Friday 28th September saw a combined total of 60 members of Engineers Australia and Engineers Ireland come together for a technical session and networking night centered around ‘Engineering Principles of Water Management and Drought from an Australian Perspective’. A relevant topic for both Ireland and Australia.
The Australian Ambassador to Ireland, Mr. Richard Andrews, opened the night and welcomed all to the Australian Embassy. He highlighted the very topical nature of water management and drought in both Ireland and Australia and spoke about the Embassy's current focus on the Australian and EU free trade agreement, something that is relevant to all engineers as they are the change-makers in their societies.
Following on from Ambassador Andrews, National President and Chair of Engineers Australia, the Hon. Trish White sent a digital message from Adelaide, Australia. Trish highlighted the key role Chartered and Engineering Executive engineers play in society and focused on the importance of continually progressing and developing their skills. This is not only for the benefit of improving their own knowledge and skill but for the benefit of the global community.
Whilst on the topic of benefiting the whole community, I then introduced a small professional network called Women and Water to the attendees. This group, founded by two Australian engineers working in Europe, Alison Prior and Imeshi Weerasinghe, seeks to connect and support women from across the Water Sector to share in training and further education. You can find out more about this program via their promotional video here.
Marguerite Sayers, Executive Director of Customer Solutions at ESB Ireland and Engineers Ireland Vice President, then gave an informative and insightful overview of the current ‘State of Ireland 2018’ report, produced by Engineers Ireland. This report is an annual assessment of Ireland’s infrastructure, and this year focuses on water and waste management and flooding. Marguerite highlighted Ireland's low population density with respect to developing infrastructure, as compared to the rest of Europe.
As an Australian engineer living in Ireland I have noticed many similarities between the countries, including both nations having industries that need good water management and runoff in order to thrive. For example, Bundaberg Rum (Australia) and Guinness (Ireland) both significantly rely on good water management to produce internationally renowned products.
Tristan Coates, Engineers Australia UK Chapter Committee member and Europe Representative spoke on behalf of Engineers Australia, and reviewed engineering principles of water management and drought from an Australian perspective. He took us on a journey, comparing rainfall patterns from a century ago to current day and explained why Australia is more drought affected than ever before. He used geography to show the changes in rainfall patterns over the last century, specifically using the location of Australian dams 100 years ago, built where high rainfall percentages used to concentrate. By comparing the Snowy River Hydroelectric Dam system and more recent Australian water management systems such as Desalination Plants, you can track the changes in rainfall as it now falls further east.
The evening brought together a diverse range of Australian and Irish attendees, from Senior and Chartered Engineers to Science professionals, Engineering Graduates and students. The night concluded with sharing a glass of fine Australian wine or South Australia’s finest Coopers Beer, generously provided by the Australian Embassy, Ireland.
We were also treated to a wonderful spread of Australian food, including lamingtons, sausage rolls, smashed avocado and vegemite on toast, cheesy mite scrolls, Tim Tams and of course pavlova! Whilst the majority of participants were from Dublin, a small percentage travelled from other locations including Limerick, Galway and Derry on the West Coast. All came to learn and share in the water and energy sector together. The evening was a great success, thank you to all involved.
For more information about Engineers Australia or if you have any questions or queries about the above, please contact [email protected].
Article by Elizabeth Harrison, Immediate Past President of Engineers Australia UK Chapter and Engineers Australia UK Chapter 2018 Europe Representative Committee member
Images provided by Elizabeth Harrision - Left: Australian Ambassador to Ireland, Richard Andrews. Right: Key Speaker Tristan Coates and Marguerite Sayers, Vice President of Engineers Ireland.