From travelling down the Amazon River to sharing environmental management expertise with top-level industry, government and education groups, a delegation headed by Griffith University’s Australian Rivers Institute (ARI) is helping to inform future freshwater strategies in South America.
ARI Director Professor Stuart Bunn is leading the Tropical Research Alliance Water Mission to Chile and Brazil, where issues on the agenda include water conservation and reform, sanitation, river vegetation, environmental engineering and research, and the effects of drought, mining and other industries on water quality and resources.
With Professor Bunn are ARI colleagues Associate Professor Mark Kennard and Associate Professor Sue Jackson, as well as Griffith Enterprise‘s Mr Steven Chambers and representatives from the International Water Centre and the Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge consortium.
Trade & Investment Queensland’s (TIQ) Latin America office planned the mission and says there is keen interest from the private sector in contracting Australian consultancy services — in conjunction with local Brazilian universities and industry — to develop intelligent solutions for costly problems that limit industrial output, efficiency and competitiveness.
Australia has already suffered from water issues such as those facing parts of South America. Accordingly, there is increasing interest in learning more from the Australian experience in areas such as water planning models, measurement techniques and strategies. Hence the ARI’s participation.
Australia’s largest university aquatic ecosystem research group, the ARI has world-leading expertise in river, catchment and coastal ecosystems and the interaction with these systems in society.
Over three weeks in South America, the Tropical Research Alliance Water Mission has visited Santiago and Valparaiso, in Chile, and Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte and Brasilia, in Brazil.
Groups met include Chile’s National Water Authority and Codelco national copper mining company, the Secretary of Science, Technology and Innovation for the Brazilian state government of Minas Gerais, the Minas Gerais Industry Federation, Austrade, university executives, Brazil’s National Amazonian Research Organisation and research funding groups.