Water Services Association of Australia

The Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) is the peak industry body representing the urban water industry.

WSAA is committed to anchoring its services to the water industries’ customers’ values, and to enriching communities where water services have broad economic, environmental, and social values. In line with this our main activities focus on four areas:

  • Influencing national and state policies on the provision of urban water services and sustainable water resource management
  • Promoting debate on environmentally sustainable development and management of water resources and the community health requirements of public water supplies
  • Improving industry performance and establishing benchmarks and industry leading practices for water service processes; and
  • Fostering the exchange of information on education, training, research, water and wastewater management and treatment and other matters of common interest.​

Our Structure

WSAA’s activities focus on collaboration and knowledge sharing through a structure of Committees and Networks. WSAA membership is available to public or private utilities, organisations or businesses providing water and/or sewerage services or organisations that have an interest allied to the urban water industry.

Our Board Committees and Networks have been established to direct the strategic priorities of the Association in pre-defined areas.  Each Committee is led by a Board member or senior executive from one of our member utilities. Reporting to the Committees are the Networks, the engine room of collaborative projects. WSAA is involved in a whole range of projects ranging from unfunded voluntary projects, undertaken by a small group of interested members, to large international projects that include members and non-members in some cases.

Our Members

WSAA represents over 100 public and privately owned water, or water related organisations. Our members provide water and sewerage services to over 24 million customers in Australia and New Zealand. We are primarily an association for utilities and many of our specialist groups and activities are usually only open to utility members. This structure ensures a candid exchange of information, experiences and ideas and sets WSAA apart from other water industry associations.

WSAA Strategy 2021-23

The WSAA Strategy 2021–23 was launched at our Virtual Chairs and MDs Forum in 2021. It is underpinned by four key drivers of i) Climate change, ii) Customer and community expectations, iii) Macro industry trends and iv) Circular economy as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. It is based on extensive consultation with Members including the WSAA Board and each of the Board Committees.

The key components of the Strategy including the Industry Outcomes, the Industry Enablers and these then translate into the WSAA Priorities. Each of the projects and initiatives in our Work Program are aligned with one or more of the WSAA Priorities.

Our achievements in 2021/22

Over the 12 months June this year we hosted over 500 online meetings and workshops and

over 20 webinars. Over the same time, we saw a 16% growth in the number of participants on the WSAA community site and high downloads of many WSAA papers and fact sheets. Highlights during this period included:

Industry leading papers, codes, frameworks and projects

  • Released Towards Resilience: Climate change and the urban water industry in Australia and New Zealand, a compendium about the range of impacts of climate change on water utilities and the breadth of their mitigation, adaptation and resilience strategies.
  • Released the Circular Economy Action Plan, a follow-up volume to our paper Transitioning the water industry with the circular economy.
  • Released Water fuelling the path to a hydrogen future: The role of the urban water industry in Australia and New Zealand’s renewable energy future.
  • Delivered the Customer Centricity Maturity Framework along with supporting material that allows water utilities to assess their maturity across customer capability areas.
  • Delivered the Better Practice Customer Support framework to encourage a more holistic and consistent approach to supporting customers experiencing financial difficulties.
  • Released 16 guidelines and codes of industry significance as ebooks.
  • Completed a study on the Willingness to pay for carbon offsets with over 4000 customers across Australia.
  • Completed the international CRC-P Smart Linings Project investigating innovation in smart linings for pipes and infrastructure bringing together 35 partners.

Benchmarking

  • Completed the next round of OPEX Benchmarking and Asset Management Customer Value benchmarking.
  • Carried out the fourth Customer Perceptions Survey with 8,500 customers across Australia and New Zealand.
  • Delivered a health and safety and people and productivity benchmarking project involving 29 participants to understand performance gaps and improve performance.

Contributing to industry knowledge and growth

  • Welcomed a new group of 5 WSAA Young Utility Leaders.
  • Incorporated the Pride in Water group within WSAA to help further the water industry conversation on the importance of LGBTIQ+ inclusion.
  • Commenced the development of a report on Water servicing for remote Indigenous communities around Australia.
  • Delivered an online ‘Purified Recycled Water Toolkit’ with many resources for education on purified recycled water.
  • Through our MoU with the Energy Charter, delivered four WE (Water + Energy) Lunch and Learn webinars to share case studies and best practice around customer engagement.
  • Launched the updated Water360 website, a unique source of relevant and current information and a long-term home for valuable industry knowledge.
  • Held a number of technology showcases and webinars as part of W-Lab.

Focus for the year ahead

Over the 2022-23 period we will be increasing our advocacy efforts as the Federal Government looks to implement its policy commitments to water, including a renewed National Water Initiative and National Water Commission. WSAA’s Committees will again deliver a significant body of work including:

Customer and Industry Leadership Committee
  • Demonstrating efficiency, plain language definition of efficiency and real-world case studies on how it is practically applied, achieved and measured in a water utility.
  • KPIs for debt and customer support, track and measure success of customer support and debt management across the sector.
  • Collation of customer support on offer, a collation of customer support, both financial and non-financial provided by water utilities.
Liveable Communities Committee
  • Circular economy, implement WSAA’s Circular Economy Action Plan, a series of actions WSAA can lead to help accelerate the water industry towards circularity.
  • Water Servicing for Remote Indigenous Communities, extensive report on the water servicing arrangements for remote Indigenous communities across Australia.
  • Nutrient offsets, delivery of an expert report on how nutrient offset/trading regimes can deliver environmental outcomes.
People and Capability Committee 
  • Health and Safety and People and Productivity Benchmarking
  • Industry Employee Value Proposition, develop industry employee value proposition and campaign to attract and retain talent and to promote industry opportunities
  • Pride in Water
Utility Excellence Committee
  • Asset Management Customer Value (AMCV) initiatives, series of presentations, case studies and guidelines to address the top four initiatives from the AMCV Project
  • Digital Strategy, develop a unified water sector approach to the effective implementation of the digital utility.

In addition, we have other projects and initiatives that will ensure ongoing member benefit including our TOTEX benchmarking.

 

Engaging with WSAA

Our website, Twitter (@wsaa_water and @admlovell) and LinkedIn provide up to the minute, regular updates. In addition, all your staff can log in to the members area of the website and we would encourage our members to promote this within their organisations so they can engage with us as much as possible