Community views sought on river use

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Experts from the University of Adelaide will play a key role in a new symposium aimed at generating community discussion about water resources and river use.

The "All About Water: All About the River" Community Symposium will be held at the Strathalbyn Town Hall on Friday 13 April.

Designed to promote discussion between water experts, community and business leaders, policy makers and members of the local public, the symposium has been organised by the River, Lakes and Coorong Action Group.

Three University of Adelaide experts will play key roles at the symposium. They are:

  • Invited speaker: Dr Mike Geddes, School of Earth & Environmental Sciences, head of the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth ecology research cluster (CLLAMMecology) and member of the University of Adelaide Water Research Cluster;
  • Invited speaker: Associate Professor Keith Walker, School of Earth & Environmental Sciences, expert on river ecology and the impact of weirs on the lower River Murray; and
  • Co-convener: Professor Diane Bell, Visiting Research Fellow in Anthropology, University of Adelaide, Professor Emerita at George Washington University, Washington DC, United States, and expert on community groups.

As well as being one of the conveners of the symposium, Professor Bell is also a local resident in the Strathalbyn/Finniss region and is a member of the River, Lakes and Coorong Action Group.

Professor Bell says the symposium will provide a unique opportunity for members of the community to use their invaluable local knowledge in the discussion of water resources and river use.

The symposium will include question and answer sessions, facilitated discussion groups, and a plenary session with all invited speakers.

"The symposium is designed to maximise the exchange of ideas and build relationships across groups, so that one view alone will not dominate the day," Professor Bell says.

"The most important aspect of this event is that the people will truly have a say - and all parts of the community will be heard, from local residents to academics, administrators, businesses and indigenous groups," she says.

"The role of the University of Adelaide researchers will be important in helping to provide a scientific basis for the discussion, but the academics are not just there to speak to the community - they want to learn the community's views and build on their relationships with them, because these relationships help to inform and support their science," she says.

A number of local organisations and institutions are supporting the symposium, including the University of Adelaide.

WHAT: Community Symposium: "All About Water: All About the River"

WHERE: Strathalbyn Town Hall, High Street, Strathalbyn, South Australia

WHEN: 8.15am (tea and coffee) for a 9.00am start, Friday 13 April

COST: Free, but registration is required to allow for catering and seating. Visit and click on 'Events', or email Carol Hammond:


Contact Details

Professor Diane Bell
Visiting Research Fellow
Discipline of Anthropology
The University of Adelaide
Business: (08) 8313 4735
Mobile: 0427 554 194
Other: (08) 8536 0197 (home)

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762