Designing society for climate change with Juliette Murphy
About Juliette Murphy
Juliette liked maths, science and visual arts, but didn’t know what she wanted to do. A career councillor asked if she had considered engineering. When she discovered environmental engineering, “it resonated with me”. “This is for me”.
She has a Bachelor of Engineering (with Honours) in Environmental Engineering from the University of Queensland and a Cert IV in Applied Project Management.
She has worked with Golder Associates, Seqwater and Jacobs in the field of water modelling, working on project such as resource planning, water management and drought response modelling.
In 2016 Juliette started working on a side hustle – a mobile app – which has now grown into something that is much larger and much more than a side hustle. By the start of 2018 Juliette and her partner (who is also a very talented engineer!) were able to move into the company fulltime and she is now the CEO (Chief Everything Officer!!) and CoFounder of FloodMap, a system offering real-time predictive flood mapping. Their products aim to improve safety and understanding of flood risk and to minimise flood related damages.
First project was water planning for a coal seam gas. It was more of a systems project, using a program call Goldsim. “Goldsim was the program that got me interested in programming” She was a junior modeller, and found the project fascinating.
Juliette’s project highlight has been while working at the BatuHijau Mine in Indonesia. Very remote location, and while working on the project over 12 months, she used Goldsim to improve the site water management. It was such an amazing location to work, so remote. The hydrology of the system was also amazing to work with. And the “optimisation of the system – that really fascinated me too”
Hot Topic discussion
Society needs to be designed for climate change.
“Climate change and the rate at which we are experiencing more extreme weather events”. A very global hot topic. Storms are becoming bigger and appear in locations where they haven’t been before.
Considering this problem from an engineering perspective, need to consider the design criteria
Even though we have records spanning 100 years, we need to consider if this is representative of a wet period or dry.
Climate change isn’t scientific, it’s more a business case now.
“not a research topic, but more actually a business case”
“Education is a big one, and awareness. I think some of it is technical solutions”.
Floodmapp is an example of a technical solution that is working to improve awareness of the problem and implementing solutions.
“I think another solution is looking at where we build. Knowing the places that are just too high risk to build and looking at developing a higher design criteria”
“The craziest example I have” is in Houston. 2 reservoirs were built to protect the town. But over time this reservoir area had become very desirable and houses had been approved to be built below the crest of the dam. When a hurricane hit the area and flooded, the dam operators had to choose between flooding into the reservoirs as was planned but would flood a number of developments built in the area, or flood Houston.
During this podcast, you will also reflect on:
What it takes to run a business and be an entrepreneur
What it’s like to get funding through an accelerator program (or 2!)
“I get really excited about big data and analytics and AI. I think it will take us some really fascinating places”.
Even in Juliette’s time, gathering datasets across many multiple databases now only takes a few hours. And the data analysis is so much flexible and powerful.
“It opens up this world of possibilities with what we can do, and this is across every discipline.”
The use of Virtual Reality in educating what impacts climate change could have in the various data modelling.
“If you’re just starting out, try to get as much experience on different projects as you can”. It would be better to take the option to work on a number of smaller projects, instead of a single larger project. It’s possible to get pigeon-holed into a specialty before you even know yourself.
The benefits of working on a smaller business rather than a larger business.
An engineering item for discussion…The Ocean Cleanup created by then 18yo Boyan Slat. Working to clean up ocean waste.
An engineer to admire…Juliette is in awe of her partner (and fellow engineer) Ryan Prosser. “He inspires me…. Probably the smartest person I’ve ever met”
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