Australian industry is forming new and productive links with urban water needs in China, thanks to a productive meeting-of-minds Sponge City Trade Mission, led by the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities (CRCWSC) and sponsored by the Australian Water Partnership and the Victorian State Government.

Off the back of its long-standing partnership with the City of Kunshan, Jiangsu Province in China, in February 2017 the CRCWSC led a highly productive Trade Mission of government and industry representatives to Kunshan. Over several days, expert presentations and discussion were geared to matching Australian industry expertise with a burgeoning Chinese market for innovation and knowledge for making cities more water sensitive.

In collaboration with the CRCWSC, Kunshan has already achieved over 30 on-ground projects in just 3 years, but work has only just begun towards realising its ambitious goals of transforming into a sponge city, the Chinese term for a water sensitive city. This recent push is part of a Kunshan-led effort to leverage Australian expertise in implementing water sensitive urban design principles. Collaborations are already taking shape, with several Australian businesses now commissioned to contribute to an ambitious 10 ha Innovation Park, an imminent development that will demonstrate and commercialise leading water technology. Several others have developed proposals with the City of Kunshan or South East University, or are continuing to grow their presence in China.

Benefits of the Trade Mission are appearing in other areas, too, include a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in March 2017. The MoU stipulates that the CRCWSC will work with the Jiangsu Water Supply Security Centre to facilitate collaborative research and research transfer. The collaboration will include joint projects between key organisations from Victoria (and Australia) and Jiangsu Province to deliver Water Sensitive City initiatives in the province, and to immediately influence capital works investments in a further two cities that  Jiangsu Province will  nominate.

For a video summary of the February Trade Mission, see below: