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International work experience in water management

IWC Master of Integrated Water Management graduate, Kristal Burry, found that inspiration flows both ways when she worked with water managers in Indonesia last week.

Kristal accompanied the IWC’s Dr Peter Oliver and SEQ Healthy Waterways’ Dr Eva Abal on a three-day training program for integrated water resource management (IWRM) for decision makers in the Indonesian government. As a new graduate, the opportunity to form international networks and gain valuable work experience was a highlight of the trip.

“I learned a great deal from the very experienced water professionals I worked with from both Australia and Indonesia,” Kristal said. “I got to meet some inspiring people who are extremely passionate about protecting and sustainably managing the water resources of Indonesia.”

Indonesian water professionals also valued the exchange of international perspectives. “I get more information for implementation of IWRM concepts from other countries’ experiences,” said one participant in the course. “IWRM success stories can be an example for us to learn from,” said another.

The training course was held in Bandung within the Citarum River Basin. It introduced the concept of the IWRM, the development of IWRM frameworks and conceptual models, barriers and enablers to these IWRM approaches, planning and management tools and the analysis and understanding of assumptions and perspectives that underpin different models of decision making.

A lively discussion progressed over the days on topics such as governance to improve cross-sectoral collaboration, co-ordination and policy integration, and community and industry education and participation in IWRM. 

On the third day the group went on a field trip to visit local water infrastructure, including an industrial wastewater treatment plant, a community level septic system and a hydropower plant.

“This allowed us to see some of the pressures placed on the Citarum River, for example, industrial waste management, domestic solid waste, erosion and sedimentation, domestic waste disposal, and to speak with people working on the ground to manage these issues,” Kristal said.

“It was a valuable experience for me as an early career water manager to spend time with more experienced water managers from here and from another country, and I feel it has given me a richer understanding of water management issues to use in my work here in Australia.”  


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