July 21, 2016

Australian Water Association (AWA) WA’s recent conference, ‘There’s a Hole in Our Bucket’, was a robust and inspiring discussion that focused on how various groups worldwide are tackling the problems of providing safe water.

Moerk Water’s Senior Business Development Manager, Barbara Brezger, reports on her experience at this pivotal gathering of 100 participants from the private sector, Government and the AWA. 

Peter Addison, a long-term member of AWA Western Australia, talked about how the industry began discussing the latest technical innovations 30 years ago but this conference marked a new level of discussion and networking that has produced a renewed excitement and vigour to meet global water challenges.

It was exciting to take part in this important discussion and a privilege to contribute to it. You could feel the energy and willingness from Perth professionals, willing to do their best – in Western Australia and globally.

But what stirred me most is something Dr. Samantha Hall, Co-founder of Simply Carbon, said:

“Women and children are 14 times more likely to die as a result of climate change.” 
Dr Samantha Hall, Co-founder of Simply Carbon

That motivates me and gives me a deeper desire to work much more diligently to approach our goal of bringing safe drinking water to more than one million people living in remote islands and areas by 2020.

I was further reminded of the need to continue to engage with experts, to research, to ask more questions of the communities we serve – to keep sitting down with them and listen, reflect and learn before we help them make decisions about the best ways to improve their situation and help them for the long term.

Just one of the exciting opportunities presented is Bottle for Botol. It’s a fantastic venture where one water bottle is given to an Indonesian child for every one bought. They have a huge problem in their country with the amount of waste going into the environment from plastic cups and bottles. Three tonnes of plastic goes into the ocean every day. It’s a staggering amount. So far they’ve prevented over 87,000 cups from fouling their environment and killing their wildlife. It was wonderful to see they have recently won Microsoft’s Upgrade Your World competition to receive cash and technology to continue their worthy work.

The challenges of water management in the Middle East, Cambodia and Indonesia were also discussed along with a fascinating piece by Doug Hall, an industry development consultant, on the political economy of water scarcity.

Other topics covered were the local challenges for WA of using desalination and water from the Kimberleys, providing for Aboriginal communities, drought solutions, groundwater use and WA’s cultural connections with water.

“Don’t be passionate about your idea, be passionate about the problem you are trying to solve.” Dr. Samantha Hall, Co-founder of Simply Carbon