David Harris has announced his resignation as CEO of WaterNSW following six years of leadership, and will assist the company transition to an Acting CEO.
Andrew George has been appointed as the incoming Acting CEO.
From 2014, Mr Harris was CEO of both State Water Corporation and Sydney Catchment Authority, and instrumental in the creation of WaterNSW in 2015 after the successful merger of the two organisations.
“As I head into my sixth anniversary as CEO this week, I have been reflecting on the right time to transition the leadership of WaterNSW for its next era and for me to take on my next challenge,” Mr Harris said.
Mr Harris said he believed it was an appropriate window for transitioning WaterNSW leadership, ahead of the development of the next three-year Strategic Plan and as the reforms to the NSW Government-owned water sector enter the next phase.
“It has been an honour and a privilege to serve the organisation from its inception through some of the most significant improvements in water quality and water system operations that this state has ever seen,” Mr Harris said.
“Simultaneously, we have battled some of the worst natural disasters in our catchments. I thank my team of passionate and committed individuals, the Board, my contemporaries from elsewhere in the sector, and the NSW Government – I am proud of what we achieved together, and I leave a high-performing organisation ready for its next phase.”
NSW Minister for Water, Property and Housing, Melinda Pavey, thanked Mr Harris for his lengthy and significant contribution to the water sector in NSW.
“[Mr Harris] has been integral to the successful work of managing water in NSW. I wish him the very best for the future,” Ms Pavey said.
The Chair of the Board of WaterNSW, Anne McDonald, said Mr Harris was instrumental in the creation of WaterNSW in 2015 after the merger of the Sydney Catchment Authority and the Sydney Water Corporation.
“In the past six years, David has led the organisation with passion and energy and has implemented some important water reforms for NSW,” Ms McDonald said.
“Major achievements include real-time water information and water systems operations for customers in rural NSW, the delivery of the Broken Hill pipeline which was delivered on time and ahead of budget, and the development of our 20-Year Infrastructure Options Study (Rural Valleys) – the first of its kind in 30 years.
“Since its formation, WaterNSW has also consistently outperformed its obligation to deliver high-quality, reliable water to Sydney Water.”
Ms McDonald said 2019-2020 had been an extraordinary period, with the continuing extensive drought across NSW, bushfires in most catchments, the one-in-twenty-year rain event in metropolitan catchments and the operational impact of COVID-19.
“The response by WaterNSW to these significant challenges is a tribute to the agility and performance culture that David has fostered within the organisation – allowing the team to successfully pivot between situations whilst seamlessly continuing to deliver on its core functions,” she said.
“On behalf of the Board and staff, I thank David for his passion, commitment and contribution to the management of our water resources now and for future generations. He should be very proud of his legacy to the NSW water sector and we wish him all the best for the future.”
Incoming Acting CEO, Andrew George, is a civil and environmental engineer who has been an executive at WaterNSW since its inception, accountable for Regulatory and Market Strategy, Government Relations, Asset Strategy and the Major Projects division.
“As we move forward, I am committed to honouring the legacy and solid platform that David is leaving, and leveraging this into the future for the benefit of our customers and the communities of NSW,” Mr George said.