New Project: The implementation of water productivity: identifying barriers and solutions

The proposed project involves three stages: first, interviews will be conducted with key actors within the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) with the aim of ascertaining perceptions related to the BOM’s emerging responsibilities; second, a knowledge exchange activity will be run at the BOM with the aim of developing collaborative partnerships while refining the findings; and third, the outcomes of the interviews and knowledge exchange will be circulated to BOM participants and to external actors and organizations identified by the BOM as being involved or important.

The analysis of transitions requires a methodology able to access, differentiate, and interrogate the values and the perceptions of experienced and expert actors. Given the ‘wicked’ nature of the transition (i.e. tension between end-user needs and water optimization), actors within the BOM represent a critical source of knowledge, particularly with regard to the informal, institutional, and personal factors that will influence the success of the BOM’s efforts. It might be assumed that the BOM will adapt to suit the emerging context, but the degree of success will be shaped by the workings of the organization and the expertise of its members, as much as by external forces. An analysis of barriers as foreseen by BOM actors, then, will complement concurrent efforts to understand water optimization in Australia and the legislative context in which the BOM transition is occurring.

The individuals who will inform these analyses are BOM officials and employees. As a result of a growing partnership between the BOM and Carlton Connect, key informants will be identified and interviewed. The proposed facilitation project will analyse three aspects of the transition as perceived by central actors: 1) how the BOM can simultaneously become ‘end-user focused’ while supporting water optimization, 2) the potential barriers to its success, and 3) the possible adjustments needed to address or avoid those barriers. Together, the findings will enable outcomes that identify the range of forces shaping the transition, potential barriers, and solutions as perceived by those most experienced and grounded in the BOM. These outcomes will contribute directly to the BOM’s activities, with ramifications for the organization’s relationship with end-users as well as its ability to contribute to a more sustainable and resilient society.

It’s a big team, but very much looking to collaborate.

Prof. Lee Godden (Melbourne Law School), Dr. Margaret Ayer (Department of Agriculture and Food Systems), Dr. Ruth Nettle (Department of Agriculture and Food Systems), Dr. Matthew Kearnes (Environmental Humanities, UNSW), Prof Andrew Western (Infrastructure Engineering), Prof Abbas Rajabifard (Infrastructure Engineering), Dr Mohsen Kalantari Soltanieh (Infrastructure Engineering), Dr. Dominic Skinner (Infrastructure Engineering) Dr. Deirdre Wilcock (CCDW, Victoria University), and A/Prof Michael Stewardson (Infrastructure Engineering).

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