Convening partner sessions
Convening Partner sessions are co-managed by a partner organisation and are focused on a particular issue or topic, allowing for significant interaction and exploration. Session times vary from 1.5 hours to half or full-day workshops, and will run in parallel with other sessions.
Water infrastructure needs for Australia’s northern food bowl agenda
Australia’s northern coastline from Broome in the west to Cairns in the east, and the catchments along that coast, represents the world’s largest remaining network of free-flowing, un-regulated rivers. Sixty percent of Australia’s run-off flows through our northern rivers. In a world that needs to increase food production 70% by 2050, and with water resources in the Murray Darling Basin over-allocated and south-western Australia having experienced radical reductions in run-off over the last forty years, surely Australia could and should be doing much more to develop the water resources of the north.
That premise has under-written Australian dreams of northern development for more than a century. In fact the first Commonwealth parliamentary inquiry into the under-development of the north took place in 1912, and its findings led to the establishment of the Northern Territory. Both sides of Australian politics have indicated their interest in Australia achieving several policy goals: meeting the growing need for food in Asia; exploiting new market opportunities in the burgeoning middle classes of China and India in particular; reducing the dependence of Australian agriculture on the water resources of southern Australia; and developing more diverse and productive economies with associated employment benefits across northern Australia through a northern ‘food bowl’.
A key way of achieving these goals is seen to be the construction of several large dams, with associated hydroelectric schemes to generate renewable energy, and irrigation schemes to produce a range of food and possibly fibre crops, underpinning associated processing, transport and marketing infrastructure.
This session will explore how realistic this scenario is, and the opportunities and risks it entails. We will examine it from historical, agricultural, scientific, economic, Indigenous and international perspectives. Participants in this session will leave much more informed about the values of Australia’s northern rivers, the implications of large scale water resource development, and how society could best evaluate proposals for new tropical irrigation schemes.
Australia and the Netherlands: linking people, knowledge and ideas
Netherlands Water Partnership
Over many years Australia and the Netherlands developed a wealth of water-related expertise and experience in areas such as flood management, water conservation, marine infrastructure, water policy & planning and aquatic ecosystems. In recent years, faced by a number of serious floods and droughts, climate adaptation and resilience have risen to the top of the agenda of researchers, practitioners and policy makers in both countries. In the Netherlands, programs such as the Room for the River are driving an important transition from fighting against water towards living with water, ensuring safety for millions of people while also creating new opportunities for urban development and agriculture.
Also in Australia, major policy and infrastructure initiatives are underway to increase the country’s flood resilience. The Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry and its extensive recommendations form an important platform on which a new flood management approach is being established. Recognising their mutual strengths, Australia and the Netherlands aim to learn and benefit from each other’s experiences by combining and exchanging expertise, capacities and knowledge. This session will provide an update on a number of ongoing programs and invite the audience to actively participate, evaluate results and discuss future directions.
Building catchment level engagement through water stewardship
Alliance for Water Stewardship
This session will explore the latest work in the application of a water stewardship approach to catchment level engagement of major water users (generally primary producers). Drawing on case studies from three continents (Australia, Asia and Africa) it will show how the recently released International Water Stewardship Standard is being applied in different contexts and the outcomes being achieved. The session will feature introductory presentations on the water stewardship standard and each of the three case studies followed by a panel discussion with participants in those case studies.
It will allow enough time for a facilitated discussion involving presenters and panel members with the audience to draw out practical experience relevant to different members of the audience. Participants will leave with an overview of how the water stewardship approach works, how it is being applied, the experience of people who have participated and how it might apply in their area of interest.
Coal seam gas and groundwater – Leading Practice
International Energy Centre
Coal seam gas is an internationally significant energy source within many coal basins globally and Australia is a major producer of CSG. Over the past decade significant advances have been made in the management and modelling of ground water associated with CSG in Eastern Australia. The speaker panel, hosted by international water expert Professor Paul Greenfield, will provide a unique insight to leading developments in water management within the Australian industry.
Fitzroy Partnership Basin Blitz
Fitzroy Partnership for River Health
Need ideas to help renovate your next catchment monitoring and reporting project? Trying to decide what coloured paint will perfectly match the waterway health products to best engage your local community? Wondering how to keep the neighbours happy and investing with you and each other while collectively updating those boundary fences?
Join with us as we showcase our first integrated waterway health report card. Our blitz presenters will run through the tricks of their respective trades, as well as reflecting on some blunders. We will run through short overviews on the art of multifaceted partnerships; tips on building collective ownership; making the most of complex unrelated datasets and strategies for communicating results to the wider community.
After this we will provide time for you to pick the brains of the Fitzroy Partnership ‘tradies’ on their specific areas of expertise. Join us as we fasten the nail bag, roll up the sleeves and take a look at what has been achieved in Fitzroy’s backyard to help spark inspiration in freshening up your own catchment monitoring and reporting project.
‘Walking the catchment’ understanding floods for a better future
South East Queensland Healthy Waterways Network and Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection
Flooding is an important natural process. Understanding this can help inform more effective response strategies. The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection in collaboration with Healthy Waterways have produced an online mapping tool that enable the user to virtually ‘walk the catchment’. You can change the landscape attributes and watch how this changes the course of floods. Our interactive workshop will show users how this tool can enable better landuse planning.
This tool could save billions of dollars by educating planners to avoid areas prone to flooding when they are planning new built infrastructure. Better understanding of floods delivered by this project forms an important tool to assist planners and managers to make decisions whilst considering their landscapes as interconnected functioning units. This project aims to explain how landscape elements and natural assets influence flooding. For example vegetation reduces and slows down runoff and floodplains mitigate the flow.
By using the mapping tool we can identify why areas flood in particular ways to more effectively target management interventions, such as restoring catchments or riparian vegetation, or reconnecting a floodplain. It also allows us to take into consideration upstream influences and downstream impacts.
Water Quality Management: The Case for Real Time Monitoring & Reporting
University of Western Australia
Despite recent advances in sensor and communication technologies, water quality monitoring is still primarily undertaken through low to medium frequency physical sampling and testing that only provides selective data for decision support tools. Low sampling frequency, in particular is known to cause poor estimates of true contaminant loads and therefore, the provision of poor advice to decision makers.
This session presents new collaborative research in the area of real-time, smart, soil and water sensor and network technologies and will include a demonstration of novel Chloride ion-specific sensors to illustrate the capabilities of these systems.
Dodging magic bullets: Adapting catchment management for the future
Charles Sturt University and The Australian National University
This session introduces the Climate Change Adaptation Catchment Assessment Framework as a planning tool for natural resource managers. The Framework was developed to consider ‘low-risk’ management options that provide the most benefit to climate change adaptation by: a) either directly addressing or at least not increasing existing stresses, b) implementing ‘no regrets’ measures, and c) intervening with complementary measures that spread risk. It uses an approach called ecosystem-based adaptation and can help plan for climate change adaptation by assessing commonly used catchment management options.
The session is divided into four parts: session introduction, explanation of the Framework, illustration of a catchment case study and facilitated discussion with the audience about the usefulness and applicability of the Framework.
Participants will gain ideas on how to incorporate climate change adaptation into their planning and management processes.
Linking people, projects and pathways to achieve our purpose
Peter Cullen Trust
Peter Cullen is remembered for his superb capacity to synthesize and communicate complex ideas, simply and clearly, to local communities, policy makers and politicians in a way that supported them to make decisions and take action. The Peter Cullen Trust (PCT) builds on this legacy by strengthening the bridges between science, policy and stakeholders in water-system management through the Science to Policy Leadership Program.
The Leadership Program is an innovative and inspirational approach to building leadership and communication skills specifically geared to bringing about positive change in water and catchment management in Australia. This convening partner session is designed to take the audience on a journey using real life national and international examples to facilitate open and creative discussions around the Science to Policy Integration philosophy, specifically within the Theme of Linking Water Energy and Food.
Three case studies, presented by Fellows of the Peter Cullen Trust Leadership Program, will showcase current projects that exemplify how we can link research to decisions and policies, develop bridging science strategies and management frameworks and build effective monitoring and evaluation frameworks. A key aspect of the presentations will be the examination of traditional communication approaches and how this is leading towards a change in the way research is conceived, conducted and communicated and how this can be used to encourage multi-stakeholder engagement and increase river management policy and on-ground outcomes. To wrap up, an open panel discussion will be convened to facilitate discussion on strategies for linking research to decisions and policies in Australia and overseas.
Assesing Progress in Australian Water Reform
National Water Commission
Implementing the National Water Initiative is a complex and challenging task for national, state and territory governments. Australia’s water reform agenda has now been in place for nine years and the National Water Commission (NWC) will describe the approach to be used in the 2014 assessment of progress.
An overview of monitoring and evaluation programs for water plans will be given, along with information on the mechanisms currently being used to achieve sustainable levels of extraction. Participants will be asked to comment on the NWC’s evaluation approaches and to engage in a wider discussion about the successes and failures of NWI implementation.
The essential environmental water holder toolkit – use, carryover and trade
Victorian Environmental Water Holders
To use, carryover or trade environmental water? Where, when and how should environmental water be managed? These are fundamental questions facing all environmental water holders. Add delivery constraints, other entitlement holders, water-dependent recreation and changing seasonal conditions into the mix and you’re beginning to scratch the surface of the complex world of environmental water management.
When making decisions, the Victorian Environmental Water Holder (VEWH) must consider these and many other aspects, including complimentary measures and water sources, to determine what will have the greatest benefit to the environment. Entering its third year of operation, the VEWH is forging ahead with innovative and progressive decision making to maximise the value from its Water Holdings. This has included selling allocation in one system and buying in another unconnected system, using trade as a critical tool to address differences in demand and supply across Victoria.
Making and implementing these decisions is only part of the story – creative and effective communication of decisions and environmental outcomes is vital. The VEWH’s layered approach to communications and engagement ensures information is available to enable delivery partners to do their job, while other stakeholders, including local communities, are kept informed in unique ways.
Tiers of challenge: global, national and local responses to the challenges of the water, food and energy nexus
International RiverFoundation and International Hydropower Association
This session explores how global sustainable development goals and nation building programs that focus on infrastructure development in the water, energy and food sectors translate to projects on ground.
Each speaker will present leading industry case studies across agriculture, viticulture, sustainable hydropower and desalination that show the opportunities to optimizing infrastructure and the benefits to the interdependencies of the nexus.
Delegates will also examine with the panel the broad implications of rising costs and the technological lock-in of water infrastructure, energy generation and agricultural systems. A key theme to be discussed is innovation and technology including contemporary approaches to using finance, protocols and markets to attain objectives in water quality improvements.
Water security and business: global trends and application for Australia
World Wide Fund for Nature
The majority of the world’s water is diverted and used by commercial businesses: ~70% in agriculture and ~10% in other industries. While governments may regulate to manage these resources more sustainably, in many places around the world governance is inadequate to achieve high standards of water stewardship. This session will explore a range of non-government initiatives linking businesses and civil society organisations to consider the extent to which they may raise standards of water governance. The session is intended to inspire catchment management authority, civil society, business and academic participants in the Riversymposium to consider how they may be able to apply these tools. Convened by WWF, the session will focus on the Asia-Pacific region and conclude by examining the potential for the application of these measures in Australia.