South East Water has been nationally recognised for its innovative Environmental Sensitivity Map, placing among finalists in the Organisational Excellence category at the Australian Water Association (AWA) Awards in Melbourne. 
The water utility created the map to identify and protect sensitive environments within Melbourne’s south-east, providing insights into 26 sensitivity categories across local waterways, terrestrial and marine environments. 

South East Water Environment Compliance Manager, Cody Narlock said the map provided an important baseline of understanding for areas of environmental significance within the south-east.  
“Our environmental sensitivity map is helping us to protect the biodiverse range of natural habitats and ecosystems right across our service area, which includes Ramsar-listed wetlands, inland and coastal waterways and flora and fauna that rely on these habitats to survive. 

“The map has proven to be an important tool for us to better understand how our network of assets interact with the surrounding environment. A sensitivity ranking system pinpoints locations of endangered and threatened species, helping us plan an operational response that preserves and protects these sensitive environments.”
South East Water Environmental Compliance Manager, Cody Narlock

South East Water Acting General Manager Service Delivery, Andrew Forster-Knight said the map was also pushing boundaries beyond incident response for proactive care for the natural environment.

“We have a duty of care to protect the natural environment in which we operate to minimise the risk of harm. 
“I’m excited to see the map being used strategically in our environmental planning and assessments, helping guide the design of water and sewer assets to support proactive biodiversity improvements in our capital works projects.” 
South East Water Acting General Manager Service Delivery, Andrew Forster-Knight

“Congratulations to the team on this well-deserved national recognition for an innovative project that continues to optimise our operations and produce flow on benefits to our customers, community and the environment,” said Mr Forster-Knight.

The Australian Water Association announced the 2024 Australian Water Awards at the Ozwater’24 gala dinner on 2 May in Melbourne. The Awards recognise outstanding achievements across the national water industry in areas of innovation, leadership and addressing the challenge of driving a sustainable water future.

Photo: South East Water team members with Managing Director Lara Olsen (centre) at the 2024 Australian Water Awards Ozwater Gala Dinner.

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