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The Australian National University


The use of water for irrigation varies greatly in technology, practicality and efficiency.

Simple irrigation is often inefficient – a lot of water is lost from the irrigation system.

Website pulls together global knowledge

The Global Water Forum website has been established to present knowledge and insight from leading water researchers and practitioners.

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The use of water for irrigation varies greatly in technology, practicality and efficiency.

A pivot irrigation system in South Africa.

Water - challenges of availability, access and management

Africa has the largest disparities in water availability and least coverage in potable water supply and sanitation. These women are collecting domestic water supplies from a source a kilometre from their homes in Tanzania, 2012. (c) J Pittock.

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Transboundary Water Governance

Throughout the world rivers are not contained by borders – either country or state. As a result, governance becomes transboundary or 'across borders'.


Global Water Forum website

The Global Water Forum was established in 2010 as an initiative of the UNESCO Chair in Water Economics and Transboundary Water Governance in order to present knowledge and insight from leading water researchers and practitioners. The contributions provide evidence-based, accessible, and freely available articles looking at local, regional, and global water challenges.

Specifically, the goals of the Global Water Forum are to:

  • Support capacity building through knowledge sharing;
  • Provide a means for informed, unbiased discussion of potentially contentious issues;
  • Provide a means for discussion of important issues that receive less attention than they deserve;
  • Create a high quality resource for water practitioners that is accessible and freely available across the world.

To reach these goals, the Global Water Forum seeks to:

  • Present fact and evidence-based insights;
  • Make the results of academic research freely available to those outside of academia;
  • Investigate a broad range of issues within water management;
  • Provide a more in-depth analysis than is commonly found in public media.

As of October 2012, the Global Water Forum website has published 68 articles and consistently achieves 1000 hits per week.


Master’s level water course

At the Australian National University we developed and ran a Master’s level water course, - CRWF8013 Water Economics and Governance for the first time in 2011. This postgraduate course at the Crawford School of Public Policy enabled young professionals to develop important skills in water economics and governance and gender equity in integrated water resources management. The weekly 3 hour lectures and tutorials exposed students to current knowledge of water economics and governance. The course was taught by Prof Quentin Grafton, Dr Daniel Connell and Dr Jamie Pittock. Eighteen postgraduate students from various disciplines and countries attended.

This  course is now being published as a book in the form of a compendium of leading papers in the water field by a range of prominent researchers plus overviews from UC staff.


Master’s short course in South Africa

An intensive Master’s level professional development water course delivered in South Africa. This intensive course ‘Water Economics and Governance’ was run in July 2011. Participants included undergraduate and postgraduate students from the University of Cape Town and University of Western Cape, South Africa. Young professionals developed important skills and expertise in water economics, governance and gender equity in integrated water resource management. This is the first intensive course offered in South Africa by the UNESCO Chair and taught by experts from Australia and South Africa who offered technical knowledge and global examples. The course was received positively, with 90% of students rating it as very good or excellent. It brought together students from two universities in South Africa to promote professional knowledge exchange and debate. All participants made use of the opportunity to build networks, both professionally and personally.

Professors and students at University of Western Cape


Global Development Learning Network

Series of interactive flexible-learning modules for the Global Development Learning Network was delivered in 2011 to participants in three countries and will be run again for Chinese participants in 2012. This series of free, globally available modules, including teaching  materials, help to provide access to tools, case studies and the expertise of the project team and its partners. This helps to contribute to better water resource management and environmental sustainability.


Professional internship program

We have trialled a professional internship program for water professionals. Krasposy Kujinga, a PhD scholar from the University of Zimbabwe, visited ANU from the 25 October to 26 November 2011. Water professionals from the South work with Australian water professionals to enhance and expand their water management expertise. The aim of the visit was to develop long term academic and professional links related to water resources management between the Institute of Environmental Studies at the University of Zimbabwe and the ANU.


Scholar Exchange

Established a scholar exchange program between University of Pretoria and the ANU. The UNESCO Chair organised an held the Water Governance in South Africa Workshop at the ANU on the 25 November 2010. University academics in Southern Africa and Australia establish a series of collaborative research programs in water. The 1-day workshop provided an opportunity for South African and Australian academics and experts to exchange knowledge and experience in managing water scarcity issues across engineering, ecology, economics, policy, governance, and social sciences. It raised awareness of water issues in South Africa and participants were interested to discuss water economics and trading in Australia’s Murray–Darling Basin.

Partnership projects

Collaborative project ‘Potential incentives for sustainable farming for food and water security, and poverty reduction in southern Africa’ funded by ACIAR. The 7- month project started in June 2011. The project intends to assess current practices and promising options for research and implementation involving: a) rainwater harvesting and conservation agriculture, b) adaptive, local-scale water resource management for agriculture, c) better water management in agriculture to reduce poverty, d) exchange of knowledge between Australia and Africa. Technical publications that document current knowledge and identify future investment priorities were prepared and will be published as a book in 2013. Advice was provided to Australian government agencies on future aid investment priorities in Africa.

Four month intensive program on ‘Transboundary cooperation in the Mekong region’ was funded by AusAID. The program started in August 2011 and brought together twenty academic staff from universities in China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. The aim was to develop a package of cooperative research and teaching focusing on climate change and pro-poor development issues in the Mekong region. This program created a unique opportunity for selected participants, who are leaders in their institutions, to come together and promote crossborder cooperation. 

Updated:  4 October, 2012/Responsible Officer:  UNESCO Chair/Page Contact:  Crawford Webmaster