Tracey Leslie (New Zealand)
Senior Water Infrastructure Engineer
Logan City Council, Australia
Master of Integrated Water Management
I chose the IWC Masters course because it offered the broad perspective on water management that I was looking for. I wanted to understand and learn more about how all aspects – social, cultural, political, environmental, technology, policy – influence water management outcomes and how to communicate more effectively in areas outside my own area of knowledge.
The depth and breadth of things we have learnt in one short semester is amazing, and I feel like we have only scratched the surface. The learning that comes from discussions and experiences of the 23 other students from all over the world.
I think an integrated approach to water management is important because one disciple does not contain all the knowledge and experience to manage water sustainably. The science, technology, policy, social and political fields all play a role and they need to be able to communicate and work together towards the same goals. All too often each discipline has its own goals and motivations with little coordination.
New Zealand has an abundance of water, however there are significant issues with diffuse-point pollution in our waterways and a lack of national policy direction with regard to water management. There are still issues to be tackled with incorporating indigenous values and rights with regard to water use and management. Also, with an abundance of water I think New Zealand has the opportunity to make more of water as an economic good without damaging its social/cultural and environmental value.
I have gained an understanding of the factors that surround these problems and where to go to find out how they have been tackled in other countries, and hopefully how to analyse if certain approaches will be suitable for New Zealand.
Also, I hope the Masters will allow me to take on roles that involve dealing with multi-sector teams and working on larger water management initiatives.
Taking time out from my career to learn again has been challenging, but hugely rewarding. It has allowed me the time and opportunity to really step back and appreciate the larger picture which I hope will influence the way I view things (both professionally and personally) in the future.