Paqua Consulting

I have established my own company to provide consulting services. Before this I had an extensive career in irrigation utility organizations across Victoria. I have extensive skills and knowledge relating to the management and upgrade of irrigation systems to operate efficiently to provide high levels of services and reliable assets. I have a good understanding of the challenges modernisation projects have and the business transitions required to make them successful.

Organisational Capability

  • Water Resources Management:
    • Profiling water supply portfolios on tenure, security, reliability, quality and supply limitations and trade options.
    • Profiling water demand scenarios covering differing crops, critical growing periods, climate scenarios, application efficiency and expected reliability.
    • Assessing the impact of climate change scenarios on supply and demand and the adaption and mitigation options.
    • Water balance analysis covering best practice measurement, identifying the location, volume, seasonal variability and uncertainty of losses plus identifying potential double counting of water.
    • Matching network measurement requirements with modernisation options to provide confidence in capturing real water savings.

    Technical advice on irrigation modernisation options, with their costs and benefits:
    • This covers canal lining, pipelines, off-channel storages, canal automation options, customer outlets, service levels, control approach and water measurement.

    Planning and execution of irrigation infrastructure projects:
    • Diagnostic situation analysis assessing the current gaps and opportunities for institutions, water resources, service levels, assets and financing.
    • Develop strategic action plans with options that can fit with the business context, policy-objectives, and future upgrade plans.
    • Develop business cases to support investment decisions, including a range of plausible future scenarios to assess risk and uncertainty.
    • Plan the important staff, customer, operation and maintenance changes to sustain the benefits.
    • Set up the delivery of projects for success including practical project governance and defining meaningful project objectives and success measures.

    Institutional support for irrigation business:
    • Covering governance, financial viability, water security and reliability, service models and levels, asset management, pricing model and tariff design, business re-structuring and regulatory compliance.

    Stakeholder engagement:
    • To understand their current and future interests, concerns, capabilities and their current level of trust. The engagement can be direct or remote and include gender equality and social inclusions.

    People capability – Paul Byrnes:
    • Leadership in a rural water authority responsible for dams, irrigation systems, groundwater and surface diversions
    • Extensive success in completing the upgrade of irrigation systems. These projects have saved water, delivered high service levels that support increased agricultural production and are sustainable.
    • Water resource assessments, including surface water and groundwater.
    • Water measurement standards and water balance studies.
    • Detailed understanding of water losses and how to quantify the real savings possible from irrigation upgrades.
    • Project management skills covering strategic planning through to the delivery and handover.
    • Asset management funding models, frameworks, skills and systems.
    • Advanced analytical and synthesis skills.
    • Data analysis and presentation and understanding the limitations of poor data.
    • Adaptable reporting and communication skills.

Projects

  • Murray-Darling Basin Authority, Review of the Metrological Assurance Framework for Irrigation Meters, Oct 2019-current
    Working as a sub-consultant for SMEC, I am the technical lead for the project. The project’s aim is to ease the transition to high accuracy meter standards and to have a practical ongoing assurance framework. Accurate water use measurement underpins water reform, managing water scarcity and trade. The framework will ensure metering is: • Accurate • Reliable and suitable • Auditable and verifiable • Capable of providing timely data to manage risks
  • Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, GMW Connections Review; Oct 2019-Feb 2020
    Working as a sub-consultant for SMEC, I was the technical lead for the project. The review related to a $1billion irrigation modernisation project. The due diligence review covered project management, governance, safety and finances.
  • DELWP, Support for water corporations to update water meter action plans; Apr 2019–Jul 2019
    Working as a sub-consultant for SMEC, I was the project manager to develop guidelines for irrigation metering in Victoria. Accurate meters are important for accountability, compliance, water resources management and water governance. The scope covered over 50,000 meters for measuring surface water and groundwater. It included input into revising the State policy, analysis of disparate datasets, development of the guidelines and a meter plan template.
  • Kazakhstan Irrigation Project support; April-May, Sept-Oct 2018
    Working for SMEC, I assisted with reviewing and writing the Management, Operation and Maintenance Plans for 10 irrigation areas in south-east Kazakhstan. These irrigation areas require major upgrades to improve service, reduce water losses and to improve asset management.
  • MID 2030 - Strategic Plan for Macalister Irrigation District
    Development of 25-year plan to upgrade the Macalister Irrigation District to respond to - climate change, need to provide more water, poor assets and adverse impact to environment due to nutrient export. The project had three phases: • sharing of information on current situation, challenges and identification of expectations • option assessment and discussion • the strategy The three-phase project invovled: • Phase1 development of Atlas and initial consultation to engage customers and stakeholders • Phase 2 - option development and assessment involving consultation • Phase 3 - development of the strategy
  • Development of strategic plan to upgrade the Werribee and Bacchus Marsh Irrigation Districts. Scope covered service levels, water quality, water reliability, asset options and the future operation and maintenance of the systems. The project has resulted in transforming a vulnerable irrigation system into one of the most reliable irrigation systems in Australia.