THE ANU WATER INITIATIVE:A university-wide interdisciplinary study Karen Hussey, Daniel Connell, Will Steffen Chair and Project Researcher, ANU Water Initiative Convener, ANU Institute for Environment
Rationale and Vision Water is a fundamental challenge of the 21st Century The ANU is distinctive in its mandate to focus on key national & regional challenges Typically, research and policy on water have focused on one part of a catchment, or on one issue in isolation from others, or on a subset of impacts… ‘Specialization’ is the sine qua non of a successful academic career …But sustainable water management demands an integrated, holistic approach to bridge the gap between disciplines
Approach • The ANUWI is a cross-disciplinary, university-wide initiative that brings together ANU researchers and educators in the water domain • It is underpinned by the need to move towards an understanding of the ‘water system’: • includes all discernible physical and biological features of water cycling • includes all aspects of human use of water • emphasizes the interactions between the physical and biological, and the human component that builds on the cultural and socio-economic aspects of water
ANUWI Aims To identify gaps in our understanding of the water system and provide solutions to the most important and urgent of questions – over the long term, nationally and regionally To develop an holistic approach by building on, and integrating, our significant strengths across disciplines To develop new approaches to research question formulation, collaborative teamwork, knowledge brokering and the creation of policy-relevant solutions
ANU Water Initiative - Aug 2007 Broker alliances within the ANU and with other organisations with complementary interests Coordinate development of new projects that will strengthen ANU’s research and teaching capacity Increase awareness of ANU’s record and ability to contribute to the public debate and to national and international research programs
Projects under development • Build strategic alliance with ACT Govt • National-international alliance re drought-climate risk • Contribution to developing agenda re adaptation to climate change (Land and Water Australia). • New courses • Publications • Website • Outreach teaching
Stronger alliance with ACT Govt • Submission to Planning and Environment standing committee re water use • Opportunity to demonstrate ANU capacity and put forward a detailed statement re how we could work with ACT Govt. • Workshop to develop submission and publicize our aims and involvement
National/international alliances • Link water researchers in societies with similar cultures and climate risk • Compare and contrast different historical experiences re climate variability • Cross reference the various national debates re adapting to climate risk
Evolving agenda re climate change • ANU potential role - teaching and debate as well as research • Many organizations currently defining their roles re adaptation to climate change • LWA is planning workshop/conference to discuss potential contribution of social sciences to adaptation to climate change
New courses Research driven education • Water major in Bachelor of Integrated Studies (Sustainability) degree • International water politics (masters course) climate change, the irrigation dilemma and hydrological systems failure – impacts of and potential responses, implications for international relations and national security debate
Publications • Managing water for Australia Dovers/Hussey CSIRO 2007 • Water planning and management Handbook international cast of authors Ed Lord Selbourne Cambridge Press? • International survey quantity-quality issues Ed Hussey Cambridge Press ?
Website Aims: • news and comment re emerging issues re climate change etc. • Knowledge development area similar to Wikipedia • Academic electronic journal • Interactive capacity (chat rooms etc) • Online educational activities including both course work and research based degrees.
Outreach teaching Course being developed for practicing water managers in consultation with/for the National Water Commission. Would: • explain the National Water Initiative and explore implementation issues • Provide interdisciplinary coverage of integrated catchment, climate change, emerging issues, economic and social debates