Basin Futures: a tool for simplifying basin planning and the assessment of water SDGs using global and local datasets

Water planning is a complex task, with competing interests, a scarce resource and a politically charged decision environment. Australia has embarked on a long journey of water reform. This has involving ‘re-balancing’ water use in the Murray-Darling Basin to the cost of $13 billion AUD as well as establishing a governance framework for development in other basins. Governance arrangements involve investments in evaluating the ‘triple bottom line’ feasibility of new infrastructure developments. In Northern Australia, the assessment process can cost in the millions of dollars. Australia is marketing itself as a lead expert in water governance and assessment on a global stage, leveraging these experiences, and is a member of the UN/World Bank High Level Panel for Water. In developing economies, there is a growing demand for water resources to be put to a range of productive uses. However, there are many barriers to this. Constraints are not simply monetary, they span capacity, technology and capability. One of the critical shifts in the defining of Sustainable Development Goals includes a demonstration of mechanisms in place to better manage water resources. Basin Futures is a tool that is designed to de-mystify the science of water planning, and to enable decision-making using global datasets with local datasets. In this talk Dr Carmel Pollino will introduce the journey in developing Basin Futures, the underpinning aspects of the tool and show the prototype in development.

About the speaker
Dr Carmel Pollino works as a Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO. She has 16 years of experience working in Environmental Flows, Risk Assessment, Integrated River Basin Planning and Ecological Modelling. Carmel has experience working water quality and quantity issues, considering ecological outcomes within broader systems, including complex governance, stakeholder and cultural contexts. Carmel has worked with Australian agencies in developing methods for and in evaluating the outcomes of Basin Planning, these methods have recently been applied in India and Myanmar.