1 RiverTalk - International RiverFoundation


RiverTalk is our monthly webinar series – from May onwards you let us know what topic you would like to hear about, and we will organise the guest speakers for you!

WASH Security & Water Systems in Pacific Island Countries

Meeting everyone’s water, sanitation and hygiene needs depends on thinking “upstream, downstream, forwards, and all around”


In both urban and rural settings in Pacific Island Countries, meeting the water, sanitation and hygiene needs of all people, all the time, has proven difficult to achieve, or even significantly progress. In rural areas where communities are the water managers, they face challenges in managing risks to their water quality and security. In urban areas of some countries, there are large informal settlements with limited options for safe water and sanitation. Recognising that local WASH needs are heavily influenced by the water systems in which they sit, how can we change WASH and water resources planning and management so that WASH security is achievable?




Speaker: Dr. Regina Souter

Dr Regina Souter is pracademic specialising in WASH and water security at the International WaterCentre, within Griffith University. She is particularly interested in research and capacity development to improve the resilience of safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), primarily for rural villages and marginalised urban settlements. As a Senior Research Fellow, Regina leads several research teams working with governments, utilities and civil society in Pacific Island Countries, and teaches the WASH in Development course of the Masters of Integrated Water Management.

Cultural Flows

Empowering First Nations in the fight for cultural water and policy change.


For the Tati Tati First Nation peoples, there is a profound sense of connection and responsibility to care for Country and waterways. The survival, resilience, and sustainable health of rivers and waterways through the restoration of natural flow regimes is vital to First Nations across the Lower Murray Darling Basin.

As the next generation of Indigenous women advocating for First Nations water rights, Melissa will discuss the innovative methodologies of Cultural Flows, empowering First Nations peoples, and changing how we understand and value water management priorities in the Murray Darling Basin.



Speaker: Melissa Kennedy
CEO Tati Tati Kaiejin, Tati Tati Aboriginal Water Officer

Melissa Kennedy is a Tati Tati woman from the Murray River Country in North-West Victoria
As co-founder and CEO of Tati Tati Kaiejin, a grass-roots Indigenous owned and operated not-for-profit organisation, Melissa’s aim is to uplift First Nations people and support sustainable environmental practices through the progression, restoration and replenishment of culture
and Country.

Leading With Little Authority: Guidance For Emerging River Leaders


Would you like to have the ability to drive positive change to improve the way rivers are managed? To do this we need to build leadership capacity, where ‘leadership’ can be defined as a process of influence that delivers direction, alignment of resources towards that direction, and personal commitment to collective success. In this webinar we will explore the common challenge of how to engage in leadership without having much authority. In other words, how to exert influence when we don’t have direct access to power by virtue of our position in an organisation. This webinar has been primarily designed for emerging river leaders who are in the early stages of learning about leadership, power and influence.


Speaker: Dr André Taylor

André is a leadership development specialist and a practitioner in the areas of sustainability, water management and waterway management. His professional purpose is to work with enthusiastic leaders to drive positive change and make the world a better place, whilst demonstrating values of integrity, enabling others, sustainability and continuous learning. André has worked in the water and waterway management sectors for most of his 30 year career, and did his PhD research on leadership and leadership development in the water sector. He is the instructor for the introductory leadership course within the International RiverFoundation’s RiverAcademy program. He also works in leadership development roles at the International WaterCentre (Griffith University), the Monash Sustainable Development Institute (Monash University), and the University of New South Wales Business School. He also works as an independent consultant.

Rivers & Mining: Can they co-exist?

Regulating discharge from mines and transparently assessing environmental impacts​

This RiverTalk will discuss mining and rivers and use case studies to illustrate novel approaches to assessing environmental impacts.

Mining has long been associated with rivers. Historically significant gold deposits for example would not have been discovered without rivers. Then, as now, rivers have been used as a conduit for removing and diluting mining waste. While mining methods and environmental practices have improved water remains a key business risk and management issue in the industry.


Speaker: Dr Sue Vink

Sue Vink uses water chemistry to understand natural systems and quantify anthropogenic impacts. Since joining the Sustainable Minerals Institute her research activities have included water quantity/quality interactions in mineral processing, mine site water and energy management and aquatic ecosystem impacts.

Sue obtained a PhD in Chemical Oceanography from the University of Hawaii. She conducted oceanographic research in carbon and nutrient dynamics at land/ocean interface and in the Joint Global Ocean Flux Program. This research aimed to better quantify inputs of trace elements to the surface ocean, the implications for primary production and the global carbon system.

Why is the river changing?

Exploring river form, processes and management​

This presentation will explore the role our environment plays in determining river form and processes. A range of examples of major river adjustments will be presented. The role of human interventions (both positive and negative) will be discussed with real world examples.


Speaker: Misko Ivezich
Misko Ivezich is an environmental engineer who specialises in river processes and restoration. He has undertaken hundreds of waterway assessments across Australia and Asia and specialises in helping stakeholders understand the complex interactions between river hydraulics, sediment transport and channel form. He has been involved in the development waterway strategies and designs ranging from small urban stream restoration projects to multi-million dollar river restoration projects. He is currently helping lead major programs of river management within Great Barrier Reef catchments to reduce sediment loads from impacting on the reef.

Misko has a keen interest in advancing river restoration science having presented at both national and international conferences in recent years on the interactions between floods, sediment transport and stream stability. He also regularly delivers training courses in fluvial geomorphology and river restoration science. His online course is available on RiverAcademy.

Putting People into the Picture

Creating social environmental report cards​

Report cards are popular tools originally used in assessing and communicating ecosystem health conditions, but there is a growing number that incorporates socio-cultural and economic values that are important to stakeholders. Report cards have evolved from a product created to increase awareness and education about environmental issues, to a process that engages stakeholders to help address sustainability challenges.

This RiverTalk will explore how socio-environmental report cards can benefit both nature and people through stakeholder collaboration and adaptive environmental governance and will introduce the participants to a) a 3-phase report card framework and b) a theory of change for the development of socio-environmental report cards towards a sustainable future.


Speaker: Dr Vanessa Vargas-Nguyen

Dr Vanessa Vargas-Nguyen is a Science Integrator with the Integration and Application Network of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. Originally trained as a molecular marine scientist from the Philippines, she has shifted her focus to science communication, stakeholder and cultural analysis, and socio-environmental assessments and synthesis. Her Ph.D. dissertation investigated the role of socio-environmental report cards in transdisciplinary collaboration and adaptive governance for a sustainable future. Vanessa is currently coordinating an international consortium that is developing socio-environmental report cards for the Chesapeake Bay (USA), Manila Bay (Philippines), Tokyo Bay and Ishigaki Island (Japan), and the Goa Coast in India, as well as the completion of the 2020 report card for Mississippi River Watershed, the fourth largest in the world.

Unlocking the power of finance for our waterways

Keeping the funding flowing

Sustainable finance is gaining popularity as a means to fund projects that deliver better environmental and social outcomes in a manner that benefits both the funder and the recipient, whilst achieving a common good. What is driving this? Why is sustainable financing being touted as a solution to some of the most tricky environmental and social challenges confronting us today?

Businesses and investors are also looking to gain competitive advantage by integrating sustainability and environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments and performance into funding and capital raising mechanisms. How can sustainable finance drive our progress on the Sustainable Development Goals?

This RiverTalk will explore where sustainable finance is today, what the aspirations are for the future, and how this may apply to our journey towards resilient rivers.



Speaker: Chi Mun Woo

Chi Mun Woo is a partner in Sustainability and Climate Change at Deloitte Australia. He has over 20 years’ experience in advising organisations in the private and public sectors in Europe, Africa, the Americas and Australia on sustainability strategy, implementation and disclosure matters. Chi is an expert panel member of The International RiverFoundation’s Resilient Rivers Blueprint initiative.

How much are your waterways worth?

Monetising the value of our waterways

If we are to manage our waterways to achieve long-term sustainability, we need to recognise, value and incorporate the full suite of benefits provided into our planning, policy, investment and management decisions. In this presentation participants will be provided a brief overview of the linkages between waterways and their economic values and show how those values can be estimated in dollar terms. This will be explored through a case study journey from the top of the Brisbane River catchment down to the Ramsar-listed Moreton Bay.

Only though this understanding of the economic values of waterways, can innovative mechanisms be established to incentivise better management and ‘crowd-in’ private sector investment.


Keynote Speaker: Jim Binney

Jim Binney is a resource and environmental economic practitioner with over 25 years’ of postgraduate experience. A major focus of his work is the integration of environmental values into mainstream decision making and investment, and much of this work relates to the values of our waterways. Jim is a Director of Natural Capital Economics, a niche environmental and resource economics constancy business based in Australia. He has undertaken over 240 consulting assignments in all states and territories across Australia as well as numerous international assignments in Tuvalu, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Myanmar, China, Federated State of Micronesia, and for multinational organisations (e.g. SPREP, UN, FAO, OECD, GIZ, World Bank). Prior to commencing his consulting career in 2006, Jim was the Director of Economics for the Queensland Department of Natural Resources.

Rivers for Future Generations

How do we transform our rivers?

How do we ensure our rivers are here for future generations? Rivers are complicated, intricate systems that are often managed by multiple organisations and utilized by communities, big and small. Some rivers flow through national and international borders, some flow through cities and towns while others are remote and wild. Some rivers are used for recreation and add to the livability of a city, whilst others are workhorses that are only used for transport, mining and water supply.

Many rivers are struggling to cope with the pressures we place on them, let alone coping with global changes such as climate variances. How do we transform our rivers to become resilient, to bounce back after a shock such as a flood or drought?

The International RiverFoundation’s May RiverTalk will cover many of these issues. Come and listen to Prof. Bill Dennison, Vice President for Science Application at the University of Maryland Centre for Environmental Science speak about River Resilience, Report Cards and the Resilient Rivers Blueprint.



Keynote Speaker: Professor Bill Dennison

Bill leads the Integration and Application Network, a collection of scientists interested in solving, not just studying, environmental problems. He is actively involved in the Chesapeake Bay Program, USA and had an active role in the Healthy Waterways Campaign of South-East Queensland, Australia. In his current role as Vice President for Science Application at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, his focus is on developing ways to effectively communicate science and to create credible and rigorous environmental report cards.

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Rivers on Fire

The Journey from Recovery to Resilience

Originally planned as a networking breakfast, Rivers on Fire is the first of IRF’s new monthly online RiverTalk series.

As Australia begins to recover from the devastating nationwide bushfires, this RiverTalk will focus on understanding the impacts, raising awareness, and creating a call for action to address the effects of fire on waterways.

Listen to our two keynote expert speakers and take part in an online Q&A session.

Our keynote speakers are:

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