10 Oct 2016
Water Council CEO and President leads dialogues in Victoria, Australia

The United Nations Global Compact – Cities Programme recently welcomed Dean Amhaus, CEO and President of The Water Council to Melbourne for a series of activities and events centred on the value of clustering, inter-sectoral collaboration and taking a water-centric approach to cities.

The Water Council is headquartered in the Global Water Centre in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and is considered the epicentre for freshwater research, innovation, education and business development. Milwaukee has been an Innovating City with the Cities Programme since 2009 based on its water-focused collaboration between the public, private and academic sectors. Amongst a number of other recognitions, Milwaukee was awarded the Clean Water America ‘Water Prize’ in 2011. Dean Amhaus also holds a Global Advisor role with the Cities Programme.

Water-Centric Cities

Whilst in Melbourne, Amhaus had meetings with a number of departments in the Victorian State Government and the American Chamber of Commerce. These exchanges explored the potential for Victoria to adopt similar strategies and approaches to Milwaukee with the aim of advancing economic development, industry specialisation and sustainability.

The Cities Programme and RMIT University hosted a ‘Water-Centric Cities’ dialogue, which brought together industry, government and academia. Among the attendees were representatives from Melbourne Water, Aither, Water Services Association Australia, Yarra Valley Sustainable Water, DELWP (Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning) and others from multiple schools across RMIT. Opened by Cities Programme Chair, Michael Nolan, the dialogue featured Milwaukee’s story of transformation from a manufacturing city suffering an economic downturn into an innovating, cutting-edge global water hub.

Amhaus also led a webinar for UN-Global Compact Cities Programme participants. This was followed by a direct dialogue with New Zealand Leading city, Rotorua.

Cities on a transformation journey – exchange with Victoria’s second city, Geelong

The City of Greater Geelong and the Committee for Geelong (CfG) also hosted Amhaus during his visit to Victoria. As part of Geelong’s international speaker series, Amhaus shared his expertise and experience related to Milwaukee’s transformation. This included collaborative and innovative approaches to clustering, business incubation and economic development.

The cross-sectoral group of attendees have been focused on shaping a new direction for Victoria’s second largest city for a couple of years and the event resulted in an animated exchange and the beginning of new relationships.

Amhaus appreciated the warm welcome. He said he was impressed by the innovation that has already taken place in Geelong and looks forward to an ongoing exchange between the two cities.

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