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Value of Operator Competency

Project Number # 1111

Value of Operator Competency | A study to demonstrate the value of developing, building and continually growing a competent operator workforce

Project Leader:  Sallyanne Bartlett

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The Value of Operator Competency project aimed to identify and communicate the value and benefits of an appropriately trained and competent frontline operator workforce. The ability of a frontline operator to capably and competently manage water quality safety risks is extremely important to public health and safety, and environmental outcomes. 

The project involved research activities and investigations into the followings:

  • A literature review of international water quality safety incidents, focusing on the level of frontline operator training and competency that contributed to the cause or assisted with intervention and recovery.
  • A national survey to gain insight into how Australian water industry organisations currently provide operator training and competency.
  • A review and comparison with other industry training and competency requirements, including the risks mitigated (why they do what they do – the reasons for the approach taken).
  • Case study of the Seqwater Operations Development Program – what has been done and why, including the value/benefits gained by Seqwater.
  • A review of international water industry practices, measures of effectiveness used and the risks mitigated.
  • A review of how prepared the Australian water industry is for the future, particularly ensuring operator competency to work with new technology and to facilitate increasing automation.

Download below to find out about the project's key findings and recommendations for the Australian water industry.



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Download Executive Summary

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                  WaterRA would like to acknowledge the following project collaborators:


 The role of a water industry operator is without a doubt at the forefront of both public health and environmental protection. The delivery of safe drinking water and the treatment of wastewater to specification (discharge or recycling) demands a competent operator workforce to appropriately manage water quality safety risks and importantly ensure that customer / community expectations are met.

To assist the Australian Water Industry to best manage operator workforce competency this study aims to identify the key operator competencies required or that contribute to fulfilling this responsibility and the value gained from investing in programs to develop, support and continually grow operator competency.