Water Utilities Alliance

Centroc member Councils are proud to deliver secure quality water supplies to their communities working collectively to deliver efficiencies and improve the quality of service in this sector through regional procurement of Best Practice Plans, asset management services and compliance based training.

The need for the region to work co-operatively was identified in the national award winning Centroc Water Security Study. Adopting the successful Lower Macquarie Water Utilities Alliance model, the Centroc Water Utilities Alliance (CWUA) was established in 2009.

The Alliance comprises 13 Central NSW Councils including Bathurst, Blayney, Cabonne, Cowra, Forbes, Hilltops, Lachlan, Lithgow, Oberon, Orange, Parkes, Upper Lachlan, Weddin as well as Central Tablelands Water.

The Alliance reports to the Centroc Board via the General Managers Advisory Committee and has been established under S 355(d) of the NSW Local Government Act (1993). Chaired by Andrew Francis, Director of Infrastructure, Parkes Shire Council, the Alliance comprises an Executive of members from 5 councils and meets bi-monthly.

The CWUA is receiving national recognition as an example of Councils working collaboratively and innovatively to deliver efficient, cost effective water and sewer infrastructure and services for their communities.

Achievements to date:

    • Secured funding to procure the “Carbon Plus” project aimed at limiting the carbon footprint of the Regional Water Security Study
    • Completed a Training Mentoring Workforce Resource Sharing and Procurement Plan and a linkage paper between this and a similar Plan developed by the Lower Macquarie Water Utilities Alliance.
    • Developed a Five Year Regional Procurement Schedule for strategic work for members in line with IP&R requirements to minimise cost and maximise outputs.
    • Developed funding and a Management Plan reviewed bi-annually.
    • Recruited a full-time Program Manager.
    • Created working groups and sub-committees including for drinking water and workforce development
    • Implemented a regional Best Practice Management Plan program including development of the following:
    • – Regional Integrated Water Cycle Management Plan;- Regional Demand Management Strategy;

      – Regional Drought Management Plan; and

      – Regional Strategic Business Plan.

    • Implemented a regional program for asset management services including:
    • – Dam Surveillance- CCTV condition assessment of sewer mains

      – Smoke testing for reticulation

      – Pipe relining

      – Asset valuations.

    • Secured over $3M of State and Federal funding to supplement programming including for water quality and energy efficiency.
    • Hosted Regional Water Utilities on Track event at Mt Panorama to showcase the Alliance model to government, community and other regional organisations of councils in the context of Local Government reform.
    • Completed a regional Audit of Performance Reporting for Water Supply and Sewerage to facilitate member council’s compliance with the regulatory framework and demonstrate efficient and cost-effective management practices.
    • Implemented a regional Microbial Improvement Program for Drinking Water Quality demonstrating council’s commitment to Drinking Water Quality and informing a quality improvement program.
    • Implemented an extensive workforce mapping exercise across 9 Councils securing State Training Service funding to deliver 211 units of competency for 45 water treatment plant operators in 2018 leading to certification of Operators under the National Certification Framework;
    • Developed and delivered training for water operators including in Water Sampling and Australian Drinking Water Guidelines in partnership with the NSW Department of Health.
    • Regional membership of a program providing water saving collateral for use on council’s websites to meet requirements for councils to demonstrate efficiencies in urban water usage. This has included production and screening of a water saving TV commercial and representation in a National report on water efficiency;
    • Regional membership of peak industry bodies including Water Services Association of Australia.
    • Formed Centroc Operators Group providing capacity building and mentoring opportunities for the region’s Treatment Plan Operators and Supervisors.
    • Developed templates for a CWUA Mentoring Program for use by local council staff working with the Centroc Water Utilities Alliance – in this first instance as part of a mentoring program to develop leadership skills.
    • Developed a regional Priority Water Infrastructure plan using a multi-criteria analysis tool to prioritise regional infrastructure needs. 

The Centroc Water Utilities Alliance has developed a Toolkit containing information, tools and resources to help groups of Councils set-up a Water Utilities Alliance in line with the model used by the Centroc group of Councils. For more information contact Meredith Macpherson, Program Manager, Centroc Water Utilities Alliance meredith.macpherson@centroc.com.au or on 0427 451 085