November 2014

Waterway professionals in Townsville

30.11.2014 - Posted by Luke Sunner
Earlier this year I was looking to find a new way to get involved and engage with the local water management industry in the Townsville region. Research into the local professional groups revealed a gap in this space. The option was to create one, or join some other related group. I chose the former.

I’ve been passionate about waterways for a long time. I believe that waterway management is important for the reef, healthy catchments, resilient fauna and flora species, and for a long-term productive agricultural industry.

An opportunity to reach out to people from a number of key organisations arose through the 7th Australian Stream Management Conference* held in Townsville in July. I made a pitch to start a group and it seemed be well received. Since then the Townsville waterway discussion group has met on three occasions with people from Townsville City Council, North Queensland Dry Tropics, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and local consultants.

My vision is for this newly formed group to provide:
  • individuals with information on what others are doing that they would otherwise not have the opportunity to learn about
  • an opportunity to engage and connect with each other
  • an opportunity to break down corporate barriers and identify areas of common ground where people can help each other
  • opportunities to band together to help make a positive difference to the world we live in through a common interest to better manage our waterways and connected environments.
If you are interested in joining the group please contact me via 

* The 7ASM Conference management committee was chaired by Alluvium's Director and Senior Engineer - Ross Hardie. Our staff authored 4 peer reviewed professional papers for the conference:

Design Evolution of Watercourse Diversions in Central Queensland Coal Mines. Karen M White, Ross E Hardie, Rohan Lucas, John Merritt, Bernie Kirsh.

The use of geospatial and hydro-geomorphic analyses to prioritise stream restoration at the catchment scale. Misko Ivezich, Dominic Blackham, Steve Skull.

The role of strategic vegetation establishment in the management of disturbed coarse-grained river systems. Elisa Zavadil, Dominic Blackham, Ross Hardie, Stuart Cleven, Misko Ivezich.

Channel change in Blackfellow Creek, Lockyer Valley. Misko Ivezich, Ross Hardie, Dominic Blackham, Elisa Zavadil.

The papers can be downloaded from the 7ASM Conference 'program' page:

Alluvium will soon say farewell to founding partner Jason Carter

24.11.2014 - Posted by Matt Francey
[Editor: my apologies for the first version of this story, which was posted before being finalised].

A significant event in the history of Alluvium has occurred this year.  Jason Carter, one of our founding partners, our past Chair and the manager of our Townsville office has made the decision to retire.  With hindsight the purchase of a berth at the local marina and a boat over the past couple of years were signs.

An example from Jason’s moonlighting as an artist (still fish related). From the ‘Freshwater Fishes of the Burdekin Dry Tropics’.

Jason was hugely significant in founding the Townsville business, and bringing the Townsville and Melbourne businesses together to become Alluvium Consulting Australia. He chaired our board through the trials and tribulations of growing a business through expansion into Canberra, Brisbane and Sydney. His legacy at Alluvium will be the honesty and integrity underpins our actions and the robust, diverse business we have today.

The future?

We all wish him well. Jason will continue on in the short-term as an Alluvium associate through contributions into key projects and providing a sounding board for our Queensland staff.

National Walk to Work Day

19.11.2014 - Posted by Mark Stacey
Last Friday was national Walk to Work Day, an annual event that promotes the benefits of regular walking to physical, mental & social health.

To get involved a group of us took a nice 2km stroll from South Yarra Station to our Richmond office.

Our walkers - healthier, more productive and up with the office goss

Of course, the national day of ‘celebration’ is just the first step - the organisers encourage everyone to walk more in their daily lives. If you can't walk to work regularly, some other ideas to consider are:

• taking a half-hour walk at lunchtime
• using the stairs rather than escalators or the lift
• getting up and walking around your office at least once every hour
• holding 'walking workshops' instead of meetings sitting down.

A review of urban water quality management infrastructure in Canberra

17.11.2014 - Posted by David Barratt
The ACT Government launched their new 30-year water strategy in August 2014, called "Striking the Balance 2014-2044". Water quality and catchment management are major components of this long-term water strategy for the ACT.

Like most urban developments in Australia, Canberra’s natural waterways have been impacted by increased flows, increased flooding, reduced infiltration, erosion of watercourses, destruction of riparian and fringing vegetation and pollution of receiving waters. Infrastructure has been installed in an effort to ameliorate these impacts (e.g. gross pollutant traps, constructed wetlands, sediment ponds, etc). However, the actual performance of that infrastructure is largely unknown.

Representatives from the developer and design consultant team explaining the design intent and key features of the stormwater treatment wetland at Crace, to a group of Stormwater Industry Association representatives.

Alluvium is assisting the ACT Government to conduct a strategic review and analysis of their urban water infrastructure in Canberra. Like many other jurisdictions with significant urban growth, the ACT has seen a relatively rapid increase in the number of stormwater treatment systems, and more are proposed. The review will audit and analyse existing infrastructure to determine its effectiveness, and whether assets require replacement, retrofitting or maintenance.

The work will also inform the design of new infrastructure. Substantial investment (~ $85m) is planned in this space in Canberra over coming years under the broader scope of works known as the ACT Basin Priority Project.

Site visits with maintenance staff are useful to understand site-specific issues, performance history and their preferences for certain design features such as the standard trash racks used in the ACT (this example at Dickson wetland). Maintenance staff need to be on board with any proposed design changes.

A wet weather site visit can also highlight potential limitations in treatment performance, such as preferential flowpaths, short-circuiting, bypassing or “dead” zones in ponds and wetlands. This example shows a dead zone in the Lyneham wetland where floating debris tends to accumulate.

A critical element of the work will be to understand the suite of treatment systems in Canberra, not just from a technical perspective but also from an organisational and operational perspective. If performance is to be improved in these and future systems, it is important to understand not only where there are performance issues but also why.

Where new assets have some performance issues, if they are generally functioning well and in good condition, large-scale changes are not likely to be cost-effective or acceptable to the community. Small-scale rectification works may still be worthwhile where simple options exist to improve performance. This example shows people enjoying the view over Dickson wetland.

For more on water sensitive cities and the concepts of urban liveability, see Rob Catchlove’s interview in the Canberra Times.

Alluvium welcomes Josh Tait to the team - Civil Engineer/Law

11.11.2014 - Posted by Rachel England
Alluvium welcomes Josh Tait to the team – endurance junkie, civil engineer + law!

Josh Tait running a marathon

Here is a personal message from Josh to you:

I recently graduated from a double degree in Civil Engineering and Law. To be frank, it was a long time coming – 6.5 years in fact. Nonetheless, I am very pleased to have swapped my time in lecture halls and exams for the engaging and welcoming environment at Alluvium.

I am very excited to be working in a company that is passionate about the sustainability of our water resources, rivers and catchments. In fact, I concluded pretty quickly that I am going to enjoy working life after I overheard on my first day a conversation in the kitchen about a wetland design.

I am a keen outdoorsmen. Actually, I am probably better described as a ‘wannabe’ outdoorsmen living in the city. I love the mountains, forests and seas. This is where my interest in pursuing sustainable water solutions began and I predict that my appreciation for the outdoors will keep me motivated throughout my career. At university I was introduced to integrated urban water management, which was a highlight of my time there, and I would also like to broaden my understanding in designing solutions for natural waterways. I am also interested in the progression of water policy in Australia and I look forward to contributing to the discussion.

Another important part of my life is my pursuit to be a successful endurance athlete. I invest a good portion of each week into staying fit and healthy. I even took the step of selling my car and trading it for a bicycle. I think I have successfully become an endurance junkie. My next goal is the iron-distance triathlon in Wanaka (NZ) in February. Stay tuned for an update….Josh.

River Basin Management Society in SEQ

3.11.2014 - Posted by Misko Ivezich
Alluvium is very excited to announce that the River Basin Management Society (RBMS) is extending its geographic presence into Queensland.

For those of you not familiar with the organisation, The RBMS is based in Victoria and is a representative body for professionals working with land, water and natural resource management in Australia. Its core role is to recognise, promote and disseminate advances in the natural resource management industry as well as providing independent professional advocacy and comment.

Alluvium has always played a key role to support the RBMS in Victoria and now Misko Ivezich from our Brisbane Office has been leading the establishment of the new Queensland chapter. To launch the new chapter the RBMS will be holding drinks and hosting a screening of the acclaimed movie DamNation on the 6th November at the Ship Inn.

To make the launch a success it would be great to see people from all areas of the integrated catchment management industry to come along for a drink. One of the great things about the RBMS has been that it provides a forum for professionals in all levels of government, academia and private industry to get to together and share ideas. It is hoped that by the establishment of a Queensland chapter we can continue to build a stronger national network of natural resource managers to share ideas and deliver on ground change.

Sediment flowing into Moreton Bay (Source: ABC)

If you’re interested, details of the event can be found here:  Hope to see you or your colleagues there.