- Research 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 Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a A$508.31 million grant – one of the largest grants ever awarded by the ADB – as part of a A$1 billion water resources project in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan – a project being led by International WaterCentre (IWC) alumnus, Hans Woldring. The Arghandab Integrated Water Resources Development Project is a national priority project that aims to develop water resources in the Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan, to help improve the country’s agricultural productivity, water resources management, energy generation and growth outlook. The multi-sector project represents an integrated approach to water resource development, meeting the needs of rural and urban communities downstream of the province’s ageing Dahla Dam and improving how water resources are managed and used in the Arghandab River Basin.
Flooding parks, state-of-the-art underground water networks and predator gardens—it might sound like the work of science fiction, but it’s just some of the ways that New Orleans is building a more resilient city, and helping to look after its most vulnerable residents. Since Hurricane Katrina devastated the city in 2005—resulting in some 1,833 deaths, displacing around 273,000 people, and resulting in USD $41.1 billion dollars in insurance payments to people affected across six states—New Orleans has been looking at ways to mitigate future disasters, particularly for the city’s poorest residents.
Water supply is under more strain than ever in Asia, as major changes in development, population, and climate change are all stretching resources. In order to help meet the increasing demand for water, many organisations are bringing together human and economic resources to make clean water a powerful source of transformation. Vanh Mixap, who spent time working with Engineers Without Borders and Oxfam in Cambodia, found that when helping build the capacity of female entrepreneurs, soft skills, including mindset, were just as critical to develop as hard economics or technical skills, but were often overlooked. “We brought together about 10 women from across the country, who had the potential to turn their business ideas related to both water and energy into something more tangible,” she says. “The women went through a program to strengthen their knowledge about water supply and sanitation and to sharpen their entrepreneurial skills to address the water and energy related challenges in their own context, with the opportunity to earn a living.” Mixap says the program was an initiative to empower women to create a job that fits their unique circumstances, while contributing to positive social and environmental outcomes. “In the work that I do, usually I would challenge a “pump and pipe solution” to water supply as the only solution and explore what else is possible. I found that by engaging the voices of people who are often not included in the decision-making processes, it opened up possibilities many of us couldn’t imagine.”
The International WaterCentre’s (IWC) scholarship period for entry to study in 2020 is in full swing, with applicants from across Australia, New Zealand and the world vying for one of these prestigious awards. Scholarships for the Master of Integrated Water Management (MIWM), the new Master of Catchment Science (MCS), the Water Leadership Program and Graduate Certificate in Water Leadership are all up for grabs. “We invest in providing multiple scholarships each year for entry into our postgraduate, professional development water programs to high-calibre candidates who we think best demonstrate potential as future water leaders,” says Dr Brian S. McIntosh, IWC Education Director. “For our MIWM, recipients come from across the world – from Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Kenya, Laos, Pakistan, the United States, Ireland, Poland, Peru, to name a few. And from across the spectrum of disciplines found working in the water sector – engineers, scientists, lawyers, economists, community development practitioners, data specialists, planners and architects, the list goes on." Dr McIntosh says that the aim of the MIWM is to help develop water leaders who are able to play a significant role in shaping the water sector. "Our graduates transform the way that we plan and deliver WASH services, how we think about and manage water in urban environments and in water resources, and develop effective and innovative water financing solutions to enable private sector involvement in water and sustainable development.” Next year, the IWC will welcome the first cohort of students into the new Master of Catchment Science degree, the only postgraduate, catchment-dedicated degree in the world, which has been developed in collaboration with Griffith University’s Australian Rivers Institute (ARI), School of Engineering and Built Environment and School of Environment and Sciences. “For our new MCS, we are looking to attract participants from across Australia, New Zealand and around the world. In particular, we are looking for scientists and engineers who are keen to develop leading edge skills and knowledge that enable them to practice effectively across the boundaries of the natural sciences, engineering, computing, data analysis and economics. With the new MCS we are looking to develop the next generation of catchment science and engineering leaders able to critically develop and assess technical plans, projects, programs and infrastructures to restore and protect catchment functions for ecological, economic and social benefit.” “This means that both of our Masters programs are diverse – each have a blend of people with different professional backgrounds, from different cultures and with different life experiences. We structure our learning processes to ensure that each cohort gets to know each other really well and is able to learn from each other. In the end, they form a life-long network.”
Climate change means more than just shifting weather patterns, it is changing the way our children live—and when they are expected to die. That is the view of Professor Sharyn Rundle-Thiele, Griffith University's Director of Social Marketing and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Social Marketing. "Evidence shows that for the first time in human history children’s lifespans are forecast to be shorter than their parents predicted lifespan," she said. This is because human behaviour contributing towards climate change is also leading people to be "fatter and unhappier than ever before", Professor Rundle-Thiele said. "Our health and social wellbeing are suffering," she added. Which is why it is so important to deliver the message of climate change to today's youngest generation, so they can have a positive impact on the environment of tomorrow, as well as their own lives.