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Students head West to learn about water and agricultural landscapes

Masters students enrolled in the ‘Water, Land and People’ specialisation stream spent a week in Perth, Western Australia earlier this month for the ‘Water and Agricultural Landscapes’ module study intensive.
Students head West to learn about water and agricultural landscapes

Students learn about agricultural landscapes and water in Perth, Western Australia

The module, which is delivered primarily through an intensive eight-day session based at the Crawley Campus of the University of Western Australia (UWA), is framed around the learning needs of each individual. Prior to travelling to Perth, each participant provided details about their background, education and professional experience, personal learning objectives for the module and the Master of Integrated Water Management (MIWM), career aspirations and a case study they would follow throughout the module to support their learning process.

The study intensive was filled with a succession of lectures, workshops and field trips. Participants were welcomed to UWA on Saturday by Prof Siddique Kadambot, Director of the UWA Institute of Agriculture, who then delivered an inspiring lecture on Innovations in Adaptation to Climate Change in Dryland Agriculture. Over the course of the week, participants heard from  academics and practitioners highly regarded in the water and agricultural landscapes, including: John Ruprecht, Acting Executive Director of Business Development at the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development,  A/Prof Ed Barrett-Leonard, Principal Research Fellow, School of Plant Biology; Ken Flower, a specialist in Production Agronomy and Farming Systems from the UWA School of Agriculture and Environment, along with Prof Susana Neto and Prof Jeff Camkin, the course coordinators, who both have a long history of involvement in a wide range of water issues in Europe and Australia, respectively.

The week included two full-day field trips:

■      Gnangara Mound Field Trip (Day 4)

Travelling with staff from the Western Australian Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, and visiting farms in Perth’s northern peri-urban area, participants explored the complex water and land management challenges of the Gnangara mound, including climate change, population growth, increasing competition between agriculture, public and private water supply, and the maintenance of groundwater dependent ecosystems.

■      Cunderdin Field Trip (Day 6)

Participants visited the UWA/WA No-Tillage Farmers Association trial site in Cunderdin. During the field visit they viewed a long-term no tillage trial to study the methods to improve soil organic carbon, water use efficiency and crop yield, and profitability in a low rainfall environment.  At Meckering, participants walked amongst a UWA research site examining the role that saline agriculture can play in maintaining the productivity of lands suffering the impacts of past land clearing, and visited the site of one of the biggest earthquakes in Australia’s recent history which devastating the town of Meckering in 1968 and altered the local hydrogeology forever.

On the final day (Day 8), each participant gave a presentation on their learning journey throughout the week, highlighting how they intend to use these learnings in the module's final essay, their master course and their future careers. Participants received a fond farewell by Prof Peter Davies, Pro Vice Chancellor of Research at UWA and long-standing supporter of IWC before sharing their reflections on what had truly been a very intensive but highly enjoyable week.

More information

 

For more information about the field trip or about IWC's Master of Integrated Water Management, contact: +61 7 3028 7600

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