After more than seven years as the CEO of the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities (CRCWSC), I have stepped down. My executive functions with both the CRCWSC and the Water Sensitive Cities Institute (WSCI) formally finished on Tuesday 25 February 2020—but my involvement with both organisations is far from over.
I’ll be devoting my efforts to delivering projects, translating research outputs into policies and works on-ground, and developing business opportunities for the Institute. I will also chair the Water Sensitive Cities Think Tank, to build up this thought-leadership platform. Our aim will be to challenge business-as-usual thinking about how we plan and develop our towns and cities, and to advocate for WSC practices.
Over the next few months, as I immerse myself into CRCWSC and WSCI projects, I expect to better understand and appreciate the emerging issues that the Think Tank can tackle. It will identify emerging issues, convene a panel of thought-leaders on the subject and facilitate the development of a short position paper that we hope will catalyse action among our stakeholders in the urban water management arena.
Some key issues are already emerging:
- How can we use integrated water infrastructure and urban spatial planning to foster circular economies?
- How we use our economic valuation framework for green infrastructure to foster a business model for co-investment across sectors?
It was my privilege to lead the CRCWSC, from the bid in 2011, through Tranche 1, to now as we focus on completing Tranche 2, and translating all our new research into practice. There are many people to thank.
First, I’d like to thank the Board, particularly Chair Cheryl Batagol, for trusting me to prosecute the CRCWSC’s mission.
Second, I am indebted to my executive team over the past 8 years, first established in January 2012, before the CRCWSC formally commenced operations in July 2012. The team’s structure and composition have changed over time, but never the commitment to creating cities and towns that are liveable, resilient, productive and sustainable.
Third, thank you to our partners and participants, whose support, both financial and in-kind, has been instrumental in developing and then adopting water sensitive practices that address industry need.
Fourth, and by no means least, thank you to CRCWSC operations staff and researchers for their continuing hard work and commitment.
Both the CRCWSC and the WSCI remain in good hands. The Board has appointed Ben Furmage, former Chief Operating and Financial Officer, as the new CEO. Over the next few months, Ben and the executive team will work with the Board, our partners and participants to work out the Institute’s ownership and partnership structures, governance arrangements and business plan.
I am excited about my new role and concentrating on issues I am passionate about. I look forward to celebrating our successes with all of the CRCWSC community over the next 12 months as we complete our projects and showcase our outputs nationally. And I am looking forward to continuing to work with all our participants and partners as we strive to create water sensitive cities and towns.