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Media release
Greg Hunt MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Flinders

1 March 2006

Australia to present water skills at global water forum

Australian expertise in flood forecasting and climate information will contribute to the Fourth World Water Forum in Mexico next month, says Hon Greg Hunt MP, Parliamentary Secretary with ministerial responsibility for the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

"Eight hydrological specialists from the World Meteorological Organization Commission for Hydrology are meeting at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology in Melbourne this week to discuss World Meteorological Organization contributions to the world forum, which helps developing nations manage their water resources through service integration, Mr Hunt said.

The specialists are members of the Advisory Working Group to the Commission for Hydrology, which shapes the World Meteorological Organization's water resources activities. "These activities include adaptability to climate variability and change, water resources assessment, flood forecasting and above all an exchange of technology between Australian forecasters - considered among the best in the world - and those from other nations.

"The Advisory Group is chaired by an Australian hydrologist, Mr Bruce Stewart, a Bureau Assistant Director. Other members are from China, the USA, Britain, Canada, Ghana, and Brazil.

"The World Water Forum will present some of the positives from international collaboration-showing how science can offer solutions to some water-related problems.

"In using Australia as an example; the Bureau of Meteorology and its State water agency and emergency services partners are among world leaders in operating an efficient flood forecasting and warning service.

"They monitor 2000 water level gauges and 2000 rainfall gauges over 70 catchments in real-time, and issue 1200 flood warnings a year.

"Australia will also outline advances in computer modelling of weather radar data to predict how much rain will fall in particular areas.

"The Bureau will contribute to another forum theme-Integrated Water Resources Management-through its experience of sharing climate variability knowledge to help Pacific island countries better manage water problems," Mr Hunt said.

Mr Hunt said an initiative by the World Meteorological Organization (and its Pacific partners) which resulted in the European Union's commitment of approximately $US 3,000,000 for hydrological data collection on small Pacific islands was a good example of global collaboration to help developing nations.

Media enquiries:
Kristy McSweeney (Mr Hunt's office) 0415 740 722

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