Hero of SA water industry

A pioneer in groundwater research and training, Professor Craig Simmons, has been honoured by the Australian Water Association for his contribution to the industry.

Professor Simmons, director of the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT) based at Flinders University, won the Premier’s Water Medal for Water Professional of the Year at this week’s South Australian Water Awards in Adelaide.

The awards acknowledge innovative excellence, creative solutions and exceptional leadership by individuals and organisations in the water sector. Several SA winners will stand for the equivalent Australian Water Awards to be presented at Ozwater’17 in Sydney next year.

Flinders postgraduate from the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, Samantha Pandelus, was an AWA SA student award finalist. The recipient of a Water Research Australia Scholarship has been studying analytical chemistry and environmental radiation in her Honours year, studying levels of radionuclides in wastewater centres around Adelaide.

The 2015 South Australian Scientist of the Year, Professor Simmons is a fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering. He established the NCGRT to expand national and international research and training in groundwater science, education and policy reform. Professor Simmons has been a significant contributor to global advances in the science of hydrogeology.

NCGRT recently joined the Groundwater Solutions Initiative for Policy and Practice, a partnership is led by the International Water Management Institute which aims to further connect and strengthen current groundwater initiatives. Protecting and improving groundwater resources is seen as vital to the future of adequate and safe water supplies to most countries, Professor Simmons says.

“In Australia, groundwater accounts for around one-third of our total water consumption and in the past few decades, Australia has more than doubled its groundwater use,” he says. “This will  increase in the future as we strive to meet the water needs of a rapidly growing population, our native landscape, expanding industries and agriculture, all of which must coexist under the increasing pressure of climate change.”

Other winners at the SA awards held on 18 November were SA Water, Allwater and SUEZ for research innovation in recycled water treatment and SA Water, Aurecon, Fulton Hogan and Allwater for infrastructure innovation. The Young Water Professional of the Year was Jennifer Dreyfus, plant supervisor at Bolivar, the largest waste-water treatment plant in SA.

The Australian Water Association is an independent, not-for-profit association for water professionals and organisations, providing leadership in the water sector through collaboration, advocacy and professional development.

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