Urban Plunge® Tech Summit 2022

About the event

The inaugural Urban Plunge Tech Summit was a free one-day event held in November 2022. It was a highlight of the Sydney Water Innovation Festival (SWIF22) program.    

The purpose of the summit was to share best practice and showcase technology to accelerate the delivery of more swimming and aquatic recreation opportunities in waterways across Greater Sydney.

Don't worry if you missed the event. We have captured the day for you to explore the highlights.

What is the Tech Summit?

The Urban Plunge Tech Summit is an industry-based event showcasing techniques and innovations that make urban swimming possible. 

The program of speakers and exhibition brought together individuals, institutions and businesses from across Sydney and the globe to show technologies and share insights about how we can make urban aquatic amenity easier, cheaper and safer to deliver.

Key areas of focus

The focus of the 2022 summit was on technology and techniques that support the opening, ongoing management and monitoring of swimming and aquatic recreation sites, including: 

  1. Water quality monitoring, with a focus on contaminants impacting human health
  2. Innovation in the design of swim sites
  3. Advances in the use of technology and design to mitigate safety risks 
  4. Stopping pollutants that impact swim sites
  5. Technology to assist with the operation of the swim site.

Who is the Tech Summit for?

The Urban Plunge Tech Summit caters for:

  • councils and other landowners – with existing swim sites, proposed sites and those that don't know where to start 
  • government agencies and decision-makers
  • universities
  • water industry specialists  
  • tech developers and product owners 
  • architects, planners, landscape architects, urban designers and engineers  
  • industry groups, thought leaders and advocacy groups
  • potential program partners, sponsors and investors.

What did the Tech Summit achieve?

The summit provided:

  • Updates on the Urban Plunge program

  • Opportunities to learn from colleagues working on the front-line delivering swim sites

  • Case studies of successful projects, lessons learnt and highlighted

  • A showcase of globally sourced technology, tools and design that will make it easier, faster and safer to deliver aquatic recreation opportunities

  • A platform for formal and informal conversations between water industry specialists, tech providers, key players across government stakeholders, planners, and relevant stakeholders

  • Inspiration for the next round of swim site projects and generation of product developers.

Companies that exhibited their products

Cyanolakes – satellite monitoring for cyanobacteria

D2K – ColiMinder and Information Engine

Ene.Hub – Safety Node

Fluidion – Alert V2 and the Alert Lab

IADYS and Butchart Marine Services – Jellyfishbot

IOSight – iGreen data management platform

Ocean Guardian – Shark Barriers

Phoslock – Phosflow to remove excess phosphate

Ripper Corp AI-supported drone surveillance for beach patrols

Seabin – collecting marine debris

Subnero – the SWANbot

What's next?

Stayed tuned for more updates on what shape our next Urban Plunge Tech Summit will take and opportunities to share best practice.

Please get in touch to:

  1. Register your interest for further events.
  2. Let us know what issues and projects we should tackle in our next summit.

  3. Share any case studies or great ideas to promote swimming in our waterways.

  4. Brief us on technologies, designs or processes that make it easier, cheaper and faster to open and operate swim sites that we could showcase.

Get in touch at urbanplunge@sydneywater.com.au.

Find out more about how our Urban Plunge program is creating more safer, cleaner and accessible swimming areas within our waterways through strong partnerships with government agencies.

Live stream recordings

Session 1 
Live stream  Description

Connecting to Country and our waterways 

Jacinta Tobin | Indigenous singer/songwriter and academic from the Darug Tribe


Coming soon


The Sydney Water Urban Plunge Tech Summit 2022: Opening address

Ivan Power MC

Watch video

The Urban Plunge Tech Summit was an industry-based event showcasing techniques and innovations that make urban swimming possible. It was a 2022 highlight of the Urban Plunge program, with a great lineup of speakers and exhibitors. The day brought together individuals, institutions and businesses from across Sydney and the globe to showcase technologies and share insights about how we can make urban aquatic amenity easier, cheaper and safer to deliver.

Why are we taking the Urban Plunge?

Chris Gould | Sydney Water


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Urban Plunge aims to accelerate the delivery of more swimming and recreation opportunities with our Partners in the rivers, creeks, lakes and harbour inlets throughout Greater Sydney. The Urban Plunge Tech Summit brought together individuals, institutions and businesses to showcase technologies, case studies and learnings on how we can make urban aquatic amenity easier, cheaper and safer to deliver.

Urban water: Danger or delight? 

Chris Romer-Lee | Studio Octopi

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Chris Romer-Lee specialises in projects with a focus on improving access to water for recreational purposes. His presentation explores the challenges and opportunities of urban swimming through an overview of international case studies. These include the Thames Baths and Yarra Pools, both concepts that Studio Octopi have designed and championed over the years. Chris provides a sneak preview of work hot of the press for Sydney Water's Urban Plunge program that visualises the potential of swimming in Greater Sydney's waterways, including:

  • a tow-in-pool
  • pop-up container pool at Prospect reservoir
  • light-touch interventions in a natural river setting
  • a natural offline pool.

Panel: Tales from the front line 

Petrina Nelson | City of Canada Bay 

Suzanne Raven | City of Parramatta 

Mitchell Clark | Campbelltown City Council

Leanne Niblock | Sydney Water

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Tales from the front line, the unique experiences of different councils in opening swim sites. The panel will examine the unique experiences of councils at different stages of their swim site journeys, the successes, challenges faced and lessons learned.

The 3 sites discussed include Bayview Park Concord, Parramatta Lake Parramatta and Nepean River Reserve, Campbelltown.

Places to Swim program 

Rebecca Ho | Department of Planning & Environment

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The Places to Swim grant program funded by the NSW Government has provided valuable funding to assist councils in the delivery of infrastructure in, on and around sites. The program has put a spotlight on the opportunity to roll out more sites across both Sydney and NSW.


Session 2
Live stream  Description

Tackling the barriers – Approaches to managing water quality

Susan Petterson | Non-Executive Director– Sydney Water

Prof. Stuart Khan | UNSW

Nerida Taylor | Sydney Water

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Why managing water quality is essential in establishing swim sites. Water quality monitoring can be a complex process in understanding risk, coordination and governance, but there is a blueprint to follow.

Tech to the rescue

Exhibitors tech presentations + tech challenge

Alex Cech | Isle Utilities

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When opening a swim site, water quality is key. This Tech session focused on the seen and unseen in water quality challenges of algae, bacteria, nutrients and litter in our waterways.

Tim Curtis | Fluidion


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Phil Krasnostein | Optimos

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Michael Doyle | Cyanolakes

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Phoslock/Water Warriors

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Greg Butchart | Butchart Marine Services

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Pete Ceglinski | Seabin

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Inland waterways – Our hidden secret

Craig Roberts | Water Safety

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Craig Roberts is the General Manager at NSW Royal Life Saving. His key focus is on Drowning Prevention.

Craig talks to the importance and value of water-based recreation but also the risks associated with one of Australia's favourite pastimes. The presentation introduces the importance of personal safety when considering the establishment and operation of sites and a range of programs being delivered by Royal Life Saving, including Guidelines for inland waterways, drowning prevention, first aid and resuscitation courses.

Royal Life Saving NSW partnered with Sydney Water's Urban Plunge pop-up swim site at the Parklands at Prospect Reservoir over the summer of 2022–23.

Tech to the rescue

Exhibitors tech presentations + tech challenge

Alex Cech | Isle Utilities

Ed Bourke | ENE.HUB

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Safety first, reducing and managing the risks of swimming in our waterways looking at the technology options available to manage personal water safety.

Lindsay Lyon | Ocean Guardian

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Jason Young | Ripper Corp Drones

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Session 3
Live stream  Description

Are we counting the benefits? –Why accessing waterways matters

Jeremy Cheesman | Marsden Jacob Associate


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Jeremy Cheeseman from Marsden Associates provides insights on quantifying the benefits on making our waterways accessible for swimming and water recreation. A must for anyone looking to develop the case for investment or delivering a business case for a new swim site or water-based recreation project.

The bigger picture – Making waterways swimmable

Renee Ingram | Sydney

Water David Anderson | City of Sydney

Closing address

Chris Gould | Sydney Water

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This presentation focuses on Sydney Water's role in making our waterways swimmable and how we are partnering with the City of Sydney to bring forward our shared vision of opening a swim site.