UNSW GWI
 
 
Welcome to the 6th GWI newsletter for 2020. The Faculty of Arts and Social Science at UNSW is home to a number of staff and students who are vital members of the UNSW water community. Consequently, the premise that price signals are needed to direct future students into STEM over humanities courses in line with future employment opportunities is not consistent with what is happening in the Australian water industry - which is emphasising the customer and livability. Just as the commonwealth made its announcement on undergraduate fees, the NSW Auditor General published a report on the lack of progress in securing water supplies for the seven million residents that will call Sydney home by 2035. Let’s be clear: An army of new STEM graduates is not the missing ingredient in a new water supply portfolio for Sydney. The industry already has access to the best technology, project delivery and risk management processes for potable reuse, desalination, stormwater harvesting and blue-green infrastructure. The Water Services Association of Australia has vigorously promoted “All options on the table” to politicians to secure climate independent water supplies for East coast cities; just as Perth, Singapore and parts of Southern California did almost 20 years ago. What’s is the missing ingredient? Consultation with the community; engagement with customers; articulating a vision; political leadership. These skills are found in the study of arts and social sciences, which is why Matthew Kearns from the Environmental Humanities group is part of the team working on the town of Uralla’s future water supply options project supported by the Department of Industry and Environment 'Increasing Resilience to Climate Change' (IRCC) community grant. Similarly, it is why Alice Bleby from the Faculty of Law is part of a network with Kings College London working on legal and regulatory approaches to resolving issues around governance and resource allocation at the intersection of water and energy; and, why this month’s PhD student in focus is Andrew Symington, who is working on problems at the intersection of water management, environmental protection, human rights and mining practices in the lithium supply chain. Law, arts and social sciences are critical to water resource issues. We discourage scholarship in arts and social science at our peril!
 
In other news, a multidisciplinary team of ecologists and hydrologists, led by Celine Steinfeld of the Centre for Ecosystem Science, published the results of a study on how the application of complex and opaque water plans have resulted in significant differences in long-term water availability for the Gwydir compared to the Macquarie river in the north central Murray Darling Basin. The Dharriwaa Elders Group in Walgett, in partnership with the Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service and UNSW’s Yuwaya Ngarra-Li partnership also received a DPIE Increasing Resilience to Climate change (IRCC) community grant to purchase more water efficient garden beds for the WAMS community garden as part of the Food and Water For Life Project. Ben Milligan from the Faculty of Law finalised details of a project funded by the World Bank to work with the University of the South Pacific’s Micronesian Centre for Sustainable Transport on governance and finance elements of the Pacific Blue Shipping Partnership (PBSP); Stuart Khan will deliver a keynote address with other national and international bushfire experts at the International RiverFoundation’s Rivers on Fire symposium on 6th-7th July and Veljko Prodanovic of the Water GUM group will lead two webinars on water sensitive urban design on behalf of Stormwater Australia on the 15th and 22nd of July.
 
Finally, the next instalment in the Global Water Matter’s podcast featuring Jane Doolan of the Productivity Commission will be available via soundcloud next week, and abstract submissions open on the 1st of July for the 2020 Symposium on Lithium Supply Chain for a Green and Mobile Energy Future.
 
We hope you enjoy this months edition of the UNSW-GWI newsletter and thanks for your continued support.
 
Prof Greg Leslie
Director, UNSW Global Water Institute
 
Latest News
 
 
Water efficient garden beds to be installed in Walgett
 
One of Walgett's 'Food and Water For Life' Working Group projects is underway. Financial assistance from the NSW Department of Planning, Industry & Environment will pay for the installation of 48 new water-efficient garden beds so that the Community Garden's output will be increased, more water efficient and stable regardless of climate.
 
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Improving water security in the Uralla Shire
 
UNSW-GWI researchers are collaborating with Z-Net Uralla, to address water security in the Uralla Shire Council through an extensive community consultation process. The project is funded by the NSW Department of Planning, Industry & Environment under an Increasing Resilience to Climate Change community grant. 
 
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'Black box' of rules hampers management of Murray-Darling flows
 
The often-overlooked “human factor” in water management rules can have serious consequences for water supply for both irrigated agriculture and the environment, new UNSW Sydney research has found. The study, led by UNSW's Dr Celine Steinfeld, investigated the elaborate myriad of decisions that river managers make about how to allocate and account for the water available.
 
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Upcoming webinars to explore the state of Water Sensitive Urban Design in NSW
 
UNSW's School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Water Research Centre (WaterGUM group) and Stormwater NSW are running two stormwater and waterway protection stakeholder engagement webinars this July. The two-part webinar series will aseess where NSW sits in the adoption of WSUD stormwater solutions and explore the barriers and challenges standing in the way of the transition towards more sustainable practices - and your input is needed!
 
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UNSW and Kings College launch Energy-Water-Food Nexus reading group
 
Carley Bartlett, Alice Bleby and Ayse Didem Sezgin planned to meet at Kings College London in May to co-host a reading group on the Energy-Water-Food Nexus. When COVID-19 halted travel, the students decided to continue their international collaboration anyway, holding a successful reading group session online.
 
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UNSW works with eight Pacific Island nations through Pacific Blue Shipping Partnership
 
A new project funded by the World Bank will support work between UNSW and the Micronesian Centre for Sustainable Transport at the University of the South Pacific on implementation of the Pacific Blue Shipping Partnership (PBSP).
 
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In Profile
 
 
Introducing Andrew Symington, PhD Student
 
In his career as a travel writer, Andrew Symington has often visited the spectacular salt flats of Argentina, Bolivia and Chile, memorably set in the arid, beautiful Andes highlands. He was always intrigued by the Indigenous communities that lived there and the complex interactions between mining and traditional culture, and is now exploring these interactions in depth with a specific focus on lithium extraction.
 
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Coming Up
 
 
RiverTalk: Rivers on fire - Featuring keynote speaker Prof Stuart Khan
 
UNSW's Prof Stuart Khan is a keynote speaker at the International RiverFoundation's upcoming 'Rivers on Fire' virtual event, where he will present on the topic of 'Cities without water - How bushfires impact Australia's drinking water supplies'. Held on 6-7 July, Rivers on Fire will bring people together to create a call for action to address the effects of fire on waterways and their surrounding communities. 
 
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Webinar: 10 Year Celebration of the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation
 
.In light of the 10 year anniversary of the recognition of the human rights to water and sanitation by the United Nations General Assembly, Human Rights 2 Water’s Webinar takes the opportunity to interview expert panellists from a to share learnings and stories from countries around the world that are making strides in this challenging arena.
 
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Symposium on Lithium Supply Chain - Keynotes announced and abstracts opening soon!
 
Abstracts are being accpted from 1 July for the 2020 Symposium on Lithium Supply Chain for a Green and Mobile Energy Future. The symposium will be held at UNSW Sydney CBD Campus on Thursday 19 - Friday 20 November 2020, with confirmed eynote speakers including industry experts Daniel Jimenez and Alexander Grant.
Image credit: Andrew Symington
 
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Read past issues of the UNSW Global Water Institute Newsletter in our website archive.
 
 
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