Reimagining our water future with our graduate engineers

Monday 19 October, 2020

As operator of the nation’s largest irrigation delivery system, Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) is encouraging all water users to join in celebrating national Water Week from October 19 – 25. Drawing on the 2020 theme “reimagining our water future,” GMW has asked one of its youngest team members for thoughts on the industry and how it will look in decades to come.

For Jordan Ottrey, 26, mathematics has always been a strength. But a practical use for his love of numbers, time and space, wasn’t clear from the outset. He says it was a high school teacher who revealed there was a way to combine maths and pursue a rewarding career at the same time.

With a Bachelor of Engineering from Swinburne under his belt and a full-time graduate position at GMW, Jordan is keen to recommend a career in the field to any young person; he says water is pivotal when it comes to the future of regional communities.

"At uni I enjoyed classes with practical applications of maths. Modelling water flows and forces on structural members was interesting to me because you can observe these things in the real world.

“Now I get to chat with landowners, and apply their needs into my design criteria.

“Seeing the structures that I have designed, that have been built and now form part of the delivery network is very rewarding.”

Jordan said his role at GMW makes him think about the future of water more strategically than ever before.

“Water delivery and irrigation is essential for our community. We need to constantly assess the delivery network, identify inefficiencies and areas for improvement,” he said.

“GMW is doing that through modernisation projects that reduce losses so the system so it can be in use future generations.”

GMW General Manager Infrastructure Delivery Services Warren Jose said Jordan undertook a three-month internship that finished in early March before all-staff began working from home due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions. He was then appointed to a full-time position.

“Jordan is a terrific member of the team and we really value the input from younger staff who respond to a challenge with absolute optimism and ideas.”

For Jordan, a position in the water industry has allowed him to return to his hometown of Echuca where he attended Echuca College. He said a full-time position, during the COVID-19 crises was a real bonus.

“The pandemic has revealed just how dynamic GMW is. We have continued to deliver an essential service to people across the region by adapting and improving the way in which we work so our customers can focus on producing the food that makes this region prosper.”