The Asia-Australia Water Learning Week, run by the International WaterCentre and supported by the Asia Development Bank (ADB), was a study tour aimed at generating new networks and building capacity of participants working within the irrigation sub-sector to i) manage water resources and prepare for water scarcity through policy, regulation and technological enhancements; and ii) explore practices to improve agriculture water productivity.
Twenty-five water professionals from six Asian countries (Sri Lanka, India, Vietnam, Peoples Republic of China, Myanmar and Indonesia) joined staff from the ADB in Manila on the study tour. From Melbourne they travelled to Goulburn Weir, Tatura, Wyuna, Rochester, Barmah Lakes (Echuca & Moira), Deniliquin, Jerilderie, Coleambally, Griffith, Gogeldrie Weir and Leeton, before finishing their tour in Canberra. This itinerary exposed them to dairy and rice farms, a Catchment Management Authority, Barmah National Park (a river-floodplain park), a rice R&D institute, water supply infrastructure and irrigation operators.
These sites were visited to facilitate the sharing of experiences and insights between participants and Australian experts, policy makers and practitioners, with a specific focus on the key themes, including:
- Responding to major droughts
- Governance and institutional arrangements
- Water planning and allocation
- Implementing water entitlements and allocations
- Farm scale initiatives and involvement in catchment planning
- Technological enhancements to improve productivity and water efficiencies.
The program was well-received as gauged by a post-course survey, and all participants said they will encourage their organisations to develop new policies, practices and tools based on their learning.
Read more at the International WaterCentre.