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The Australian Water Association (AWA) and Deloitte are pleased to present the State of the Water Sector Report 2014. The Report is the only one of its kind, reporting on the trends and insights of water sector professionals about their own industry.The survey results reveal attitudes and behaviours, reporting on how they have changed over the past three years.
The Australian water industry is working wellThose that know the sector best regard it as working well. 64% of respondents thought the sector was ‘very sound’ and ‘quite sound’. Water professionals believe that ensuring sewage is effectively treated and disposed of, and ensuring water supplies are secure are what they are doing best.
The immediate issuesThe need to improve operational efficiency has been articulated as the top issue facing the water sector, reflecting the continued concern about the need to control costs and demonstrate value for money within the sector. Water professionals were also focused on the need to place attention on maintaining and augmenting infrastructure, ensuring water supplies are secure and responding to community concern over prices.What we should worry about for the future
To ensure there is a sound sector in the future, water professionals said that the greatest concern in five years’ time was ensuring we have a sustainable water supply. Although the sector believed the security of supply was being managed well, this shows the acknowledgment of the challenges of increasing competing demands, climate change and population growth.
Many options, many solutions
When it comes to water supply options, there are more than you think. The Report shows what the industry, who are the ones developing and delivering on new technologies, believe to be safe supply options for potable use.
Dams: Eighty-four per cent of respondents at least ‘somewhat agreed’ that dams are an effective method of managing water security within their region and 55% felt that there is scope for more dams to be built. Although, the percentage of respondents that at least ‘somewhat agreed’ diminished when specifically asked about the need for more ‘big dams’ in particular regions. The percentage fell 10% in support of ‘big dams’ in Northern Australia (North-West WA, NT and Far North QLD) (45%) and 18% in Southern Australia (Murray-Darling Basin and South-East Coastal Areas) (37%).
Desalination: An overwhelming number of respondents (96%) believed that desalinated seawater can be treated and managed to a level that is sufficient for safe and reliable potable supply.
Recycled water: 87% agreed that recycled water can be treated and managed to a level that is sufficient for safe potable supply.
Urban stormwater: Around 79% of respondents also believe that urban stormwater can be treated and managed to a level that is sufficient for safe potable supply.
Water prices are about rightAlthough there is a lot of media hype about consumers’ thoughts on water prices, the water professionals mainly believe water pricing is about right. Even more so than last year.
The emerging issues to tackle
Climate change was identified as posing a significant or moderate risk to the sustainable management of water by 86% of respondents.
For the first time the survey tested views on public private partnerships and found that over 81% of respondents believed there were opportunities for more public private partnerships.
The State of the Water Sector Report series is a periodic examination of the Australian water sector.
State of the Water Sector Report 2014 - Victorian water professionals say water prices too low
State of the Water Sector Report 2014 - WA water professionals concerned about climate change
State of the Water Sector Report 2014 - 84% say recycled water suitable for non-potable uses
State of the Water Sector Report 2014 - Australian water sector needs to improve operational efficiency
State of the Water Sector Report 2014 - Queensland water sector concerned about states economic regulation
State of the Water Sector Report 2014 - SA water sector concerned about states economic regulation
Archived reports from previous years can be found here.