Global recognition for life-changing water initiatives

Professor Tony Wong has received the 2018 IWA Global Water Award.

Professor Tony Wong, Chief Executive of the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Water Sensitive Cities at Monash University, has received the 2018 IWA Global Water Award for an initiative that has provided urban water security to millions of people across the world.

This biennial award, which will be formally presented to Professor Wong by the International Water Association in Tokyo, Japan, on Sunday 16 September, recognises global leadership and initiatives in water management.

In collaboration with his Monash University colleagues, Professor Wong has spent more than 30 years pioneering a program of work called the water sensitive cities approach that addresses the social, environmental and economic challenges of global water management.

Through a combination of science and hydro-engineering, Professor Wong says he’s been able to create blueprints for water security that can transform cities, and the health and wellbeing of their residents, globally.

“This work has advanced a new understanding of the relationship between the societal and biophysical dimensions of water security from drought, floods, environmental pollution and city waterscapes,” he said.

“Our aim is to deliver sustainable urban water outcomes underpinned by creative design, and technical and scientific rigour.”

Professor Wong’s strategy has been adopted in multiple cities across the world and led to sustainable water developments and projects that have changed the lives of millions living in densely populated areas and urban slums.

Singapore has been able to create a more self-reliant water supply by harnessing stormwater as a valuable resource. Similarly, the city of Kunshan – located between Suzhou and Shanghai in China – has achieved remarkable levels of sustainability, resilience and liveability by adopting this water strategy.

Working alongside Monash Professors Rebekah Brown, Karin Leder, Steven Chown and Diego Ramirez-Lovering amongst others, Professor Wong’s water research also extends to hygiene and disease prevention in some of the world’s most confronting slums in Fiji and Indonesia.

This five-year project will turn informal settlements into independent sites that recycle their own wastewater, harvest rainwater, create green space for water cleansing and food cultivation, and restore natural waterways to encourage diversity and deal with flooding.

“I am honoured to receive this award which acknowledges my lifetime work in water-sensitive urban design. Genuine collaboration holds the key and I hope this 2018 IWA Global Water Award will give projects of this nature further impetus for success.”

Cheryl Batagol, Chairman of the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities, said: “We are very proud of Tony’s enormous contribution to the global water community and we congratulate him on this well-deserved award.

“This award recognises Tony’s determination and vision to create the water sensitive cities approach to help overcome the obstacles we face in an increasingly urbanised world that is also tackling the effects of climate change.”

Watch the impact of Professor Tony Wong’s work in Kunshan, China - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSrNdhwTW_U.

Monash researchers are using innovative water solutions to change lives among the urban poor. Read more on Monash Lens.