From the start, we’ve aimed to safely provide the full conference experience for the 5th Water Sensitive Cities Conference. But all along, we’ve had contingency plans in place to manage any COVID-19 outbreaks.

Unfortunately, with what’s happened in Victoria, we’ve had to change how we’re delivering the conference.

The good news is the conference will continue as planned on most days in most hubs. We are committed to delivering the conference, to both celebrate the achievements of the CRCWSC and chart the course for continuing our water sensitive cities journey.

The major change is to the national conference day on Wednesday 19 March, which will be delivered online via a series of webinars. The state day in Victoria (Tuesday 16 March) is also affected.

Best of all, the conference will be free.  

This decision reflects our changes to the program, and recognises the financial pressures many organisations face this year. It’s our way of thanking everyone for their support for the past 9 years.

The dinner in each conference    hub is now the only session that requires payment. And if you’ve already paid, we will be in touch to organise a refund.

Updated programs for each state hub are now available on the website, but here’s a quick rundown about how the conference will proceed.

Day 1 Monday 15 March

The first day of the conference includes a keynote address, virtual site tours and a workshop on integrating urban and water planning.

The following sessions will be delivered online on the conference web platform. You will receive a link to the platform after you register. You will log in on Monday to access these sessions:

  • Welcome from the CRCWSC and an overview of how you can access each conference session.
  • Keynote address from Herbert Dreiseitl from Germany. The keynote addresses are more than a presentation. We’ve created space for you to engage directly with these experts. You can join the 30 minute livestream discussion with Herbert after his address, or you can submit a question or challenge for him, and he will respond during working hours in Germany.
  • Site tours and scheduled live Q&A activity with hosts of each tour.

How you participate in the Integrated planning workshop will depend on where you are:

  • If you’re in Brisbane, this workshop will be in person at the Sebel Hotel.
  • If you’re in Perth, this workshop will be in person at the Crown Perth.
  • If you’re in Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne or a regional location, this workshop will be online. You will log in to the conference platform to participate.


Day 2 Tuesday 16 March

This is the state conference day. These face-to-face sessions will take place in each hub except Victoria, with most presenters appearing in person, presenting on state-specific topics.

Arrangements in each jurisdiction are COVID safe and comply with all relevant requirements.

To create a national conference feel, the following speakers will be livestreamed to each conference hub (i.e. they will appear live via videolink in each hub):

  • The opening remarks from Ben Furmage (CRCWSC CEO) will be livestreamed from Melbourne to welcome everyone to the conference simultaneously.
  • The keynote address by Distinguished Professor Billie Giles-Corti will be livestreamed from Melbourne. We will facilitate a livestream discussion by crossing to each hub for video questions. Questions can also be submitted online during the address.
  • Speakers presenting on the Integrated Case Studies will be livestreamed from various locations around the country.

In Melbourne, the following sessions will also be livestreamed:

  • Water sensitive developments, facilitated by Dr Sara Lloyd, E2DesignLab
  • Water sensitive municipalities and cities, facilitated by Ross Allen, Three Seeds Agency.

The networking dinners will proceed in all hubs except Victoria.


Day 3 Wednesday 17 March

This is the national conference day, and it will be online only for everyone. The content of the sessions won’t change, but rather than run them all on this day, they will be delivered as a series of 60 minute webinars spread over several days.

The first webinar will be an extended session on Wednesday 17 March:

Webinar 1a (online) – We want water sensitive cities. How do we foster the political change? 

Our first webinar will be a panel discussion featuring:

  • Dr Jane Doolan, Commissioner, Productivity Commission
  • Mike Rowe, Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, Western Australia
  • David Ryan, Chief Executive, SA Water
  • Deb Brown, Director Resilient Cities and Towns, Department of Environment Land, Water and Planning, Victoria
  • Adam Lovell, Executive Director, Water Services Association of Australia
  • Maryam Heshmet, Executive Coordinator Strategic Planning, City of Gold Coast.

This panel will ask: how can we build a mandate for investment in water sensitive cities?

Webinar 1b (online) – Marking the completion of the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities

Following the panel, we’ll hear from CRCWSC Chair Cheryl Batagol, who will share her reflections on 9 years of the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities and acknowledge those who have made it a success.

The schedule for the remaining webinars is being confirmed with the presenters and will be available on our website shortly.


Day 4 Thursday 18 March

This is the training day. These sessions will all be delivered online and by practitioners who are experienced at using CRCWSCs tools and guidelines. If you’ve registered for this training day, you can attend one session in the morning and another in the afternoon, but you need to indicate which sessions you want to attend before the conference. You’ll find descriptions of each session here.

Each session is capped at 20 participants. You may join a waiting list if your preferred session is full, but we recommend you register for another session as well.

On the day you will log in to the conference platform to access these sessions.


If you have any questions, you can contact Christian O’Brien at

Last updated: 24th Feb 2021