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

 

At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news