Driving diversity, inclusion and equality at Ozwater’18

The Australian Water Partnership was proud to support Ozwater this year as the Australian Water Association’s (AWA’s) International Development and Channeling Change Partner.

Ozwater is hosted annually by the AWA and is known as the biggest water event in the Southern Hemisphere, focusing on the urban, water utility and industry sector. The international water conference and trade exhibition took place on 8-10 May at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre and this year attracted a record 4000+ delegates.

Ozwater’18 was attended by AWP’s Prof Nick Schofield, Simon Tilleard and Dr Marian Neal, who facilitated and participated in a range of presentations, networking functions, forums, panel discussions and workshops throughout the three-day event.

As International Development and Channeling Change Partner, AWP supported AWA to deliver a well-rounded program highlighting the importance of embracing diversity in all its forms across the water sector. This theme was supported strongly through the Emerging Leaders Forum, the Women of Water Workshop, and the Global Perspectives stream.

AWP Program Manager Simon Tilleard with our sponsored Young Water Professionals from Vietnam

AWP also sponsored four Young Water Professionals from Vietnam to attend Ozwater and participate in the Emerging Leaders Forum, a full-day program tailored to mentoring the next generation of water leaders in the region. The Forum included a panel session on the topic of ‘cost vs value’, and a professional development workshop where participants split into groups to develop a pitch to solve common water challenges. AWP Program Manager Simon Tilleard was a panellist and also sat on the judging panel for the workshop component.

The Women of Water workshop brought together 100 participants to discuss gender-related topics with the goal of creating a richer, more inclusive water sector. Participants heard from leaders across Australia and the Indo-Pacific, including Dr Marian Neal, AWP Partnerships and Knowledge Manager, who spoke about AWP’s Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) approach and support for a Women of Water group through Kini. Group discussions provided a dynamic way to workshop pressing gender inclusion issues such as women in leadership roles and addressing the ‘gender pay gap’.

Other highlights for AWP included sessions and workshops with two Vietnamese delegations. A Vietnam–Australia Twinning Workshop allowed Partners involved in the Vietnam-Australia Water Utilities Improvement Program to share their experiences and lessons learnt; and a roundtable discussion with Vietnamese Government officials (including the Vietnam Women’s Union) on challenges, lessons and opportunities to increase access to safe drinking water—including opportunities to introduce new technologies and partnerships.

Vietnamese delegation at Ozwater’18 with AWA and AWP

AWP CEO Prof Schofield also participated in the Water Leaders Forum, where he joined other water leaders to discuss strategies to take the water industry forward through a period of digital transformation.

Dr Neal said that Ozwater was a great opportunity not only for AWP to share some of their work and experiences, but also to meet and get to know many Australian and International Partners and other water leaders.

“Ozwater was a very well-organised and well-executed event, and we are grateful to have had the opportunity to participate and support diversity, inclusion and equality in the water sector,” said Dr Neal.

For more highlights from Ozwater, view AWA’s International Program video reel:

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