History of ICE WaRM

ICE WaRM was one of five International Centres of Excellence formed under the international education package in the 2003 Australian Federal Budget. The centres were given seed-funding of $35.5 million over four years, before becoming independent, self-sufficient organisations.

The first notice of intent to establish the centres was published on 15 May 2003 and 11 months later, after beating interstate competition, the proposal basing ICE WaRM in Adelaide was approved.

The initial funding agreement with the Australian Department of Education, Science and Training came into effect in June 2004 and was followed in February 2005 by a further funding arrangement with the South Australian government. One month later, the original seven shareholder organisations signed a partnership with ICE WaRM.

ICE WaRM’s founding Chair was Professor John Lovering, former vice chancellor and professor of geology at Flinders University and emeritus professor at the University of Melbourne, who had served as Chair of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission. He retired in June 2006 and was succeeded by Mike Terlet, also the foundation Chair of the Water Industry Alliance in South Australia.

As the foundations of ICE WaRM were being created, Professor Graeme Dandy from the University of Adelaide’s School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering acted as the interim Chief Executive.

His first appointment to the ICE WaRM staff was Molly Sng, who arrived as administration assistant in spring 2004.

Richard Hopkins was appointed as Chief Executive in December 2004, at the same time as Cameron Miller was named as Finance and Administration Manager.

Ten years later, all three were still on the ICE WaRM staff.

The organisation originally was based in the offices of the Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering Department at the University of Adelaide, before moving to the SA Water building in Grenfell Street, Adelaide. In 2009, ICE WaRM switched to its current premises in King William Street.

ICE WaRM’s first initiative was developing and launching the nested Master of Water Resources Management programme. Trial courses were staged in 2005 before the full curriculum was made available the following year.

Further academic programmes followed, offering support for research students and exchange opportunities for post-graduate students with partner universities in Europe.

In line with Australia’s reputation for excellence in water resources management, ICE WaRM has gone on to develop extensive international alliances and create customised education and training courses for overseas governments and water organisations.