Spotlight on River Symposium


22nd International River Symposium, 20-24 October 2019, Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre


Healthy Land and Water – Gold Partner

Healthy Land and Water was proud to be a Gold Partner for the 22nd International River Symposium held in Brisbane. As a key member of the global network of experts and practitioners, our team contributed throughout the five-day program, connecting, knowledge and idea sharing, leveraging, and learning around all aspects of river and water management.

The theme “Resilient Rivers” was chosen to recognise the urgent need to build the capacity of our rivers, communities, and industries to quickly recover from extreme events, such as droughts and floods, and return to a healthy state, ensuring social and economic prosperity.  

Working with other partners including the Australian and Queensland Governments, Brisbane City Council, and Griffith University, we were able to add significantly to the program through our local knowledge and international networks, demonstrating our leadership in building flood and drought resilience.  


Resilient Rivers Blueprint

Healthy Land and Water was invited by the International River Foundation to participate as a Founding Partner in the Resilient Rivers Blueprint which was launched at the Symposium. This journey to achieve resilience of our rivers in light of global change is a high priority and drives commitment from communities of practice all around the world to delivering best practice river systems management.

  • Key member of Resilient Rivers initiative in South East Queensland. Opportunity to take learnings and foster outcomes on global scale.
  • Opportunity to learn from others and bring knowledge and new learnings to South East Queensland to improve our own practices.
  • Healthy Land and Water recognises that building resilience in our natural assets has merit and has produced exceptional outcomes.
  • Opportunities to learn about and adopt new financial models for new investment in natural asset resilience and infrastructure 
  • Opportunity to enhance modelling techniques
  • The Resilient Rivers Blueprint will strengthen the delivery of the NRM Plan.


River Expo

Healthy Land and Water had a major presence in the River Expo with the team on hand to meet and network with delegates throughout the event.


Welcome Reception

As a Gold Partner we were proud to sponsor the Welcome Reception held in the River Expo on the first evening of the Symposium. This was an opportunity to welcome guests and highlight the release of Report Card 2019, with the official launch held the next day.

Learn-Inspire-Transform (LIT) Session

Community co-design – building sustainable communities

Too many times we see urban design solutions imposed upon local communities that are ill fitting; developed without an understanding of how a community uses and values their local place.  Such designs are doomed to failure as they miss a critical piece of the design puzzle – who are the people who will use and value this place into the future and how and where are their needs captured?

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world”

– Margaret Mead

Healthy Land and Water has integrated a co-design process to deliver both environmental and social outcomes for local communities in Queensland. In the session, Rachael Nasplezes, Senior Scientist/Lead Water by Design and Dr Andrew O’Neill, General Manager Environmental Services took participants through a ‘virtual’ co-design process using a case study based off a Brisbane urban creek renewal project. Participants emerged with a deeper understanding of what co-design is, how to facilitate the process and what outcomes can be expected.

The Healthy Land and Water team featured throughout the program presenting and chairing sessions:

  • Evaluating the success of past strategies: why looking to the past is critical for future catchment, Dr Paul Maxwell
  • Resilience safe recreation in South East Queensland waterways, Naomi Soutsal
  • Policy on the run – what the books don’t teach you, Dr Andrew O’Neill
  • Implementing an offset: more than a mass balance equation, Ross Bigwood
  • Communities working together to build resilience in their place, Rachael Nasplezes
  • Loving our waterways too much? Monitoring waterway condition and social benefits in South East Queensland, Emily Saeck
  • Managing weeds of national significance for better drinking water, Dennis Gannaway
  • Meet the pollutants: spreading the word about waterway pollution, Glenn Browning

Healthy Land and Water Study Tour

Enoggera Creek: A pulse of Brisbane Life

Leading scientists, community advocates, historians and traditional owners led a group of delegates on a day study tour to explore the cultural, economic, social and environmental history of Enoggera Creek and the Brisbane River over 200 years and how the impacts of a legacy of poor environmental management on the bay are driving us to change what we are doing to improve the situation. Visiting the upper Enoggera Creek and the Enoggera reservoir, delegates heard from water supply catchment managers and community groups that have restored entire sections of creek. It was then onto Three Mile Scrub, a recently completed open space project in the mid Enoggera Creek, where community-led design has re-invigorated a section of the creek. Finishing at historic Newstead house, Brisbane’s oldest home located where Enoggera Creek flows into the Brisbane River.