Our work on water & climate resilience

The Australian Water Partnership has worked to support resilience of communities and ecologies since our inception, and in recent years we have stepped up our engagement on water and climate resilience. We are joining with international water experts to raise the importance of integrated climate, water, and development solutions as we confront the triple challenge of ensuring healthy people, decent livelihoods, and a healthy planet.

Our work emphasises the importance of a socio-ecological approach to understanding climate change and water security risk, particularly in the Indo-Pacific where climate impacts are being felt first through water.

Climate Change and Water Security in the Indo-Pacific Region: Policy Brief (2.8mb)

Water & Climate Stories

We are featuring water and climate stories to showcase how the Australian water sector is taking climate action in Australia and the Indo-Pacific region. These stories  cover adaptation, mitigation and cross-sectoral integration, and contribute to demonstrating Australia’s efforts towards international commitments ahead of the UN Mid-Term Review of the Water Action Decade in March 2023.

A low carbon water industry in a changing world

World-leading greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets for Victoria’s water industry Victoria’s water industry is committed to leading on climate change action – adapting not only to the physical impacts of climate change but reducing its greenhouse gas emissions as we transition to a low-carbon economy. Victoria’s water industry releases almost 900,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas […]

Improving water security for communities in Timor-Leste

Worrying about water is a normal part of everyday life for many people in Timor-Leste. In the village (suco) of Loidahar within the Liquiçá municipality on Timor-Leste’s northern coast, people are heavily dependent on agriculture—which means water is critical to their health and livelihoods. But these communities are suffering from the health and economic impacts […]

Coorong management embracing Ngarrindjeri Knowledge

The health of the Coorong (Kurangk) and surrounding lands and waters are intrinsically linked to the health of the Ngarrindjeri and First Nations of the South East. To help manage these significant waterways into the future the Ngarrindjeri Aboriginal Corporation is partnering with the South Australian Department for Environment and Water (DEW). The Ngarrindjeri Aboriginal […]

Aboriginal Waterways Assessments informing water use at Chowilla Floodplain

First Nations have a deep connection to Country and a profound understanding of South Australia’s water resources, particularly as freshwater systems are fundamental to their culture and identity. This experience and knowledge form the basis of partnerships between First Nations and South Australian Government agencies and aid in restoring climate resilient and healthy waterways along […]

Water recycling supporting premium wine production in South Australia’s McLaren Vale

Located around 40 kilometres south of Adelaide, the McLaren Vale is a premium wine-producing region with over 7,300 hectares of vineyards. It is home to more than 200 producers, including 80 cellar doors. Historically, local groundwater and surface water resources were relied upon for irrigation, commercial and industrial uses. Since the mid-1990s there have been […]

Watering the climate convention

Reflections from COP27 and Cairo Water Week by Lucía Gamarra.  Last month, over 30 thousand people from government, non-government organisations, corporate and civil society gathered in the ‘Bay of the Wise’—aka Sharm El Sheikh—to talk about the climate crisis. The focus of the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP27) was ‘Together […]

The effects of climate change on our waterways and land

An opinion piece by Adina Brown. As a First Nations person, I felt encouraged to hear an Acknowledgement of Country to kick off AWP’s second ‘Sharing Water & Climate Stories’ dialogue, recognising and demonstrating respect to people of diverse backgrounds. Opening the dialogue, Damian Morgan-Bulled explained that practitioners of western science and Traditional Aboriginal knowledge […]

Water Action Agenda for the 2023 UN Water Conference

Australia is gearing up to engage in the upcoming UN 2023 Water Conference. To this end we’d like to alert AWP Partners that they may submit voluntary water-related commitments, pledges, and actions to the Water Action Agenda, which is a key outcome of the Conference. The Agenda seeks to collect voluntary commitments, pledges, and actions, […]

Elevating First Nations voices in approaches to climate resilient water management

As the UN Climate Change Conference COP27 gets underway in Egypt, Indigenous Peoples in Australia are grappling climate impacts. Sonia Cooper, a Yorta Yorta woman raised by her Nan on Cummeragunja, is the Indigenous Co-Author of Australia’s State of the Environment – Climate Chapter. She shares her reflections around recent flooding on her country. Right […]

Opinion: Water for 1.5 — the climate benefits of good water management

By Tony Slatyer, Water Policy Group Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels, as agreed to be pursued under the Paris Agreement, requires everyone to act much more quickly. Good work is already being done by water and sanitation service providers in many countries to reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions. One […]

Sharing Water & Climate Stories – Dialogue Series

As part of our focus on Water and Climate, AWP is hosting a dialogue series on Sharing Water and Climate Stories from August 2022 – February 2023 to bring together water managers across Australia and the Indo-Pacific, Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to share stories of their water resource management and climate adaptation journey.

This dialogue series will create momentum across the Australian water sector on  water and climate action including the use and integration of traditional and Indigenous knowledge as we head towards the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP27 and the UN 2023 Water Conference.

From August 2022 – February 2023, three participatory dialogues will be held to encourage sharing, listening and conversation on the opportunities, challenges, and possible solutions for improving the integration of western science with traditional and indigenous science and practices for better water adaptation planning across the region. Each subsequent dialogue will be developed and adapted based on participants’ discussions, interests and continuous feedback throughout the dialogue series.

Our first dialogue was held on 25 August 2022, where we discussed linkages between water and climate including Indigenous and traditional WRM approaches. A recording of the webinar and presentation slides are below.

Water and Climate Dialogue 1 (PDF, 11822KB)

Dialogue 1 Agenda

10:00 | Acknowledgement of Country and Acknowledgement of Diversity of Cultures – Sonia Cooper, Yorta Yorta
10:05 | Welcome, AWP Overview – Sarah Ransom, AWP
10:10 | Climate and Water Presentation – Scott Power, University of Southern Queensland
10:25 | Case Study 1: Pacific Early Warning Systems in the Solomon Islands – Lloyd Tahani, Solomon Islands Meteorological Service
10:35 | Case Study 2: Using multi-functional hybrid infrastructure to build urban resilience – Jianbin Wang, Water Sensitive Cities Australia
10:45 | Case Study 3: Climate Change Adaptation for Aboriginal Cultural Heritage – Narran Lakes Nature Reserve project – Jason Wilson, Commonwealth Environmental Water Office
10:55 | Adaptation: Limits and challenges – Scott Power, University of Southern Queensland
11:05 | Q&A – Katharine Cross, AWP
11:35 | Integrating Traditional Knowledge – Sonia Cooper, Yorta Yorta
11:50 | Survey & where to from here? – Lucía Gamarra, AWP


Ms Sonia Cooper is a Yorta Yorta woman raised by her Nan on Cummeragunja. She has a strong interest in culture, the environment, science, policy, law, contracts and geopolitics. She works as the Water and Climate Change Research Officer for Yorta Yorta and is a great advocate for the progression of cultural rights and cultural justice. Ms Cooper has been engaged to sit on various boards around the country, including CSIRO’s Indigenous Reference Group in 2019 and science panels during the past 10 years. She is the Indigenous Co-Author of Australia’s State of the Environment – Climate Chapter.


Professor Scott Power is the Director of the Centre for Applied Climate Sciences at UniSQ, an Adjunct Professor in the School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment at Monash University, the manager of Climate Services International, an associate investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes, and a climate expert for the DFAT-funded Australia Pacific Climate Partnership. Scott was previously a Senior Principal Research Scientist and an International Development Officer in the Bureau of Meteorology, and a Coordinating Lead Author of the IPCC WGI report and an author of the IPCC Synthesis Report that informed the Paris Agreement. He has published extensively in the international literature on climate science.


Sarah Ransom profile photoSarah Ransom, Australian Water Partnership. Sarah has fifteen years’ experience in international development, as an Australian diplomat and with the Asian Development Bank and UNDP. Sarah’s technical background is in governance, gender and monitoring and evaluation. She has a particular connection to the Mekong region, having been posted to Laos and Vietnam, where she worked on multistakeholder partnerships in development. Sarah also has significant experience in Indonesia and South Asia, including working on governance, conflict, peacebuilding and women’s rights, and has substantial development policy experience gained during time in AusAID and DFAT.


Lloyd Tahani, Solomon Islands Meteorological Service. As Deputy Director Meteorology Mr Tahani assists with oversight of operations of the Solomon Islands Meteorological Service. He has worked in the Department of the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology for the last 30 years. He has developed a strong sense of commitment in the development of Meteorology and climate services in the Solomon Islands and this experience gave him a deeper appreciation on how Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems can reach the last mile in Solomon Islands.


Jianbin Wang, Water Sensitive Cities Australia. Collaborating with researchers and practitioners from multidisciplinary and multi-sectoral backgrounds, Jianbin translates research into practice and provides transformative responses to emerging urban challenges. He promotes multifunctional infrastructure and applies circular economy approaches to deliver water sensitive city visions at a range of spatial scales, using urban design, landscape architecture and industrial design as integrative platforms. Jianbin has worked extensively with governments, industry and research institutions, and has implemented over 30 on-ground demonstration projects across Australia, China, Singapore and Israel.


Jason Wilson, Commonwealth Environmental Water Office and Narran Lakes Joint Management Committee. Jason is an Aboriginal man (Murri) of the Kennedy-Morgan and Peter’s Families. His Grandfather’s country language is Gomilaroi (Barwon River and North-west NSW) and he’s Grandmother’s Country language is Youalaroi (Narran River and North-west NSW) in the Northern Murray Darling Basin Australia. Jason’s aim is to is to incorporate Aboriginal values into water initiatives within the Commonwealth and NSW Governments. He currently works for the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office as a Local Engagement Officer, and Chairs the Narran Lakes Joint Management Committee tackling Climate Change Adaptation.

Dialogue provided further opportunities for sharing stories about the complexities of applying traditional, Indigenous and community knowledge with western science into climate resilient water resource management. This dialogue sought to provide participants with the opportunity:

  • to dig deeper into where traditional, Indigenous and local knowledge is being applied with western science;
  • to share what has worked well in different contexts;
  • to unravel some of the complexities in working across different cultures and knowledge systems; and
  • to share ideas on possible opportunities for progressing in this space across Australia and the Indo-Pacific.

View the slides from the presentation and recordings below.

The objective of the third dialogue is to link First Nations, local and traditional water knowledge to SDG6, as we approach the mid-term review of the decade on water and the UN 2023 Water Conference. We aim to understand the role that First Nations, local and community knowledge can play in international water development.


The first session was structured as a scene-setting webinar on the linkages between water management and climate change, with a focus on Indigenous water knowledge in Australia and the Indo-Pacific region. It presented examples of locally-led water management activities were presented that consider traditional knowledge and climate risks in their design to have mitigation and adaptation outcomes.

In the second dialogue, First Nations speakers from Australia and the Indo-Pacific Region presented their experiences of engagement with their communities. Participants shared their experiences when engaging with Indigenous Peoples. The dialogue aimed to share the complexities of bringing traditional knowledge and western science together to inform climate resilient water resource management in Australia and the Indo-Pacific.

What we learned

Both sessions raised a number of questions and principles that could be applied to engagement with Indigenous Peoples.  These include: investing in relationships, ensuring there is enough time and flexibility in the program, recognising that knowledge comes in different forms and is not always immediately available to outsiders, that consultation fatigue is a real issue and often communities are approached by multiple researchers yet are not engaged in what happens after data is collected.

Watch the dialogue presentation below or view the slides here.

AWP at international water & climate events

AWP has held a presence and engaged with a range of water actors and stakeholders at a series of international water and climate events, including the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change hosted by Egypt in November 2022. Recordings from these events are now available online.

Find out more about what the Australian Water Partnership is offering through related
events, videos and knowledge products below

Related AWP events

Related AWP knowledge products

Water in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report

Professor Scott B. Power (Director of the Centre for Applied Climate Sciences at the University of Southern Queensland) talks about the latest climate change findings from IPCC’s sixth assessment report released in August 2021—focusing on Working Group 1: The Physical Science Basis—and the implications/net consequences to water. View the presentation below and an overall summary of what the IPCC report is.

Related infographic showing key findings from Scott Power’s presentation

Visual scribe