20 October 2023

National Water Week Spotlight Series: Meet Paul Sorgiovanni

Meet Paul Sorgiovanni, Senior Project Manager on the Kangaroo Island Desalination project in South Australia. To celebrate National Water Week and BMD’s work within the sector, we took the time to get to know Paul and what he loves about working in the sector.

Q: What do you enjoy about working in the water sector and the role you have in being part of the solution?

A: I have a huge appreciation for water as a natural resource. From an early age in my childhood, I worked alongside my father in mineral exploration where I experienced the vitality water provided regional communities through the work we were doing in giving access to natural springs from running aquifers below ground.

Experiencing this and knowing that in parts of Australia we have a natural spring drinking water resource astounds me to this day. This has simply gravitated me toward working with all things water.

Q: What are some key water infrastructure projects you’ve been involved in, and how have they contributed to the bigger picture of water resource management?

A: I’m currently working on SA Water’s Kangaroo Island Desalination Project. Our work as part of the project involves design and construction of a reticulation main, express main and a storage tank site.. The key scope includes:

  • 10.58km of PN16 Reticulation Main
  • 2.8km of PN16 DICL Express Main
  • Customer connections
  • 500kL storage facility with site security

The new desalination plant will provide a climate independent water source for the community and expand the water network to provide a secure and reliable drinking water supply for more people living and working on the Island. This will also provide support and greater resilience in times of drought and bushfires.

Q: What were the main challenges faced on the project?

Kangaroo Island is and isolated region from mainland South Australia where it is separated by the St Vincent Gulf and only accessible via plane or sea ferry. There have been some challenges along the way with logistics in planning regular staff movements on and off the island, as well as bulk material deliveries. Key to navigating these unique challenges has been extensive forward planning given slim ferry availability within peak periods and scheduled maintenance. BMD’s travel business, CBT have assisted immensely with this challenging process.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring civil construction engineers who are interested in specialising in water infrastructure projects?

A: I always find myself empowering others in having an element of respect and appreciation in this ever giving resource we are lucky to have access to. From this, there grows a natural interest and/or passion in working with ‘all things water’.  Water is such a powerful natural resource that historically has shown us its value through its many uses, which is continually evolving into the likes of renewal energy, transportation and sustainability development.

Q: Water has a vital role in connecting us all. How can the community do their part to improve our water supply?

A: A key role that we can all take part in is water harvesting, such as:

  • Implementing rainwater harvesting systems (rainwater tank/s) to collect and store rainwater for drinking or recharging underground aquifers.
  • Providing home water-treatment capability through the use of filters, solar disinfection, or flocculants to utilise harvested water and make drinking water safe.
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