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Julian Briggs

Julian Briggs, Aurecon

Julian Briggs is Aurecon’s Design Director – Water & Wastewater Treatment. He has 20 years’ experience specialising in process and process/mechanical design in the wastewater and water industry.

As the process lead for a number of major water infrastructure projects across Australia and New Zealand, including large scale alliances, he has had the opportunity to develop innovative treatment approaches and oversee them through detailed design, construction, commissioning and early stages of operation.

Julian is passionate about providing clients effective solutions that optimise use of assets and resources, with balanced consideration of competing drivers.

What gets you out of bed?

The alarm clock and a strong coffee! Seriously though, I really enjoy the work that I do! There is no better feeling than solving a complex problem for a client that can potentially help their business - particularly given that the water sector can positively influence quality of life from social and environmental perspectives.

The most important lesson you learnt early in your career.

From an ethical perspective, honesty, hard work and enthusiasm go a long way to developing strong relationships with, and earning the trust of clients.

From a learning and personal capability perspective, no amount of study and theoretical knowledge replaces hands-on experience. Working with other experienced engineers and scientists as well as taking opportunities to spend time out on construction sites and operating plants has been invaluable, particularly in terms of providing ‘real world’ feedback into design.

Your most challenging project? And why?

All projects provide their own unique challenges but the NZ$400M design-build Project Manukau in Auckland probably stands out as one of the most challenging and yet rewarding of my career to date.

Our team was faced with a number of unexpected issues particularly during the construction and commissioning, such as changes in wastewater and sludge characteristics. But the collaboration of the integrated delivery team to solve these issues was outstanding, leading to an incredible sense of achievement. The project culminated in one of the proudest moments of my career, with the client’s managing director announcing that our consortium had delivered a cost-effective, world-class solution and a plant that they could be proud of.

Direction and challenges of Water and Wastewater Treatment over the next five years?


  • Adoption of advanced technologies to help supplement traditional potable water supplies as part of integrated water cycle management.
  • Dealing with newly found contaminants in both in water and wastewater.
  • Managing water resources as part of the mining boom in Australia.
  • Minimising energy consumption in water/wastewater transfer and treatment.
  • Wastewater as a resource in terms of water reuse, energy generation potential and nutrient recovery.

Major challenges: in the municipal arena, managing aging infrastructure, much of which was installed 30 or 40 years ago, as well as the ongoing operation of advanced technologies that have been implemented over the last decade as drought mitigation measures. I believe that funding allocation through strategic asset management planning will become increasingly important as part of the business planning cycle.


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