Having overseas delegates declare they have a better perspective on their local water issues following a study tour of water sensitive cities initiatives in Australia is the best possible outcome.

It’s certainly the message the CRCWSC received from delegates from the Botswana Ministry for Water, Land and Sanitation, who visited Australia in late June to learn about water sensitive cities. The CRCWSC hosted the delegation as part of our partnership with World Bank, to improve urban water management in developing countries.

Following the visit, the feedback from the Hon. Kefentse Mzwinila, Minister for Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services and his colleagues was very positive. The Minister reported they now have a stronger focus on the integration of land and water management and the value of a portfolio of large and small, supply and demand side solutions to the water challenges they face in Botswana.

The five-member Botswana delegation participated in a full program of activities during the week-long visit.

Botswana delegation in Melbourne (L to R): Professor Rob Skinner (Director, Monash Water Sensitive Cities), Euan Hind (Victorian Regional Manager, CRCWSC), Professor John Thwaites (Chair, Monash Sustainable Development Institute and former Victorian Water Minister), Ben Furmage (Chief Operating and Finance Officer, CRCWSC), Heddie Goldberg (Honorary Consul for the Republic of Botswana), Tshiamiso Oitsile (Director for Surveys and Mapping, Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services), Hon. Kefentse Mzwinila (Minister for Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services), Kesegofetse Mazongo (Diplomat, High Commission of the Republic of Botswana), Dr. Obolokile Obakeng (Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services), Dr. Kobamelo Digkola (Principal Hydrological Engineer, Policy Development and Research at the Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services)

The visit started with a session on the policy and governance of integrated water management with representatives of the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), followed by a meeting about water supply system planning and servicing with Melbourne Water. The delegates later enjoyed a tour of the Aquasure Desalination Plant in Wonthaggi, and a discussion about public–private collaboration with representatives from Aquarevo and a tour of the Aquarevo Discovery Centre. Meetings with the CRCWSC on topics such as natured-based solutions for sanitation and a tour of City West Water's aquifier recharge program and the Western Treatment Plant rounded out the program.

A special feature of the week was having former Victorian Water Minister, Professor John Thwaites, who was minister during Australia’s ‘Millennium Drought’, meet with Minister Mzwinila.

Members of Botswana delegation on a tour of the Aquasure Desalination Plant in Wonthaggi
Botswana delegation visit Aquarevo

Late in their stay, the delegation travelled to Sydney to meet with Sydney Water and the Greater Sydney Commission. Commissioner Rod Simpson held fruitful discussions about combining land and water use planning, which is of particular interest to Minister Mzwinila.

At the end of their stay, the Minister and delegates said they were keen to build on the discussions of the trip and proposed developing an action plan.

The CRCWSC was pleased to host the Botswana delegation as part of our World Bank partnership and very much appreciates the support of City West Water, DELWP, the Greater Sydney Commission, Melbourne Water, South East Water, Sydney Water and Aquasure in ensuring the visit's success.

Last updated: 13th Aug 2019