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Lake Hume Bethanga Victoria, Murray River and New South Wales and Victoria border.

Water is life

Photo: Lake Hume Bethanga Victoria, Murray River and New South Wales and Victoria border.

Author: Jane Thomas, Program Manager at the Sidney Myer Fund and The Myer Foundation

Water is life: We need it in the right amount, of the right quality and at the right time. In Australia, we are on borrowed time.

Unsustainable management of our freshwater systems is putting rivers, wetlands, lakes and groundwater resources at risk across Australia. Climate change and population growth are intensifying existing pressures and creating new threats. 

The Myer Foundation and The Ian Potter Foundation recognise that addressing these challenges is critical to Australia’s future prosperity and the survival of many iconic ecosystems. 

Last year, the foundations commissioned a rigorous and extensive 12-month study to determine how philanthropy can catalyse change in the management of Australia’s waters and catchments.

The study showed that Australia needs an independent organisation that can deliver transformative policy reforms to protect, restore and maintain our freshwater systems.

In September this year, we jointly agreed to commit $10 million over 10 years to create a new, national, independent and expert policy centre (‘the Centre’) to draw together community, government, business and academia to create solutions to this urgent problem. The Centre will draw on the expertise of the Australian Academy of Science, where it will be incubated for the first five years of operation.

Sustainable water policy has never been more critical, and the Centre must be resourced at a level that will achieve the impact required to catalyse major reforms and engage with related policy areas like regional development and urban planning. Funding for the Centre is projected at $3.5 million a year. Our goal is to raise $25 million over the next 12 months to secure the Centre’s independent operation for at least 10 years.

Philanthropy can have a lasting impact on the way water is managed for the long-term benefit of all Australians and we are inviting philanthropic partners to join us in being catalysts for change.

If you are interested in joining The Myer Foundation and The Ian Potter Foundation and pledging your support for a sustainable future for Australia’s waters and catchments, contact Craig Connelly, CEO, The Ian Potter Foundation: