Digital technologies for a climate resilient water sector

Digital technologies are playing an increasingly important role in supporting climate and disaster resilience and enhancing environmental sustainability. To enhance capacity on application, the Australian Water Partnership (AWP) is supporting the delivery of a 6 week online short course, “Digital technologies for a climate resilient water sector”.

Across Asia and the Pacific region, rapidly changing climate has significant implications for water, people and the environment. In South Asia, glacial melt, seasonal flooding, slow rates of groundwater recharge and severe droughts already impact communities’ livelihoods and subsistence activities. In lower-lying southeast Asian countries, flooding (saltwater and freshwater), salinisation of groundwater resources, coastal inundation and severe cyclone events threaten millions of people. Throughout the Pacific, sea level rise, storms and cyclones, flooding, droughts and changes in rainfall seasonality disrupt traditional behaviours and reliance on natural cycles.

Governance, financial, social and technology approaches can contribute to solutions that address climate and water challenges.. Digital technologies in particular, are playing an increasingly important role in supporting  climate and disaster resilience, and enhancing environmental sustainability.

Digital technologies are being used widely in the water sector to monitor, measure and manage water systems from local to regional scales. For example, hydrological models can be paired with sensors to better optimise storage levels in dams and reservoirs. Furthermore, combining digital technologies such as sensors, smart meters, and pressure control systems can also improve water conservation. These technologies are rapidly evolving, and water managers need to be aware of the range of technologies that can be adopted.

To address this need, the Australian Water Partnership (AWP), together with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the International WaterCentre at Griffith University, is supporting the delivery of an online short course, “Digital technologies for a climate resilient water sector”. Up to 60 participants from across Asia and Pacific region will be attending the 6 week online course which runs from the end of October to early December 2022.

Australia is a leader in the use of digital technologies to monitor, plan and manage the use of water in urban and regional settings. This course aims to leverage this experience to build the capacity of ADB project teams and Developing Member Country counterpart staff from Asia and the Pacific Region, in the knowledge and use of digital technologies to improve water management and inclusive participation in decision-making, in turn contributing to water security and climate change resilience.

The interactive course, will cover the use and application of digital technologies in a variety of water management settings and encourage participants to identify how these technologies could be applied in their own projects. This includes application for urban water and sanitation, river and ecosystem health monitoring, and rural climate resilient water supply and sanitation.

Beyond building knowledge and skill to apply digital technologies, the course provides an opportunity for networking and building contacts between Australia and partners in the Indo-Pacific. There is also an emphasis on the importance of transparency, gender equality, disability and social inclusion, or GEDSI, particularly in relation to gendered impacts, the specific requirements of people with a disability, the elderly and young children, and the nuanced requirements of ethnic minorities.

Learning doesn’t end with the 12-week course. Participants will be forming groups of practice across the region to continue to share knowledge and experiences. A key milestone for participants to reflect and exchange on the experiences in applying digital technologies in water management programs will be an online symposium early in 2023.

Image: Digital Technologies Course banner courtesy of Griffith University
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