Passion for remote water solutions takes Power and Water engineer to Middle East

25 February 2019

Alice Springs-based Power and Water senior project manager Eric Vanweydeveld will be leaving for the Middle East this weekend to learn about innovative water treatment solutions as part of the prestigious Churchill Fellowship.

Mr Vanweydeveld will be travelling to Israel, the United Arab Emirates and the Sultanate of Oman for several weeks to research proven low-cost water treatment solutions for regional and remote Australia.

He is one of seven Northern Territory recipients of the 2018 Churchill Fellowships. Across Australia, 112 people received the fellowship last year.

The Churchill Fellowship is awarded to outstanding individuals who have demonstrated excellence in their respective fields. Fellows are funded to travel internationally to gather insights and knowledge that will benefit Australia.

“Currently there’s a gap between conventional water supply systems in urban Australian areas and the simpler systems being used in remote and regional communities,” Mr Vanweydeveld said.

“I’m hoping to learn how to bridge this gap and facilitate the creation of a new and innovative model for remote systems.”

Mr Vanweydeveld said he was interested to learn how the different countries integrated innovation within their socio-political and geographical contexts.

“For instance, Israel is a very dry country and they have to think outside the box to ensure they have sufficient access to water to grow their country,” he said.

“Meanwhile in Oman, they adopt a different approach and put the social aspect first, which I am interested in exploring.”

Mr Vanweydeveld is passionate about applying innovative water solutions in challenging environments.

In recent times, he oversaw the development of a water treatment plant in Borroloola, which was entirely assembled for testing in Darwin before being taken apart and rebuilt in the remote community.

“The work we do is related to people and improving their lives. At the end of the day, everything we do is for our customers and the community,” he said.

Mr Vanweydeveld is looking forward to sharing the knowledge gained on his trip with his industry peers upon his return to the Territory.

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