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Australian water sector needs to improve operational efficiency

State of the Water Sector Report 2014

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15 October 2014: Over 1000 water industry professionals have identified improving operational efficiency as the top issue for the sector, reflecting growing concern about the need to control costs for the benefit of consumers and demonstrate value for money within the sector.

The Australian Water Association and Deloitte today released the 2014 State of the Water Sector Report. The report reveals the top three issues for the industry are:

•Operational efficiency (according to 46% of respondents – up from 35% in 2013)
•Maintaining and augmenting infrastructure (according to 45% of respondents)
•Water security and supply (according to 41% of respondents)

Chief Executive of the Australian Water Association, Jonathan McKeown, said the report was based on a survey of professionals working across Australia’s water industry, both urban and rural, and shows that there is a strong need for continued investment and leadership in the water sector.

“The water industry is challenged today, and will be challenged in coming years, when it comes to balancing price and affordability for consumers and industry against the need to maintain and augment existing infrastructure – which comes at a cost. It is timely to ask how the water industry is going to fund the required investment.

“At today’s National Water Policy Summit we are discussing opportunities for where exactly these funds are going to come from, and given that our state governments have limited financial resources and competing demands, we need to look at the option of increasing private sector investment,” said Mr McKeown.

Deloitte National Water Leader Matt Williams, went on to say that extreme weather events remained a concern for those working in the water sector and that this added additional challenges to water infrastructure planning and development.

“Climate change was identified as posing a significant or moderate risk to the sustainable management of water by 86% of respondents. This indicates that our water utilities continue to be challenged in dealing with Australia’s variable and volatile climate.

“With many areas of Australia re-entering drought or, in the case of Western Australia, having never ceased being in drought, it is always a challenge to determine the correct level of investment in drought-proofing infrastructure for our communities and industries.

“This presents the opportunity to look at diverse sources of water supply to ensure we are prepared for all climatic conditions. Those that understand these sources the best, the water sector, are confident that sources can be many and varied, with an overwhelming majority believing desalinated, recycled and urban stormwater able to be used for drinking water supply.”

The full report is available on Deloitte's website. Downlaod full report

Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 October 2014 

Media contacts:

Amanda White
Australian Water Association
National Manager Communications and Policy
M: 0403 884 485

Simon Rushton
National Manager Corporate Affairs and Communications
Tel: +61 2 9322 5562
M: +61 450 530 748

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