Australian Partners

LaTrobe University

La Trobe University is well placed to advance the AWP’s Vision for the effective and equitable management of water resources in the Indo-Pacific by bringing together expertise in supporting inclusive economic development, improving water security, and reducing environmental and social impacts, and regional tensions.

Our Research Focus Area ‘Securing Food, Water and the Environment’ reflects significant strengths in freshwater ecology and the provision of advice and solutions to water managers (Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre:; water policy and management choices and their impact water users, under increased competition for water resources, and crossing multiple jurisdictions (Centre for Water Policy and Management:; groundwater extent, connectedness, movement, extraction, transport and ecology; and hydrology, agricultural water use, remote sensing, systems modelling and irrigation.

Our Institute for Human Security and Social Change ( supports agents of progressive social change in development; furthers the interaction of high-quality research, policy and practice, with a particular focus on engaging nationally, in Asia and the Pacific; and offers specialist expertise in collective action, leadership, gender, participatory development practice, and assessment and accountability.

We recently launched our La Trobe Asia initiative ( which takes a whole-of-University perspective on Asia in teaching, research and external engagement. It taps into an active, policy-relevant research community, with extensive external networks in Asia, including with universities, governments, think tanks and non-government organisations. La Trobe Asia hosts visiting academics and experts, organises public events, seminars and conferences, and leads and informs public debate.

• Better understanding of water policy and management choices and impacts
• Water resource competition and governance across multiple jurisdictions
• Freshwater ecology knowledge generation
• Surface and groundwater connectedness, flow regimes, hydrology and soil water
• Engagement between the Australian water sector and regional stakeholders
• Leading and informing public debate, hosting events, strengthening regional networks
• High-level and complex research to improve international development practice
• Progressive social change in domestic and international development
• Indo-Pacific stakeholders connected with active, policy-relevant water research
• Sharing knowledge and expertise around water reform

  • Institutions for managing water allocations (various projects)
    Institutions to achieve more productive irrigation in India and Pakistan (ACIAR): The project considers the economics of centralised versus decentralised water management in selected irrigation areas in the Sindh and Punjab provinces of Pakistan and the state of Bihar in east India. / Lessons for Peru from Australian water reform (Austrade): Australia is increasingly being acknowledged as a world leader in water policy reform, evident in calls from countries experiencing increased water scarcity and the challenges of instigating pricing reform, entitlement systems and in some cases trading regimes. This project developed succinct lessons about water reform for Peruvian water managers.
  • Understanding the value of Melbourne’s waterways (Melbourne Water)
    Melbourne’ numerous waterways provide both ecological and amenity benefits; but processes for separating and measuring these are contested. This project provided a framework for measuring the different ecological and amenity values of urban waterways. The project outcomes provided input to water planning for Melbourne Water and improved the works prioritisation process.
  • CWPM Water Forum (7th Water Forum was held in 2014: Water and Values)
    It’s difficult to have a conversation about water in Australia without using the word ‘value’, whether its ecologists talking about the environmental worth of a wetland, agriculturalists choosing between irrigated crops, miners discussing the risks of coal seam gas extraction, economists promoting the benefits of water markets, engineers seeking the best technical outcome or an individual claiming to represent community opinion. The 2014 Water Forum focused on values and water and presented high-calibre keynote speakers covering environmental water, urban water and agricultural water. The Forum attracted 110 practitioners, policy makers, researchers and resource managers.
  • Quantifying improved fisheries productivity at fish passage rehabilitation sites in Lao PDR (ACIAR)
    Capture fisheries in the Lower Mekong Basin are often the main source of protein and cash income for river communities, but rice production is equally important and is actively farmed in all provinces of Lao PDR. Most rice production occurs on floodplains, which are being extensively developed with flood control and irrigation systems. Although it is advantageous for rice growing, this infrastructure blocks important migration pathways for fish seeking access to critical nursery and feeding habitats. The focus of this study is to provide the scientific conservation and economic evidence required to conclusively substantiate broad-scale fisheries recovery.
  • A suite of projects by the Research Centre for Applied Alpine Ecology (including Department of Ecology, Environment and Evolution, and MDFRC): aquatic ecology, peatland hydrology and biogeochemistry and carbon and nutrient cycling in headwater streams
    The Australian alps are one of the highest water-yielding landscapes in Australia. This research seeks to understand the relationships between hydrology, carbon and nutrient cycling, and the water-dependent flora and fauna in these systems. Alpine peatlands are closely associated with the source waters of alpine streams. This research aims to test potentially important ecosystem services, and to understand the effects of hydrological disturbance (e.g. engineering works). The flora and fauna of alpine ecosystems are linked through the aquatic carbon cycle. This research is interested in the production of organic carbon, and the usage of both aquatic and terrestrial carbon sources in headwater streams.
  • A suite of projects in the Institute for Human Security and Social Change
    The Red Cross in Australia and Nepal funded a project to understand behaviour change relating to water, sanitation and hygiene in Nepal. The aim of this research is to inform the sustained behaviour change in this important public health area. The World Health Organization and other funders have supported two projects investigating the effects of climate change and water-related stressors on migration patterns in Mekong countries and the Pacific (Fiji).
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