Chairman of the Expert Panel, Jeremy Cape, is certainly no newcomer to the water industry. His career began in 1990 when he helped to establish and then managed the Australian Irrigation Technology Centre (AITC0) to 2000. The AITC broke new ground as a national, independent facility that tested and evaluated irrigation products and equipment to ISO standards. The AITC also carried research projects into all aspects of rural water use.
Jeremy said that this experience confirmed his view that International Standards Organisation irrigation equipment standards should be applied in Australia and irrigation systems should be designed and installed by certified and qualified experts.
“There is a wide range of equipment, tested to ISO standards, available for commercial and rural irrigation, but very little for the home garden.” Jeremy added.
Since he’s been passionate about labeling and standards for irrigation equipment and systems for over a decade and had a lot of experience of water conservation and efficient water use, Jeremy seemed to be a great fit for the panel. Having worked previously with all the founding partners – WSAA, IAL, NGIA, AWA - as a consultant, they were confident he had the skills and knowledge to shape the assessment process, especially in light of his expertise measuring and evaluating irrigation products. Since SAWM was considered the sister of WELs at the time (Water Efficiency Labeling scheme for indoor products) – he was very interested to join the Panel as its Chair.
Today, Jeremy considers the biggest challenge for SAWM is keeping water efficiency front of mind in the community, something that is especially challenging in the cooler months or even when it rains.
While there are communities like Townsville – a great example of a council who insist that any irrigation system they specify must be designed, installed and maintained by certified professionals– there are many more councils who don’t require such rigour. He considers SAWM’s Smart Water Advice Program (SWA) to be a great example of a consolidated approach to water efficiency education for business, councils and water utilities. SAWM brings real commercial advantage to licensees, Smart Water Advice subscribers and creates greater awareness of the WELS scheme.
“I admire their collaborative nature and the fact that they have embraced principals set out at launch.” He said.
Jeremy is looking forward to reviewing more applications and sharing ideas and strategies on how SAWM and SWA could be included in rebates, Waterwise council programs, other awards and labelling schemes in future.