GWI welcomes Dr Diana Day
GWI takes great pride in welcoming Sydney Water Board Director and highly experienced water expert Dr Diana Day as an Adjunct Professor.
I have always been interested in rivers, erosion, runoff and flooding. So geography, fluvial geomorphology and geology were my undergraduate studies. After my postdoctoral work on runoff generation, I decided to focus on the human impacts on water and land, taking up an ANU project to research energy development and environmental change in the Hunter River region, NSW.
To get the best view of institutional and public policy influences on water management, I later worked with the NSW and Federal governments. My focus was on national water reform; urban water demand management; irrigation area and district privatisation; setting up catchment management entities; and developing national water quality management strategies agreed to by the states and territories.
This experience led to independent directorships of a number of national primary industry R&D corporations. Over this time, I have had oversight of over AU$500 million national investment for innovation in co-venture partnerships across agribusiness, government and communities. I was subsequently appointed an inaugural board member of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, charged with the development of the MDB Plan. My interest in contributing towards Australian water sustainability has been furthered by my current role as a board member of the Sydney Water Corporation, an AU$2 billion water utility with a regulated capital base of AU$15 billion.
I am currently drafting a collection of essays mainly on the Australian experience of managing water and land including my experience in research, research governance, and government. This includes perspectives on infrastructure, capital provision, vision, history, urbanisation, rivers, and climate variability.
I am also contributing to governance and strategy for Sydney Water who are collaborating with partners to lead major water quality modeling research and projections for the Hawkesbury Nepean catchment. Sydney Water has also developed an innovative risk based approach to further minimise the impacts of urban stormwater in Sydney and which can be used in other urban environments.
I also continue my work in research and consulting in executive and professional career coaching following on from my research as Associate Professor, academic development at the University of Sydney.
The UNSW Global Water Institute is a valuable opportunity to refocus on the real questions and issues of contemporary water management systems and indeed on future water crises.
Dr Diana Day, GWI Adjunct Professor
I am interested in all challenges for water utilities. For urban water some big issues include responding to high levels of regulation; the interactions of the multiplicity of agencies involved in urban water matters; the future for capital investment in infrastructure maintenance and expansion as urban areas grow; the integration of Greenfields water supply and wastewater treatment infrastructure; water security of potable water and wastewater distribution systems; ageing labour forces; and weather and climate volatility. A recent issue is the dumping of non-dissolvable wet wipes in wastewater systems creating notorious blockages called ‘fatbergs’ that cost millions to extract.
The UNSW Global Water Institute is a valuable opportunity to refocus on the real questions and issues of contemporary water management systems and indeed on future water crises. For there will be many. Our planet is increasingly challenged by highly diverse water urgencies. These range in richer countries from acute agricultural water scarcity in drought right alongside profligate urban and rural water use supported by constitution, institutions, and archaic public policy. Contaminated surface and ground waters are not hard to find.
The wide reach of GWI research partners can provide the ability to create strategic technical, research, and public policy solutions in many environments. Collaborative research and investment are the solution, in addition to mining the considerable Australian and international technical and public policy archive for existing R&D and experience. As part of a large national program of rural R&D corporation investments in agribusiness and natural resources management, I know the considerable extent of first-rate research and information already in the public domain.
It is how we mine the research knowledge base and fearlessly link this up to develop new ideas and build research capacity, which will mark success for the GWI.