Looking beyond the water

17th International Riversymposium: Looking beyond the water  

Jess Schoeman, ILWS PhD Candidate

Jess Schoeman, ILWS PhD Candidate

During a conversation about river management, a colleague once said to me, ‘if you’re looking at the water, you’ve got your back to the problem’. This message has stuck with me for many years and motivated my decision to cross over to the social sciences for my PhD research. Understanding human nature and our river cultures is essential for diagnosing the source of our water problems, rather than just treating the symptoms.

The over-arching theme of this year’s International Riversymposium, held in Canberra, was ‘large river basin management’, with three case studies: the Murray-Darling Basin, the Rhine River Basin and the Mekong River Basin. A common thread throughout the conference was the portrayal of rivers as complex social-ecological systems. Managing rivers is not just about ecology and hydrology; it is about people: our philosophies, cultures, needs, wants and desires.

This post explores just a few thoughts from the conference:

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Surveys, gorillas and a mountain climb

A/Prof Rosemary Black

A/Prof Rosemary Black

Well, the past two weeks have flown by and Angel and I have been very busy completing the community surveys across the two sectors. It’s a large area so we have tried to ensure that we have covered as many people as possible, including trekking to communities on the Volcanoes National Park boundary and into outlying villages. The early rains have started and so we’ve been caught in a few heavy showers – but I bought a great multi-coloured umbrella from the local market which has been helpful in the sun and rain! We’ve now finished all the 50 household community surveys. So that is the end of the data collection for this research project. Read more of this post

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