Several weeks ago, Northern NSW experienced some of the worst flood waters in its history, with the city of Lismore and surrounding areas left to deal with significant infrastructural damage. Communities across the region are slowly beginning to rebuild, largely thanks to the support from local businesses offering services and product wherever possible.
When Lee Rothwell from Think Water Northern Rivers reached out to Advanced Industrial Products (AIP) for help, there was not a moment of hesitation to assist in any way possible. As a long standing customer, Think Water knew they could rely on the team at AIP to drop everything and come to their aid.
Think Water is a member owned Australian and New Zealand irrigation supply business, offering sale and servicing of water management solutions such as pumps, filtration systems, piping and spray equipment. They work within a broad range of sectors including commercial, agricultural and residential projects, but suddenly came under pressure as the town’s clean-up process was getting underway. With the Northern Rivers other resources being largely inaccessible due to road closures, the lack of available dewatering equipment for their homes and public areas was becoming desperate.
As the owner of Think Water Northern Rivers, Lee is no stranger to the region’s flood-prone climate. He explains that in response to warnings from the SES, the town had already begun to prepare during the heavy build-up of rain.
“We are surrounded by river networks here with the Tweed to the north, Richmond to the south, Clarence below that and Wilson River to the west. It is sometimes difficult to ascertain the severity of rainfall from where we are on top of the hill, especially because every flood is different due to the different catchments in the area. The difference this time was that all the rivers were already running full, and the soil was soddened from previous rainfall.”
As a result of the severe flooding already taking place in Brisbane, the Pacific Highway was under threat of being cut off from the south, meaning many transport companies were beginning to take their equipment back down to Sydney and off the roads. Lee explains that once the rain stopped and the flood waters began to recede, the extend of the damage became apparent and clean up needed to begin.
“Because of the type of service we provide, we work alongside lots of different industries – everyone needs water supply. We are connected with Ballina Shire Council, Lismore City Council, and Tweed Shire Council. All of the infrastructure for municipal sewage and water supply – like the many caravan parks in the area – went under, including all the electrical.”
AIP is one of Australia’s most established suppliers of industrial grade hoses, valves and associated fittings. Acquired by Motion Australia in 2019, the company spans across 180 locations and over 1,600 employees throughout Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia. Sustainability is at the heart of what they do, delivering exemplary customer service and forming trust-driven supply relationships with their customer base.
“Lee Rothwell from Think Water Northern Rivers rang me up on the Saturday,” says Mark Hodson, Sales Representative at AIP Brisbane. “Normally I don’t look at work stuff on the weekend that much but with the floods, I was watching the news and suddenly noticed my phone ringing. As soon as I could, I got in contact with our warehouse supervisor and organised to get the order put together first thing Monday morning.”
As a well-known and trusted provider of hosing equipment, AIP has been playing a key role in the clean-up process across QLD and Northern NSW. Upon hearing that Think Water Northern Rivers was desperate for stock, Mark got to work ensuring that everything went smoothly to have it delivered in time.
“I went down myself to help pick the order – I don’t live too far away from the warehouse, so I made it work. There was no way that courier transport could get through at that time, so we loaded up two utes with all the stock, drove down and exchanged the goods at Chinderah. We met them in the middle essentially, because otherwise it would have been days.”
Most of the products Mark transported were from the Powerflex range, along with numerous fittings and accessories required to link and connect the hose pipe. The order included wash down and fire hoses and suction equipment to pump water out of low-lying basements. According to Lee, the two initial priorities for flood recovery involve rinsing everything down and getting water supply back up and running – both reliant on having enough of the right hosing materials.
“The team at AIP were already working to keep up with demand from Brisbane, so we were incredibly relieved when Mark said he could transport the order himself,” says Lee. “We met in a carpark at Chinderah to swap the stock. It was such excellent service, and it gave us an opportunity to support our community in a time of crisis.”
As a member-to-member franchise, Think Water relies on strong supply partnerships, such as their one with AIP, to build a network of loyal customers across the area. Knowing that they can trust in the quality of product, designed to supplement expert water management solutions, keeps Think Water in a position to respond quickly.
“These are unusual times, so it is important we go that extra mile to support our community the best we can,” reflects Mark. “Lee was extremely grateful for the effort we went to, because for him it was not just a money making thing – he was looking after the community and needed those supplies. We aim to offer service like that all the time, but in this instance, we were happy to go a little bit further.”