Christmas 2016 Chairperson Address

Stuart Heldon

Stuart Heldon

At the Sydney RHAA break up event our new Chairperson, Stuart Heldon of Kingspan Environmental reported on a productive year including the following highlights.

Financial Statements and Executive Report

Revenue and membership increased over the year as tabled at the AGM in October.

Public Breakfast Events

The Future of Australian Housing Design breakfast presentation

The Future of Australian Housing Design breakfast presentation

We held two high-profile breakfasts this year, the future of Australian Housing Design and Integrated Water Management for 21st Century Business. The Association is changing how water management is perceived and implemented in Australia. The first breakfast had some inspirational and visionary speakers and the second demonstrated that rainwater harvesting is now widely adopted in commercial practice for its efficiency benefits. Mark Stephens from Stockland spoke about the largest master-planned housing development in Australia, and every building will have a rainwater tank, 20,000 tanks in the first stage.

Business Planning Workshop

A Business Planning workshop in July 2016 established a comprehensive plan for the Association to produce technical information, explore a training program, expand our events program and drive increased membership and revenue. The RHAA is establishing a design specification for rainwater harvesting that applies 20 years of research to the design and operation of rainwater harvesting systems and has the potential to change both our understanding of the science of rainwater harvesting and the national rainwater harvesting yield.

Independent Water Project

The RHAA and ARMA jointly started the Independent Water project, recognising that over 2 million Australians rely on rainwater every day but they, and other people who use water independent of the water utilities, are usually ignored by Australian water policy and government programs. The Independent Water Council will be a short term voice recognising the interests of people who rely on water provided independently of the water utilities.

What have we learnt about Rainwater Harvesting?

Key research, reports and social media blogs over the last 12 months are revealing some interesting conclusions.

Rainwater Harvesting is the most successful water solution in Australia. Rainwater harvesting is
• local
• the water is high quality
• delivery requires little infrastructure and technology
• rainwater is much more reliable than a dam catchment in a drought,
• inexpensive.

Water Sensitive SA Event

The RHAA has been invited to present in Adelaide in a joint event with Water Sensitive SA. This is an important time in Adelaide as they are drafting their new water strategy. Based on the paper presented by Professor Coombes they are interested in the operational savings and stormwater benefits of sustainable buildings and rainwater harvesting. The RHAA will also be presenting on the objectives of  the new Rainwater Harvesting Design Specification .

Ongoing RHAA role and membership

The role of the RHAA has been to research, publish and speak up about the real state of water management in Australia for the last three years. The RHAA Committee highlighting the work of Professor PJ Coombes is helping to change the national understanding of rainwater harvesting and laying the foundations for a nationwide policy on rainwater harvesting on every building. The Committee is finding that our work can not only assist the rainwater harvesting industry but significantly improve our cities. We are enjoying being part of this process and invite you to find out more about it, (Ripple Effect blog), support the great work of the RHAA and give some thought about what other organisations should be part of the Association