New faces at Water Sensitive Cities Australia

February 2, 2024
We recently welcomed some new faces to the Water Sensitive Cities Australia team.

Katharine Cross

Katharine is our new nature-based solutions expert. She has a background in water resources and environmental management, having worked in Asia, Africa, Europe, North America and South America with non-government organisations, government and the private sector for more than 15 years. Her experience covers a range of areas including: climate resilience and adaptation, nature-based solutions, water-energy-food nexus, water governance and connecting cities and urban stakeholders with their watersheds. She is also experienced at building partner engagement and supporting knowledge development and management.

She has a Master of Environment and Development from the London School of Economics, and other academic qualifications in environmental engineering and science. Before joining WSCA, she was the Strategy and Partnerships Lead at the Australian Water Partnership. She has also worked for the International Water Association and the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Katharine is working on several projects, including the Resilient Urban Centres and Surrounds program, the urban resilience project in Lao PDR and the Aitken Creek project in Melbourne.


Dr Kien Nguyen-Trung

Kien is our new research fellow. He’s an experienced sociologist, working across topics such as disaster risk management, climate change adaptation, behaviour change communication, environmental sustainability, vulnerability, sustainable livelihood and gender inequality.

He holds a Bachelor in Sociology from Viet Nam National University, a Master of Arts from Flinders University and a PhD from Monash University. Kien has held research and teaching positions at universities in Australia, Singapore and Viet Nam. He has designed and delivered training in qualitative research methods in development contexts for several consulting firms. He has considerable experience conducting literature reviews, stakeholder engagement, and participatory and qualitative methods. His recent publications focus on understanding the role of social capital in disaster recovery, the social construction of vulnerability, and the environmental justice movement in Viet Nam and Australia.

Kien is working on the Climate change, water security and disability inclusion research in Viet Nam project and the water literacy project.


Smriti Venkatraman

Smriti is our new researcher. She has a Postgraduate Diploma in Environmental Studies and a Bachelor of Arts (joint major in Economics and Environmental Studies) from Krea University (India). She is currently studying a Masters in Environment and Sustainability, specialising in corporate and leadership studies at Monash University.

She’s worked as a research and teaching assistant at Krea University. Some of her projects include:

  • creating a small working model of a green wall to control micro-climate and increase biodiversity
  • co-curating an innovative waste management company proposal to promote Sustainable Development Goals 3, 7, 9, 11 and 13
  • conceptualising ideas of minimalistic living and sustainability to embed sustainable development concepts in architecture.

She’s also interned and volunteered with various organisations around the world, such as Tracks GmbH (Germany), Digital Empowerment Foundation (India), the South Asian People’s Action for Climate Change Conference and the Climate Change Caregivers Circle.

Smriti works largely on mainstreaming projects, such as INFFEWS tools training, the Aitken Creek Project, TDF training and the Melbourne Water Resilient Investment workshop.