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A river runs through it: designing river cities

Gavan O’Neill, Regional Manager Waterways (West), Melbourne Water, speaks about the theme of the 15th International Riversymposium.

As the world’s urban population grows, more and more pressure is being placed on the rivers which are the lifeblood of many urban centres. Rivers were an essential component to early settlements, providing access to drinking water, a vital trade link to the outside world, and a conduit of waste and pollution. We are now realising that we must act to better manage and nurture these important resources and seek out more sustainable and holistic approaches to urban water management.

With the key focus of the 15th International Riversymposium being “Rivers in a Rapidly Urbanising World”, the theme “A river runs through it: Designing river cities” will outline positive and innovative urban water management strategies from cities around the world. Topics will explore designing water sensitive cities, adapting to climate change and natural disasters, and planning for environmental and spiritual needs of the cities and their inhabitants.

Highlights of the program include the presentation of international case studies and concepts from Nepal, USA, Canada, Austria, Brazil, India, Nigeria, and Indonesia to name a few. Two convening partner sessions, presented by the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities and International RiverFoundation, will allow for greater exploration and discussions around water sensitive cities and integrated river basin management. Wednesday’s keynote speech by Prof John Thwaites, Chair of Monash Sustainability Institute and former deputy Premier of Victoria, is sure to provide valuable insight into political drivers and processes relating to water management.

On behalf of Melbourne Water, I am excited to invite you to participate in the Yarra River Catchment Study Tour on Thursday 11 October and link the conference discussions to real-life management examples. We will be showcasing local approaches to urban water management from the top of the Yarra Catchment down to inner city of Melbourne.


About the Riversymposium

The International Riversymposium is the world’s leading river management conference. This year’s event will explore the intricately linked pressures on rivers and waterways as the world’s urban population continues to grow and expand. 

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