The annual UQ Water forum seeks to showcase initiatives and new knowledge on water management, behaviours and knowledge around water consumption, and needs for water sanitation and hygiene.
The annual UQ Water forum seeks to showcase initiatives and new knowledge on water management, behaviours and knowledge around water consumption, and needs for water sanitation and hygiene.

THE GCI Sustainable Water Program runs the annual UQ Water Forum as a networking event to boost familiarity among UQ researchers of their colleagues’ work, and showcase initiatives and new knowledge on water management, behaviours and knowledge around water consumption, and needs for water sanitation and hygiene.

In August 2015, this two-day event attracted more than 100 researchers each day from across the university who engaged with key invited external guests on current and emerging water impact issues, and sustainable and innovative responses.

Four half-day discussion sessions were hosted with 35 'lightning' presentations within the key program themes of Water for the Environment, Water for Productive Economies, Water for Cities, and Water-resilient Communities. The strong attendance and positive feedback emphasised the value of this forum. 

VIP Breakfast 

In addition, the forum included a VIP Water Breakfast, which was a key highlight of the forum. The breakfast event featured a discussion panel with Queensland Chief Scientist, Dr Geoff Garrett, SEQWater Board Member, Adjunct Professor Leith Boully, and Chair of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation and Healthy Waterways, Professor Paul Greenfield. Each spoke about the future of water in Queensland from a different perspective. This included a review of stewardship needs and options, funding and visions, and the current ‘state of play’.

The key messages that they shared were the importance of communication to non-scientists- including the ‘translation’ of research; the power of partnerships with a clear shared visions; and the importance of a ‘whole of system’ understanding of water resources where social, economic and environmental aspects are considered to ensure a water secure future. The poem about river management partnerships, written and presented by Adjunct Professor Boully is available below.

Slides are available for many of the 2015 lightning presentations within the four half-day sessions:

Session 1 – Water for the Environment 
Helen Ross (SAFS) – Social and cultural values towards waterways 
Chris Greig (UQEI) – The energy-water nexus: An array of extreme risks laced with opportunity 
Susanne Schmidt (SAFS) – Riparian reforestation rapidly promotes water infiltration 
Joshua Larsen (GPEM) – How much water does the world have? 
Ka Leung Lam (Chem Eng) – Crisis response results in long-term reductions in urban water consumption and energy use in a water supply system 
Matthew Hayes (SBS) – Mangroves are groundwater dependent ecosystems 
Craig Froome (GCI) – Small Island Developing Nations – The Water Energy Nexus 
Jane O’Sullivan (SAFS) – Aquatic food production: Tensions between human needs and environmental impacts 
Wayne Hall (CYSA) – Ethical and legal issues in using wastewater to monitor illicit drug use in the general population and in special settings such as schools and prisons 
Matthew Adams (Chem Eng) – Oxygen: an important and highly dynamic water constituent in aquatic ecosystems 

Session 2 – Water for Productive Economies 
Wayne Bryden (SAFS) – Food: How often do you have a liquid lunch? 
Greg Keir (CWMI) – Estimating groundwater use in Queensland’s coal seam gas basins 
Jim Undershultz (CCSG) – Estimating baseline conditions of hydrocarbon in groundwater 
Laura Wendling (SAFS) – Wealth from waste: the beneficial reuse of low-cost materials as substrate in water treatment wetlands 
Lynda Lawson & Danellie Lynas (SMI) – Buruli Ulcer: Water, Mining & Community Health 
Sue Vink (SMI) – Environmental Flow Framework for Peru 
Franziska Curran (EPRG) – Understanding causal structures of energy and water impoverishment to enhance development interventions 
Trang Huynh (SMI) – Monitoring bioavailability of metals and metalloids in river water receiving mine water discharge 
Liam Byrnes (SAFS) – Incorporating the energy-water-food nexus for communities ‘in transition’ 

Session 3 – Water for Cities 
Angela Dean (ISSR) – Engaging communities in water-related issues 
Yvette Bettini & Brian Head (ISSR) – Delivering public good through urban water management: a review of governance and practice in Australian Cities 
Declan Hearne (IWC) – Social contracts: A framework for building reliable urban water supply services in Eastern Indonesia? 
Ali Farhat (AWMC) – Removal of Persistent Organic Contaminants via Electro-chemically activated Sulfate 
Bruce Mortimer (UQBS) – Dominant stories and their influence on strategic decision-making for the water industry 
Steve Kenway (Chemical Eng) – Urban metabolism analysis will help find pathways for energy-efficient water systems 
Wilson Cabral de Sousa Jr – Water: Drought, crisis and management in Australia and Brazil – a comparative framework 
Jochen Mueller – A new approach for identifying chemical hazards in water 
Session 4 – Water-resilient Communities 
Paul Jagals (SPH) – Water and Wellbeing: Investing in the Environmental Health of Communities in Developing Country Settings 
Mark Moran (ISSR) – When solutions became the problem: Adaptive responses to complex 
Amy McMahon (SSS) – Water Security, Gender and Climate Change in Bangladesh 
Annika Kearton (IWC) – Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change for Water Sanitation & Hygiene problems 
Peter Hill (SPH) – Are we diluting water in the proposed Sustainable Development Goals? 
Regina Souter (IWC) – Community-based sanitation markets in Melanesia
Timothy O’Rourke (SA) – Water for Aboriginal yards in dry landscapes 
Sara Dolnicar (UQBS) – We can clean it, but they don't want to drink it! 


Why Partnerships?

By Adjunct Professor Leith Boully, SEQWater Board member

Presented to describe the Murray-Darling Basin partnership process and stakeholder, at the 2015 UQ Water Forum -- VIP Water Breakfast (19 August 2015)

Six disconnected people looking at their dying river
While governments made promises, conducting endless meetings
Single issues, confusing policy and process by the mile
Politics is served but will the river smile?

Each person possessed a piece of wisdom
None prepared to share
For trust was lost
And self interest reigned supreme.

Rejected as a greenie by those around
One woman held her knowledge dear
Her values could not compete
Until others came to meet

The irrigator looked across the river
And saw things he did not like
But could not bring himself to give
His help to solve this frightful plight

The third person looked in wonder
And gave the oldies shirt tails gentle tug
But why should she try to talk
When they didn’t want to hear

The businessman from town sat back and stared
At the wealth he had in hand
He pondered how to keep his clients
Through staying silent as they fought

The koori’s face was one of sadness
She saw timeless knowledge lost forever
She felt the river crying
As land and people disconnected

The last man of this melancholy group
Had science to ease the pain
But would only give to those who paid
To him, it promised great financial gain

So, the mighty river sighed and died
It died from people’s lack of trust
And precious knowledge left to rust

Just think of how it might have been
If only they had had found a way
To share their wisdom and work together
To save their precious river.

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