“We have a duty to build cities that are sensitive to water.”
Dr Noel Nannup, Noongar Elder
What a glorious Perth day to kick off the 3rd Water Sensitive Cities Conference! Dr Noel Nannup provided a profound Welcome to Country, his words evoking images of the ancient, serpentile action of water across Australian landscapes.
With 265 delegates registered, representatives from industry, research, community, and government continued to set an inspiring tone. Sessions were dominated by end users discussing the outcomes and translation of research activities – a timely emphasis for a 2017 conference theme of “making the transition”.
Selected Day 1 highlights included:
- A panel of Perth-based industry leaders for its honest and insightful discussion of the region’s water challenges. From WA government departments and agency, high-level senior leaders clearly endorsed the CRCWSC’s ongoing contributions towards Perth's water sensitive journey, by "providing the ideas we need, monitoring their implementation, and measuring the benefits"
- The importance of understanding history resurfaced in the example of Melbourne’s flood-prone bayside suburb of Elwood. Nigel Bertram provided fascinating insights into analysing historical context – such as a past characterised by water – to seed dialogue and radically re-imagine a location’s future.
- Practioners emphasising the value of tools that aid communication and education. Specific examples included hypothetical before–after design graphics, and the Water Sensitive Cities Index as a powerful articulation of the aspiration of a water sensitive city.
- Hearing from Geoffrey Love, a passionate local community member, on building greater flood resilience in the suburb of Elwood. His efforts showcase a new dimension in vertical integration in collaboration among local communities, local governments, state government departments, and water utilities.
Several presentations fittingly circled back to the Perth and Western Australian context as a “real-world laboratory” for water sensitive cities progress.
The rich mix of presenters and perspectives amongst CRCWSC participant organisations is already proving outstanding – thank you to everyone for many generous, enthusiastic insights into experiences and opportunities. We’re looking forward to an equally energising Day 2.
And for those not in Perth with us this week, you can view a highlights video, shared today, which outlines just some of the achievements of the CRCWSC and its partners over the past two years: