Western water is an Australian water utility company that is part of the Victorian corporation covering the areas of Lancefield, Bacchus Marsh, Melton, and Sunbury which hosts the Western water headquarters and Melbourne.
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Western Region Water Corporation also known as Western Water is among Australia’s thirteen urban water corporations. Western water serves a population of 140,000 covering 55,000 properties providing drinking water, recycled water and sewage services.
Western water was founded in 1989 under the water act. Western water has employed 135 people as at June 2009 of which 45% are women. The company generated a net profit as at 2009 of $6.5 million and developer revenue of $ 14.2 million. Western water carries out a number of functions the main one being water supply.
Western water is making present and future water supply projections for the next 50 years. The focus of this activity is currently on Western water’s five main supply sources which supply up to 15 towns. “To effectively address and tackle this issue Western water has strategies on water supply demand and regional catchments management allowing them to cater for the increase in water demand” (Annual Report 2009 6).
Western water also carry out recycling water processes to supply class A recycled water with the ultimate goal of achieving 100% recycling of all water produced from the recycled water plants (RWPs). Approximately 88% of the total water supplied in 2008/9 was recycled. In the same year and by the company’s recycling efforts approximately 2 billion litres of drinking water was saved through substitution.
“Western water is also involved in water conservation programs carried out by a conservation group running education, water and energy conservation programs” (Annual Report 2009 6). The water conservation program at Western water involves issues such as leakage reduction, applying regulations, promotional campaigns, customer recognition among other issues.
Western water also provides sewer service managing 1,048 km of sewer main. Western water has an elaborate system which transfers sewage from consumer properties to recycling and treatment. Western water has invested in latest technology to deter blockage in this area of service making it efficient.
Biosolids are a product resulting from Western water recycling services. Biosolids constitute nutrient rich organic material created at various Recycling Water Plants. These can be utilized as an alternative fertilizer solution. Western water has a biosolids policy and strategy to maximize the use of biosolids by adopting sustainable and environmentally acceptable management practices in line with the EPA guidelines on reuse.
“Western water faces the main challenge of meeting the rising demand for water supply and the risk of changing climatic conditions resulting in threatening droughts on the main water resources” (Annual Report 2009 7). Western Water subscribes to an effective environmental risk management policy. “Within this policy the Western Water addresses the environmental risks resulting from the activities typical to the company” (Community Involvement 5).
Water harvesting as the biggest of the activities undertaken has the risks associated with it addressed through management of the catchments and enhancement of biodiversity values in these areas. Sewer collection and treatment as another of the activities at Western Water has been aligned to the need to ensure the maintenance of security and quality of the recycling process.
Western water’s organizational structure is founded on values that support their activities. The board at Western water has the mandate of implementing Western water’s general strategy (Organizational Chart 8). The organizational structure in place at Western water is the matrix structure where part of the hierarchy (management team) is functional while the other is executive (board of directors).
“The board of directors at Western water carry out the planning and management of the policies and strategies at the firm” (Community Involvement 9). The board members have the relevant skills and know-how to meet our objectives. Western Water’s management team consists of a skilled set of experienced professionals devoted to achieve the corporate and strategic objectives.
“Western water’s mission is to be a leading service provider working with the community towards a sustainable future” (Annual Report 2009 7).
Western water has established their strategic plan from their vision touching on the following:
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- A need to drive an environmentally sustainable future
- A need to be counted as a valued and innovative service provider by the customers and the wider community.
The strategy is being enforced through a number of policies including:
- Water supply demand strategy
- Green house gas emission policy
- Trade waste policy
- Biosolids policy
- Water plan 2009-2013
Western water utilizes the balanced scorecard to manage and report on strategic business performance. This has been the single most important tool in aiding Western Water strategic and water plan. Measures and initiatives derived from Western Water’s strategic plan, Water Plan 2008-2013, governmental procedures and response from within and customers have been incorporated into this tool to sharpen the focus.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Western water’s vision is to be the leading service provider working with the community towards a sustainable future. “This is achieved through engagement with the community to deliver quality, innovative and environmentally sustainable water services” (Community Involvement 3).
The firm also has customer advisory groups (CAGs) and Community Reference groups (CRGs) to ensure effective community input and inclusiveness. Western water is also aware of the indigenous community and its heritage. “At Western Water cultural and heritage supervision plans for Aboriginal Affairs Victoria (AAV) are developed for all works within 200 metres of water ways” (Community Involvement 3).
“Western water continues to seek for ways to spur community projects geared towards enhancing the neighbourhood’s environmental work towards a more sustainable future” (Community Involvement 4). Western water also runs a number of sponsorship and community events as part of its corporate social responsibility.
Customer Responsiveness and Quality
Western water is bound by a customer charter that ensures valuable customer service delivery and sensitivity. Customer services at this company are continually being benchmarked by the Customer Service Benchmarking Australia (CSBA) to ensure that the services provided conform to the very best standards in the market. A customer satisfaction survey has indicated a steady average of 8.3 out of 10 points over the period 2005 to 2009.
Western water drinking water quality supplies are consistently checked. This is meant to ensure that compliance and standards are upheld as set within the safe drinking water regulations 2005. “Western water guarantees quality of the drinking water supplied in terms of its health and aesthetic” (Water Quality Reports 9). This is upheld through quality monitoring processes that involve uninterrupted measurement of key parameters using on line instruments, day by day operational tests involving the treatment plant team and weekly autonomous monitoring.
Annual Report 2009. Western Water, 2010. Web.
Community Involvement. Western Water, 2010. Web.
Organizational chart. Western Water, 2010. Web.
Vision & values. Western Water, 2010. Web.
Water Quality Reports. Western Water, 2010. Web.