Urban Water Stakeholder Reference Panel
Under Water for the Future the Australian Government has committed over $1.5 billion to assist state, territory and local governments secure and diversify their urban water supplies.
About the panel
The Urban Water Stakeholder Reference Panel was established in 2008 to provide the department with perspectives and views on emerging issues in urban water and expert advice on the design and implementation of urban water programs for cities and towns. This includes advice on the:
- National Urban Water and Desalination Plan
- National Water Security Plan for Cities and Towns
- Water Efficiency Opportunities Program
- The Council of Australian Governments' Work Program on Water
- Urban water policy and reforms
The Panel consists of experts drawn from diverse fields including the water services industry, water planning and management agencies, consumer advocacy and research institutions.
Current members of the panel are:
- Mr Adam Lovell
- Mr David Wiskar
- Dr Jim Gill
- Ms Jo Benvenuti
- Ms Wendy Campana
- Ms Dyan Currie
- Mr Colin Pitman
- Professor Ana Deletic
- Dr Ashok Sharma
Mr Lovell is the Executive Director of the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA).
Mr Lovell provides national leadership in policy positions for the Australian urban water sector on regulatory issues, climate change adaption and mitigation, water efficiency, water quality and regulation, and sustainability.
Since joining WSAA in 2008, Mr Lovell has held the roles of Manager, Science and Sustainability and Manager, Policy and Strategy. Mr Lovell was previously at Sydney Water for 11 years in leadership roles in the Science and Technology group.
Mr Lovell is currently a Board member for the National Centre of Excellence for Desalination, a Board member of the Global Water Research Coalition and a member of the National Health and Medical Research Council Water Quality Advisory Committee, a committee responsible for the development of water quality guidelines in Australia.
Mr David Wiskar is the Group Manager - Organisational Services at Power and Water Corporation. As part of his role in leading the business services team, Mr Wiskar is responsible for managing a range of key project areas including sewer inspection, demand management, scientific services, as well as key initiatives undertaken in South East Asia. He has helped to develop key strategies for more than 60 water authorities throughout Australia.
Previously, Mr Wiskar was the driving force behind Queensland's WaterWise program which provided assistance to local government and water authorities to develop and implement effective water demand management programs.
Mr Wiskar is the author or co-author of a number of books and publications including Best Practice Water Efficiency in Hospitality Industry, WaterWise Plumbing, and Powering to the Future - Smart Energy in Local Government. He has also presented at conferences throughout Australia and internationally on water management.
Mr Wiskar is the Founding Chair of the Queensland Water Directorate. He played a key role in establishing the Directorate in 2005 to provide a vehicle to enable the water industry to provide technical input into Government decision making about the water industry in Queensland. Mr Wiskar is also the immediate past President of the Queensland Institute of Public Works Engineering.
Dr Jim Gill is the Chancellor at Curtin University in Western Australia. Formerly, he was Chief Executive Officer at the Water Corporation in Western Australia. A major focus of his tenure at the Water Corporation, from 1996 to 2008, was a program to greatly increase the State's water source capacity and promote efficient water usage to adapt to significantly drying climate. Dr Gill introduced large scale sea water desalination to Australia together with the use of renewable energy. A wide range of initiatives were introduced during his tenure including industrial and domestic recycling, catchment vegetation thinning, ground water re-injection, water trading with irrigators, and a host of demand reduction measures in cooperation with the community, government and industry.
Dr Gill has a Bachelor of Engineering degree, a PhD and a Masters Degree in Public Administration. Prior to joining the Water Corporation, Dr Gill was Western Australia's Commissioner of Railways.
Dr Gill was made an Officer of the Order of Australia on Australia Day 2009 for services to: water resource management and administration in Western Australia; the transport industry; and education.
Ms Jo Benvenuti is the Executive Officer of the Consumer Utilities Advocacy Centre. Ms Benvenuti has extensive experience in the energy and water sectors with a consumer focus, including previous positions as second in charge to the Energy and Water Ombudsman (Victoria), and at the Office of the Regulator-General (now the Essential Services Commission).
Ms Benvenuti was also Executive Officer of the Financial and Consumer Rights Council where she was particularly interested in hardship and utility issues. She has worked in welfare services across a diverse range of policy areas, including the aged, housing, and emergency relief provision, and was previously Executive Manager Corporate Affairs at the RSPCA (Victoria).
Ms Benvenuti has a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Policy from the University of Melbourne.
Ms Wendy Campana is the Executive Director of the Local Government Association of South Australia. The Local Government Association provides support and advocacy for councils in South Australia including a range of direct services such as industrial/employee relations, governance advice, and comprehensive education and training programs for council members and staff.
Ms Campana has extensive experience in public sector management including corporate services and financial management, organisational development, education and training, industrial relations, disaster and emergency management and intergovernmental relations.
In her role as Executive Director of the South Australian Local Government Association Ms Campana has overseen a recent study of 'Local Government Current and Potential Role in Water Management and Conservation' by the South Australian Centre for Economic Studies which helped inform the Local Government Association's Water Security Strategy. Also under Ms Campana's guidance, the Local Government Association manages a subsidy fund for the development of new community wastewater management systems in South Australian country towns.
Ms Campana is currently a member of the South Australian Stormwater Management Authority.
Ms Currie is the National President of the Planning Institute of Australia and the immediate past Queensland President. Ms Currie is a qualified and experienced Strategic and Development Assessment Planner. She is currently the Manager of Land Use Planning for Toowoomba Regional Council in Queensland.
Ms Currie has been a long term member of development industry organisations including holding a committee role with the Urban Development Institute and serving three years as the Chair of the South East Queensland Development Assessment Managers Group.
Ms Currie has qualifications in urban and physical geography, urban and regional planning, and public sector management.
Mr Colin Pitman is the General Manager for City Projects at the City of Salisbury Council, South Australia. He is responsible for the Council's civil engineering projects and has also driven innovation in water, waste and energy management, and environmental design in Salisbury.
Over the past 21 years Mr Pitman has been a leader locally and internationally in water management, with a particular focus on stormwater as a partial solution to water supply issues. He has won numerous awards including the World Water Association Award in Beijing in 2006.
Mr Pitman holds degrees in agriculture and engineering, a Master of Business Administration and certificates in local government engineering and building surveying. He is also the past President of the Institute of Municipal Engineering.
Professor Deletic is a Professor in Water Engineering within Monash University's Civil Engineering Department, and Director of the Centre for Water Sensitive Cities, an Interdisciplinary Research Centre involving 50 researchers at Monash University.
Professor Deletic became involved in urban water research in the 1990s, studying stormwater management in Yugoslavia and Sweden. Professor Deletic completed her PhD at Aberdeen University in Scotland, where she lectured between 1995 and 2003. Since then Professor Deletic has worked at Monash University, forming a world renowned research group in stormwater management.
Professor Deletic co-leads Australian involvement in a $10 million EU FP7 project 'PREPARED', that aims to adapt urban water systems to climate change. Professor Deletic is Associate Editor of Water Research and Water Science and Technology, as well as Chair of the International Working Group on Data and Models, which operates under the Joint Committee on Urban Drainage (IWA/IAHR). Professor Deletic is a Fellow of Engineers Australia and won the 2008 Dean's Award for Excellence in Engineering Research.
Dr Ashok Sharma is a professional Engineer with 25 years of industrial, research and teaching experience in planning, design and construction management of water supply, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure, sustainability assessment, environmental planning and assessment, water quality and river pollution prevention works. Dr Sharma is also an Adjunct Professor at Victoria University, Melbourne.
Dr Sharma joined CSIRO in 2003 after working at the Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines for seven years, where he provided advisory services and promoted appropriate policies and practices for urban water, wastewater, drainage, floodplain management and related environmental impact issues in West Moreton District, Queensland. Dr Sharma leads the research in the areas of:
- water use and wastewater generation to understand the impact of decentralised systems on the existing infrastructure
- integration of alternative technologies and systems
- system validation and monitoring of distributed systems
- alternative water systems design and delivery approaches
- identify needs for institutional and social research on distributed systems.