THE MACLEAY Valley has some of the best tasting tap water in the State, according to technical water experts and water connoisseurs at an industry conference that wound up on Thursday.
Kempsey Shire Council was judged one of four grand finalists of the IXOM Best Tastings Tap Water at the NSW Water Industry Operators’ Association Conference.
Two of council’s staff were also recognised for their conference papers with Wes Trotter being awarded best operator poster for “Hat Head Sewerage Treatment Plant modification” and Barry Young coming in third place in the best conference paper category for his work on “Beneficial use of biosolids as a soil conditioner”.
Council’s manager of Water Process, Bala Vigneswaran, said the results are great recognition for the consistent hard work of the team managing all parts of the Macleay water system.
“The awards are an exciting way to raise awareness of not only the quality of our drinking water but the diversity of the work we do across the total water system,” Mr Vigneswaran said.
“The team took a sample of water from Kempsey across to the conference in Tamworth where it went through several blind taste testing heats to be recognised in the final four.
“It was great for a number of team members, including our trainees and experienced operators, to learn from and be recognised by experts in our industry.”
Recently, council’s acting manager of Water Operations, Lalji Rathod, won a scholarship to participate in the International Water Centre, Water Leadership Program.
Mr Rathod has worked at Kempsey Shire Council for the past seven years as a Projects and Operations engineer. The scholarship was funded by the NSW Water Directorate and is awarded to high calibre candidates who demonstrate their potential as water leaders.
Mr Rathod said the nine-month program involved a commitment of 15 days of study and two intensive training sessions in Brisbane, and would provide the strategic, managerial and technical skills needed to advance in the water sector.
“I’m developing my leadership skills and learning ways to collaborate, deliver and drive solutions to the complex water management and sustainable development challenges we face,” Mr Rathod said.
“Now and into the future we need creative and innovative approaches to integrated water management, that balance social, economic, ecological and engineering considerations.”
These awards are the latest in a string of wins for council’s water team. Late last year, Kempsey Shire Council’s improvements in best practice service delivery were recognised by the NSW Water Directorate. Council took out the 2017 Sam Samra Award in the category of Water Supply Services – Large Local Water Utilities.