CSIRO: supporting water resource management in large international basins

Dr Peter Wallbrink, research director for basin management outcomes at the CSIRO speaks about supporting water resource management in large international basins at the 2016 IWA World Water Congress and Exhibition, Brisbane, Australia.


This program has an international outlook and aims to deliver impact and value in the area of integrated water resource management.

Globally, 1.8 billion people live with water scarcity or water stress, and a further 1.8 billion people live with economic water stress, resulting from inadequate or non-existent infrastructure. Ten years from now, it is estimated that half of the global population will be experiencing water scarcity or water stress. At present, there are enormous investments being made to address water infrastructure challenges.

CSIRO compliments these investments by taking a basin-based approach for monitoring, managing, and decision-making. The basin approach, whereby the basin is understood to be a closed system of a hydrological unit, is an international concept that makes sense for learning across countries and cultures. CSIRO has the expertise to work to address the complexities that are common in international, transboundary basins.

The basin-based approach allows for the understanding of water and land resources, which then leads to evidence-driven decision making, insofar as how to improve productivity. Following this, strategic investments can be made to improve or create infrastructure.

CSIRO uses science to support cooperation and dialogue around future states – taking into account climate change, new infrastructure (dam construction and associated positive and negative consequences, for example), and population change — to identify conditions and impacts through the use of models. This approach serves to reduce the potential for conflict among upstream and downstream riparian stakeholders along a transboundary basin. This evidence-based research and science future dialogues approach is being used to support decision-making in the following transboundary basins: Indus, Koshi, Brahmaputra, and Brahmani.

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