As stormwater practitioners we are always looking into the future: how will climate change affect flood risk? How will we manage stormwater quality in our future cities with large urban growth? However, what will be skills and attributes needed for tomorrow’s stormwater practitioners. How can we ensure that stormwater practitioners will be ready for the future and how they can be best placed to contribute to the growth and enhancement of our future cities?
The stormwater solutions of today and tomorrow require a multi-disciplinary approach due to changing objectives and goals of stormwater management. In order to meet these objectives we are increasingly working across different fields and disciplines such as hydrology and hydraulics, landscape design, water quality science, ecology and urban design. Collaboration and good communication are an essential part of the work we now do and will become increasingly important in the future.
In the future we will have access to an increasing amount of information, data and tools to be able to model and compute information to a level never seen before. The key skill will be how to analyse the data for meaningful outputs. The future practitioner will need to embrace change. Changes in objectives, how we work, where we work, the people we work with and how we communicate.
Numerous studies and articles have been presented by organisations and professional societies concerning challenges for the future of engineering and technical professionals. The purpose of this paper is to present some of the main key challenges that are facing the future stormwater practitioner and discussing the skills and environment required for the future. The four key challenges discussed in this paper include changing stormwater goals, data and new technology, population and diversity and change. The three key areas discussed of how we can respond to the future challenges include; learning and continuing education, networking and collaboration and adaptability and change.