2020 is testing the resilience of our communities, infrastructure and institutions: drought, fires, floods and now the COVID-19 outbreak.

Life is changing in Australia, as it is changing all around the world. Life is going to continue to change as we deal with the global coronavirus. This is a once in a hundred year type event, we haven't seen this sort of thing in Australia since the end of the First World War.

The Hon. Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Australia, 18 March 2020

Before the COVID-19 outbreak, our focus was on delivering value to Participants by completing our integrated research projects, accelerating adoption of our research outputs, and providing a platform for longer term value.

This is still our plan, but we are adapting our approach to achieve it while at the same time protecting the health and safety of our team and others in our community. For example, last week, we took a scheduled face-to-face training workshop on the INFFEWS Value Tool online, delivering it virtually. We made the decision on Monday and delivered the workshop on Wednesday. My thanks to the team members behind the scenes who worked swiftly to set it up, and to our Participants who attended the session. The feedback has been positive, and we will use it to improve our online delivery methods.

In the interests of public safety, we have deferred and even cancelled some events. The Melbourne Cool Lines exhibition—imagining a water sensitive, walkable urban landscape for north-west Melbourne, connecting fragmented green space and improving the urban climate—closed earlier than planned. But, you’ll find the details about how you can experience this ‘cool lines’ journey in this week’s article about the exhibition.

We will regularly update details about upcoming events on our website. You can find the details here.

As well as responding to immediate needs, we are also creating our ‘new normal’ (how we operate over the next six to 12 months), getting the most out of remote working arrangements, and innovative and flexible adoption activities, and managing our finances carefully during this turbulent time. And we’re planning for coming out strongly (what happens in 12–15 months), so that we land the CRCWSC in mid-2021 and assure long term value for Participants.

The first three months of 2020 have demonstrated both the best and worst of community spirit and generosity. I’m very glad to say that the CRCWSC is blessed with great people and partners. In the past week, it has been inspiring to see our team supporting each other and thinking creatively about new ways to deliver our WSC mission and add value for our partners, in response to rapidly changing circumstances. And we are very grateful for the support and understanding of our partners during this challenging time.

We’re optimistic about the coming months, and welcome your feedback, ideas, insights and camaraderie during this time. I encourage you to stay in touch with us and each other. And most importantly, stay safe and well.


Ben Furmage

CEO of the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities

Last updated: 25th Mar 2020