Self-sustaining systems, the circular economy and more – What water industry leaders are talking about inside AquaLAB Connect feat. Saskya Hunter [GHD]

Show Summary

Welcome to a slightly different episode of Future Water this week. Our community AquaLAB Connect has been up and running now for about 6 months and we’ve welcomed senior water professionals from around the globe into our platform. This has led to a lot of interesting and candid conversations about the future of water innovation, the big challenges utilities everywhere are facing and the big ideas our community is speculating about. 

I’ve invited AquaLAB’s Director Saskya Hunter onto the show today to talk about some of the brilliant discussion points that have emerged in the community to give our listeners insight into what happens when you bring together the global water brainstrust.

If any of these topics hit home for you today, or if you’re curious to learn more about the AquaLAB Connect community, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at aqualab@ghd.com.


Meet this week’s expert

Saskya Hunter
Director – AquaLAB
GHD Digital

Saskya is a chemical engineer with 22+ years’ experience in the water industry. She has worked in Australia and the UK in consulting roles as well as across public and private sector utilities. Named amongst Engineers Australia’s Top 30 Innovative Engineers for 2019, Saskya brings to her role a keen interest in innovation and the future of work. Saskya established GHD’s internal innovations program in Queensland almost a decade ago and now leads GHD’s AquaLAB.

Connect with Saskya Hunter on LinkedIn

Show Highlights

  • Saskya: In the water industry, there’s always been an element of conversation and an element of the water community that has been really focused on decentralizing water facilities. So that’s always been a common element. But I feel like in recent times, particularly around COVID, it has really taken on a whole new urgency.
  • Saskya: The centralization of water treatment and wastewater treatment has really led to massive improvements in public health over many, many years. And I think we forget sometimes how precious that is and how difficult it is to achieve that widespread, high standard public health. And so if people start to take all of those facilities back into their own hands, I think there is a risk as a community that we will start to see some deterioration in public health standards.
  • Saskya: It’s around that breakdown of things that we’ve taken for granted. So the supply chain issues, for example, we had we saw at a household level, these vast, empty supermarket shelves. People were panicking about getting their life’s basic necessities or food, perhaps water in some cases.
  • Saskya: COVID has kind of brought to light a couple more of those anxieties perhaps that people have around these things and perhaps extending those to more of an extreme than we might have seen in the past under normal circumstances.
  • Saskya: The one that’s most interesting at the moment is the technologies that are all around generating water from air. It almost seems too good to be true. There’s some promising work being done out there that’s looking at that. And it could be some years before it’s available at any scale. Definitely, I think in the next five to 10 years, there will be some things that will come out of that. 
  • Saskya: Potable water is really cheap. It’s too cheap. We don’t value it enough. So recycled water can often end up being more expensive. There’s a whole host of factors. It’s very contextually driven as well. There’s no one size fits all answer to why we don’t recycle more. There’s a whole host of factors that are all interconnected and quite complex. So, yeah, it’s not an easy answer.

About Future Water

Hear from water innovation and digital transformation leaders from across the globe and discover the technology and innovations that are shaping the digital future of water. Proudly hosted by AquaLAB, powered by GHD Digital.


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Connect with AquaLAB

AquaLAB is GHD’s global water innovation and knowledge hub. We inspire water industry leaders to explore novel ideas, openly discuss challenges, and experiment with technology to safeguard the world’s most precious resource for future generations.

If you’d like to learn more about AquaLAB, connect with us via our website or LinkedIn.