Rubicon Water Chief Executive Bruce Rodgerson today announced the formation of a joint venture company together with Tsinghua University’s School of Civil Engineering and Gansu Water Investment Co., Ltd., an organisation owned by China’s Gansu provincial government.
The joint venture was formalized at in Lanzhou City on Monday at a ceremony attended by the Vice Governor of Gansu, Mr Yang Zixing and the Australian Ambassador to China, Her Excellency Jan Adams AO PSM. The ceremony also marked the launch of the province’s ‘Internet of Water’ strategy which will see the joint venture assist the government to develop and roll-out smart water technology throughout the province.
The joint venture has been set up to implement Rubicon’s TCC® Network Control technology throughout the province’s irrigation districts.
Mr Rodgerson said Rubicon has been operating in China since 2009 and this represents its largest Chinese opportunity to date, giving the joint venture potential access to fully-funded ‘shovel-ready’ projects worth AU$200 million over the next five years.
“This is not only a significant deal for Rubicon, but it is an important opportunity for this water-scarce province to replicate what Australia’s irrigation districts have done.
“Our solution will enable them to significantly improve water-use efficiency, making more water available for increased agricultural production or for industrial or environmental uses.
“The strategic partnership will lead to increased employment at Rubicon’s Shepparton, Victoria production facility and in the joint venture’s new Gansu facility,” he said.
Mr Yang Zixing, Vice Governor of Gansu province, said the joint venture holds exciting possibilities for economic development.
“Water plays a key role in economic development and as a water-scarce province we need to use our water much more efficiently than we have done in the past.
“We want to transform traditional irrigation practices and this joint venture will give Gansu province’s irrigation districts access to the best technology in the world,” he said.
The Minister for Innovation and Trade in the Australian state of Victoria, The Hon Philip Dalidakis MP said Victoria was a recognised leader in water management.
“I congratulate Rubicon on this significant announcement which is a great example of a Victorian company succeeding in China,” Minister Dalidakis said.
“The Victorian Government has been a proud supporter of Rubicon over many years and this joint venture in Gansu is recognition of their world class expertise and innovation in water management.”
The deal follows on from the successful implementation of Rubicon’s technology in Gansu’s Chang Ma Irrigation District during a three-year pilot project in collaboration with the Australia-China Joint Research Center on River Basin Management. Chang Ma’s channel network has been automated using TCC Network Control and manages the water supply to 4,900 hectares of farmland.
Gansu is an arid province in which part of the Gobi Desert is located. Water scarcity currently acts as a brake on agricultural productivity and economic development, and Rubicon’s technology will enable the province to produce more agricultural output while using less water.
Other ceremony attendees included Mr Yang Zixing, Vice Governor of Gansu Province, Mr Wei Baogun, Director of the Gansu Provincial Water Resources Department, Mr Xue Qikun, Vice President of Research at Tsinghua University, Mr Wang Zhongjing Vice President of Civil and Hydraulic Engineering at Tsinghua University, Mr Matthew Brent, Trade Commissioner, Australian Trade and Investment Commission and Mr Tim Dillon, Commissioner for Victoria to China.