An alliance of businesses in the business of water

Smart Water Awards 2019 - Innovation in SMEs Award nominees

April 9, 2019

Sponsored by SA Water

The Innovation in SMEs Award recognises small and medium-sized businesses that have fostered innovation innovation to solve a significant environmental and/or water resource related problem; develop a product, solution or service; undertake research or trial applications; share, communicate and ensure acceptance and take up of new knowledge, technology or research; improve manufacturing or business processes and/or improve sales, promotion and product/service delivery.

Meet the nominees:

Data Science Community of Interest | Water Research Australia

The Data Science Community of Interest provides a network for open source software to be shared among Water Research Australia (WaterRA) members. Not only does the initiative allow WaterRA members to share and develop code, it also runs workshops for coding, analysing digital metering data, and a water hackathon. The data science discussion board gives members the opportunity to discuss and share issues and work together to solve them.

WaterRA has worked closely with Coliban Water in Victoria to develop this innovation and will continue to lead the data science group with participating water utilities, research organisations and consultancies over the next couple of years to achieve a strong community of action.

The innovation is in open sourcing the information for utility collaboration nationally to allow faster and more targeted innovation. The water industry, in its journey to becoming 'smart', is in a time of data science realisation and this project facilitates the opportunity for the water industry to collaborate for innovation and impact.

Industrial Internet of Things for Remote Asset Management | Dematec Automation

The Internet of Things is an industry of enormous global growth. In people’s everyday consumer lives there is the expectation that everything from bank accounts to personal fitness to fridge contents can be accessed from smartphones. This expectation of instant, mobile access to relevant information is transferring to people’s industrial working lives.

However, there are different requirements for reliability and security for industrial systems than there are for consumer devices, hence the need to produce an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) platform capable of securing connecting with a wide range of industrial systems and devices as well as mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops.

Over the past 12 months, Dematec has established their IIoT Hub platform as a highly functional and fit-for-purpose solution for the remote management of critical assets.

The IIoT Hub has excellent application in the water sector where it can be used for the real-time remote monitoring and control of assets such as treatment plants, pump stations, and even original equipment manufacturer (OEM) equipment.

Restoration of Renmark Floodplain Drainage Basins | Renmark Irrigation Trust

In February 2016, the Renmark Irrigation Trust (the Trust) pursued the goal to rehabilitate its degraded adjacent floodplain, streamlining the water delivery through utilising its existing water delivery infrastructure. This expanded the core business of the Trust from water delivery to the highland to also include the floodplain. This ambitious goal resulted in the Trust signing a five-year agreement with the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder (CEWH) in April 2016. To date, the Trust has delivered over 500ML to five sites inundating 84 hectares. And, like all other customers of the Trust, the CEWH is billed quarterly for the cost of delivering that water to each floodplain rehabilitation site.

Due to water buy backs during and following the millennium drought, the Trust lost income associated with the delivery of over 10GL of productive water through their infrastructure. This loss of water did not just impact the social/economic fabric of the Renmark community, but created what is often referred to as the Swiss cheese effect, which resulted in water delivery infrastructure costs increasing for the remaining irrigators. This threatened the viability of Australia’s oldest irrigation settlement.  

Meanwhile, the newly established CEWH, receiving the buyback water, was working with delivery partners to find the most cost-effective and efficient way to deliver environmental water to the vast floodplains across the Murray-Darling Basin. The standard method was to use large portable diesel or electric pumps to move water out of the river channel to nearby floodplains. Utilising existing Trust irrigation infrastructure provided an innovative solution.

WaterGuide | Aither

WaterGuide is an organising framework for water management and use in response to scarcity, and is being used to improve water management globally.

WaterGuide outlines the fundamental elements of improved water management in a flexible and coherent structure to help governments accelerate water reform in the face of growing scarcity. WaterGuide consists of six elements required to improve water resource management:

WaterGuide is used to facilitate high-level dialogues with senior decision-makers to diagnose priority actions to address and improve water resource management. It is applicable to all countries where water scarcity is a present or future threat to health and wellbeing, economic development and/or environmental sustainability.

Working with Department of Foreing Affairs and Trade, Australian Water Partnership and other implementation partners, Aither has applied WaterGuide in Jordan, Mexico, Iran and Senegal to diagnose issues in water management and policy, and identify potential solutions. The final version of WaterGuide was launched at the 8th World Water Forum held in Brasilia, and further in-country dialogues were held throughout 2018.