- Reseach project
- – Western Pacific
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.
Lloyd is a is a Senior Case Manager for the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment in the New South Wales Government in Australia. He has more than ten years’ experience in the government and construction sectors, primarily in environmental and sustainability management roles. He specialises in stakeholder management and coordinating, reporting and monitoring legislative compliance.
“I’ve been working with the New South Government on drought response projects, which prompted me to start thinking about why particular types of proposals to secure water supplies were coming through.”
Lloyd says this thinking highlighted the complexity of the challenges facing Australia in providing secure and sustainable water supplies.
“The more I researched the different ways people have tried to address water supply problems in the past, the more I was struck by the fact that solutions were often tried in isolation, such as a pure engineering solution, without regard to the cultural or financial issues at play.”
“I think the biggest challenges facing Australia in the water space are around the creation of sustainable water supplies. Without holistic changes to the way water is managed throughout Australian catchments, we will struggle to support existing communities and industries.”
Lloyd says that the broader challenge in Australia is the perception that a better and more secure water supply must mean securing more water.
“This isn’t necessarily the case,” he says. “If we continue to focus on trying to capture more water, we will ignore opportunities to improve the sustainability of water supplies by improving the quality of water supplies and the ways in which water is effectively used. We need to transition away from just assuming we need more resources and move to more suitable thinking about how we can best use the resources available to us.
Lloyd will start in the MIWM program in February 2020. He says the opportunity to study with the IWC has started his thinking about potential future career moves, which weren’t on his radar six months ago.
“Studying with the IWC will give me the opportunity to specialise in water management and put me in great position to pursue opportunities in sustainable resource management, which is a particular passion of mine.”
“Over the long term I am really hoping to be able to shift thinking about sustainability in water management, away from the perception that it creates a burden and open water user’s eyes to the opportunities sustainable thinking can provide. Most people are eager to seize opportunities to improve their resource management, but don’t know where to start. I am keen to help people develop the skills and understanding to take advantage of these opportunities.”
Megan is the Founder and Director of Wainui Consulting Limited in New Zealand. The company specialises in providing technical leadership and support to regulatory authorities for water resource management projects. Megan has more than twenty years of water resource management experience and has held roles across New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom. She specialises in urban stormwater management, river and catchment management and the design of flood protection schemes and firmly believes that collaboration is key to tackling water challenges.
“Water is so precious and is only going to become more so in the future, with climate change and the ever-increasing human population,” Megan says. “We are on the cusp of some very difficult times. We need strong leaders to make well-considered decisions to ensure water is managed as well as possible to avoid far-reaching adverse effects. We require collaboration, integration and multi-disciplinary approaches to make effective decisions in relation to water management.”
Megan will join the MIWM in February 2020, kicking-off the program with a week-long incursion on North Stradbroke Island, in Moreton Bay, southeast of Brisbane.
“I’ve had my eye on the MIWM programme for a number of years,” Megan says. “I like the multi-disciplinary nature of the degree, its international flavour and the focus on integrated water management.”
“I was also drawn to the program because you can focus on managing water in developing countries,” Megan says, referring to the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) specialisation stream. “Travelling through southeast Asia, I’ve seen that there’s a lot of work to be done to protect and restore water resources for ecological and humanitarian reasons, and I want to be involved.”
Megan hopes the MIWM will help update and consolidate her knowledge around integrated water management and build her understanding on how this applies to developing countries.
“I want to work in developing countries, to be involved with multi-benefit projects that help people get access to water, while also protecting water resources and the environment, and working on projects that help to mitigate climate change,” she says.
“I’m looking forward to meeting the other students in the program, learning about how water is managed in different countries around the world, and sharing ideas about what works and what doesn’t work.”
“I’m a little bit nervous about going back to ‘school’,” she adds. “But I’m slowly getting used to the idea.”