A major national conference looking at the challenge of managing streams and rivers for the future will be held this month in Albury on the banks of the Murray River at the NSW-Victorian border.
About 250 people are expected to attend the 5th Australian Stream Management Conference which will feature over 100 presenters, including keynote speakers such as Professor Peter Cullen from the Wentworth Group, who will address the “big picture” issues of water reform and climate change.
“Our conference is being held at one of the most challenging and exciting times for river/stream management practitioners,” said Professor Allan Curtis, director of Charles Sturt University’s Institute for Land, Water and Society (ILWS), which is hosting the event.
“Almost all the rivers in southern Australia are severely stressed. In the Murray-Darling Basin, the combined effects of drought and diversions for irrigation have brought these issues into the national spotlight. At the same time, there has been increased awareness of climate change and considerable discussion of the implications for river inflows and ecosystem health.”
Professor Curtis, who is co-convening the event with the Institute’s Associate Professor Robyn Watts, said the Federal Government has responded to the current water crisis with a proposal that radically restructures water governance in the Murray-Darling Basin. “This is to be accompanied by a massive public investment in irrigation infrastructure, both at the district and farm scales,” he said.
Conference theme: Australian Rivers: making a difference
Venue: Albury Convention and Performing Arts Centre, Swift St, Albury
Dates: Monday 21 to Friday 25 May 2007
Additional field trips: visits to the Murray, Mitta Mitta and Ovens Rivers and Wonga Wetlands.
Some key and noteworthy speakers at the conference include:
- Professor Peter Cullen, member of the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists and commissioner with the National Water Commission, will give the closing address. media release. Availability: Friday 25 May
- ILWS Director Prof Allan Curtis is co-convenor of the conference. He will speak on building regional natural resource management capacity - How we can do it better? - at the conference. As a land management expert, he is also available to comment on the Federal government’s National Water Initiative and its effects on the people of the Murray Darling Basin. media release. Availability: throughout conference.
- Dr Bryson Bates, climate science leader, with CSIRO Marine & Atmospheric Research, WA, will speak on climate change and what it means for river management. Availability: Tuesday 22 May
- Yalmambirra, CSU lecturer in Indigenous studies and a Wiradjuri elder, will officially open the conference and talk about Indigenous management of rivers and waterways. Availability: Tuesday 22 May
- Professor Kath Bowmer, water policy expert from ILWS and former chief scientist with CSIRO Land and Water will speak on developing policy in water management in Water and conflict resolution: from smoke filled rooms to public participation. media release. Availability: Monday 19 May – Thursday 24 May
- Associate Professor Robyn Watts, co-convenor of the conference from ILWS, will speak on the challenges for improving the science underpinning river restoration practices. Availability: throughout the conference.
- Dr Deborah Nias, executive officer with the NSW Murray Wetlands Working Group, will speak on learning by doing: 14 years experience in delivering environmental outcomes in the Murray Valley. Availability: throughout the conference.
- Jane Roots, River Tender project manager with the North East Catchment Management Authority, will speak on learning by doing: the tender process in action, specifically the market based instruments, Bush Tender and River Tender programs. Read background stories here and here. Availability: throughout the conference.
- Matt Linnegar, corporate affairs manager with Murrumbidgee Irrigation, will speak on the Murrumbidgee River Reach project. Availability: Thursday 24 May.
Conference details, including program and titles of papers, can be found a at the conference website