Affinity Water asset manager Dr Eldos Then MCIWEM C.WEM is one of 25 new Chartered Water and Environmental Manager's from the August 2021 application deadline.
Below we learn more about Then's career, what CIWEM Chartership means to him and his advice to anyone considering applying.
Years of experience
5 years in water sector
BEng (Hons) – Mechanical Engineering, University Technology of Malaysia
MSc – Advanced Manufacturing Management and Technology, University of Surrey
PhD – Biomedical Modelling, Imperial College London
What's your day to day job role?
My main role as an asset manager at Affinity Water, United Kingdom is to understand the supply and demand of water by using the water balance process. It is a complex process which involves a lot of data (billing, metering, flow, pressure, property, population, production) as well as making assumptions based on the best available information.
I manage a team of 6 people who are highly skilled in analytics, data governance process and management information reporting. My team works collaboratively with other teams in the company to obtain best available data as well to provide actionable insights. I make sure the health, safety and wellbeing of the team are well looked after to ensure great days at work.
Beside the business-as-usual activities, there are a lot of opportunities for me to flex my engineering mind to solve problems, such as to understand the uncertainties of water consumption and population movement during Covid-19 restrictions.
What inspired you towards a career in this sector?
I was trained as a mechanical engineer and later in bio-mechanical engineering for my PhD. But, I started my career in analysing data for pricing and supply chain. I continue to advance my knowledge and skills in analytics through some of these retail companies.
I joined Affinity Water as a customer insight analyst. Eager to get back into engineering, I always kept a look out on opportunities in the technical departments of the company. Two years later, I was offered the asset manager role which allow me to use my analytics skills to understand the asset data.
With climate change and living in an area that is classified as water stressed by the Environment Agency, I am inspired to contribute to the reduction of water abstraction through innovative ways to reduce leakage and water consumption, so the environment is more sustainable for future generations.
What is the most exciting part of your career?
The most exciting part of my career are the opportunities for me to coach and mentor other colleagues. In this post Covid-19, new normal world, where most people work in hybrid mode, it is harder for colleagues who are new in the sector to advance their knowledge and skills. I believe that experience and knowledge will be lost if they are not transferred to the new generation of water and environmental professionals.
What is the greatest challenge the sector is facing?
The greatest challenge the sector is facing is the public perception that ‘water is cheap’ compared to gas and electricity. With the hike on energy price and the collapse of many energy companies, not many people will give a second thought on how to reduce their water usage. This is evidenced by the slow uptake of water meters which allow a household to monitor their water consumption.
Also, as gas leaks and electricity outages poise much greater dangers and inconveniences, the response time for repairs is much quicker compared to that of a water leak. I believe there needs to be a dramatic shift of thinking to realise the importance and scarcity of water.
Why did you apply for Chartership and how will it support your career?
Being a Chartered Water and Environmental Manager (MCIWEM C.WEM) demonstrates to my employers, colleagues, peers, and external contacts that I have had my competencies independently assessed.
Being chartered also means recognition of the hard work I have and will continue to put in to ensure a more sustainable environment. With various CIWEM groups and panels, I am eager to learn from others and also to contribute to share my expertise.
What advice would you give to someone considering starting out applying for Chartership?
It is important to understand the competencies required for chartership early on so a career development plan can be crafted to work towards meeting the competencies. It is also important to find a mentor that can support your career development as mentoring is an effective way to inspire and motivate you not to give up easily.
I completed CIWEM's ‘Fast Track to Chartership’ course which I found was a worthwhile workshop and the experienced trainers guiding us with how to prepare an outstanding application.
To learn more about all CIWEM membership grades, including chartership, visit our dedicated membership page.
The next application deadline for chartership is 06 December 2021. Here you can find our 2022 application deadlines.