Water partnerships

A transformation is taking place in the delivery of our water services

A new partnership approach is improving long-term water security in both metropolitan and regional areas, creating employment, and generating economic benefit.

Government agencies and water utilities have the responsibility for investing in innovative projects to deliver services that contribute to the health and wellbeing of our current and future generations. The formation of partnerships between utilities and consultants allow us to leverage water and wastewater expertise to deliver capital works programmes more seamlessly, economically, and effectively.

This is a transition away from traditional engineering and construction contracts on a per-project basis, to a more collaborative form of delivery.

Under such programmes, packages of work are awarded progressively with rigorous and standardised, performance standards maintained.

Aurecon has collaborated with water utilities and governments to develop and promote this new partnership model that will leave important legacy benefits for customers, meeting the challenges of population increases and ensuring network resilience.

From panels to partnerships OzWater’21

At the 2021 OzWater conference, Aurecon hosted a panel-led workshop on how water utilities are seeking to foster closer, more efficient working relationships. 

This insights paper presents a summary of the workshop outputs along with reflections on why and how strong partnerships can provide legacy benefits for utilities and their communities. We know that each of us is just a drop in our water system but together we can generate a ripple, make a wave, and create a better world.

Here's what we learned from OzWater 21 workshop.

Sydney Water

Kate Miles, Head of Systems and Asset Planning at Sydney Water is responsible for leading Sydney Water’s Planning Partnership.

Here she discusses the recent trend of moving away from panels towards long-term partnering and what this has meant for Sydney Water and its customers.

Play video Kate Miles, Head of Systems and Asset Planning, Sydney Water
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Aurecon’s Water Leader

Kevin Werksman, Water Leader at Aurecon, is an executive steering committee member on the international, engineering, design and advisory company’s long-term, planning, engineering and capital delivery partnerships across Australia.

Here he discusses the recent trend of moving away from panels towards long-term partnering and how Aurecon has helped to lead this shift to a more customer-centric model.

Play video Kevin Werksman, Water Leader, Aurecon
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Urban Utilities

Joe Otter, Head of Engineering & Professional Services at Urban Utilities, was instrumental in establishing and now leading Urban Utilities’ integrated engineering services partnerships, providing all pre-market engineering services across Urban Utilities’ capital investment portfolio.

Here he discusses the recent trend of moving away from panels towards long-term partnering and what this has meant for Urban Utilities and its customers.

Play video Joe Otter, Head of Engineering & Professional Services, Urban Utilities
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Yarra Valley Water

Ryan Leon, Capital Works Partnership Manager at Yarra Valley Water, oversees capital design and construction contracts with a particular focus on the uplift journey for improved capital delivery maturity.

Here he discusses the recent trend of moving away from panels towards long-term partnering and what this has meant for Yarra Valley Water and its customers.

Play video Ryan Leon, Capital Works Partnership Manager, Yarra Valley Water
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Fulton Hogan Utilities

Boris Ninkovic, General Manager South Australia and Queensland at Fulton Hogan Utilities, has been closely involved in setting up partnerships with various utilities in South Australia and Queensland.

Here he discusses the recent trend of moving away from panels towards long-term partnering.

Play video Boris Ninkovic, General Manager South Australia and Queensland, Fulton Hogan Utilities
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Managing cultural change

Dr Robert Holmes, Technical Lead, People and Change at Aurecon, is a human behavioural expert who has provided advice on change management and enabled the smooth transition and upskilling of workforces as part of long-term water partnerships.

Here he discusses the recent trend of moving away from panels towards long-term partnering and how utilities have managed this cultural change to their businesses.

Play video Dr Robert Holmes, Technical Lead, People and Change, Aurecon
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What are the principles of great partnering?

Controlling the usage and site wide impacts of their land holdings for positive environmental, social and economic outcomes

One team

Between partners there is a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities and a shared approach to celebrating success and learning from failure. Partnerships need to not be limited to a client and a service provider – all parties involved in working to common outcomes on major projects or on long-term programmes should be brought in, developing a common team culture.

Controlling the usage and site wide impacts of their land holdings for positive environmental, social and economic outcomes

Equality

Equality entails mutual respect between members of the partneship and appropriately empowers the client, consultant, and contractors in a partnership to meet shared goals.

Controlling the usage and site wide impacts of their land holdings for positive environmental, social and economic outcomes

Transparency

Transparency is fostered through honest communication, co-design of solutions and open information sharing. This includes developing a common language and prioritizing feedback. The partners understand and respect each other's organisational needs, constraints, and commitments.

Controlling the usage and site wide impacts of their land holdings for positive environmental, social and economic outcomes

Results

The partnership is formed for a specific purpose and has agreed upon mission, values, goals, measurable outcomes, and accountabilities that support broader strategic objectives.

Controlling the usage and site wide impacts of their land holdings for positive environmental, social and economic outcomes

Better together

A key driver for entering into a partnership is to leverage complimentary skill sets and diversity of thought. This requires acknowledgement and acceptance of the partners’ respective strengths and weaknesses and a desire for members to utilise the partnership for growth.

Controlling the usage and site wide impacts of their land holdings for positive environmental, social and economic outcomes

Legacy

A mutual desire and shared understanding of what the partners will together create and the positive impacts that will endure perhaps even beyond the partnership's timeframes – related to community benefits and assets as well as organisation capabilities, knowledge, and ways of working.

Controlling the usage and site wide impacts of their land holdings for positive environmental, social and economic outcomes

Endurance

A partnership must be given the time it needs to flourish, so that the familiarity built between all parties, the trust, knowledge, and innovations they foster, can have meaningful and positive impacts.

Controlling the usage and site wide impacts of their land holdings for positive environmental, social and economic outcomes

Inclusion

Diverse experiences and perspective from across partners can strengthen problem-solving and innovation.

Insights
Mobilising an AUD 1-billion water infrastructure programme during a global pandemic

An historic partnership that brought together water leaders from across Australia to collaborate remotely on securing the future water supply for New South Wales has shown that geography is no barrier to forming a strong and sustainable team.

In this reflection on forming the WaterNSW partnership, which will build dams throughout the state, we consider the lessons learned from developing new ways of working and how these can be utilised by future partnerships to ensure a strong cultural alignment and shared goals.

READ MORE
Mobilising an AUD 1-billion water infrastructure programme during a global pandemic
Evolution water infrastructure

Insights The evolution of partnering in planning resilient water infrastructure

The evolution to partnering in the planning cycle delivers long-term value-for-money, a greater customer and community focus, as well as improving water resilience and services, leaving a legacy for communities and the organisations that serve them.

In this insights paper, Aurecon explores the principles of strong planning partnerships in Australia’s water industry and reflects on the legacy benefits they provide.

In developing the principles, we drew from our experience as partners with major utilities and governments in Australia, including Sydney Water, SA Water, Urban Utilities, WaterNSW, Yarra Valley Water and Hunter Water.

READ MORE

How can Aurecon help you to develop a partnership approach to your water business?

Aurecon is a true partner with our water clients and in recent years has been pioneering a new model of delivery in the sector.

We provide expertise in the planning stages of projects right through to technical engineering solutions but importantly we manage the formation of the partnership through dedicated change management professionals right from the start to ensure a strong base from which to build.

We assist utilities and government agencies to plan, develop and deliver water projects that respond to community needs.

Contact one of our regional water leaders to find out more about this approach.

One drop can make a wave
Kevin Werksman - Global Water Markets Leader

Kevin Werksman

Managing Director, Water – Australia & New Zealand
+61 419486280
Andreas Henschke, Aurecon

Andreas Henschke

Water Practice Leader, SA – Australia
Kirsten Newnham, Aurecon

Kirsten Newnham

Water Practice Leader, VIC – Australia

Water partnerships expertise

Aurecon provides both technical engineering and advisory expertise to water utilities internationally.

These services include:

Water partnerships

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