Innovating for Drought Resilience in the Face of Climate Change with Jim Fear of Seqwater
Welcome to our first Future Water episode for 2021.
We’re kicking off the first episode of the year by looking at how utilities innovate for drought resilience. I could think of no one better to talk to about this than Jim Fear, Senior Planning Engineer at Seqwater.
With over 30 years of industry experience, Jim’s seen every drought response strategy under the sun. In this interview, we talk about what Seqwater is doing to innovate in an era of climate change, as well as best practices and past experience in drought management.
Meet this week’s expert
Senior Planning Engineer
Starting his journey in the water industry at just 19 years old, Jim Fear has nearly seen it all over his 30+ year engineering career. In his current role at Seqwater, Jim helps plan the bulk water supply infrastructure for all of South East Queensland.
Some of his major accomplishments include the involvement in the Shannon Creek Dam from start to finish, optimising water systems for long term sustainability, and being a voice in the industry when it comes to innovation and drought.
- Jim: It even comes down to your definition of when a drought starts. So my definition of when a drought starts is as soon as that storage is not full and overflowing anymore and it’s emptying.
- Jim: When I first started demand management wasn’t really big. We’ll supply as much as you need and because we supply you more, we’ll charge you more and you can use as much as you like. So we’ve had the introduction of user pays which has significantly changed drought management because we supply a lot less water now then what we were 35, 40 years ago.
- Jim: We’re basing our future security on the last 120 of observed data, but the planet’s a lot older than 120 years old. And when you look at Paleo type stuff, the last hundred years was fairly wet and stable. So to be doing drought management based on fairly wet and stable years doesn’t make sense.
- Jim: How we use water today compared to 30 years ago is going to be amazingly different.
- Jim: The problem is at the beginning of a drought. You don’t know how long it’s going to last for. But you do know as soon as you can make a decision to spend or do anything, it’s going to rain the day afterwards.
About Future Water
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