Meet Louise Barton

Louise was one of three West Australians on the Smart Approved WaterMark panel when it started. She was nominated by WA Water Corporation due to her background in soil science and her involvement with the turf industry, for whom she has researched strategies for improving soil water use efficiency improvements in the resolutely sandy soils of WA. Today she is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Western Australia.

The Millennium drought brought with it many rebate schemes. As a result water utilities across the country were inundated with requests to add particular products to the eligibility criteria for the rebates. It was obvious that there was a real need for an independent label and certification body to identify ‘the most’ water efficient products – enter Smart WaterMark! - which was well supported by water businesses and local governments at that time. The Waterwise Endorsed Products Program run by WA Water Corporation was the first to stipulate that only SAWM approved products would be registered as part of their program which really helped to get the application ball rolling. (The Waterwise program is still live today and is now managed by Smart Approved WaterMark.)

Louise reflected on some of the regular consumer research SAWM had historically undertaken which more often than not reflected a fluctuation in consumer interest in water efficiency depending on the challenges of the climate at the time At the same time SAWM was identified as one of only two accreditation schemes recognised by CHOICE. As an academic and passionate gardener Louise is especially proud of this point. She believes it is The Expert Panel’s continued success in delivering the process as well as flexibly developing its improvement that has resulted in this honour. The application and assessment process continues to be rigorous and she’s proud to be associated with the integrity it represents.

Louise explains that she’s really enjoyed her role on the panel and the opportunity to bring her acumen and knowledge of WA to the group. She adds that she’s been really pleased to have assisted many applicants to better articulate the science behind their products so that their water efficiency and water saving qualities can be represented professionally. Louise has been amazing at explaining what’s really required to verify the application and has gained satisfaction in helping people to go through the process and indirectly sharing with those people what it means to be a scientist.

She admits it’s been a personal challenge not to over think some of the details and to delve deeper into some of the more innovative products and services. Its passion such as this that we are truly grateful for on our Expert Panel. Louise brings science, detail and integrity to our process specifically when it comes to all things soil…and WA!

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