Risk-based pesticide monitoring in WA drinking water catchments

Risk-based pesticide monitoring in WA drinking water catchments

MIWM candidate Dr Emma Plant introduces a three-year research project she developed and is undertaking at the Water Corporation in this open-access paper investigating pesticide risks to drinking water quality in Western Australia (WA) and how this fits within the water governance in the state.

The aim of this pesticide project, commenced in September 2015 and solely funded by the Water Corporation, is to provide the Water Corporation with confidence that pesticide risks to drinking water sources are understood, and assurance that they are being effectively managed. The project has focused on three operational drinking water catchments in WA, each with different agricultural land uses and pesticide risk to water quality.

This project was developed to address two key areas: (1) the Corporation’s drive to increase its understanding of pesticide risk to drinking water quality, and (2) that the Corporation’s regulatory requirement for pesticide monitoring could increase in the future, as occurred in 2014 on the adoption of the 2011 version of the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG). Some of the major challenges for the Water Corporation to manage pesticide risk includes the diversity of crops and pesticide applications, the rapid change and rotation of crops, the introduction of new pesticides to market, the fact that not all catchment land is owned or managed by the Corporation, and the complexity of pesticide transport that is dependent on many variables.

Download the full paper from the latest edition of the open-access New Water Policy and Practice Journal here:

About the author

Dr Emma Plant is a Technical Advisor – Source Protection at the Water Corporation in Western Australia and an IWC Masters of Integrated Water Management Candidate. In her role with the Water Corporation Emma is involved in drinking water source protection, supporting the management of 140 drinking water sources across the state. This involves providing technical advice for the management of water quality risks, and as a relationship manager with drinking water regulators. Emma is active in the Australian water industry, sitting on the Australia Water Association’s Young Water Professionals Committee in Western Australia, as well as the AWA Young Water Professional National Specialist Network.

Through her work she has come to appreciate that it takes more than just a strong technical ability to positively address water management challenges, it also requires strong communication and collaboration skills to ensure the right people work together to provide informed, relevant and effective solutions. With this, she was motivated to begin her Masters of Integrated Water Management, and is currently completing the program part-time. She sees her Final Project has an opportunity to pursue international experience with water management challenges and is undertaking her final project in Portugal in 2018.

New Water Policy and Practice Journal

The New Water Policy and Practice Journal is an open-access, free to publish journal edited by IWC Master of Integrated Water Management Water and Agricultural Landscape Module Coordinators, Susana Neto and Jeff Camkin. The journal aims to provide a platform for the world’s emerging water leaders and thinkers, and a wide range of contributions are welcome, including research papers for peer review, policy papers from practitioners, opinion pieces, book and conference reviews, and news items.

Learn more about the journal and how to contribute here.

*Applications for the Master of Integrated Water Management are currently open to Australian/New Zealand candidates interested in commencing study in mid-February 2018. Learn more here.

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