International Riversymposium

10th International Riversymposium & Environmental Flows Conference


Source: International Riversymposium

This September top river management experts across science, institutions, business and community will join together at the 10th International Riversymposium and Environmental Flows Conference to be held in Brisbane, from 3-6 September, 2007.

The symposium is set to be the largest to date and promises an inspirational program. This year the International Riversymposium and Environmental Flows Conference will be presented in partnership with The Nature Conservancy. This new and exciting partnership aims to provide a better understanding of the topic of environmental flows, one of the most pressing and contentious topics concerning rivers at present.

Over the four-day event, session themes will address urgent and interesting topics for rivers. With droughts and floods threatening many parts of the world with increasing regularity, and climate change predictions suggesting these problems will intensify in the future, decisions on the use of river water become more important. As governments strive to satisfy increasing energy needs and water requirements of burgeoning populations, the debates over construction of new dams versus leaving rivers to flow, will continue.

The symposium sessions will cover a diverse range of topics including climate change and managing environmental flows, Managing South East Queensland rivers, River Dolphins, A focus on the Mekong River and, in partnership with UNESCO, River cultures – ecological futures. The Federal Government is also providing three informative feature sessions on securing water for the environment through knowledge, policy and implementation.

A group of inspiring keynote speakers will lead discussions this year including Frank Rijsberman, Director General of the International Water Management Institute, Lucy Emerton a leading environmental economist based in Sri Lanka, Prof Vince Resh from Berkeley, California who will describe his amazing work eradicating river blindness in West Africa and Doris Ombara who will present a case study on the fascinating and sometimes dangerous work she leads in the Mara River, Kenya.

Professor Gerald Galloway, previously Brigadier General of the US Army Corps of Engineers will also be attending and will discuss the problems faced in developing engineering and environmental solutions to water resource issues. He will also look at the role of policy development in this process to help shape the solutions to the many water challenges currently being faced.

Professor Galloway believes we have achieved economic vitality from water but we have also created a huge debt when it comes to our eco-system. His approach focuses on balancing the environment with progress and population growth.

Over the four days experts will benefit from a number of changes to the symposium format. On the opening day, a panel of experts will introduce all the environmental flows themes and will act as roving reporters throughout the conference. They will then present a summary of the day’s discussions in plenary. In the final plenary session of the symposium, the panel will make concluding remarks and present a statement of the most important findings of the International Riversymposium and Environmental Flows Conference. There will also be opportunities for longer discussion time in contributed paper sessions.

Training workshops, run by national and international organisations, are another exciting addition. Workshops will be held before and after the symposium discussing issues relating to river restoration, capacity building and environmental flow topics. This will provide an excellent opportunity for people to gain insight from an extraordinary group of experts who will be gathering in Brisbane for this event.

The 10th International Riversymposium and Environmental Flows Conference overlaps with the Asia Pacific Cities Summit, being presented by Brisbane City Council. Day three of the Summit will join with the symposium and delegates will explore urban renewal issues facing our cities. This is a great opportunity to involve mayors, industry leaders and others who would not usually attend the symposium.

Another key feature of the International Riversymposium and Environmental Flows Conference is the presentation of the prestigious International and National Thiess Riverprizes for excellence in river management. The prizes recognise best practice in the restoration and preservation of waterways in both Australia and overseas.

Due to the increasing problems facing the world’s waterways, the prize money for the award was significantly increased.

This year $100,000 will be awarded for the National Thiess Riverprize and $300,000 for the International Thiess Riverprize with the winners to be announced at an awards dinner during the symposium.

The 10th International Riversymposium and Environmental Flows Conference will be held from 3 – 6 September 2007. More information on the Riverfestival program is available at

Registrations for the conference are now open and an early bird rate applies for all delegates who register before the 30th June. Visit for more information on registration and programming schedule.

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