Date: 12 – 14 May, 2015
Where: Entire Centre
OzWater is Australia’s international water conference and trade exhibition, and is run annually by the Australian Water Association (AWA). This highly regarded event has built a strong reputation for being the ‘must attend’ event on the calendar for water industry professionals and those with a commercial interest in water. Run over three days plus pre-conference workshops, the conference included a program of Plenary Sessions, Technical Tours, Young Water Professionals Program, International Delegate Program, workshops and poster presentations.
The conference had eight streams including two workshop streams with guest speakers presenting in sessions from 10.45am – 5.30pm each day. In total, the conference program offered delegates 173 speaker presentations and workshops.
The social program included a Gala Dinner and Awards Presentation attended by 948 guests, a President’s Dinner attended by 90 guests, a buffet lunch each day for 1050 and the Club House – a pop up bar which opened throughout the conference and exhibition.
The Exhibition featured more than 170 exhibitors from international and national companies, showcasing water products, services and innovations.
In addition, the Technical Tours showcased industry innovation in South Australia, facilitated the exchange of ideas and increased local intellectual capital within the water sector.
What we did
Planning for Ozwater’15 started a year prior, with the Centre at the time undergoing major construction with the development of the new West Building, the first stage in a $400 million expansion. The new West Building would be critical to hosting the event so planning needed to be undertaken with ‘Hard Hat’ tours of the construction site with the client.
Planning for the event brought together all key areas of the Centre’s operations as well as collaboration with external providers, particularly for the set-up of the Exhibition.
Ozwater’15 provided one of the first opportunities to showcase the flexibility and versatility of the expanded Centre, and the integration between the existing Central Building and the new West Building. Ozwater’15 occupied the entire space (15,000sqm) within the two buildings.
‘Bump-in’ for the conference started well in advance with 53 B-double trucks needing to be driven into the Centre’s Loading Dock and unloaded for the event.
This required careful scheduling and efficiency, as the Centre is located in the heart of Adelaide on one of the city’s busiest thoroughfares. It was also one of the first real tests for the new Loading Dock and the team of 4 Centre employees charged with unloading the trucks quickly and safely. One of the Halls was also used as a makeshift dock to enable quicker set ups.
The Exhibition is one of the largest hosted by the Centre and took over Halls FGHIJK (the whole Central Building) and crossed over between the Central and West Buildings. The Exhibition occupied approximately 10,000 square metres of floor space.
The main Plenary was established in Hall L with a second overflow plenary set up in L2. In addition, sessions were set up Hall L, Hall M, Hall N, Riverbank Rooms 2&3, Riverbank Room 4, Riverbank Room 5, Riverbank Room 6, Riverbank Room 7, Panorama Rooms 1&2 and Panorama Room 3, City Rooms 1&2 and City Rooms 3&4. A series of offices were also established for the Australian Water Association and event volunteers. The offices housed more than event 40 staff.
Food & Beverage
All the food and wine served at the Centre during the conference aligned with the Centre’s Soils & Seasons philosophy, designed to showcase the best of South Australia and to support local farmers, producers and growers.
Over the four days, the Adelaide Convention Centre catered for more than 11,141, (number of meals) including breakfast, a daily buffet lunch for 1050 a day and a Gala Dinner for 948.
Catering at the event was designed to showcase South Australian food and wine, and with the event focussing on water, a chance to showcase the State’s premium produce, which relies on South Australia’s pristine water quality.
The buffet lunches were designed to cater for 1050 delegates within a 1.5 hour period. Delegates were treated to dishes including Murraylands’ beef and ‘Coopers’ stout pie, slow cooked Murray River pork belly, roasted Virginia vegetables and Adelaide Hills’ apple chutney.
The Gala Dinner, which was held in the West Building’s Halls MNO, included prawns and scallops from the Gulf, beef fillet and locally sourced kingfish and the famous Haigh’s chocolate.
Wines served during the conference were made by producers including Yalumba, Wynn’s and Grant Burge.Challenges
The main challenges centred on planning a major conference and exhibition in a building that was still under construction.
The West Building had also only been open for a couple of months before Ozwater’15 and the nature and complexity of the event meant that there was little margin for error.
The Adelaide Convention Centre established a strong, honest and trusting relationship with the Australian Water Association (AWA), which led to a successful event. The Australian Water Association (AWA) should be congratulated for the faith and trust they put in the Centre to deliver within a new building. Careful planning allowed the Centre to overcome the difficulties and the new building made the event more exciting and interesting for delegates.