Investing in Tomorrow: Unitywater Joins WaterStart to Deliver Innovation Initiatives

Pictured: Nathan Allen, WaterStart Executive Director (left) with Kenan Hibberd, Unitywater Executive Manager People Culture and Safety (centre) and Kim Fridman, WaterStart Project Coordinator (right)

Brisbane, QLD – WaterStart is proud to welcome Unitywater into its membership. A progressive utility with innovation and reliability among its core values, Unitywater is celebrated for its commitment to look after their communities now and into the future.

Unitywater operates in one of the fastest growing regions of Australia, providing essential sewage treatment and water supply services to about 17% of Queensland’s population. The communities of Moreton Bay, Noosa and Sunshine Coast in South East Queensland that are serviced by Unitywater are projected to grow to more than 1.046 million by 2031.

The partnership with WaterStart ensures Unitywater continues to invest in technology and infrastructure that meets the future needs of the growing region in an economically and environmentally sustainable way.

“Our customers and our people are at the heart of everything we do at Unitywater, where our core purpose is keeping communities healthy.”

Kenan Hibberd, Unitywater Executive Manager People Culture and Safety

“We’re excited about this partnership with WaterStart. We are confident it will produce great benefits for our customers, our people and our organisation as a whole.

“Unitywater is an enthusiastic innovator and adopter of new technology. Over the past 18 months, we have trialed a range of products to improve the way we monitor and maintain our water and sewer networks.

“Our collaboration with WaterStart will allow us to take this approach to the next level and enable us to identify innovative solutions to the most common issues facing the water industry.”

Unitywater has taken a people-first approach to seeking and adopting innovation, ensuring that new technology addresses their strategic priorities to enhance customer value, improve sustainability, pursue efficiency and develop their people.

“This partnership between WaterStart and Unitywater opens up new avenues to sourcing innovative technologies with compelling solutions.”

Nathan Allen, WaterStart Executive Director

“From specialised water and sewer network solutions to real-time water quality monitoring technology, our unique position bridges the water and innovation sectors allowing us to identify new technology that directly services a critical need of our members.

“We are proud to be working with an organisation whose mission aligns closely with WaterStart’s ethos of more, safer, cheaper water. WaterStart will help Unitywater to deliver on its customer promise of 24/7 high-quality, safe and reliable water and sewerage services.”

About WaterStart

WaterStart is a unique not-for-profit organisation with a mission to solve critical challenges facing the water industry today by accelerating the adoption of innovative technologies and management practices. Established in 2013 in Nevada (US), WaterStart expanded into Queensland in early 2018 with the support of the Queensland Government. WaterStart leverages the strategic resources and expertise of its network to evaluate and demonstrate the performance of water innovation. For more information, visit www.waterstart.com.

About Unitywater

Unitywater provides essential sewage treatment and water supply services to communities in the Moreton Bay, Sunshine Coast and Noosa regions of South East Queensland. Unitywater’s purpose is keeping communities healthy and its vision is to be a sustainable, industry-leading community and customer-oriented water and allied services business. Every day Unitywater operates and maintains more than $3.4 billion of essential infrastructure, delivers quality drinking water and treats 60 Olympic-sized swimming pools worth of sewage for approximately 17% of Queensland’s population.

Channels Podcast Episode 5 – Henrick Laursen, CEO of AMI Global

Henrick Laursen is the CEO of AMI Global, an international communications and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) company. Henrick was appointed CEO in 2017 to lead the company during its next phase of growth with a specialized focus on international commercialization and business development efforts for AMI’s IIoT connectivity solutions.

Henrick is a proven executive and global business development professional with experience in customized systems for large industrial manufacturers and has over 15 years of industrial expertise working for flow technology sectors in Europe and North America. As the former CEO for LiqTech Systems, Henrick oversaw project sales and execution, engineering and production, and partner activities across oil & gas, mining, municipal drinking water, power plant, marine scrubbers, and commercial pool markets. Mr. Laursen has also held global business development roles at Grundfos, one of the largest pump manufacturers in the world.

About AMI Global: AMI Global is a provider of end-to-end IIoT solutions with locations in the United States and Israel. AMI engineers affordable and secure IIoT solutions for industrial machinery allowing customers to connect remote industrial assets and equipment to the Internet for data collection, predictive analysis, and asset control. AMI has an existing customer base of Fortune 500 clients and global industrial systems and equipment manufacturers.

Continue reading “Channels Podcast Episode 5 – Henrick Laursen, CEO of AMI Global”

Delivering More, Safer, Cheaper Water

Nathan Allen

I wanted to write this article to give folks an explanation of why our WaterStart Blog is titled, “More, Safer, Cheaper.” This is an obvious reference to the fact that water is becoming scarcer, riskier and more expensive around the world, but it means much more in regard to WaterStart’s business model and how we are helping to address these issues.

As the availability of water declines due to the impacts of climate change and population change, the reliability and the quality of water around the world will continue to be impacted. In time, we will be forced to spend even more money to build new infrastructure as well as change our existing infrastructure. New treatment systems will have to be developed and we will have to change how we deliver water. 

All of these initiatives requires significant national resources and leads to the cost of water becoming more expensive around the world. A recent article describes the water and sewer costs exponentially outpacing inflation and wages across the United States. This is a major macro concern when you look at how this could impact our economy. 

This gives some insight into the scarcity, risky and expensive water outlook at a macro level, but when it comes to deploying solutions to all of this, these three concepts translate as well.

The Innovation Dilemma

It is difficult to deploy new technology in any sector, but in particular, the water sector. The business model for this sector depends on selling the resource rather than preserving it. With that comes a challenge where utilities have to put innovation and improvement far behind maintenance. Organizations cannot be innovative at the same time as trying to figure out how to run their existing infrastructure with a dwindling budget.

At the same time, it’s very risky for water providers to adopt new technology. Unlike developing a software application or a standalone product, there are public health and safety consequences as well as political risks to trying something new in this sector and having it not work.

Notable examples include the water agency of Tucson, AZ switching to CAP (Central Arizona Project) water for the first time which resulted in burst water mains all over town. or Flint, MI switching water sources in order to save on operating costs with the unfortunate effect of distributing drinking water contaminated by lead. It is risky to try new things in the water sector and it is expensive.

This is why “More, Safer, Cheaper” applies not only to what we hope the outcomes of the technologies we deploy result in (water becomes more affordable, more available and more reliable), but to also make the piloting of these technologies more abundant, less risky and more affordable.

The Innovation Solution

WaterStart has developed our innovation model to accelerate the adoption of innovation with water managers and water consumers. Instead of the full cost of trialing a new solution falling on one agency, risk is dispersed throughout a group of experts, a group of infrastructure owners and group of funding agencies. This approach allows us to share the risks and, just as importantly, the costs to make it more affordable.

By making it more affordable we also help ensure confidence of a strong return on investment. If the full burden of innovation is put on to the infrastructure owner, especially the ones that are public agencies, that makes it more difficult for them to be innovative. If we can share the costs as well as the benefits, we help the entire water sector to access new technologies more readily and reap the long-term benefits of innovation.

That’s why “More, Safer, Cheaper” is the name of our blog and our core theme. We are not just calling out industry problems or cool solutions. We are focused on the deployment of new technology and validating the commercial application of scalable solutions. It is our strong belief that innovation will shape the future of the water for all communities, but we must start now.

Find out how WaterStart can help you as a water member or technology company with an innovative solution to a Tech Priority.