Being Career Ready – Steps for Water Professionals
On Tuesday 19 July 2022, the Queensland Water Modelling Network were joined by more than 30 eager participants and presenters from three Queensland universities, multiple consulting companies, NRM organizations, local councils, and state government departments to convene in Toowoomba for a tour of the region. It is part of the 3CP remit to create occasions for water professionals to gather, connect, learn and share together. This was a special opportunity to do just this, outside, in the fresh air, beyond the usual bounds of a workshop.
Presenters Left to Right: Tim Neale (Data Farming); David Freebairn (XXX); Paul Webb (Southern Queensland Landscapes); Tim Vale (Southern Queensland Landscapes); Darren Fielder (RedLeaf Environmental)
We met in Toowoomba at Garnett Lehmann Park to Acknowledge Country and hop aboard the coach. The first leg had us excitedly connecting with new and old friends and colleagues before, David Freebairn,an ex Darling Downs soil conservation scientist and model developer journeyed us through the landscape as we moved from range to plains, speaking of soil condition and agricultural practices that support water and resource retention.
Out on the Condamine: engaging discussion among fallowed cotton field
When, we arrived at a fallowed cotton field, on the Condamine Plains to meet with Tim Neale, Founder of Data Farming. Tim shared with us ways that the agriculture sector is striving to add value and efficiency to their practices through sensing (both remote, scanning from trailers and in paddock) technology, data and the “Internet of Things” from various devices in the farm paddock. Tim shared with us some of the results he receives from fine-scale analysis of croplands that provide accuracy for resource allocation.
Participants were asked to consider what opportunities and challenges there might be in utilising this level of data integration to address other key water and land management needs, and whether such data and water modelling applications can be integrated elsewhere. The discussion was rich among participants with questions and answers flying around the group. The immensity of the plains invited ever broadening ideas and conversation that continued well through the next leg of our journey to Yarramalong Weir.
Tim Neale discusses sensing technology, data and the “Internet of Things”
On arrival, we shared a cut lunch on the banks of the Condamine River and were led through a short, grounding exercise with Sarah. Paul Webb from Southern Queensland Landscapes was up next, sharing his experience working alongside government and consultants such as Truii, in developing models that informs and support on-ground activities. Paul’s presentation was supported by comments from Nick Marsh from Truii and David Freebairn.
Yarramolong Weir Reserve: lunch stop and Southern Queensland Landscapes presentation
Tim Vale, also from Southern Queensland Landscapes, spoke about developing the Fish Friendly Water Extraction Project and its broad application across their region. This project will work with irrigators, local government and community to protect native fish and water infrastructure by screening off-take pumps, a significant contributor to the loss of aquatic biodiversity.
Yarramalong Weir; Piet is presented with a copy of Southern Queensland Landscapes Flourishing Landscapes, Healthy Communities Plan
By now, the shadows were lengthening and though the day had been full, the final leg back to Garnett Lehmann Park was rich with engaging conversation among participants. When we reached the park, we were joined by Darren Fielder and Christina Kindermann from Red Leaf Environmental. Darren walked us through their experience designing, installing and maintaining a large retention basin in the heart of Toowoomba. Whilst wondering through the park, we were surprised to be joined by a local resident who keenly shared her personal experiences and water management events in the park.
The day was capped off with a quick debrief at the Federal Hotel in Toowoomba before we all headed off on our way. Thank you to everyone for coming along and making this day a fun, educational and interactive day full of connections. We look forward to the next one.
Garnett Lehmann Park: Darren Fielder shares his experience designing, installing and maintaining a large retention basin in the heart of Toowoomba
(Thank you Paul Webb for this summary)
(Thank you Edward Dycueco and Yen Nguyen)
The crew. Thanks all for coming. We had a blast of day.