Young Water Professionals at PWWA conference, Samoa

The Pacific Water and Wastewater Association (PWWA) held the 10th Pacific Water Conference and Expo in Apia, Samoa (7–11 August), in conjunction with the Pacific Water and Wastewater Ministers Forum. AWP is supporting the PWWA secretariat, and AWP partners are training Board members from PWWA member utilities and building capacity in young water professionals (YWPs). AWP support of the CEO position and secretariat has been vital and PWWA has now declared itself as an international organisation. Hunter H2O staff Jim Keary and Nicole Holmes are leading the PWWA activity on behalf of AWP.

YWPs were the focus of AWP activities at the conference, and 29 YWPs from 19 Pacific Island Countries were joined by one YWP from NSW Department of Primary Industries and Water in a series of activities. Workshops were held for YWPs on professional development through mentoring and twinning; issues of climate change and climate risks, groundwater as a supply of potable water, water treatment, pressure sewerage and working with customers; strategy development; and a Q&A session with CEOs. The YWP program finished with two superb talks from local speakers on gender and leadership.

GESI presentation to YWPs by CEO Ministry of Women
Young Water Professionals workshop

The YWPs crafted a declaration on their own initiative which was delivered by one YWP to the PWWA AGM. They developed strategies for communications, human resources/people management, project management and personal development in the workshops. They also developed peer to peer networks that they will maintain via Kini and future events. The YWP’s provided feedback that they felt that they had had the opportunity to express their issues and concerns in a constructive environment and that they were listened to.

Besides Hunter H2O, AWP supported five Australians to attend and speak at the conference:

  • Brendan Guiney (MidCoast Council) on Pacific twinning
  • Karl Mallon (Climate Risk) on climate risk tools and application
  • Mark Ferguson (Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water) on water quality improvements in regulated towns
  • Michael Gogoll (SA Department of Environment Water and Natural Resources) on new understanding and challenges for targeting potable groundwater
  • Melanie Werner (Sydney Water) on working with customers to reduce estimated bills

Nick Schofield (AWP) and Karen Delfau (IWCAN and Kini lead) also took part in many of the conference activities. Karen recorded a number of interviews that will be posted on Kini in the coming months.

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