WIDCORP presents at APEN 5th International Conference
Posted: 16 December 2009
Research Director Pam McRae-Williams presented WIDCORP research at the international conference for the Australia-Pacific Extension Network held in Busselton, Western Australia in November .Pam presented a paper titled ?Identifying and utilising farmer typologies for targeted practice change programs?. The presentation was based on case study research undertaken by WIDCORP in the Wimmera-Mallee. It reported on farming styles developed using data from more than 520 surveyed farmers and in-depth interviews. Farmer typology research has become a popular tool for designing farm extension programs and targeting key messages to particular farmer groups. This approach was successfully used to assist in the Farming with Pipesa practice change program conducted by DPI to capture the benefits and new enterprise opportunities arising from conversion to the more efficient piped water supply.
Horsham academics present at National Conference
Posted: 21 August 2009
University of Ballarat Academics from the Horsham Campus, Dr Imogen Schwarz (Research Fellow at WIDCORP) and Ms Christine Hallinan (Lecturer, School of Nursing) were selected to present their research papers at the '10th National Rural Health Conference' in Cairns during May this year. This is a great acheivement for the University of Ballarat Horsham Campus.Dr Imogen Schwarz presented a paper titled Does major regional infrastructure influence the resilience of a rural community? The paper reported on studies conducted with farmers, community members and small businesses to inform our understanding of how climate change and water scarcity influence wellbeing in rural communities affected by drought. The peer reviewed paper is published in the conference proceedings at http://10thnrhc.ruralhealth.org.au Christine Hallinan delivered a poster presentation titled The Time has Come: A Change Process in General Practice. This presentation focused on the organisational change models that are required to support change in the General Practice arena, as well as the health policy initiatives and community health needs that have been drivered for these changes.
Imogen and Christine at the 10th National Rural Health Conference.
DPI Forum: The face of agricultural change with pipeline water
Posted: 2 July 2009
WIDCORP presented its research at a DPI convened forum, "In the Face of Change: The future of the Wimmera-Mallee Agriculture with Pipeline Water." The forum aimed to bring together the region's key decision makers to think strategically about the future of agribusiness opportunities as a result of conversion to piped water. The forum wraps up the Sustainable Agribusiness Opportunities from the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline initiative. DPI has commissioned WIDCORP to conduct research to complement this initiative, in generating a greater understnding of landholders' attitudes and expectations towards opportunities available with piped water. This research identified different types of farming, assisted DPI with development of related extension work, and has become an ongoing longitudinal study to track changes in farmers attitudes and practice change over time. WIDCORP Director, Pam McRae-Williams, delivered a presentation on the barriers to landholders adopting change and embracing new opportunities. In the Friday morning workshop,WIDCORP fellow, Imogen Schwarz overviewed findings from the three surveys which form part of the longitudinal study, and lessons learned from a survey in the Northern Mallee which was connected to piped water in 2002. Presentations are available by clicking on the links below: Barriers to adoption - P McRae-WillimasLongitudinal study results - I Schwarz
Dr Brian Walker to speak at WIDCORP's Resilience Forum, 4th Feb 2009
Posted: 2 February 2009
WIDCORP will hold its 5th Research Forum on The Building Blocks of Resilience. Guest speaker, Dr Brian Walker, is an internationally experienced scientist working on ecological sustainability and resilience in social-ecological systems. He is a Research Fellow with CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems and is also Program Director and Chair of the Board of the Resilience Alliance - www.resalliance.org Dr Walker co-authored the 2006 book, 'Resilience Thinking: Sustaining ecosystems and people in a changing world.' In this afternoon forum, Dr Brian Walker will share his work on the significance of resilience in the sustainability of ecosystems and social-ecological systems. This event sponsored by WIDCORP and Deakin University's School of Life and Environmental Sciences invite you to attend this forum, free of charge. Please join us at the Greenhill Enterprise Centre, University Drive, Mt Helen Ballarat, from 1.00pm - 5pm on Wednesday 4th February. For further information or to RSVP contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Water and sustainable tourism in dryland regions
Posted: 3 October 2008
La Vergne Lehmann presented her PhD research on dryland tourism at the Third International Sustainable Tourism Conference 2008 in Malta. The conference aims were to explore issues concerned with achieving environmental, social and economic sustainability of tourism alongside the governance mechanisms needed to support sustainable tourism. In particular, the meeting focused on empirical work and case studies from around the world which can offer new insights and best practice in sustainable tourism.In 2007, La Vergne Lehmann started her PhD with a research focus on valuing water in dryland tourism areas. La Vergne together with her family run a sustainable bush retreat accommodation near the Little Desert National Park at Dimboola. This experience in the industry has driven her interest in sustainable tourism practices, particularly after nearly a decade of drought. La Vergne is conducting her PhD research under the supervision of Associate Professor Ian Clark and Dr Pam McRae-Williams are through the School of Business and the Water in Drylands Collaborative Research Program. More information about the conference is available here.
4th Research Forum Regional Futures 1st July 2008
WIDCORP held its 4th Research Forum on Regional Futures.The theme of the forum has emerged as a key research focus of the University of Ballarat. The half-day forum, followed by afternoon workshops, provided an opportunity to learn and share ideas about practical ways forward for the region.
Grains Innovation Park, Natimuk Rd, HORSHAM
Guest speaker Rob Gell shared his vision for sustainable regional futures and clearly identified the challenges we are now facing as a consequence of climate change.David Jochinke a young innovative farmer spoke about his visions for farming in the region stating ' the challenges we are now facing will mean that the region will need to adapt and in some instances rethink current faming practice - something farmers are good at is adapting to change. WIDCORP researchers spoke about their work ranging from how a changing water regime will impact on biodiversity, tourism, regional water use and regional aspirations. The workshop sessions sought to develop research projects to better understand the 'Value of Water' in the Wimmera Mallee. People involved were key researchers, decision-makers and interested community members and the workshops covered projects ranging from post pipeline on-farm water use, decision support systems and optimizing the management of river systems for multiple uses. More information about the forum including links to presentations are available from the conference and events page
Rob Gell to speak at WIDCORP's 4th Research Forum: Register now!
Posted: May 5 2008
WIDCORP will hold its 4th Research Forum on Regional Futures 1st July 2008. WIDCORP forums provide an opportunity for researchers, community members, government agencies and resource managers to share knowledge and discuss a wide range of issues about water and regional sustainability. This event includes a half day forum followed by a half day workshop. In the morning Rob Gell will share his vision for sustainable regional futures followed by young leaders and researchers who will talk about their visions for the Wimmera Mallee region. The afternoon workshop session will provide an opportunity for key researchers, decision makers and interestered community members to be involved in working groups on specific research projects addressing water and sustainability in our region. WIDCORP invite you to attend the forum - Register here to attend the forum or receive further information.
WIDCORP Research of Regional Significance
Posted: March 28 2008
With the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline now fast tracked, together with cost concerns and the continued pace of water reform, the role of WIDCORP as a regional research program has become more relevant than ever. Moreover a greater recognition of the impact of climate change together with the continued drought highlight the importance of location specific research to inform local thinking about regional sustainability. WIDCORP have commenced and completed important research that is providing valued input into partner decision making and policy development. Building upon 2006 basline studies that identified aspirations and expectations of communities with regards to the Wimmera and Northern Mallee pipelines, research in 2007 focused upon:
Decomissioning of earthen channels and farm dams will mean a loss of water on the floodplains landscape and impacts on local biodiversity. PhD research by Dawn McBride is examining the implications from a socio-ecological perspective.
Wildlife pond open days in the Wimmera Mallee region
Posted: February 29 2008
Jonathan Starks is completing a masters at WIDCORP that addresses the impact of decommissioning channels by installing wildlife ponds to replace open water supply for frogs, birds, and other wildlife. BCG is holding a couple of 'Sticky-Beak Days', an opportunity for farmers and others to have a look at one of these functioning wildlife ponds, see how they operate and learn what's involved in building and maintaining one. The sticky-beak days will also cover topics such as the biodiversity benefits of a pond and the costs involved.The first one will be held at Moor Park, on the Yarriambiack Creek, on 19 March. This is one of 12 ponds Jonathan is studying as part of his masters project. The events are planned for the morning starting at 9:00 and running for a couple of hours, with morning tea provided. People can contact Jonathan Starks(email@example.com) with their expressions of interest and any questions. More information is also provided in the Sticky Beak Days flyer.
Farmer study for the Sustainable Agribusiness Opportunities from the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline program now available on WIDCORP website
Posted: February 11 2008
The study titled "Identifying farmer typologies, perspectives, and aspirations of the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline" is now available on the WIDCORP website. A summary of the results has been sent to farmers who participated in the study and who were interested in receiving results. Both the summary and full report is featured on the Publications page. If you are interested in following up on this project contact project leader, Dr Imogen Schwarz: firstname.lastname@example.org
WIDCORP completes farmer study for the Sustainable Agribusiness Opportunities from the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline program
Posted: December 14 2007
A significant research project has been conducted which examines implications of a more secure stock and domestic water supply system for a large dryland agricultural region.It identifies key issues, concerns and opportunities as perceived by identified farmer typologies.
A report and a summary of this study will be available on our website in early 2008. If you are interested in following up on this project contact project leader, Dr Imogen Schwarz: email@example.com
Photo of pipes at the farm gate, Wimmera Mallee.
WIDCORP announces small business study
Posted: November 18 2007
Small businesses throughout the Wimmera Mallee region are known to suffer the 'ripple effects' of drought and water shortages. However, whilst much attention is focused to the farmer little is written into the effects these environmental conditions have on the rural small business operator.
The University of Ballarat's Water in Drylands Collaborative Research Program (WIDCORP) is about to undertake such a study. Small businesses in Sea Lake and Rainbow, in the Wimmera Mallee region have been asked to participate in a project titled: 'Water, regional development and health: exploring linkages between water reform and the health of small business people in rural dryland Australia'.
Letters have been sent to small businesses to invite their participation, with a view to carrying out the study in November and December. Dr Schwarz, WIDCORP Research Fellow stated, "the study gives the opportunity for rural small business operators to tell their business story and how they have adapted through times of adversity and change".
The research will specifically look at the influence water supply security has on small businesses. The study will explore how small business operators respond to drought and changing regional circumstances.
Dr Schwarz, indicated "Gaining an understanding of small business operators and water infrastructure change would provide the opportunity to build upon this knowledge within related health and regional development policy and programs."
WIDCORP Research Forum
Posted: October 26 2007
On 8th November 2007, WIDCORP held their annual research forum. This year the theme was 'Managing Water in Drylands'. We welcomed interested researchers from Western Victoria. This was an informal forum where information was shared and potential research links explored across agencies involved in research. More information...
Wimmera Mallee Pipeline milestone reached
Posted: October 16 2007
The first leg of the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline was officially turned on at Rainbow on Friday 12 October. With this milestone reached, piped water to the region's town and farms will soon become a reality. Recent research by WIDCORP has identified that farmers are positive about the pipeline and are looking forward to a secure supply of improved quality of water on the farm.
The Hon Tim Holding MP, Minister for Water; Barry Clugston, GWMWater Chairman; and John Forrest MP, Federal Member for Mallee