26 April 2024

Goulburn Valley Water and Solomon Water celebrated a 12 month collaboration with a four-day study tour of the Goulburn Valley last month by a delegation from the Solomon Islands’ sole water provider.

It was the fourth occasion since April last year that staff from the two water corporations had come together, facilitated by the Australian Water Association.

GVW was one of six Australian water corporations involved in an international partnership funded by the Australian Water Partnership (AWP), as part of the Partnerships for a Resilient and Climate Smart Water Sector Program.

Goulburn Valley Water Managing Director Steve Capewell said the partnership was “mutually beneficial”, describing last month’s visit as a fitting end to a year of learnings for staff from both corporations.

“We are very proud to have been selected to be part of the AWA program and look forward to any future opportunity to work in this space,” Dr Capewell said.

“While the impact of climate change on water and wastewater services remained the program’s major focus, there were opportunities for other interactions on a number of fronts.”

The four-member Solomon Water delegation’s visited Shepparton, Seymour, Broadford and Kilmore, with GVW staff providing insights into water and wastewater treatment.

They were also given an insight into GVW’s customer service and technology initiatives at its Fryers Street headquarters.

There was also some time for the Solomon Water team to enjoy some uniquely Australian flavoured events while in the Goulburn Valley – specifically a cricket carnival and a pair of traditional Aussie barbecues.

During the past year, GVW and Solomon Water have combined resources and expertise to address the ongoing challenges facing not only the Solomon Islands, but also their Australian neighbours.

“We share several things in common – concerns around successfully addressing population growth, changing values and expectations of our communities, providing an inclusive service to a diverse customer base and the ongoing battle of addressing changing climate,” Dr Capewell said.

“It is a tribute to the professionalism of staff from both corporations that so much has been achieved in such a short time frame and laid the foundations of what we hope will be an ongoing relationship.”

As a final stage to the current program, partnership partners from Indonesia, Vietnam, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Samoa will join their Australian counterparts at Ozwater’24 in Melbourne between April 30-May 2 to discuss program successes and design what comes next.