The Waterways Centre for Freshwater Management was established in 2009 as a joint partnership between Canterbury and Lincoln Universities. It is the first such centre to be established in any New Zealand university. It was the outcome of consultation with the Department of Labour, Environment Canterbury and other major stakeholders and agencies involved in water resource management and research in the Canterbury region. In a rapidly changing landscape of regional and national policy and decisions relating to water managment, the need for coordination of research and teaching effort was clear. The Centre now provides teaching courses and qualifications in water resource issues and their management. It maintains strong links to existing water organisations and stakeholders, in order to improve skills, knowledge, and awareness in the water sector, and train the next generation of water resource managers.

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