We’re always looking for inventive ways to improve the way we operate. From groundwater replenishment to electric vehicles, innovative thinking is at the heart of what we do.

One way we promote innovation is through the Co-operative Education for Enterprise Development (CEED) student program. In collaboration with the University of Western Australia and Curtin University, the CEED program allows final-year Masters and PhD students to undertake a research project for academic credit.

Since 2009, our Regulation and Research team have facilitated over 50 CEED research projects. All students are partnered with a Water Corporation mentor from around the business to research a real-world challenge. At the end of the program, students showcase their findings at the annual CEED Seminar, which is attended by a range of government and resource sector partners.

This year, we were fortunate to have five students take part in the program. The thought-provoking research focussed on improving safety, reducing costs and exploring new technologies.

One project, undertaken by Amitkumar Patel and mentor Benjamin Chan, looked at a new method of detecting blockages in wastewater pump stations. These blockages occur due to a build-up of debris such as flushable wipes, sanitary products and food scraps. There’s currently no accepted way to predict a blockage in advance, and clearing one can be a risky and costly activity.

The team identified that electrical motor current measurements can be used to reliably predict blockages in small pumps. This is a cost-effective method that uses our existing monitoring information without the need for additional equipment. In the future, this knowledge could be used to help identify the safest time to clean a pump and even reduce the total number of blockages.

CEED projects have generated a wealth of valuable knowledge over the years. The program has also provided an excellent learning experience for everyone involved. Students gain industry connections and skills, while our mentors build on their leadership and project management skills. We’ve been incredibly fortunate to have several CEED alumni join the Water Corporation team as graduates and employees.

Find out more about the 2020 CEED research projects and findings.