Water-check for inland cities' futures

June 7, 2010

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How inland city communities feel about water security and climate change is the focus of a new study by Murdoch University researchers.

Murdoch researchers Professor Glenn Albrecht and Dr Helen Allison are exploring the capacity for people to adapt to a hotter, dryer and an increasingly more variable climate while maintaining their water security as part of a National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility project.

Kalgoorlie and Broken Hill communities will have their chance to respond to their cities’ possible future at Water Expos this month.

"We are presenting residents of these two cities with an opportunity to give us their response to possible futures of their respective cities in light of climate change," Professor Albrecht said.

"Several options are presented, including a future where climate remains steady and the city unchanged and one where the rising temperatures require more expensive water delivery solutions.

"There are also scenarios where the heat and water scarcity cause major de-population pressures or in an extreme case, render their city uninhabitable."

Professor Albrecht recently returned from Broken Hill where he conducted a series of interviews with key informants ahead of the June 24 Water Expo.

In Kalgoorlie and Perth, Dr Allison is also interviewing key people and preparing for next week’s Kalgoorlie Water Expo on June 16.

"Attendees at the Broken Hill and Kalgoorlie Water Expos will be asked to pick which scenario they think is most likely as a way of gauging the city’s opinion on the issue," Dr Allison said.

"The Water Expo will provide people in each community with a fantastic opportunity to come together to discuss these important issues and begin to think about planning for their future."

Professor Albrecht and Dr Allison said a great amount of the research and preparations for the Water Expos were thanks to the dedication of two Murdoch research assistants funded under the NCCARF Grant, Megan Jaceglav and Neville Ellis.

The findings of the two events will be published as part of an NCCARF book dedicated to water security and resilience in a changing climate.

>> Dr Allison's book (co-author, Richard Hobbs) Science and Policy in Natural Resource Management: Understanding system complexity.

Media contact: Jo Manning
Tel: (08) 9360 2474  |  Mobile: 0408 201 309  |  Email: j.manning@murdoch.edu.au
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