- Reseach project
- – Western Pacific
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.
The Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has announced that the International WaterCentre (IWC) has won two of four new Research Awards under the Water for Women Fund. The two Research Awards, valued at AUD $1.3 million, will fund two IWC-led research projects over the next two years. The first project will explore models of sustainable behaviour change for infant faeces management, with research to be undertaken in the Solomon Islands. Research partners include Griffith University, the Solomon Islands National University and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The second project will examine how the private sector can contribute to leveraging and supporting safe water and sanitation in industries, communities and households, with sites including locations in Indonesia and Fiji. The primary research partner for both projects is Griffith University.
The Queensland Government has set out to make the state a global leader in water modelling with the awarding of a tender to the International WaterCentre. “The QWMN has been very successful in initiating projects to address key government R&D needs, but it was obvious that we needed to look beyond government to foster external capacity building, to increase collaboration and drive innovation. So the QWMN put out a tender, worth more than $900,000 over two years, to come up with and deliver the solutions we need to drive the sector forward. “This is where the International WaterCentre (IWC) consortium comes into the picture. “The International WaterCentre led consortium were the successful tenderer with an ambitious plan to facilitate greater collaboration among water modellers and users of models across Queensland, creating a community of water modelling excellence.” IWC CEO Mark Pascoe said the consortium was looking to develop an Innovation Program that will see doctoral researchers placed and working directly with model users in Queensland – in local and state government, water supply organisations, regional natural resource management groups, mining, agriculture and the private sector, to develop practical solutions to state, regional and local economic, environmental and social challenges. “The consortium’s engagement program will also include a state-wide skills and knowledge audit to guide investment in education, training and workforce capability growth as well as a mentoring program to encourage and guide students into water modelling as a career path,” Mr Pascoe said. Mr Tony McAlister, a Director of national water and environmental engineering consultancy Water Technology, said the QWMN’s initiative to engage the IWC would assist in providing certainty and direction to the modelling community and its work. “For my company, it will help us to understand who we can work with and how to leverage opportunities for better outcomes for our clients and the community,” Mr McAlister said. “My focus is in Queensland working on urban and catchment management and restoration projects. Our challenge is to manage catchments in their entirety and to find sustainable, holistic, solutions. The direction the QWMN and the Queensland Government is taking is the right one.” Dr Rob Fearon, Director of Innovation Partnerships at qldwater, the central advisory and advocacy body within Queensland’s urban water industry, has also welcomed the QWMN initiative. “This is a fantastic opportunity to bring together different groups in water modelling, not just modellers but also end-users, to share experiences and learn from each other, building on what’s been done rather than re-inventing the wheel,” Dr Fearon said. “Queensland is definitely stepping up as a leader in this area.” The consortium members are the Australian Institute of Marine Science, Griffith University, the International WaterCentre, Queensland Cyber Infrastructure Foundation, Queensland University of Technology, The University of Queensland, and the University of Southern Queensland. Queensland Government media statement: http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2018/11/21/govt-sets-out-to-put-queensland-at-forefront-of-international-water-modelling About the author: Brett Richards is the Marketing and Communications Director at the International WaterCentre.
How do we define good water governance? And why is it important to achieve Integrated Water Management outcomes? These questions are fundamental to progressing water management towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Global Water Partnership has developed this interactive map that documents where they have had influence in trans-boundary or country focused water governance such as the Mekong River Basin. These agreements, policies, laws and guidelines demonstrate how they are strengthening institutions to progress towards the SDGs. However, this is only part of the story. While there are significant human resources and diplomatic effort required to negotiate water management protocols, having these alone is not enough to ensure that water is governed in an efficient or equitable manner. In order to achieve good water governance we need to understand how these documents are being used and if we are able to measure the impact these agreements are having on people and the environment. Van der Bliek et al (2014) explains that water governance needs to be context specific. Furthermore, the article emphasises that people conceptualise water governance differently in a spatial and geographic context. Therefore, simply having water governance targets in the SDGs will not mean that water security issues will be solved by 2030. We need to be thinking broader than governance frameworks and institutions, and engage all stakeholders in a meaningful way to understand the functioning of enabling environments and draw out lessons for regional and trans-boundary development. Van der Bliek calls for a country specific, or indeed regional, benchmark to understand that water needs are spatial in nature and in turn require integrated solutions.
On the 19 and 20 June 2018, the International WaterCentre (IWC) visited Hanoi city in Vietnam to facilitate the final activities of the Australian Awards Fellowship (AAF) program titled Improving Water, Land and Ecosystems Sustainability in the Mekong Delta. This training program was funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and commenced on November 2017, with a four-week study tour in Australia for 15 Fellows representing the Vietnamese Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE), and Planning and Investment (MPI), all with a role in the governance and management of the Mekong Delta. This study tour focused on building Fellows’ skills and knowledge in Integrated River Basin Management, through engagement with Australian experts and case-studies across Brisbane, Cairns, Canberra and regional NSW, including sections of the Murray Darling Basin. To enable the translation of lessons learnt in Australia to the Mekong Delta context, IWC supported Fellows in the development of return-to-work plans, or “Change Projects”, which outlined a six-month action plan, and aimed to initiate processes of innovation in the Fellows’ water sector. Three “Change Projects” were defined: (i) enabling more sustainable livelihoods, (ii) addressing water quality issues from agricultural practices, and (iii) “smoothing” water data sharing among stakeholders.
Sustainable development will only be achieved through connecting, collaborating and accelerating ideas to action, and Australia’s Young Water Professionals have the ability and responsibility to lead the way. This was the key message during the fifth Australian Young Water Professional Conference in Melbourne last week.