The Sam Samra Award

The Sam Samra annual Award was established in 2017 as a memorial and acknowledgement of the late Sam Samra’s long-term contribution, passion and dedication to the water industry. Sam was a great ally of local water utilities in NSW which benefited from his commitment over a 50 year period.
 

Sam’s legacy is unlikely to be surpassed and it has many aspects. One of the most enduring of these is performance benchmarking in NSW and on a national level. 

Who was Sam Samra?

Sam Samra was a highly regarded public servant in the NSW Government for many years, who was instrumental in a range of reforms that contributed to marked improvements in the performance of local water utilities in regional NSW. He was well known for his extensive knowledge and attention to detail and was highly regarded at the local, state and national levels for his work on performance monitoring and improvement.

Sam was involved in delivering key aspects of the NSW Government’s Country Towns Water Supply and Sewerage Program. He pioneered and led the  development and implementation of the widely respected NSW Government Best Practice Management of Water Supply and Sewerage Framework. The framework helped lift the performance of many local water utilities to a best practice standard. Sam died on 16 August 2016 following a tragic accident.

The Sam Samra Award reflects on Sam’s passing and recognises his remarkable work. It is co-sponsored by Local Government NSW, the NSW Water Directorate and the Department of Industry - Water. 


The Sam Samra Award 2020

Congratulations to the water team at Wingecarribee Shire Council for winning the Sam Samra Award 2020 (pictured left Brendan Guiney with Stace Lewer, Manager Assets). This award recognises improved performance by a local water utility, and is co-sponsored by the Water Directorate, Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) and Local Government NSW.

The judges found that Wingecarribee had made effective use of DPIE’s IWCM framework to develop its IWCM strategy. They commended the LWU for taking ownership in using the planning tool and embedding it into its day-to-day business. 

Wingecarribee demonstrates an effective asset management system and continually works on improving asset management practices and systems. During 2019/20 the Council updated its asset management plan and financial plan. Wingecarribee has commenced implementation of a digital solution for monitoring water supply flows and pressure to better manage water losses and improve water efficiency.



The Sam Samra Award 2019

Major achievement in strategically planning their water and sewerage services and infrastructure priorities has seen Eurobodalla Shire Council awarded the 2019 Sam Samra Award, as the most improved Local Water Utility in NSW in 2018-19. Eurobodalla was chosen from 89 eligible local water utilities, recognising the successful development and implementation of its Integrated Water Cycle Management Strategy.

Eurobodalla was the first local water utility in NSW to update its Integrated Water Cycle Management Strategy in 2016-17 in accordance with the NSW Government's revised 2014 IWCM framework and checklist. Eurobodalla has embedded the IWCM strategy outcomes into its annual business planning process including annual updating of the key risks and assumptions.

Eurobodalla achieved another first in 2004, when it piloted NSW's first Integrated Water Cycle Management Strategy in partnership with the NSW Government, demonstrating significant environmental, social and economic benefits when compared with the traditional water management approach.




The Sam Samra Award 2018

Snowy Monaro Regional Council was awarded the 2018 Sam Samra Award in recognition of progress following the amalgamation of the former Snowy River, Cooma-Monaro and Bombala Shires.

After amalgamation the Snowy Monaro Regional Council undertook a water supply and sewerage pricing review, and streamlined and harmonised its pricing. It also implemented user-pays non-residential sewer charges. This process involved intensive community consultations and the council had to remain strong against pressure from stakeholders, particularly businesses that faced significant increases in bills.

The winner was determined by a judging panel from a shortlist of three LWUs whose projects delivered major performance improvements. This award was presented at the Echidna Gully Function Centre in Armidale at LGNSW's 2018 Water Management Conference dinner.


Image: 2018 Sam Samra Award winner Snowy Monaro Regional
Council's Group Manager Water and Waste Gnai Ahamet

The Sam Samra Award 2017
In the inaugural year of the award, judges looked at performance monitoring data to identify the most improved local water utilities over the past 10 years in four categories:

small ( < 5,000 connected properties) local water utilities, water supply 
small ( < 5,000 connected properties) local water utilities, sewerage
large ( > 5,000 connected properties) local water utilities, water supply
large ( > 5,000 connected properties) local water utilities, sewerage

Image: 2017 Sam Samra Award winner Gunnedah Shire Council's Manager Water Services
Kevin Sheridan with Acting Director of Infrastructure Services Edward Paas

Awards were presented at the LGNSW Water Management Conference dinner at Dubbo on 5 September 2017 to the most improved LWU in each of four categories and to the overall most improved LWU. The five winners were determined by rigorous analysis of a decade of data recorded in the NSW Water Supply & Sewerage Performance Monitoring Reports. The data analysis process was developed by DPI Water. 

Finalists and winners of the Award were determined based on an assessment of performance data from the NSW Water Supply and Sewerage Performance Monitoring Report and the NSW Water Supply and Sewerage Benchmarking Report.

The Inaugural Sam Samra Awards were presented at the Local Government NSW Water Management Conference at the Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo on Tuesday, 5 September 2017.

Congratulations to the eight finalists. Nine awards were presented jointly by DPI Water, LGNSW and the Water Directorate as follows:

Most Improved Small Water Supply Service Provider
(Local Water Utility with less than 5,000 connected properties) The Runner Up in this category is Carrathool Shire Council

The Winner in this category is Coonamble Shire Council

Most Improved Large Water Supply Service Provider
(Local Water Utility with more than 5,000 connected properties)

The Runner Up in this category is Orange City Council

The Winner in this category is Kempsey Shire Council

Most Improved Small Sewerage Service Provider
(Local Water Utility with less than 5,000 connected properties)

The Runner Up in this category is Upper Lachlan Shire Council

The Winner in this category is Gunnedah Shire Council

Most Improved Large Sewerage Service Provider
(Local Water Utility with more than 5,000 connected properties)

The Runner Up in this category is Federation Council

The Winner in this category is Wagga Wagga City Council

Most Improved Water and Sewerage Service Provider of the four above category winners

(Coonamble Shire Council; Kempsey Shire Council; Gunnedah Shire Council and Wagga Wagga City Council):

The 2017 Overall Winner is GUNNEDAH SHIRE COUNCIL

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