April 11, 2019
The two days were sponsored by the Far North Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils (FNQROC), the Tropical Public Health Services (Qld Health) and the Cairns Regional Council. The event was well attended and took place at the Cairns Regional Council offices, a member of WaterRA.
The first day provided an overview of regional, rural and remote water supply issues in Queensland (Shaun Cox, Inxure and WaterRA Chair), South Australia (Jason West, SA Water), Western Australia (Luke Zappia, WaterCorp) and Northern Territory (Jess D’Arcy, Power and Water) (pictured below). Common issues of remoteness, lack of resources and major challenges in water security and quality were discussed along with solutions such as having a dedicated remote team, building resilience into remote systems, plug and play technology and ensuring those areas that fall outside regulation still get the attention they need. The strong theme that came through was the need for collaboration, between water managers, with researchers and Government.
Dan Deere of Water Futures then discussed the need for science that is appropriate to the location and gave the example of pathogen assessments being rarely undertaken above 15 degrees. Other speakers provided insights into how Queensland was making advancements and the Torres Strait Island Regional Council gave an excellent presentation on raising the awareness of water managers. The first day finished with Helen Stratton from Griffith University giving us an view of the future with new water quality sensors.
The workshop on the second day was attended by 35 people from state to local level and addressed challenges, opportunities and potential governance of collaboration amongst the FNQ regional councils.