Parkes Shire Council has been applauded for its pioneering approach to the Parkes Recycled Water Scheme, winning the Program Innovation Award at the 2020 NSW Australian Water Association Awards on February 28.
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The annual awards recognise innovation and excellence in the technology, business and delivery of water projects.
"While the environmental and community benefits of the Recycled Water Scheme are well understood, this award recognises the extensive planning and development that was involved in delivering an entirely new water source for Parkes," Parkes Shire Mayor Ken Keith OAM said in a statement following the awards.
"It is a resounding endorsement of council's proactive and innovative approach to providing first-rate water servicing to our community."
The Recycled Water Scheme has involved rigorous planning, design and extensive community and stakeholder engagement, council said, in order to incorporate sustainable design principals and state-of-the-art technology.
Parkes Shire Council's Technical Infrastructure Manager, Julian Fyfe, said that while many utilities reclaim water, Parkes has achieved something unique within the Australian water industry.
That is designing a system that has a small footprint and a big impact.
"The scheme is designed to work within the solar window, is supported by renewable power and has an optimised and integrated distribution system," Mr Fyfe said.
"By introducing control capability to an IoT (Internet of Things) based monitoring system we have further increased operational efficiency.
"The award reflects the dedication and effort that has been made across council.
"Achieving these results demands a lot of forethought and planning, and it would not have been possible without the support of a progressive council, and the dedication of the staff."
Mr Fyfe wanted to particularly acknowledge the operations staff for embracing the scheme.
"This is a completely new supply with entirely different water quality considerations and has been a huge change from standard water servicing," he said.
"I would also like to give credit to all the project partners who have contributed to the Scheme's success, including the John Holland Group, LEED, GHD, Hunter H2O, FB Contracting, Indicium Dynamics and 360 Engineering, as well as the consultants and local contractors who have contributed their expertise to the project."
Along with the prestige of being recognised as "the best in NSW", the Parkes Recycled Water Scheme is now a finalist in the National Australian Water Association Awards which will be announced at the Ozwater conference in May.
"Council works incredibly hard to deliver progress and value to the community, and it is more important than ever to invest in smart, sustainable solutions to guarantee our long-term water security," Cr Keith said.
The $20.9m Recycled Water Scheme is jointly funded between the Australian Government and Parkes Shire Council. The Australian Government provided $8,725,000 towards the Parkes Recycled Water Scheme under the National Stronger Regions Fund.
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