Board Nominees 2023

WaterRA is driven by passionate and highly-skilled members of our BIG Team who sit on the Board of Directors. Every year, our elections give you the opportunity to contribute to this role and ensure a strong strategic focus and good governance for WaterRA.

Meet the 2023 Nominees

For 2023, nominations closed on Tuesday, 19th September 2023 and a total of three (3) nominations were received for one (1) vacancy.

Individuals were sought with one or a combination of the following skills and qualifications:

  • Stakeholder Engagement: Proven ability to build and maintain relationships with diverse stakeholders, fostering collaboration and driving mutual success.
  • Advocacy: A passion for advocating on behalf of WaterRA, leveraging your persuasive communication skills to advance our mission and values.
  • Legal Expertise: An in-depth understanding of legal matters pertaining to the water sector, capable of ensuring compliance and guiding strategic decisions.
  • Business Development: A strategic mindset with a track record of identifying and capitalising on business opportunities, driving sustainable growth.

A description of each candidate and their response to the essential and desirable characteristics for new Board Members can be found below.

Industry (Utility) Member Position | ONE (1) vacancy

Voting instructions for Member Representatives

  • Learn about our 2023 Nominees
  • Log-in to the online voting system using the details emailed to you
  • Indicate your preference by clicking on the tick boxes
  • Review your selection
  • Confirm prior to the closing date

Voting is now open and will close on Thursday 19 October at 5.00pm AEDT

Dr Will Buchanan
Barwon Water, Victoria

Dr Will Buchanan has more than 20 years of leadership experience across the water industry.

Committed to collaboration, innovation and making impact, Will has led teams in Operations, Strategic Asset Management, Catchment and Waterways, Safe Drinking Water and R&D. Will has a track record in building trust through complex stakeholder engagement activities including groundwater and environmental remediation management.

As Chief Scientist at Barwon Water, he understands the critical role research plays in protecting public and environmental health. In a world of unprecedent rate of change, he understands the importance of turning research into industry outcomes.

Will has a strong history with WaterRA, serving as interim CEO during a period of transition and completed his PhD with its predecessor.

He is currently an Executive Member of VicWater IWN, has been Chair of WSAA’s Water Quality and Health Network and previously sat on WSAA’s Liveable Communities Committee.

Will is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and is currently a Board Director for a non-for-profit community membership-based organisation, and volunteers on a Council Environment and Sustainability Committee.

Representing Members on the Board is a privilege for him and an opportunity to support remarkable outcomes for customers and communities across Australia.

In accordance with our Constitution, potential directors must satisfy at least one of the following essential criteria:
  • Corporate governance experience
  • Accounting / finance experience
  • Legal experience
  • Experience gained in industry, research or regulation relating to the Australian water sector, water recycling and wastewater management

Experience gained in Water sector: Currently the Chief Scientist at Barwon Water and manages a multi-disciplinary team with a wide gamut of responsibilities from catchment and waterway health, safe drinking water, trade waste, spatial services, and research and development. Will’s background is in environmental science and has a doctorate in chemical engineering. He has over 20 years of experience in the challenges and opportunities of urban, regional and rural water issues.

Stakeholder engagement experience: I was the previous interim CEO of WaterRA. I have also held national industry roles as Chair of the Water Services Association Australia (WSSA) Water Quality and Health Network. I’m currently an Executive Group member of VicWater’s Intelligent Water Network (IWN). I am key regulator liaison with Victorian Department of Health and Victorian EPA. I am also responsible for the management and relationship with all major trade waste customers in the Barwon Region. I am also the key interface with catchment community groups and community reference groups managing complex issues. I also manage a research portfolio which includes MOU with Universities.

Advocacy experience: I am on the Board of a Not-for-profit environmental group – the Werribee River Association – which advocates for protection and restoration of the natural environment and river health with agencies, government, regulators and community. I was the previous interim CEO of WaterRA – involving discussions with NMHRC regarding Guidelines development and change. I’m currently an Executive Group member of VicWater’s Intelligent Water Network (IWN). I have also played important roles in development of policy positions and industry guidelines namely operator competency frameworks, codes of practice and regulation reviews.

Legal experience: I am an AICD graduate and have completed the AICD unit -the legal environment. I have undertaken training in contractual law for non-lawyers. I am currently responsible for managing multiple contracts exceeding $10million (i.e. our Civil Maintenance contract; PPP, etc.) which has included difficult and complex legal disputes and negotiations. I am also responsible for ensuring we continue to operator within the law and have governance oversight of controls to ensure we comply with legislation.

Business Development experience: I have 6 years’ experience as an executive of IWN (VIC) – this organisation has seen growth even through the pandemic to be a strong member-based organisation returning value. As a board member of a NFP – membership growth and value propositions are central to our success. I also spent time as interim CEO of WaterRA and achieved membership growth and new service offerings. In my current role, I have supported key circular economy initiatives with customers and stakeholders (to help create industry firsts) and I have also supported a Barwon Water subsidiary company (BAS) develop new business opportunities.

Dr Daniel Livingston
Hunter Water, New South Wales

I bring diverse and relevant skills and experience in senior leadership and governance across health, humanitarian development and the non-profit sector, as well as broad and extensive experience in the water industry. My 12 years at Hunter Water has spanned expert and management roles in wastewater, environment, climate, carbon, energy and science/research. I have been a Director on the Board of Cedarvale Health and Lifestyle Retreat for 12 years. This has given me plenty of development in a broad range of governance responsibilities including mergers/acquisitions, regulatory compliance, fiduciary duties, recruitment of senior leaders, etc. My history with WaterRA also goes back a long way, having done my PhD with the CRC-WQT in the early to mid 2000s.I would serve with a fresh set of eyes with interest in developing WaterRA’s research program in climate, carbon, wastewater, environment, integrated water management, circular economies, and social sciences. These areas of interest and passion stem from my work history and PhD research on institutions and decentralised water management.

In accordance with our Constitution, potential directors must satisfy at least one of the following essential criteria:
  • Corporate governance experience
  • Accounting / finance experience
  • Legal experience
  • Experience gained in industry, research or regulation relating to the Australian water sector, water recycling and wastewater management

Corporate governance experience: I have extensive experience (over 12 years) as a Director on the Board of Cedarvale Health Retreat. This has given me significant skills and experience in corporate governance relevant to small non-profit organisations. I have also been a (non-board) Director of an international humanitarian NGO (Program Director, ADRA Laos) – giving me significant experience in leadership of a medium size non-profit organisation.

Stakeholder engagement experience: At Hunter Water I have had program lead, team leader and group manager roles in a variety of strategic programs (climate, carbon, energy, wastewater, etc). For each of these there were significant internal and external stakeholder relationships to be formed and managed. I would represent Hunter Water at various regional and industry forums.

Advocacy experience: As Program Director of ADRA Laos I would lead advocacy for donors and recipient government (national, provincial and district) for the successful establishment and delivery of humanitarian development programs.

Legal experience: I regularly work with experienced legal experts at Hunter Water. I was also responsible for recruiting an experienced and practising lawyer to the Cedarvale Board to bring legal expertise to that organisation. So I’m quite familiar with the need, though would not offer myself to fill that need.

Business Development experience: In my two previous organisations I led in fundraising through government and private donors. I have written several successful grants (totalling in the millions of dollars) and have also written and coordinated fundraising letters to private donors.

Fiona Smith
WaterNSW, New South Wales

With over 30 years of experience in the water industry across different organisations, I have been able to see and experience the value that an organisation like WaterRA can provide through the operationalisation of research outcomes, through being able to undertake relevant research driven by business needs and then translating the outcomes to information that can be used by the organisation. The ability for WaterRA to coordinate and bring together people with aligned needs provides significant opportunity for organisations that are looking to improve service delivery and resilience. I have worked at Executive and Board level, including working with Board’s to map out strategic agendas and work to deliver these for the organisation. I have linked together research and organisational needs and have managed diverse groups of stakeholders to achieve a common outcome, even when it initially seems that stakeholder needs may not be aligned. My career has taken me across a number of different aspects of the water sector from catchment protection, land management, regulatory and compliance management, sustainability, water supply planning and management, treatment, distribution, wastewater treatment and reuse. As an industry representative on the Board I would help shape the strategic direction of WaterRA aligned to the strategic and operational industry needs and enabling great outcomes through stakeholder collaboration. I would welcome the opportunity to contribute to WaterRA an as Board member.

In accordance with our Constitution, potential directors must satisfy at least one of the following essential criteria:
  • Corporate governance experience
  • Accounting / finance experience
  • Legal experience
  • Experience gained in industry, research or regulation relating to the Australian water sector, water recycling and wastewater management

Experience gained in Water sector: Having worked in the water sector for over 30 years, I have gained skills and experience across a number of different facets of the water industry covering many areas of the value chain. My qualifications (BSc and MBA) support this along with experience in working with Boards and Executive management across a number of different organisations. As Executive Manager Strategy and Performance with WaterNSW, my current role focuses on creating long term value for stakeholders and customers, driving performance improvements and rethinking how we approach common challenges.

Stakeholder engagement experience: Having worked as an Executive across a number of different organisations, effective stakeholder management and engagement has been demonstrated by the achievement of mutual outcomes. Collaboration is key to good business outcomes, with different parties able to bring different experiences to the table. Whether this is customers, stakeholders, other organisations or regulators, all have a unique perspective that helps to build a better outcome. The water industry is by its nature collaborative, but any collaboration must be focused on a strategic outcome and practices to ensure we drive the delivery of this outcome. At WaterNSW, I am Chair of our Inclusion and Diversity Council which is working to build collaboration across different parts of our businesses so that diversity of involvement provides enhanced working experiences and business outcomes.

Advocacy experience: As a senior executive, advocacy is central to my role, persuasive communication is used every day to convey key messages to staff, customers and stakeholders. We need to be able to understand the perspective of the person receiving the message, so that we can convey the information in a meaningful way, whether that is presenting customer feedback to a regulator, or ensuring that participants understand the benefits of the project (or organisation) you are involved with.

Legal experience: Experience over many years as a senior Executive ensuring that legal advice and principles are applied and guide decision making, compliance and policy development.

Business Development experience: Business development has been key to a number of positions I have held, including the establishment of new business initiatives or driving growth in existing businesses. At WaterNSW my role as Executive Manager, Strategy and Performance includes business development where we are developing initiatives across core and non-core areas of our business. Each stage requires consideration of the opportunity, an ability to conceptualise the future vision and map out a path to while ensuring the management of risks to ensure outcomes are sustainable and aligned with the risk appetite of the organisation.


All current member organisations are entitled to vote in the election.

The Member Representative is the only person able to register your organisation’s vote for the nominated candidates. 

The 2023 election will commence on 4 October and will close on 19 October at 5.00pm (Sydney time). If a Member Representative is unavailable to vote during the election period, a suitable proxy must be notified to the Returning Officer Michelle Pfitzner so that arrangements can be made for them to access the voting process.

The election voting form will be available online to Member Representatives to register their organisation’s vote for the nominated candidates and the link to vote will be emailed separately to each Member Representative.

Please direct any enquiries to the Returning Officer, Michelle Pfitzner.

Director election results will be announced at our AGM to be held on Wednesday 8 November 2023.