part of the solution
alcoa funds $600,000 chair in sustainable water management
Alcoa of Australia and Murdoch University are tackling water management head on with the establishment of a Professor of Sustainable Water Management.
Water management is one of the top three issues for Australians, according to the inaugural Australian National University Poll taken in March.
In recognition of Murdoch University’s internationally recognised work on environmental sustainability, Alcoa has partnered with the University to fund the professional position for three years.
Commencing in January 2009, this funding agreement is worth $600,000.
The new role will provide leadership in the critical field of water management and help address urgent water queries specific to Western Australia and broader issues faced by Australia including impacts of changing rainfall patterns, water capture, water reuse and recycling.
Murdoch Vice Chancellor Professor John Yovich said Murdoch University was proud to be at the forefront of research on water management.
“Action is needed now to support this global issue and we are working hard to help provide critical solutions to worldwide water management,” Professor Yovich said.
“The establishment of this new Chair reinforces Murdoch’s position as a progressive university, committed to engaging with industry partners to support vital research for the benefit of the community.
“Murdoch University has a reputation for developing strategic relationships with leading businesses across WA and this is another example of a project that will deliver tangible benefits to both the University’s partners and the wider community.”
Alcoa’s Managing Director Alan Cransberg said that as part of its environmental stewardship, Alcoa was focused on developing better ways to ensure a sustainable future, and this included seeking solutions to water management challenges.
“Water management is one of the key challenges facing us all,” Mr Cransberg said.
“We see this partnership with Murdoch University as a part of our water conservation strategy, the coming together of environmental leaders to advance water management solutions for everyone.”
alcoa and barwon water working together for sustainable water solutions
Alcoa shares community concerns in relation to Australia’s diminishing water resources.  Water use at our operations at Point Henry and Anglesea in Victoria is considered highly efficient within an industrial context, but we do acknowledge that we are a large user of domestic resources in the region - which is why are constantly working on sustainable water solutions.

Alcoa in Victoria has been in partnership with Barwon Water since 2004, with the aim of improved water management procedures, the investigation of alternative water sources and the initiation of strategies focused on water conservation.  This partnership was the first of its kind in the Barwon Water region.

Point Henry and Anglesea have both reduced their domestic water consumption by over 60% since 1990.  While Alcoa is not regulated for domestic water consumption, we are committed to sustainability and that includes a targeted 70% reduction of domestic water consumption by 2010, from a baseline of 2000, and zero discharge of waste water by 2015.

We have spent over $1 million on water conservation initiatives at Point Henry and Anglesea, since forming the Barwon Water partnership. 

The Alcoa Water Conservation Fund
In 2007, Alcoa Point Henry, the Alcoa Foundation and Barwon Water commenced a separate partnership which has become known as the Alcoa Water Conservation Fund.  More than $150,000 was allocated to the Fund which is being used to deliver water saving projects throughout Geelong and the Surf Coast.
Throughout this year, the Alcoa Water Conservation Fund has been helping to make homes in the region more water efficient through Barwon Water’s WaterSecure Home program.  This program involves licensed plumbers carrying out home water audits and installing water-saving devices, as well as fixing minor water leaks. 

The cost of this service to households is $30, after the Barwon Water and Victorian Government subsidies are accounted for.  For Alcoa employees and those who hold a Health Care Card, Pension Concession Card or a Department of Veteran Affairs Card, the service is provided at no cost.  The Alcoa Water Conservation Fund covers the customer contribution of $30 for those members of the community.
Point Henry’s Senior Environmental Scientist, Barry Knight, said his WaterSecure audit was well worth it.
“The plumber looked at all showerheads, taps, and water appliances like the dishwasher and washing machine.
“I was pleased that my audit results were quite good. The plumber only had to swap one showerhead in the spare bathroom to a low flow model but also offered suggestions on how we could make further water savings, including options for installing rainwater tanks and grey water systems.
“He also left information on general water saving tips that we can implement around our home.”

The water audit and the implementation of water-saving devices save the average household approximately 22KL of water per year.
The scheme is intended to be offered to all Barwon Water customers from 2009.

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Alcoa employee Barry Knight and his family have cut down on their water use. Scroll down for this story.