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Water industry veteran retires after more than 35 years.

After first working in the water industry back in the mid-1980s, Colin Nicolson has earned his retirement. And he plans to make the most of it.

Seqwater's Colin Nicolson leads a Central Lockyer Irrigation Scheme community forum in 2018.

However, his final farewell from Seqwater won’t come without some downsides and Colin says it is the people he will miss the most. 

“We have come a very long way in Seqwater in our relationship with our irrigation customers. I have met many of them and have very much enjoyed my interactions with them,” he said. 

“I have enjoyed going to their farms, and running our irrigator forums for them, I have enjoyed the customer reference group meetings and most of all I have enjoyed being able to help them.  

“I will also greatly miss my Seqwater colleagues.  Working here has been one of the greatest privileges of my life.”  

Colin says he didn’t end up working with water on purpose, first coming into contact with the industry via his finance and accounting background. 

“My water industry experience has been in irrigation and industrial water supply, first entering the field when I joined the Queensland Water Resources Commission as an assistant accountant in the mid-1980s,” Colin recalled.

“My ongoing involvement in the industry came a few years later, when I was given the opportunity to help commercialise the water resources operations group which was part of the Department of Primary Industries with the ultimate goal of becoming a Government Owned Corporation.” 

This corporation became Sunwater. 

“What was very interesting from an accounting and finance point of view was how to recognise and value water infrastructure assets and how to fund the business and new commercial investments including profit-making pipelines,” he said.

“Further on again, it has been during my time at Seqwater that I have had much closer contact with customers which has added a lot of interest to my workday.”

Colin recalls some of the changes he has seen during his time in the water industry, many of them for the better. 

“From a customer perspective, the introduction of tradeable water allocations separate to land has given irrigators and other water allocation owners the ability to better manage their water demand as well as the cost of holding water allocations,” he said. 

“This has led to the better use of water through seasonal water trading and permanent water trading.  

“Although some customers think the old days were better, most agree that the changes have given them much more flexibility.” 

Colin says that the Water Management Framework has provided both Seqwater and Sunwater with the ability to amend the operational rules in consultation with customers and the overseeing Department.  

“The benefits of this flexibility has already allowed Seqwater to help customers,” he says.  

“Nationally, the changes in the water industry since the COAG days of the mid-1990’s has placed the management of water well and truly on the national agenda.

“This has helped focus the attention of governments and water users alike on the need to carefully and efficiently manage this scarce resource which is essential for life.”

For now, it is time for us to bid farewell to Colin. Time for him to relax and maybe even put his feet up every once in a while. But maybe not, according to the man himself. 

“I intend to keep active in retirement,” he said. “We are planning to do some caravanning and see more of Australia.  

“Of course there is a long list of projects at home to which I will be able to devote more time including my vegetable garden.  I’m not seeing too many dull moments at this stage.”

Colin Nicolson

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