Uni recruits CSIRO water expert
One of Australia's leading water policy reformers, Professor Mike Young, has accepted a research chair at the University of Adelaide.
Professor Young, formerly a Chief Research Scientist with CSIRO Land and Water, will spend the next three years on a research project to help implement effective water management strategies across Australia.
The project, With the Wisdom of Hindsight, will be jointly funded by Land and Water Australia and CSIRO's Water for a Healthy Country Flagship Program.
"I will be focusing on smart institutional arrangements to find the best way to manage Australia's water resources. A large part of my role will be to present challenging ideas to water researchers and also to the general community," Professor Young said.
As Professor of Water Economics and Management in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Adelaide, Professor Young hopes to get his critical messages across via a series of newsletter-style summaries of major water-related issues, called Droplets.
"We hope that a lot of Droplets turn into PhDs done by students in such areas as water accounting, managing impacts of climate change and seeing connected ground and surface water systems as a single source."
"We have made a lot of headway in recent years to help raise public awareness about water, but we still have a long way to go," he said.
Professor Young's past research has resulted in major water policy reforms in Australia, including: the adoption of new methods to define water entitlements in several Australian states; the Inter-governmental Agreement, resulting in increased environmental flows in the River Murray; an increasing use of market-based incentives to improve natural resource use; and more incentives to help conserve biodiversity.
He also established the Water Proofing Adelaide program and was the architect of the NSW Fishery Share System.
From 1985 to 1988, Professor Young led the OECD's early work on the integration of agricultural and environmental policies. He then spent six months in Washington DC as a research fellow with the United States Department of Agriculture and the US Environmental Protection Authority.
Professor Young is one of the founding members of the Wentworth Group, a body of Australian scientists pushing for significant environmental reforms to help preserve our natural resources.
In 2006 he was listed by the Canberra Times as one of the 10 most influential people in water policy reform. A year earlier the same newspaper recognised him as "Green Australian of the Year".
Professor Young's other credits include a 2003 centenary medal for "outstanding service through environmental economics" and a 2005 Land and Water Australia Eureka Prize for Water Research, in partnership with CSIRO's Jim McColl.
Story by Candy Gibson