A large contingent of CRC for Water Sensitive Cities (CRCWSC) researchers and partner organisations travelled to China recently for the International Low Impact Development Conference in Beijing and the China-Australia Water Sensitive City Summit in Kunshan.

Twenty-one CRCWSC representatives presented 28 papers at the conference and showcased seven research posters, which represented the largest paper contribution under the one banner at the conference. The CRCWSC contingent included representatives from Monash University, Griffith University, Danish Technical University, UNESCO-IHE, eWater and E2Designlab.

CRCWSC Chief Executive Professor Tony Wong was delighted to be invited by the organising committee to open a double-session on water sensitive urban design in Australia and was also the only Australian representative in a high-level meeting with officials from the China Ministry of Urban Rural Housing and Construction.

Dr John Radcliff, Honorary Research Fellow and former Deputy Chief Executive of CSIRO, presented a keynote address at the conference, outlining the historical development of managed aquifer recharge and stormwater harvesting in Adelaide.

The conference also provided the backdrop for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Monash University and the China Academy of Urban Planning and Design (CAUPD). Professor Ana Deletic, Director of Monash Infrastructure Research, signed the MoU on behalf of Monash University's Water Sensitive City platform. The MoU will pave the way for close collaboration between the two organisations to jointly work on the Sponge City initiative in China. CAUPD is the leading organisation that advises the Chinese national government on implementation of the initiative.

CRCWSC Chairman Cheryl Batagol joined the team at the end of the conference to travel by fast train to Kunshan for the China-Australia Water Sensitive City Summit on 1-2 July. The summit was organised by the City of Kunshan, Southeast University-Monash University Joint Centre for Water Sensitive Cities and CRC for Water Sensitive Cities, and co-hosted by the Jiangsu Government Department of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and the Victorian Government Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Research.

The event, which focused on research and joint initiatives of the CRCWSC and its collaborators, was attended by 450 delegates consisting of 350 senior government officials and 100 industry leaders from Jiangsu Province.

Prof. Tony Wong presenting at the Water Sensitive Summit in China
Zhouzhuang Water Town
Ebony Henderson, Tony Wong and Christian Urich check out the Great Wall of China

Blueprint2013 was translated into Chinese and distributed to all delegates. Also on display at the summit were posters describing in English and Chinese each of the 64 projects being conducted by current CRCWSC PhD students. Chinese media including the Xinhua government news agency and the popular People website covered the outcomes of the summit.

Victorian Minister for International Education Steve Herbert opened proceedings after a word of welcome from Mayor Du of Kunshan. Minister Herbert’s speech was followed by an opening address from Director-General Dr Lan Zhou of the Jiangsu Provincial Department of Housing and Urban-Rural Development. All presentations were simultaneously translated for delegates. The full program can be downloaded here.

The Summit acknowledged the naming of Kunshan as one of China’s Ecological Garden Cities earlier this year and showcased the contribution of CRCWSC in making this achievement possible. The event consisted of one and a half days of technical presentations and a half-day field trip to inspect five of 35 constructed or partly-constructed water sensitive projects where the CRCWSC has contributed to the planning, design and/or implementation.

In her closing remarks, Ms Batagol referred to the enduring partnership established between the CRCWSC and the City of Kunshan that has, over the past four years, significantly transformed the city both structurally and institutionally. “That partnership is now underpinned by mutual respect and trust,” Ms Batagol said.

The CRCWSC would like to thank the Australian Water Partnership, City of Melbourne and the Victorian Government for their financial assistance in making the China-Australia Water Sensitive City Summit possible. The CRCWSC team finished their journey with a relaxing site visit to the ancient Zhouzhuang Water Town hosted by Mayor Lu of Zhouzhuang Zhen.

Come on the journey with us – check out the video below.

Last updated: 24th Jul 2016