Interactive classroom activities and study tours feature in coastal and marine water management program for Pearl River professionals
As the PRWRC (and China) begin to embrace the principles of integrated water resource management, the ALAF program is a valuable opportunity for the exchange of knowledge between professionals working in similar fields in sometimes very varying river basins throughout the world, as well as strengthening relationships between Australia and China.
The program builds capacity in the technical aspects of estuary and coastal waterways health assessment and monitoring, through an integrative approach to waterways management and water resource management based on stakeholder engagement and evidence-based decision making.
The ALAF Fellows looked at the science of estuarine and coastal ecosystems and the approach of integrating science with management and decision-making through academic lectures, two-way information exchanges and discussion, case study examples and site visits.
They compared Australian and Chinese approaches, acknowledging how estuaries and coastal waterways in the two countries vary, and the range of very different stressors and issues unique to each one. They found that a number of the lessons learnt from the Australian approach could be successfully adopted into Chinese assessment and monitoring programs.
Dissemination of information and lessons learnt from this program will be achieved through a series of post-fellowship activities, such as in-house workshops, where the Fellows will present their experiences to their work peers.
"The program, combined with interactive classroom study and study tours, really broadened our knowledge and opened our minds to coastal and marine water management in the context of integrated water management," said PRWRC group leader, Xiaolong WU.
"The study tour from Townsville to Heron Island was enlightening for everyone in our group, and the efforts of the stakeholders there are evident – the crystal-clean water of the coral reef, and ocean life and tourists living in harmony."
Further collaborative opportunities between the two organisations have been identified for development in a follow-up meeting with IWC staff and senior leaders from Pearl River Water Resources Commission at the Yellow River Forum in Zhengzhou in September this year.
"The effort and commitment from staff of IWC partner universities, Queensland Government and industry experts, as well as friends from counterpart organisations and the support of AusAID, have made this program extremely successful," said Todd Zeng, IWC Asian Business Development Officer. "We were able to showcase Australia's best practice in a way that ensured our participants learned useful and applicable knowledge for their own river basin. IWC offers its sincere appreciation to everyone involved."
For more information on IWC training programs visit http://www.watercentre.org/education/training
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