can only survive without it for a few days as well as managing sanitation needs from a public health perspective. It becomes even more crucial in the face of bush fires and a range of other natural hazards where water is necessary for controlling fires, cleaning up spills, all without contaminating the water supply.

``Water also plays a critical role in many industries and, thus, is important in the recovery of a community and economy.

``The greatest hazards selected by Sydney study participants were loss of critical services such as power, gas and telecommunication, as well as bush fires, contamination or severe weather.

``Sydney Water’s greatest strengths were their leadership and culture, including innovation. They were strong in dealing with emergencies, having a culture of `one-in-all-in’ and pulling together as an organisation.

``Unfortunately this unity of purpose was less evident in the business-as-usual setting with bureaucratic processes reinforcing a strongly siloed organisation.’’

Dr Vargo said there was a need for Sydney Water to develop an effective strategy for dealing with an ageing workforce. Recommended strategies included an integrated programme of strategically - designed cross-skilling, phased retirement, mentoring and effective graduate recruitment and retention schemes.

His recommendations included building the strong "one-in-all-in" emergency culture into the business-as-usual setting, He also suggested Sydney Water develop a strategic capability to find the silver lining in a crisis.

Other recommendations were to assign two roles to all staff: a business-as-usual role and an emergency role; create a more robust and agile staffing through cross skilling and cross-division job rotation; and develop a strong capability in "over the horizon" scanning for future opportunities and risks.

``Living through the Canterbury earthquakes highlighted the impact of water infrastructure on a community. When you have lived with weeks of boiled water notices, backyard loos and water disruption you appreciate the importance of the critical infrastructure,’’ Dr Vargo said.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

As Health Needs Rise In Somalia, Funding Hits New Low

As health needs rise in Somalia, funding hits new low, cutting off 1.5 million from care – UN More>>

Need To End Violence Against Children In Conflict

‘We should be outraged’ more not being done to end violence against children in conflict – UNICEF chief More>>

On Mandela Day, UN Joins Call To Promote Community Service

Nelson Mandela, then Deputy President of the African National Congress of South Africa, raises his fist in the air while addressing the Special Committee Against Apartheid in the General Assembly Hall. UN Photo/P. Sudhakaran More>>

Some $3.2 Billion Needed For Ebola Recovery Efforts

Some $3.2 billion needed for Ebola recovery efforts in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – UN More>>

World Day: UN Spotlights Plight Of Vulnerable Populalations

Syrian refugees fleeing the fighting near the Syrian city of Kobani wait in a holding area before boarding buses in Turkey (September 2014). Photo: UNHCR /I. Prickett More>>

Afghanisatan: Direct Talks Between Government And Taliban

The United Nations Security Council has welcomed the recently held direct talks between Afghan Government and Taliban representatives as a step towards “peace and reconciliation” in the region. More>>

Eradicating World Hunger By 2030

Agriculture workers collect carrots on a farm in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. Photo: World Bank/Maria Fleischmann More>>

Bangladesh: Flood Leads To UN Agency Providing Food Relief

Anwar Hossain unloads cartons of High Energy Biscuits from a pickup truck and transfers them to a distribution center in Kawar Khop union, Ramu upazila, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Photo: WFP/Kamrul Mithon More>>

Ban Says World Must Act Now To Curb Climate Change

Alarmed by melting glacier in Norway, Ban says world must 'act now' to curb climate change More>>

UN Spotlights Data And Technology As Key To Sustainability

The importance of quality data and cutting edge information communication technologies (ICTs) is increasingly critical to the shaping of the future sustainable development agenda, the head of the United Nations Development Programme ( UNDP ) confirmed today. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news