The Australian Rivers Institute (ARI) will be the new international headquarters for an environmental program renowned for its expertise and innovation in water research, policy, security and sustainability.
The Global Water System Project (GWSP), currently based at the University of Bonn in Germany, is to relocate to Brisbane as the newly named Sustainable Water Future Program. It will operate at Griffith as a program of Future Earth, a major international research platform providing knowledge and support to accelerate transformations to a sustainable world.
The announcement was made this week at the Sustainable Development: A Water Perspective conference in Bonn.
The SWFP will coordinate and support a broad research agenda to promote the adoption of science-based evidence into the implementation and monitoring of goals for sustainable development.
GWSP Executive Officer Dr Anik Bhaduri is also moving from Bonn to Brisbane to head the SWFP and is looking forward to joining Griffith University and working with the ARI’s scientists.
“This is a good strategy aimed at achieving better outcomes,” says Dr Bhaduri. “The SWFP will build on the existing network of the GWSP which consists of more than 3000 members of the water science and policy community.
“GWSP has strong networks in Europe and North America and SWFP will extend the network in areas of Asia and Latin America where issues of water scarcity and quality are so crucial.
“The programs and research coming out of the Australian Rivers Institute are among the best in the world, so bringing the two groups together is a very positive move.”
While Australia will indeed be the global headquarters of the newly named SWFP, regional and thematic centres will be maintained in other parts of the world.
ARI Director Professor Stuart Bunn says hosting the SWFP at Griffith acknowledges the high standard of ARI research and advances Queensland’s development as a globally significant innovation and research hub.
“The SWFP will bring considerable international recognition for Australia’s water science expertise, creating an exciting opportunity to build capacity through international collaborations, access to international funding, joint publications and students,” he says.
“We look forward to welcoming someone of Dr Bhaduri’s calibre and reputation to the Australian Rivers Institute.”
Born in Kolkata, Dr Bhaduri’s background is in environment and natural resource economics, and he has specialised in water resource management ranging from trans-boundary water sharing to adaptive water management under climate change.
He obtained his PhD in trans-boundary water sharing from the University of Wyoming in 2005. He also has a masters degree from the Delhi School of Economics.
“This will be a very exciting transition, both for me and the new SWFP, and one of my first tasks will be to design an assessment process for the global water system,” he says.
“In recent years, humans have significantly modified water systems and so sustainable development and technological solutions are needed as the interaction between humans and the natural environment, particularly as it pertains to water, continues to have such a massive impact.”
The launch of the SWFP will be acknowledged at the International Rivers Symposium–of which Griffith is a founding partner–to be held in Brisbane from September 21-24.