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Our Board

Our Board of Directors are responsible for the governance and stewardship of the organisation, working closely with the executive team to guide the organisation’s strategy and provide leadership. The Board is comprised of nine directors, committed to forging strong relationships and promoting interconnectivity across the sector. There is a Chair, an independent non-executive director, three directors representing Industry, three directors representing Research and the CEO. Each director brings a diverse range of skills, expertise and experience ensuring diversity of opinion and a strategic direction which is beneficial for our members.


Meet Our Board 

  • Shaun Cox: Chair
    Qualifications: B. Eng (Civil), M. Eng & Tech Man, GAICD
    Professional Memberships: FAICD, FIE (Aust), FAIM, Adj Prof University of Queensland
    Appointed as a Non-Executive Director of WaterRA in 2014, Shaun Cox has led various Australian water utilities for more than 18 years. His most recent role was as the head of Melbourne Water and has previously led South East Water and Gold Coast Water. He also has more than 10 years of Board experience, as past Director and Chair of both the Smart Water Fund and the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA). He has also served as the Managing Director of Melbourne Water and South East Water and was on the inaugural Board of the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities.
  • Karen Rouse: Executive Director (Chief Executive Officer)
    Qualifications: BSc(Hons), M Env St
    Karen is the CEO of Water Research Australia and brings to the role more than 20 years of experience in the water sector including water resource and environmental management, economic regulation and strategic planning within a state-wide utility, and leading the urban water research program for Australia's national science agency, CSIRO. Karen's career has seen her lead collaborative research initiatives in integrated urban water management; provide sector leadership in climate change response, and negotiate net positive environmental outcomes for wastewater treatment plant upgrades. Karen currently serves on the Board of the Global Water Research Coalition and Water Industry Alliance and is a passionate advocate for collaboration to solve wicked problems and design a better future.
  • Ken Murphy: Non-Executive Director (Independent)
    Qualifications: Dip Comp Director, Dip Bus Mgmt, Dip HR Mgmt
    Professional Memberships: FAICD, FAIM, CAHRI, SIA
    Appointed as a Non-Executive Director of WaterRA in 2016, Ken Murphy has over 20 years of experience as a Company Director/Chairman across multiple industries including Environmental Protection, Training, and Agriculture. Complemented by over 25 years of Chief Executive and Managing Director level experience in the commercial, not-for-profit, and government-funded sectors across multiple industries, Ken is also a past member of various Government, Business, and Community Committees and Taskforces. He brings capability with Corporate Governance, Finance, Risk Management, Strategic and Operational Development, Human Resource Management, Company Restructures, Mergers & Acquisitions, Project Management, Community and Stakeholder Engagement, Problem Solving, Innovation and Change Management.
  • Amy Dysart: Non-Executive Director (Industry Member)
    Qualifications: BSc, MSc, GAICD
    Professional Memberships: AWA, IWA, AICD
    Appointed as a non-executive director of WaterRA in 2018, Amy has experience providing utility services across regional and remote areas. Amy is currently acting as Senior Manager Strategy and Planning at Power and Water Corporation, responsible for providing water and sewerage services across the Northern Territory. She has previously been actively involved with Australian Water Association, including NT Branch president, and the CRC for Water Quality and Treatment.
  • Assoc Prof Rita Henderson: Non-Executive Director (Research Member)
    Qualifications: MChem, MSc, PhD, GCert
    Professional Memberships: RSC, AWA, IWA
    Appointed as a Non-Executive Director for WaterRA in 2019, Rita has 12 years of research experience in Australia where is currently an Associate Professor in the School of Chemical Engineering and a member of both IWA and AWA. Her research interests are in water quality and treatment research, with a particular interest in the management of climate-driven, extreme water quality events. In addition, Rita is a passionate equity and diversity advocate and has led projects related to both gender equity and humanitarian engineering. She has a desire to build capability and capacity within the Australian water industry to ensure that the community is equipped to meet future water challenges.
  • David Sheehan: Non-Executive Director (Industry Member)
    Professional Memberships: GAICD
    Appointed as a Non-Executive Director for WaterRA in 2014, David Sheehan is the General Manager Water Quality Performance and Regulation at Coliban Water. Prior to this role he worked in a regulatory role with the Victorian Department of Health. He is also a former member of the National Health and Medical Research Council's Water Quality Advisory Committee. David has been involved with the Australia water industry for 30 years.
  • Professor Christopher Saint: Non-Executive Director (Research Member)
    Qualifications: BSc(Hons), PhD
    Appointed as a Non-Executive Director for WaterRA in 2017, Chris Saint has extensive academic research and utility based R&D, strategic planning and implementation experience. Chris was appointed Dean: Research & Innovation for the Division of Information Technology, Engineering and the Environment at the University of South Australia in April 2016. Chris is also Director of the China Australia Centre for Sustainable Urban Development (a joint initiative with Tianjin University, China). He previously held the positions of Director at the Centre for Water Management and Reuse, University of South Australia and Research, Development & Innovation Manager at the SA Water Corporation. Chris is also a member of the Goyder Water Research Institute and Dublin City University Water Institute Boards.