- 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.
“Everyone is so focused on their ‘now’ and not always thinking about the environment, which is longer term… So, we need to be better at looking after it. We need to think about everyone else, and not just ourselves.” Andrea grew up in Milwaukee, on the banks of Lake Michigan, one of the five Great Lakes of North America. Milwaukee is surrounded by water, lying along the confluence of three rivers: the Menomonee, the Kinnickinnic, and the Milwaukee. Smaller rivers, such as the Root River and Lincoln Creek, also flow through the city. Andrea credits growing up in this environment to her early decision to study Environmental Engineering and Geology at Northwestern University in Chicago. “We would often go down to the lake in the summer with friends, but even in the winter we’d be down there doing the polar plunge each New Year’s Day. My mum was also big about always getting us outside and picking up bugs and climbing trees, so that definitely influenced my decision to study it.” After graduating, Andrea worked with an environmental consultancy in Milwaukee. She investigated and cleaned up spills, detritus and contamination in the surrounding lakes and rivers, preferring to spend time in the field, in the natural environment, rather than behind a desk. During her time at the consultancy, she found herself gravitating toward the practical aspects of water resource management. “I’m really passionate about health and being proactive, and actually doing things … most of the work I was doing at the environmental consultancy was more back-end work – I was always cleaning up messes that had already been made, so I wanted to be to get into preventing these things from happening in the first place.”
Elise Allely-Ferme has been shaped by the water in the places she has called home. From childhood memories of the rivers of Mali to the looming snow-capped mountains of Switzerland. From her studies on water-stressed East Anglia in the UK, to the marshlands of Normandie in France; water, and the complexity of how it is managed, has been a central feature of her life so far. Elise has followed her passion for wetland conversation and understanding the social dynamics around water to join the IWC in Brisbane, Australia as one of three international students selected to study the Master of Integrated Water Management (MIWM) on a full scholarship in 2018. Below Elise shares with us what led her to the water sector, what her passions are and why she came to Australia to study the MIMW.
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.
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.