Taking a collaborative path to sustainable adaptation and innovation in irrigation landscapes: The One Basin CRC

Date: Friday 7 October 2022 | 11.15 am – 12.45 pm

Over the coming decade, maintaining a sustainable future for irrigation regions rests on innovation in business models and technologies that are responsive to climate change, are inclusive of indigenous peoples, and meet national and market expectations for environmental stewardship. Emerging solutions have the potential to transform agriculture, water and energy systems but they are not being effectively developed, commercialised and adopted. New regional innovation systems are needed to break down old silos and bridge across water, agriculture and energy sectors and address the known barriers to adoption and commercialisation of these solutions.

Joining together in the One Basin CRC, a national consortium of 85 partners will develop and commercialise opportunities for Australia’s irrigated agriculture and rural water industries to be more productive, resilient and sustainable in a changing world. This ten-year program is commencing in 2022 with the support of a $50m grant from the Commonwealth CRC Program and more than $106.5 m total commitment from partners. This collaboration represents the largest of its kind spanning water, agriculture, First Nations, government, technology and environmental sectors, demonstrating the widespread desire to get ahead of the challenges of a drier future and to work together collaboratively to meet shared challenges.


The session will explore this unique industry-led research program to transform irrigation regions in the face of global changes including the modes of engagement. Key features of this approach are its cross-sectoral partnership, regional place-based R&D program and deliberate design to overcome historic barriers to innovation. The session will include presentations on the program and a panel discussion of this and other approaches to collaborative research in irrigation landscapes.


11:15 – 11:20 : Welcome and introduction (A 1BCRC Board Member)
11:20 – 11:45 : Overview of the ONE Basin CRC (Mike Stewardson)
11:45 – 12:15 : Initial collaborative research activities
  • Our Changing Water Future – “Adapting to change together” (Carl Walters/Lachlan Campbell/Libby Rumpf)
  • Opportunities and risks associated with identifying, sourcing and treating brackish groundwater (Seth Westra)
  • Water Infrastructure Critical Component Anomaly Detection & Health Prediction Prototype and Irrigation demand forecasting for multi-scale multi-objective system storage control optimization (Murrumbidgee Irrigation/ANU)
12:15 – 12:45 | Questions and Discussion (chaired by 1BCRC Board Member, Panel includes all the speakers for the session)

Mike Stewardson – Interim CEO, One Basin CRC

Lead, Water Environment & Agriculture Platform, Faculty of Engineering & IT Director, Mallee Regional Innovation Centre The University of Melbourne Research Areas: Environmental hydrology; Water resources; Integrated modelling; Regional innovation; Science leadership

Professor Michael Stewardson is the interim CEO for the One Basin CRC. He has had a 30 year career in water resources research and research translation. He has led many interdisciplinary research projects in river and water science and advises government including his current membership of the MDBA’s Advisory Committee on Social Environmental and Environmental Science (ACSEES).

He was Discipline Leader for the Environmental Hydrology and Water Resources Group at The University of Melbourne and leads the Water Environment and Agriculture Platform in the Faculty of Engineering & IT. In 2019, he established the Mallee Regional Innovation Centre and was the Centre Director for its first three years. Over the last three years Michael led the bid for a ONE Basin CRC which was successfully funded in the latest Round of the Commonwealth Cooperative Research Centres Program.