Building Capacity for Development Through Managing Water Quality
Building on the success of the Asia-Australia Water Learning Week 2016: Building capacity for managing water scarcity in irrigation held in southern Australia in December 2016, the Australian Water Partnership (AWP) want to continue to showcase Australian knowledge and experience in water management to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and its Developing Member Countries (DMCs). This is in response to challenges in Asian economies where water management issues are proving costly to different sectors including, but not limited to, urban development, rural livelihoods, agricultural productivity as well as human and environmental wellbeing.
ADB’s Water Operational Plan 2011-2020 (The Plan) highlights the urgency of addressing water quality in the Asia-Pacific region. The Plan pushes for policy reforms that support tougher regulatory regimes and effective enforcement and increased investments in river clean-up and rehabilitation, noting the need to conserve water and the growing community concerns about the health of the rivers.
Australia has sophisticated water quality technology and capacity development programs which would serve as useful knowledge exchange with Asia, as well as innovative ways to involve different stakeholders in management solutions to educate the public, diffuse conflict and enable development. The network of partners within the AWP collectively have many case studies and perspectives to demonstrate the importance of managing water quality for productive purposes, for example, catchment management authorities, river restoration projects, the management of dams in conjunction with community education programs and the use of report cards to communicate complex science to multiple target audiences.
DMCs identified by the ADB to attend the Water Learning Week would directly benefit from knowledge exchange based on this topic in Australia. The program will be based in Queensland, and showcase the State’s approach to water quality management and will provide the opportunity for DMCs to directly establish strategies for addressing The Plan. This will also translate Australian lessons and experiences to an Asian development context as well as allow access to a network of professionals in Australia. Demonstrating water management expertise in Queensland will also showcase a new region to the ADB and its DMCs to further promote the diversity of AWP’s network.
By participating in the Water Learning Week, nominated DMCs will be exposed to Australian water management expertise for transitional and transformational growth in water-related projects. It also aligns with the needs of the ADB and its DMCs as the drive to develop, particularly in urban areas and agricultural productivity to meet the rising food security needs, is resulting in water quality issues for domestic purposes, such as drinking, as well as ecosystem functions needed to maintain environmental wellbeing. Finally, building networks with Australian organisations allows for strategic alignment and proactive facilitation of ongoing growth and promotion of water management in the Asian region.
The Asia-Australia Water Learning Week 2017 will commence in Brisbane, Australia 3-9 December 2017 and will be hosted and facilitated by the International WaterCentre.
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