(Pictured: Diana Strehlow, TasWater Policy Analyst)
22 March is World Water Day! Across Tasmanian services we know that so many workers are behind managing this essential resource we all rely on.
We talked to CPSU Member Diana Strehlow about her job as a Strategy and Policy Analyst at TasWater.
“All our resources like water are finite. Water is a precious resource and should be treated as such.”
What does your job involve?
“I’m on the team that helps coordinate and deliver TasWater’s key strategic planning activities. If there’s any emerging regulatory or strategic policy developments happening, I help with the analysis of that. I break down these into bite sized bits and put options up to our key decision makers.
“It’s about making sense of the changes happening in Tassie and the water industry. Much of this work is about compliance and ensuring we’re following the code, as we’re regulated under the Water and Sewerage Industry Act 2008.
“We interact with the Tasmanian Economic Regulator, the Environmental Protection Authority, Public Health, WorkSafe, the Fire Service and Natural Environment and Resources Tasmania – we ensure we’re doing everything right. We provide information on how we’re tracking.”
What do you enjoy about your job?
“I really enjoy how everything is dynamic and always changing – I’m always turning up to something new in each job. I really thrive on that urgency, working out the best way to respond when something happens.”
“I find really good value in the work that I do, I got a Masters in policy work, and that’s because I care. I care about people, and I find value in this work to know I’m helping the people in the community that I live in.”
Water: a resource into the future
Diana explains that her role is much more that compliance and current issues, although important, the job also involves thinking more strategically into the future.
“Currently we’re developing a new and ambitious environmental strategy, and I’m helping and offering support with that.
“New climate legislation, for example, might change our compliance, which feeds into our environmental strategy. It’s about more than compliance but really being ambitious, thinking about our current customers but also their kids customers in terms of what infrastructure and assets need to withstand in the future.
“Right now, we have some of the oldest pipes in the world in Tasmania, so we are trying to put in the foundation and groundwork to make sure we’re smart about this infrastructure, so it lasts for the next 100 years. It’s an interesting balance – you have to meet the needs of people right now but also have to plan so people don’t have to pay for it down the line, so it’s about being smart about those things.”
How does your job help our state and community?
“Before working here, I never thought much about water and how it arrives in your tap. Now, being in this world, water is connected to everything. It spiderwebs into all aspects into society.
“We help our organisation to focus on the right things – striking the balance with compliance and other strategies.
“A big one is price affordability for our customers – everyone is feeling the heat this day and age, it’s getting harder and harder. So, we’re doing as much as we can to help our current customers and making sure that we’re not taking away from future generations, in terms of much needed upgrades. We’re really trying to strike that balance.”
A big thank you to Diana and all who work at TasWater, and across public services for the work you all do to manage, protect and plan for our precious water resources.