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Technical Competency Benchmark for Water Industry Operators

Major collaborative effort unveils benchmarking tools for water industry operators

In a landmark collaboration involving 23 project partners spanning all sectors of the water industry across seven states and territories, a groundbreaking research project has released essential tools aimed at enhancing the competency of water industry operators.

The Technical Competency Benchmark for Water Industry Operators project (WaterRA Project 1139) has unveiled a suite of products, including an Auditing Tool and Benchmarking Report, along with a comprehensive Summary Report. This release marks a significant milestone in seeking standardised training and competency within the water industry.

Security of water supplies, provision of safe drinking water, and wastewater treatment are critical aspects of the industry, necessitating a competent workforce capable of managing water quality safety risks and meeting customer expectations. Recognising this imperative, the project was initiated to address the pressing need for a structured approach to operator training and competency.

Building upon the findings of the Value of Operator Competency Project (WaterRA Project 1111), which highlighted the necessity for dedicated operator training, this initiative has developed a technical competency benchmark and auditing tool. These resources aim to streamline the development, delivery, and maintenance of training programs essential for frontline water industry operators.

The collaborative effort behind the benchmark's development involved extensive industry engagement, including representatives from water utilities, regulators, training organisations, and industry peak bodies. Surveys, workshops, and industry trials were conducted to ensure the efficacy of the benchmark and tools across various workplace settings.

The project also delved deeper into frontline operators' workplace experiences to gain insights into decision-making processes. By engaging directly with operators and reviewing vocational work decision-making processes, guidance was developed to enhance troubleshooting, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills at all levels of an operator's professional development.

The initiative grew from the realisation that the current governance approach to technical competency in the Australian water industry falls short in ensuring the implementation of learning and development programs necessary for frontline operator roles. With the absence of a consistent national operator competency benchmark, utilities have adopted disparate approaches to operator training and competency, leading to inconsistencies across the industry.

Through this collaborative endeavour, the project seeks to establish minimum standards for technical competency, fostering a more uniform approach to training and competency across the water industry. The suite of tools available to industry now have been developed as Part A, with Part B to be released in late 2024. The tools are available for both WaterRA members and non-members, however an account must be created to enable secure download.

By bridging the gap between industry and regulators, the Technical Competency Benchmark for Water Industry Operators project aims to elevate the standard of operator competency, ensuring the industry is well-equipped to address evolving challenges and deliver essential services to communities nationwide. 

The Technical Competency Benchmark for Water Industry Operators project tools are made available subject to our Terms and Conditions of Use, of which you are agreeing to by downloading the documents. You will be required to sign up to our website and provide your contact details including email address, and once verified will be able to download the documents. Please contact WaterRA should you need any further assistance.


Summary Report Part A

Technical Competency Benchmark for Water Industry Operators | Project outcomes and deliverables | Part A (Published 2024)


Benchmarking Report

Technical Competency Benchmark for Water Industry Operators | Benchmarking Report (Published 2024)


Auditing Tool

Technical Competency Benchmark for Water Industry Operators | Auditing Tool (Published 2024)

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