Rhys Anderson

Rhys Anderson

Rhys Anderson, Australia

Rhys is the Water Business Leader for Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania at Arup, based in Melbourne. He is an innovative thinker and has experience in water recycling and reuse projects, stormwater management and the integration of water into the urban landscape. In 2014, Rhys was recognised to be in the Top 30 under 30 by the Property Council of Australia and also received the Future Leader Gold Award from Consult Australia. Rhys was also awarded the 2016 Young Water Professional at the Victorian Water Awards. Rhys is the vice chair on the industry advisory committee to La Trobe University’s Engineering School, sits on the Australian Water Association’s Vic Branch Committee, and the AWA Water Recycling Specialist Network Committee.

Presentation Title: Urban swimmability: A driver for sustainable and liveable cities

Globally, urban waterways have been too polluted to swim in, however there is a growing push to enhance livability and amenity by cleaning up our city rivers. Urban waterway swimmability is gaining momentum around the world and stems from the recognition that our rivers deserve our respect. More and more rivers are being seen as natural city assets that we need to reinvest in. People are reconnecting with the waterways as urban developments look to enhance their usage. The swimmability of rivers is not just about swimming, it is also an indication that water is managed sustainably throughout an entire city. If a city has improved its urban waterways up to a swimmable standard, then it’s a sign that they’ve put in place all the elements needed to sustainably manage water running through the city.  The associated benefits of this are almost limitless, ranging from reduced urban heat island to a thriving urban forest. Swimmable rivers indicates  that they’ve minimised the pumping of water from the river for industrial and other uses and has stopped, or are effectively managing the discharging waste water back into the river. Stormwater runoff still remains a significant hurdle to cleaner rivers. However, there’s a growing recognition from urban planners and designers that stormwater can be a resource harnessed for reused within the landscape, for watering parks and gardens, toilet flushing, and other non-potable uses. We will present how urban swimmability in rivers could be the catalyst for engaging with the community in order to drive significant change and bring attention to water quality, ecological health and liveability. This will include a presentation of a number of global and local initiatives, including the Yarra Pool in Melbourne, Plus Pool in New York and river swimming in Montreal.

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