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Media Release

December 3 2007

Australian insight into global water issues wins accolades

Australian water expertise for water management students from ChinaIt might be a long way to the Yellow River in China, but Australian know-how is preparing a new generation of Chinese specialists to tackle the problems of water scarcity, water allocation and environmental degradation in one of China’s most significant waterways.

In a unique Australian education program the University of South Australia (UniSA) in collaboration with the International Centre of Excellence in Water Resources Management (ICE WaRM) has been providing specialist education to a group of 18 future leaders of China’s Yellow River Conservancy Commission (YRCC).

UniSA delivered its first program to a YRCC cohort in 2004 and this year its hosted a second cohort in an especially expanded program developed with ICE WaRM.

The group graduated from the program this month and at the same time, ICE WaRM and its partners were acknowledged by the Business/Higher Education Round Table with the 2007 Award for Outstanding International Collaboration in Education.

The ICE WaRM partnership brings together academic and applied expertise in key areas from its founding partners UniSA, Flinders, Adelaide and Deakin Universities and the University of Central Queensland. Established in 2004, ICE WaRM is now Australia’s leading water resources education, training and research organisation offering Masters Programs and industry and community focussed research.

UniSA Professor Simon Beecham from the SA Water Centre for Water Management and Reuse says the success of the 47-week program has ensured more groups from the YRCC will take up educational opportunities in SA.

“This has been a very fruitful collaboration between nations facing the sharp end of water management in a 21st century world that is increasingly impacted by climate change,” Prof Beecham says.

“The program brings together all the right elements from English language education, through to the technical and business aspects of water resource management.

“It is a fine example of how academic collaboration can deliver invaluable outcomes at an international level. Australia’s geographical history has been one in which water management is a core issue and for that reason we have developed strong skills in this field.

“We are in a good position to support other nations, such as China, as economic, climate and other factors impact on their water resources and our aim is to continue this partnership for the benefit of both countries.”

Professor Beecham says the BHERT award serves to acknowledge the success and importance of the ICE WaRM, YRCC collaboration.

“UniSA is developing both research and educational partnerships in China and these are growing every year,” he says. We also run an offshore Masters of Civil Engineering program at the Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture. Many of the 45 Chinese students who completed this program in 2007 will be attending a special international graduation ceremony at UniSA on December 20.”

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