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Read the latest updates about the International WaterCentre, as well as contemporary water sector insights, water management news, and conversations with researchers, practitioners and students, from both Australia and abroad.
Access to clean water is seen by many as a fundamental human right, but in some parts of the developing world, women are being forced to pay for it through ‘sextortion’. Pillar Avello, Program Manager for water governance at the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), says that the problem is pervasive.
Lloyd Eley-Smith and Megan Wood have been selected as the Master of Integrated Water Management (MIWM) domestic scholarship recipients for 2020. Domestic scholarships are open to applicants from Australian (citizens and permanent residents) and New Zealand (citizens). Dr Brian S McIntosh headed the scholarship selection panel. “We’ve seen a very high-quality group of applicants for this scholarship round – both for our international and our domestic scholarships. Megan and Lloyd stood out from the domestic applicants and we’re excited to welcome them into the MIWM program this year,” says Dr McIntosh. Both Lloyd and Megan will complete the MIMW program part-time, while they continue to work full-time. Both will also complete the program remotely, flying to Brisbane for week-long intensive learning sessions each trimester and participating in online classes. Lloyd is based in Sydney, Australia and is a Senior Case Manager for the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment in the New South Wales Government. Megan is based in Raglan, New Zealand and is a Director of Wainui Consulting Limited.
Sarah Watkins has fond memories of growing up in Melbourne. “When I was a kid, around eight years old, we would go down to the local creek in the Eastern suburbs, so a fairly well-established residential area, and we’d collect frogs’ eggs for school. We’d take them back to the classroom, watch the eggs hatch, look after the tadpoles and once they became frogs, we’d take them back to the creek and release them.” But things have changed; Melbourne’s waterways have changed. “You definitely can’t do that these days,” Sarah says. “Tadpoles aren’t commonly found in our urban waterways anymore.” Melbourne is Australia’s second largest city and has dominated Australia’s population growth for more than fifteen years, adding more than 50,000 people each year since 2003. The Australian Bureau of Statistics has projected that Melbourne could overtake Sydney – currently Australia’s largest city – in population at some point between 2030 and 2040. Sarah says the change is clear. “We’ve experienced a lot of growth in Melbourne. There’s been a lot of change. Within the last fifteen or twenty years, I’ve seen that kids can’t go down to their local creek and find frogs during the spring. I can see the degradation and that’s just from going out and personally experiencing my local waterways and parks.”
One and a half years on and Cape Town, a South African city of more than four million people, has made it through one of the largest municipal water failures in modern history. April 12, 2018 had been labelled “Day Zero”—the day Cape Town would run out of municipal water after experiencing the worst drought in a century and because of poor planning. Its dam water storage capacity had not kept up with its huge population growth and tensions between political parties led to much needed funding being withheld. The city, however, managed to stave off disaster through water conservation and efficiency measures, smarter use of data and some assistance from nature. High water tariffs and a ban on the use of municipal water for non-essential uses also helped. It is now looking at desalination and groundwater extraction as ways to diversify its future water resources. But its water situation is still shaky.
Najibullah Loodin from Afghanistan and Annelise Herman from Belgium have been selected as the Master of Integrated Water Management international scholarship recipients for 2020. Dr Brian S McIntosh, the International WaterCentre’s Director of Education, headed the scholarship selection panel, who worked through the hundreds of scholarship applications. “We had a very high-quality field of applicants this year, which made the evaluation and decision process particularly difficult,” says Dr McIntosh. “Both winners stood out in terms of their scholarship applications. Najibullah is focussed on water resource management, flood risk management and social justice. He also founded an NGO in Herat that works with street children. Annelise has a biotechnology background and a diverse range of interests and passions, including water security, water governance and water foot printing. We are very excited to welcome them to our next cohort of future water leaders.”