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Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

NOVEL CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) UPDATE: MAINTAINING THE GLADSTONE REGION’S BULK WATER SUPPLY

As the Gladstone region’s bulk water provider, Gladstone Area Water Board’s (GAWB) priority is to deliver safe and reliable water services that enhance the liveability of our region.

Our purpose is to provide reliable raw and treated drinking water to our customers, safely operate our Awoonga Dam and associated recreational facilities and provide flood mitigation services while maintaining a safe and healthy work environment for our employees.

Gladstone Region water supply

GAWB is continuing to operate our water treatment plants and provide bulk raw and treated drinking water to our industrial customers, Gladstone Regional Council and our small group of domestic customers.  

There is no evidence that COVID-19 is transmitted by drinking water. Existing water treatment and disinfection processes, including the use of chlorine, are effective in protecting water supplies. Dam operations remain as normal.

Our response to the pandemic

GAWB has Business Continuity and Emergency Response Plans in place and we are continuing to update them according to advice received from the Queensland Government. We are also working with Gladstone Regional Council on a coordinated response and taking advantage of opportunities to share resources.

We have taken steps to protect our staff, particularly those who are critical to our day-to-day water delivery operations and will continue to focus on continuity of supply. This includes restrictions on non-operational staff entering our operational sites.

We have also made the difficult decision to close Boynedale Bush Camp and all Lake Awoonga Recreational Facilities, including the Public Boat Ramp, until further notice.

We have cancelled or postponed GAWB public events, to protect our staff and the communities we serve.

GAWB proactively managing this situation, taking an approach that is aligned with our values –Engage, Accountable, Safety & Wellbeing and One Team.

We are sharing health and hygiene information with our staff and following the advice of health authorities.

In order to protect the health and safety of employees, contractors, tenants and the community at large, we have implemented the following safety measures:

  • Activated our Business Continuity Plan and Remote Worker procedures.
  • Introduced a new way of working with a combination of remote and on-site teams. This model will remain in place for the foreseeable future.
  • Implemented strict personal hygiene protocols and physical distancing at work.
  • Any staff member who is unwell is not to attend a GAWB workplace under any circumstance.
  • Employees returning from overseas are not to return to any GAWB workplace – and must self-isolate for the required period.
  • Worked with our Contractors to create and implement COVID-19 action and response plans for Contactors working on GAWB sites.
  • Ensured proper PPE and personal hygiene kits are available to our critical operations staff who remain on GAWB sites.
  • Restricted access to our Water Treatment plants.
  • Implemented a strict Employee Health Management process for all GAWB employees who are unwell.
  • Restricted all work travel and attendance at external events and meetings.

What we expect from suppliers and contractors

In order to protect our employees and maintain our services, we are working with our Contractors ensure their risk assessments and COVID-19 management plans are appropriate and aligned with both GAWB and Queensland Government expectations.

From time to time access is required for the delivery of important goods (e.g. chemicals), maintenance or construction crews undertaking work on site.  We also have some people working in non-operational areas as contractors, consultants or as temporary staff.

We expect these firms and individuals to take similar measures to protect their own workers and ensure none of their workers attend a GAWB site (operational or otherwise) if they are unwell, have travelled overseas in the past 14 days or believe they have come into contact with a person who may be exposed to the COVID-19 virus. We have asked all Contractors to provide their COVID-19 management plans in writing.

We also expect our suppliers to follow our protocols on entering our sites and our expectations for personal hygiene and social distancing while on site, and to report to GAWB any confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the supplier’s workforce who have visited or worked at a GAWB site.

We also expect meetings will be done electronically, and only face-to-face where it is critical to do so. If face-to-face meetings are required, we expect strict hygiene protocols to be adhered to.

Recreational Sites

In order to protect our employees and the community at large, we have closed Boynedale Bush Camp and Lake Awoonga Recreational Facilities, including the Public Boat Ramp, until further notice.

The above measures are an important part of our overall plan for the safety and wellbeing of our staff members, and the continuation of essential water services for the people Gladstone throughout the pandemic.

Schools Tours and Community Education

GAWB has suspended its Community Hiring Program and School Education Program until further notice.

More information

If you are a member of the community, please email us: gawb@gawb.qld.gov.au

If you have a specific question in relation to suppliers and contractor restrictions, please refer these to your usual GAWB point of contact.