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Type: PowerPoint
Title: Collaborative Engineering A collection of needs, trends and possibilities
Authors: Cameron, Dave
Fearon, Rob
Tags: Collaborative Engineering;Qld Water
Issue Date: Nov-2016
Publisher: Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia Queensland
Abstract: The Queensland Water Directorate (qldwater) has been a collaborative hub for water and sewerage service providers since its inception in 2006 and now boasts close to 100% of all local government-owned service providers across the state as its members. This membership base ranges from very small councils to very large statutory authorities, with diverse customers and needs. At the end of the day, the commonalities outweigh the differences. Members provide safe drinking water and protect environmental and public health through responsible wastewater services, and do so in a largely non-competitive space. Each service provider has its own discrete area of responsibility, but a mostly common regulatory environment and technological and skills needs. Arguably, the only competition exists around grant programs and workforces with a high degree of mobility in the sector; especially in professional roles. The opportunity to collaborate is therefore a competitive advantage, relative to other sectors, and the water industry is adept at exploiting it. Ironically, there can be significant real or perceived impediments to collaboration within organisations (particularly councils) and in an environment of increasing regulation, increasing costs of maintaining ageing infrastructure and competition for the necessary skills to deliver essential services, this has to change. Innovation has become a key theme for urban water. In Queensland, regulators are disinclined to drive further sector reform and instead support voluntary alliances and other joint programs. Business models are evolving rapidly with Public-Private Partnerships and outsourcing increasing at a significant rate. Arguably, other council services have been more advanced with initiatives including roads alliances and joint procurement being in place for many years. However, water and sewerage services have also pushed the boundaries of resource reuse, data monitoring, management and interpretation, government investment in skills development and policy/ advocacy, and if these issues aren’t currently impacting other council services, it is likely only a matter of time before they do. The most cited impediments to innovation are not the lack of ideas or capacity of our engineers, scientists and other professionals. Some of the most innovative solutions to common problems come directly from being starved of resources and being forced to think “out of the box.” Politics, a perceived lack of leadership, and inflexibility in systems and processes are equally capable of limiting options. But perhaps the most under-rated impediment is our weakness as a water/ sewerage and local government sector to effectively acknowledge what we do as being innovative and to look beyond the “silos” for opportunity. The presenters will explore some of the advantages urban water and its professional staff have to offer to the broader engineering community, as well as the challenges for which we are seeking help.
Description: PowerPoint Presentation
Appears in Collections:2016 IPWEAQ Annual Conference Proceedings (POWERPOINT PRESENTATIONS)

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