Water Journal : Water Journal July 2011
industry news regular features 20 JULY 2011 water Report Shows Lack of Confidence in Nation's Critical Infrastructure According to recent research commissioned by MWH, almost all Australians support the government investing more money to make the country's infrastructure better able to cope with the increasing number and severity of natural disasters. The MWH Critical Infrastructure Report 2011 found that just one third of Australians believe the country's critical infrastructure is strong enough to withstand floods or cyclones, while only 14 per cent believe it could withstand an earthquake, and 12 per cent a tsunami. The survey, conducted among over 2,000 Australians, found that 85 per cent of Australians believe the number of natural disasters experienced recently to be higher than the long-term average, and over 70 per cent predict Australia will experience more natural disasters over the next 20 years. Peter Williams, MWH's Managing Director, Australia, said Australians are becoming increasingly anxious about the threat of natural disasters, both in terms of their impact on Australia as a nation, and in terms of their personal vulnerability. "These findings raise legitimate concerns about the future and should be incorporated into our planning processes as we repair the damage from recent events and move to deliver the hundreds of billions of dollars of infrastructure across Australia over the next few years," he said. "Natural disasters are impossible to avoid, and property and infrastructure cannot be made totally invulnerable. The only viable solution is to prepare our cities, towns and communities through a combination of mitigation and adaptation strategies. An important strategy is designing decentralised systems for essential services such as electricity, water and wastewater so an interruption does not bring down the entire operation." The research indicates Australians are willing to contribute to the cost of investing in infrastructure to insure against disruption, but this is only marginally more than the current average annual household expenditure. On average, Australians are willing to spend most to protect the supply of fresh water, followed by electricity and sanitation. Overall, Western Australians are prepared to pay most to protect their critical infrastructure against disruptions. In New South Wales, the report says, residents believe the new State Government should be spending more money on critical infrastructure across the board. Water Sensitive Cities Course The Water Sensitive Cities Winter School will be held in Melbourne from July 11--15. The five-day course will be attended by water industry professionals from Government, academic and commercial sectors from across Australia. Australia's leading researchers and thought leaders will deliver lectures and workshops on the latest solutions and concepts on technologies for stormwater treatment, urban design/modelling, climate change adaptation, behavioural change, and social and government engagement. Winter School will link these cross- disciplinary topics to broader urban sustainability issues and lessons learnt from the international community. Presenters will include Professor Tony Wong, Professor Rebekah Brown, Professor Ana Deletic and Hon John Thwaites. For more information, a program overview and how to register, visit: www.clearwater.asn.au/civicrm/event/info?reset=1&id=53 Sustainability Victoria CEO Announces Departure The Chief Executive Officer of Sustainability Victoria, Anita Roper, has announced she will not be seeking a further term as CEO, as she wishes to focus on a new career as a non-Executive Director. Spectators observe the swollen Brisbane River during the recent Queensland floods.
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