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Professor Don Bursill AM FTSE: Water Management Expert


Don Bursill has had some 40 years experience in the water industry in Australia, primarily for the South Australian Water Corporation, stepping down at the end of 2005 as its Chief Scientist. He was also the CEO of the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Quality and Treatment from its beginnings in 1995 to his retirement in 2005.

Don was Deputy Chair of the Board of the Global Water Research Coalition; an international water research coalition that includes 15 national water research centres from Europe, North America, South Africa, Australia and Singapore.

From 1996 through to the end of 2010 he chaired the Water Quality Advisory Committee of the National Health and Medical Research Council which sets the national drinking water quality guidelines, among other functions.

In January 2011 Don was asked to take on the role of Chief Scientist for South Australia, which he did until August 2014. This role involved providing advice to the Government on science and innovation programs. Among a number of achievements during that period, he developed a new science and innovation program for the SA Government with the assistance of the SA Science Council and he set up a networking arrangement for early career researchers that assists their career development and promotes collaboration among young scientists and engineers across South Australian Universities and research institutions. It continues to operate at RiAUS (Science Exchange, Adelaide).

In 2007 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for services to the water industry.  He has a CSIRO Medal for water research and two awards from the South Australian Water Association for innovation in water research, including the Premier’s Medal (2005). Don was South Australia’s Senior Australian of the Year for 2011 and in the same year, Citizen of the Year for the City of Tea Tree Gully.  He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (FTSE).

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