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Water Resources: Planning for Climate Change

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Water resources in Australia are carefully managed to support agriculture, the environment, and drinking water supplies. They also provide social and cultural benefits. Climate change has the potential to drastically impact water availability, with many projections pointing to drying conditions in Australia’s south-eastern states, including the productive Murray Darling Basin. 

Current models for water flow predictions are highly varied. While some predict 50% less flow for some rivers by the end of the century, others project up to 30% more. With this in mind, we need to ask: how can we plan for change in the context of this uncertainty? What tools and strategies can we use to make robust decisions and navigate potential competition for dwindling resources?
 

This seminar explores these challenges through the perspectives of water resource experts in the industry, government, and research.

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Meet the panelists

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Amanda Shipp, Environmental Engineer, Alluvium Consulting

Amanda has been working with waterway and water resource managers across Victoria and NSW over the last 10 years to support the effective use of water resources to protect environmental values. Amanda has worked on over 15 environmental flow requirements investigations on rivers and estuaries, including water infrastructure at Toorale National Park to increase flows to the Darling River, Carrs Capitts and Bunberoo Creeks on the Murray floodplain. Amanda recently led the consulting team working with Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) to delivery Stage 1A of Enhanced Environmental Water Delivery (EEWD). This project aims to provide tools, strategies and an enabling environment to support the coordination of flows across the Southern Connected Basin.

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Dr. Lisa Lowe, Senior Manager, Sustainable Water Strategies, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP)

Dr. Lisa Lowe has been working in the Victorian water sector for over 20 years across the public sector and in consultancy. Lisa currently leads the team for Sustainable Water Strategies at the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), who are responsible for understanding and planning for the impact that climate change will have on water availability. Lisa's recent major projects include developing the new Central and Gippsland Region Sustainable Water Strategy, undertaking Victoria’s first Long-Term Water Resource Assessment and contributing to the Guidelines for Assessing the Impact of Climate Change on Water Supplies in Victoria. 

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Dr. Andrew John, Research Fellow, Department of Infrastructure Engineering, Faculty of Information Technology, The University of Melbourne

Dr. Andrew John is a researcher in hydrology, water resources- and ecohydrological impacts of climate change. He specialises in integrated ecohydrological modelling, including the design of water resource planning models that are suited to exploring uncertainties in climate, hydrological, and ecological change. Such models and methods require a cross-disciplinary approach to bring together knowledge across multiple fields. Andrew's research has involved extensive modelled of river systems in northern Victoria, investigating the potential for robust options to adapt freshwater ecosystems and other water management objectives to climate change. Andrew is also experienced in consulting and government roles relating to engineering hydrology and the design of water infrastructure.

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Associate Professor Avril Horne, Arc Discovery Early Career Researcher (Decra), Infrastructure Engineering, The University of Melbourne (Chair) 

Dr. Avril Horne is a water policy specialist, with a rare combination of experience across economics, hydrology and policy. As Assistant Director in the water group at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, she was heavily involved in developing water trading rules for the Murray Darling Basin Plan. Avril returned to academia in 2014, working on projects to develop tools and systems to assist efficient and adaptive environmental water management, including; allocation mechanisms, institutional arrangements for environmental water, and reallocation policies between water sectors. Avril is lead editor of 'Water for the Environment: From Policy and Science to Implementation and Management', which contains contributions from over 50 leading scientists and practitioners. 

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