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Highlighting AUS water management skills to the US

12 November, 2009

A water delegation of prominent officials from the United States and Mexico has been assembled by the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade), to showcase Australian expertise in water conservation, management, policy and product development across Australia from 9-20 November.

The Water Study delegation consists of 11 decision makers from government, industry and research organisations who will visit Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Australian Capital Territory and Queensland (see list below).

Austrade's Regional Director for the Americas, Grame Barty, said there are many similarities in the water management issues being faced by Australia, the United States and Mexico, with growing recognition of Australian leadership and capability in water management and sustainability. 

"The study tour is part of a broader strategy to share water security knowledge and experiences with key decision-makers in USA and Mexico by increasing awareness of Australia's world-class expertise and capability in water policy, research, innovation, services and technologies," Mr Barty said.

"The Australian Government is helping build on our inherent skills through the $12.9 billion Water for the Future plan which aims to further develop Australia's scientific and technical expertise to secure Australia's long-term future water supply.

"The US is working to address water supply concerns impacting the Southern and Western states of the USA with the Federal Government implementing the US$23 billion Water Resources Development Act and last week Californian legislators approved a series of bills totalling US$11.1 billion to overhaul the state's troubled water system," he said.

"Our aim to is assist in building deeper links and networks with government, research and business because water is so critical to everything we do and the sizable increasing population in the US makes their concerns even greater," Mr Barty said.

Austrade's Los Angeles-based Senior Trade Commissioner, Sally-Ann Watts, who is leading the senior delegation, said the group includes prominent US water expert Timothy Brick, Chairman Southern Californian Metropolitan Water District, who provides advice at the federal and state level, including to Californian Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on the state's water system.

"Australia has always faced dry conditions and with climate change exacerbating the situation, we have had to develop significant expertise in all aspects of water conservation from manufacturing to systems integration, smart water technologies and consultancy and we are seen to be the canary in the mine as far as water is concerned from the Americas side", Ms Watts said.

"There are tremendous opportunities for Australia, with Australian companies already supplying the United States market with a wide array of high quality products and services including smart water sensors, grey water recycling systems, dual flush  toilets and water optimization software," she said.

"Participants will also meet and receive presentations from Australian senior policy makers at the National and State level as well as visiting utilities and facilities across Australia such as the Northern Victorian Irrigation Renewal Project, Murray Darling Basin Authority, South East Queensland Western Corridor Recycled Water Project and the CSIRO. 

"This builds on the significant amount of liaison and cooperation between Australia and the United States which previously included a separate delegation from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to Sydney from the 17-18 August and further Water Sustainability forums are being planned in the USA next year," Ms Watts said.

Austrade's Water Study Tour commences in Melbourne 9-10 November; Adelaide 11-12 November; Perth 13-14 November; Canberra 16-17 November and Brisbane 18-19 November.  This is also supported by relevant State Governments and their agencies as well as Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEHWA) and the National Water Commission.

The United States is Australia's third largest two-way trading partner in goods and services which totalled $49.7 billion for the 2007-08 as well as well as the largest source of foreign investment with two-way investment of $835.1 billion for the same period.

Source: Austrade

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