New focus for long-serving Goulburn-Murray Water engineer

Tuesday 13 June, 2017

For Rod Mauger, engineering is much more than a career – it’s a way of life.

As an Asset Investigation Engineer with Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW), Rod has amassed an impressive knowledge base during his 35 years in the water industry.

Most recently he’s worked in the Customer Infrastructure and Assets team, and on any given day Rod might be consulting with mechanical and electrical trade staff and engineers, project managers and maintenance and operations staff.

“I’ve been aware of the importance of water all my life. I wanted to live in the country and working with water is certainly a fulfilling job,” he said.

 “Most predominantly my time has been spent working with dams, the maintenance of them and replacement projects.”

This means forward planning for capital works, and developing business cases for asset renewal and replacement.

Oddly enough, his career didn’t start in water – it started with chocolate and lollies.

After graduating from Swinburne University in 1978, Rod’s first job was working for Cadbury  Schweppes Pty Ltd at their Ringwood plant.

“I was a mechanical engineer trainee helping out with the design of production equipment.

“As you can imagine, there is a large need for mechanical engineering in the food production industry, with many heating and cooling appliances and other machines,” he said.

While undoubtedly fascinating, Rod soon realised his heart wasn’t in it.

It was a role with the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission, based in Red Cliffs, near Mildura two years later that sparked his interest.

He thinks a family link to the water industry may also have played a part.

“I didn’t know it at the time but my uncle Bruce Willersdorf used to be the well-known manager of the Headworks Division (now known as Dams) for the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission.”

“We used to visit Uncle Bruce at various dam sites when I was a kid, so perhaps that’s where some of my interest in the water industry stemmed from.

“He still rings me up and asks if I’m looking after ‘his’ dams,” he jokes.

During Rod’s career he has witnessed plenty of change – from the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission to the Rural Water Commission, the Rural Water Corporation, and finally to Goulburn-Murray Water.

He describes GMW’s 24-7 water ordering system of today as “far superior” to earlier incarnations he can remember.

“The farmers used to order their water via slips of paper placed in a mail box.”

In 2006-07 Rod was involved with irrigation modernisation work, namely the $8 million Strategic Measurement Project, and a five-month stint with Future Flow (now Connections).

“I was involved with the design of 1500 gates for modernisation,” he said.

And now, after a bright career, Rod is turning his attention to a new venture – he plans to start his own engineering consultancy business in coming months, with a focus on the water industry.

Outside of work, Rod is known for his involvement in theatre, largely with the Shepparton Theatre Arts Group (STAG) and the Turaton Music Company.

He has been involved with more than 25 productions over the past 18 years.

“I’m also an avid reader – I enjoy historical literature and science but I try to read a wide range of topics.”

Rod is a father of six, and says his three elder sons, and two brothers, are also engineers.