July 24-25, Steven

Narrandera and Wagga Wagga

On Tuesday, We left Hay and made our way towards Wagga Wagga. Along the way we made a stop in Narrandera at the John Lake Centre, which is a fishery for producing native species for planting in regions across New South Wales. John Doyle and Trish Evans showed us around the facility and discussed native species they farm such as the Murray Cod, Silver Perch, and Golden Perch. The main reasons for their need to farm fish are a result of pollution, drought, overfishing, and invasive species like carp. The John Lake Centre was a great opportunity to see how fisheries are managed and sustained for future generations of fish.

 

Murray Cod at the John Lake Centre

 

After leaving the fishery, we continued on our way to Wagga Wagga. Once we made it to Wagga Wagga, we checked into the Beach Caravan Park where we would stay for the next

Keenan having fun playing with the stuffed animals at the John Lake Centre

2 nights. After lunch, we went to the city council building and met Matthew Holt who talked to us about EVOcities. ECOcities is a program in New South Wales in which 7 smaller cities promote citizens and industries to come to their region. EVO stands for Energy, Vision, and Opportunity, with the motto “The Art of Living”. They advertise themselves by providing affordable property rights, schools, hospitals, and universities. The main goal is to market themselves on billboards, radio, and television in large regions such as Sydney, in hopes that they convince families and industry to Wagga Wagga or one of the 6 partner cities. They have a great website which shows job availability, land for industry to invest in, and a property price comparison tool. Learning about EVO cities was a great way to see how rural cities are competing for jobs and citizens to ensure growth for the future.

Our group outside the Wagga Wagga city council building

After leaving the city council, we headed to the Thirsty Crow for Pizza and Beer tasting. We got to meet the head brewer and he gave us a tour of his facility and described the beer making process. We then got to taste a few of the beers before enjoying some great pizza. During dinner some of us played cards and had a few more beers, my personal favorite being the American Pale Ale.

A look at how beer is made at the Thirsty Crow

The next morning we headed to the Riverina Water Council where we met with Leanne Hastings who gave us a tour of the water facilities. We learned how the plant collects its water, 70% coming from groundwater and 30% coming from the river, and how they filter, aerate, and disinfect the water so that it is safe for human consumption. The Riverina Water Council provides water to a region covering 16,000 square kilometers by producing 85 mega liters of water daily. The Riverina water plant taught us a lot about the water allocation process and cemented the idea of water conservation by providing us each a shower timer as a parting gift.

Aerator releasing gas from the water at the Wagga Wagga water plant

After the Riverina Water Council, we went home for lunch, then headed to the National Wine and Grape Industry Center which is a parter of Charles Stuart University. We were first given an overview of what NWGIC is all about by Professor Chris Steel. He talked about how they get funding for research, their different educational programs, study modes, degree requirements, and student enrollment. Chris discussed the variety of research themes such as vine health and environment and vineyard sustainability. Dr. Bruno Hulzapfel was our next speaker, and his focus was on grape and wine research. He gave us an overview on the history of wine, described different varieties of grapes and regions in which they were grown, both in Germany and in Australia. He continued by discussing a variety of wine industry issues such as soil salinity and climate change. After his presentation we were led by Ashley Radburn, the facilities manager, on a tour of the university winery to learn about the various steps in the wine making process. Andrew was the name of the head distiller, and he gave us the details on what it takes to make great wine by showing us around the distillery. From there we got to sample a few of their wine varieties, a few of us made some purchases, and then we headed back to the caravan park. When we got back, Flick, our host, prepared an excellent dinner of t-bone steaks, pasta, salad and bread.

Oak wine barrel at the National Wine and Grape Institute

 

 

Conclusion

Over these two days we were able to learn about various industries and how they perform sustainable practices. First, at the John Lake Centre, we learned about how and why they farmed fish to maintain healthy stocks of native fish in their water system. We also learned about their educational program which teaches young kids how to properly catch and release fish and to help them gain and understanding and respect their local ecosystems. At Wagga Wagga City Council, we were able to see how cities are becoming more sustainable through energy practices as well as economically, by working to bring more people and industries to their city. The Riverina Water Council taught us about being more sustainable with our water use by taking shorter showers and enforcing legislation which restricted lawn water use from 9-5 for all citizens. Finally, the National Wine and Grape Industry Center taught us how they perform sustainable farming practices to ensure that they maintain the health of the plants and soil for future generations.

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Pre-departure

Wagga Wagga Beach Caravan Park

            After leaving Hay, we will be heading to Wagga Wagga, New South Wales.  Wagga Wagga is located on the banks of the Murrumbridge River, located midway between Australia’s two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, making it a major transport hub because of the Sydney-Melbourne railway line that passes through the city. Wagga Wagga is the largest city in New South Wales with over 46,000 people in urban centre in 2006 with a population growth rate of .8%.  The climate in Wagga Wagga in July is cold and rainy with a high average temperature of 54.9°F and low of 36.9°F. Wagga Wagga is located on the “Barassi Line” which is an imaginary line that divides the country between those who play rugby and those who play Australian football.  This contributes to the high levels of participation in both sports and many more including soccer, cricket, and tennis. There is term called the “Wagga Effect” to describe the large number of elite sportsman and women that come from Wagga Wagga.

We will be staying at the Wagga Wagga Caravan Park. The park is located right on the banks of the Murrumbridge River and is a close walk to the shopping centre.  During our time in Wagga Wagga we will be meeting with the Wagga Wagga Council to discuss the issues related to carbon footprints and policies involved to limit Wagga Wagga’s impact on climate change. Currently Wagga Wagga is a Bronze partner of the Office of Environment and Heritage Sustainability Advantage Program because if it’s environmental achievements. In 2008 the Mayor signed the NSW Mayors’ Agreement on Climate Change, committing to reducing Greenhouse Gas emissions by 20% by 2020.  Since 2008 Council has been subscribed to Planet Footprint reporting service. Planet Footprint monitors energy and greenhouse gas performance and provides the data to the Council. This data is then used to track GHG emissions and assist in planning to reduce its carbon footprint.

After meeting with the Council, we will be having dinner at the Thirsty Crow Brewery, where we will also take a tour. It was first opened in 2011 and produces six beers year round and several seasonal brews. Along with craft beer they also have a well-developed wine list and locally roasted Coffee and a great selection of Tea for those who don’t like beer.

The next day we will be meeting with the Water Council to discuss water issues.  The Riverina Water Council is responsible for supplying clean drinking water to over 67,000 people covering over 15,400 square kilometers. We will learn about their policies that help maintain clean drinking water at the lowest sustainable cost to the region. Below is an image of the area Riverina Water supplies.

After meeting with the Water Coucil, we will be going to the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre at Charles Stuart University. Here we will be learning about sustainable practices in viticulture, and maybe taste some wine while we are there.

Wagga Wagga is a going to be a great learning experience and a lot of fun. I am extremely excited and can’t wait to be there!

Works Cited:

. “About Riverina Water County Council.” Riverina Water County Council. Riverina Water County Council, n.d. Web. 13 Jul 2012. .

. “Sustainability Advantage.” City of Wagga Wagga. City of Wagga Wagga, n.d. Web. 13 Jul 2012. .

. Thirsty Crow. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Jul 2012. <http://www.thirstycrow.com.au/index.html&gt;.

. “Wagga Wagga Beach Caravan Park.” Wagga Wagga. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Jul 2012. <http://www.waggawaggaaustralia.com.au/directory_details.asp?ID=6187&gt;.

Wikipedia contributors. “Wagga Wagga.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, Web. 13 Jul 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wagga_Wagga&gt;.

6 responses to “July 24-25, Steven

  1. Shane Atkinson

    Hey guys! I was just checking out your blog after meeting you all this morning, it looks great and i hope you are enjoying your trip, it certainly looks like you are. I love that in the blog above Steven says “Wagga Wagga is the largest city in New South Wales”, although we can only claim to be the biggest inland city in New South Wales but details aren’t important, ha ha.
    Anyway, i hope you all enjoyed singing in Wiradjuri Language this morning and good luck with the remainder of your time in Australia!
    Shane

    • Yeah, we are working on that one with them Shane. We try to have the details actually accurate when the students post.

  2. I thought it was really interesting to hear about the water use from the Riverina Water Council. I can’t believe that fifty percent of water use goes towards irragating gardens alone, and industries only use about seven percent of the water. There are some regulations on watering gardens between a particular time frame, however I believe there should be some stricter regulations given the drought conditions throughtout the country.

  3. I definitely agree with Miranda, I was completely suprised by the fact that 50% of the water use goes towards irrigating residents gardens. Leanne from the Riverina Water Council told us that during the drought, per capita water usage actually increased and now there are regulations where residents receive fines for watering their lawns from 10 am to 5 pm due to the large amount of evaporation during the day. The Thirsty Crow was also a great experience to see how a small local brewery processes there product which is now being sold in most major cities along the east coast, like Melbourne and Sydney. Lastly, the visit to the Narrandera Fisheries Centre was interesting for me to hear about how they are managing the fish populations in their rivers to sustain populations for the future and allow for recreational opportunities in the current by producing large amounts of fish in their ponds and releasing them into the wild.

  4. Have the cities that participate in the EVO project seen their population and industrial complexes grow because of this program and if so how much have they grown?

  5. The city is growing at 1000 people per year, 150 of which is directly because of the evo city program. It is a very new program, however I feel as though it will be very successful in time. I think it will be interesting to see these cities in the next few years to see how they have progressed because of the evo city program.

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