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NCGRT and Flinders University train Vietnamese Future Leaders

Photo: Fellows with Flinders University staff who presented on groundwater research and gender issues in the water sector

In a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade supported ‘Australian Award Fellowship’ program, fifteen young and mid-career Vietnamese delegates participated in a twenty day ‘Groundwater Science and Management’ training program, part of which was conducted here at Flinders University. 

Flinders University and the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT) administered and coordinated the entire program. Most of the work to coordinate this program goes to Professor Okke Batelaan of Flinders University; Fiona Adamson and Andrea McCarthy of NCGRT/Flinders University.

Through the NCGRT’s Australia-wide network of groundwater experts and alumni, the Vietnamese fellows were provided the opportunity to network with and be mentored on their specific groundwater case studies.

The program was rich in teaching, field visits, cultural engagements, gender session and mentoring and included:

  • The NCGRT’s 4-day intensive groundwater training course in Canberra: “The Australian Groundwater School”.
  • One-on-one sessions with groundwater experts in Canberra and Adelaide to work through the delegates groundwater issues in Vietnam.
  • Presentations from representatives at Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, CSIRO, Australian Water Partnerships and Australian National University in Canberra.
  • Field trip by bus from Canberra to Adelaide visiting regional hydrogeological significant locations. Guided by SA-DEWNR expert hydrogeologist Mr Steve Barnett focusing on groundwater management issues in the Murray-Darling Basin.
  • Field trip led by Flinders University’s Professor Howard Fallowfield to the Kingston on Murray treatment high rate algal pond, Banrock Station Wetlands Centre to learn about the ecosystems.
  • A trip to the Parafield wetland and Managed Aquifer Recharge scheme.
  • Visit to Bedford Campus touring the facilities and time spent with Flinders University groundwater experts.

The delegates were from the National Centre for Water Resources Planning and Investigation (NAWAPI), which is a government organisation under the Vietnamese Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, with the function of planning, investigation, monitoring and protecting water resources for entire Vietnam. NAWAPI has about a 1000 staff members. A follow up visit to Vietnam is scheduled for April 2018 to further evaluate and identify knowledge gaps for further professional development opportunities and linkages.