September 2010

Hi, I'm Rob

23.09.2010 - Posted by Rob Catchlove
I started at Alluvium this month after previously working at Melbourne Water and the Bureau of Meteorology. This blog post is a bit of background on where I’ve come from prior to joining Alluvium and includes a nice photo from my holiday in South Australia.

I left Melbourne Water after almost 5 years there in the Stormwater Quality and Communications teams. I started at Melbourne Water as the project manager for the Lower Yarra Litter Strategy between 2005 and 2007. This job was a tricky one in that I was responsible for getting 4 state and 4 local councils to work collaboratively on reducing litter going into the Yarra. We took some innovative approaches to working across council, and getting stuff down on the ground – like the “walking steering committee meeting” where we went down Victoria St in Richmond instead of being in a meeting room.

From 2008 – 2010 I had a role managing social research at Melbourne Water. This position coordinated all social research projects. This included various projects that looked to understand community attitudes to water issues, community knowledge of waterways, stakeholder perceptions of a particular program at Melbourne Water, process of engaging and changing behaviours and so on. An interesting project that I just finished was project managing the “Creating Liveable Cities” exhibition, an exhibition that was part of the State of Design Festival and used designers to interpret what a water sensitive city is and what it looks like. An outcome from the exhibition was the development of a blog to document and invite discussion around the vision of a water sensitive city and the on ground implementation.

I also have some experience in hydrology, flood forecasting, climate modelling and meteorology from working at the Bureau of Meteorology. I still check out the latest rainfall and river info at and

Just before I started at Alluvium I went on a road trip to South Australia with my family and we visited the Flinders Rangers and Fleurieu Peninsula. The Sturt's Desert Pea was looking spectacular in the northern part of the Flinders and here is one of the photos we took.

Dialogues on Country

22.09.2010 - Posted by
Clare, Misko and I recently returned from a 2-week, 5400km trip through the Murray-Darling Basin for “Dialogues on Country” (DOC). We have been developing this trip since the start of the year as part of a team of volunteers with Engineers Without Borders (EWB) (see earlier posts). It was really exciting to see it take form and come to life as our two 4WDs headed north at 6am on Saturday July 31st, bound for Murra Murra station in south-west Queensland.

We engaged with Indigenous communities throughout the Basin, with most of our time spent with the Kooma (Gwamu) Nation in Queensland on the Nebine River and Ngarrindjeri Nation in South Australia in the Coorong. Through many open and honest discussions, we gained a solid understanding of Indigenous history, life and culture; their knowledge and values around land and water; current challenges they face and visions for a shared future. We were struck by the strength, perseverance and forgiveness of the communities we spent time with, and were touched by their generosity and openness.

We also engaged with other stakeholders in the Basin, including farmers, the Lower Murray Darling River Catchment Management Authority, engineering consultants, park rangers, farm workers, and a tour of Cubbie Station (with a Sydney Harbour sized water storage that has to be seen to be believed!!).

The trip highlighted the importance of spending time with Aboriginal people “on country” so that we may begin to understand Aboriginal culture and see the land and water as their people do. While you can spend countless hours in an office discussing Indigenous issues, we found that it is not until you really spend time on country that you can actually “get it”. And it is only when you reach that level of greater understanding that meaningful discussion can commence.

You can check out the postcards we sent during the trip, noting small thoughts, observations and learnings along the way here.

It is now our challenge to undertake Objective 3 of the DOC initiative:

Determine ways to embed our gained understanding in land and water practices, management and policy.

We are also developing a model for the tour to run annually and open to others to experience and learn as we did. Contact us for details!

Tree Planting on Moonee Ponds Creek

20.09.2010 - Posted by Elisa Zavadil
Last Sunday Alluvium joined the Moonee Ponds Creek Coordination Committee to plant trees as part of our annual carbon offsetting plan.

The focus this year was on restoring an area of native grassland. Alluvium staff and families joined with local community members and representatives from council and Melbourne Water to remove weeds and re-plant native grasses, while soaking up the lovely sunshine. As usual our efforts were well rewarded with a sensational afternoon tea put on by the Committee. Thanks to all who came and to the Moonee Ponds Creek Coordination Committee for looking after us so well – we’ll be back next year!

Ross, Keryn and Kane tackling the weeds

Lilly lending a helping hand

Michael and son hard at work

Morning tea and a chat about the area