Our people
Ben Furmage

Ben is WSCA's founding CEO, continuing the work he started as CEO of the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities (CRCWSC). He joined the CRCWSC in 2017 as Chief Operating and Finance Officer, becoming CEO in 2020. In addition to his executive responsibilities,  Ben also leads multidisciplinary local and international projects supporting the valuation and application of water sensitive city approaches.

Before joining the CRCWSC, Ben spent 10 years as a member of Melbourne Water’s executive leadership team where his responsibilities included water resource and sewerage system planning, utility regulation, customer service, public affairs, research and development.

Ben’s career has also included senior positions with a range of policy, regulatory and research organisations including the Productivity Commission, the National Competition Council, and the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences. Ben has an honours degree in Economics, a Master of Business Administration, and has completed the Executive Fellows Program at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Professor Tony Wong
Thought Leadership

Professor Tony Wong was formerly the Chief Executive of the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities and is internationally recognised for his research and practice in sustainable urban water management. He has led a large number of award-winning urban design projects in Australia and overseas and has been commended for having defined “a new paradigm for design of urban environments that blends creativity with technical and scientific rigour”.

In October 2010, Tony was presented the prestigious Sir John Holland Award as Australia’s 2010 Civil Engineer of the Year. He was elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering in 2012 and received the IWA 2018 Global Water Award for his leadership and lifetime achievements in developing the concept of Water Sensitive Urban Design. Tony has over 200 publications and has presented over 75 keynote and invited lectures.

Read Tony's profile

Michael Simon
International Program Lead
Michael is our International Program Lead. He is currently working on the Resilient Urban Centres and Surrounds (RUCAS) project, developing climate resilient urban solutions for cities in Thailand, Viet Nam, Cambodia and Lao PDR. 
He is an experienced Water and Natural Resource Management leader, having worked in the development and environment sectors globally. He is a skilled not-for-profit organisation leader who specialises in building collaboration between stakeholders and across sectors. With over 2 decades working internationally, Michael's work has spanned advocacy and campaigning, sustainable community development, corporate social responsibility, human rights and gender mainstreaming. He previously worked with International Rivers and Oxfam.
Katharine Cross
Nature-based Solutions Expert

Katharine 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 develop 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.

Chris Manning
Water Sensitive Cities specialist

Chris recently joined WSCA as a Water Sensitive Cities specialist in the mainstreaming program. He assists communities around Australia to transition to more water sensitive practices and processes through effective collaboration, broad understanding of contexts and a thorough knowledge of available tools and processes from the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities.

Chris has worked in the water and environmental management sector for 22 years with the Water and Rivers Commission, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Townsville City Council and now with Water Sensitive Cities Australia. He is recognised as a leader in urban water quality and quantity management in the Reef region, including residential water use management and behaviours, smart technological approaches and water quality improvement planning and action. In addition, he also has significant experience in natural resource management, and urban and regional planning, and is also a sessional lecturer at James Cook University and a member on several industry advisory groups.

Dr Jianbin Wang
Chief Innovation Officer

Collaborating with researchers and practitioners from multidisciplinary and multi-sectoral backgrounds, Jianbin translates research into practice and provides transformative responses to emerging urban challenges. He promotes multifunctional infrastructure and applies circular economy approaches to deliver water sensitive city visions at a range of spatial scales, using urban design, landscape architecture and industrial design as integrative platforms.

He incubates new thinking from ideation to design, development and prototyping. And then he works with partners to implement proofs-of-concept on-ground. Jianbin has worked extensively with governments, industry and research institutions. He has implemented over 30 on-ground demonstration projects across Australia, China, Singapore and Israel.

Dr Kien Nguyen-Trung
Research Fellow
Kien Nguyen-Trung is an experienced applied sociologist working on various topics, including disaster risk management, climate change adaptation, vulnerability, water, social capital, gender inequality, and community development. He currently serves on the Editorial Boards of Sociological Research Online, The Qualitative Report, and Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, and is the founder of the Vietnamese Social Research Methodology. Having held research and teaching positions at universities in Australia, Singapore, and Vietnam, he has designed and delivered effective training in qualitative research methods and software/AI applications in development contexts for over a decade. His recent publications delve into the social construction of disaster vulnerability, risk-taking behaviours, social capital in disaster recovery, disability inclusion in climate change, and water resource management in Vietnam and Australia.
Li Xia
Finance and Operations Manager

Li Xia is Water Sensitive Cities Australia’s Finance and Operations Manager, performing the work she started as the Finance Manager of the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities Ltd (CRCWSC) and Water Sensitive Cities Institute Pty Ltd.  She joined CRCWSC in 2015 and is responsible for providing high quality innovative solutions and advice formulated from advance business planning, forecasting, modelling, analysis and reporting.

Li Xia’s career started from across the Tasman. She has assumed the roles of Financial Controller, Company Secretary, Treasurer, and Deputy Finance Director over a range of sectors that include government, insurance, building materials and forestry sectors while in New Zealand. Since relocating to Melbourne and prior to joining the CRCWSC, Li Xia was a senior Financial Controller within the Loyalty Division of the Qantas Group.

Jenny Flynn
Communications Manager

Jenny is an experienced professional economist, with 15 years of experience in both the government and private sectors (PricewaterhouseCoopers and Productivity Commission). She has been providing freelance research, writing, editing and communications services for the past 12 years.

She provided communications services for the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities for 3 years before its term ended in 2021.

She has a Bachelor of Economics (Hons) from the University of Queensland.


Hima Chanarithichai


Ditiphatra Chanarithichai (Hima) is an economic research assistant with 5 years of experience in infrastructure finance, market research, economic & financial analysis, and business development in Thailand (PricewaterhouseCoopers and Charoen Pokphand Group).

He is currently studying Master of Data Science at Monash University (AU) and has a Bachelor of Economics from Thammasat University (TH).

Smriti Venkatraman

Smriti 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.

Advisory board
Charlie Littlefair
Charlie leads the Liveable Water Solutions group at South East Water, which manages the land development, resource recovery, liveability, connections, reliability, growth, liveable and sustainable futures and strategic asset management functions of the business. He has more than 30 years of international experience in the water and sewerage industry, having worked for both private and public water utility organisations including Metrowater, Opus International Consultants, Acer Engineering (a subsidiary of Severn Trent Water) and NZ Forest Products across New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom.
Professor Tony Capon
Tony is Director of Monash Sustainable Development Institute and holds a Chair in Planetary Health in the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash University. Tony has more than two decades of senior leadership and management experience in public health policy, research and education, and has consulted in many countries and for a wide variety of organisations. He is an Advisory Board Member of the Global Health Alliance, a member of the Rockefeller Foundation–Lancet Commission on Planetary Health, and the International Advisory Board for The Lancet Planetary Health.
John Van Den Hurk
John is head of Water Corporation’s Asset Investment Planning team, planning and managing Western Australia’s existing and future water assets to ensure they have the capability to meet customers’ current and future expectations. Water Corporation is the principal supplier of water, wastewater and drainage services to over 2 million people throughout Perth and Western Australia. John is a Professional Engineer with more than 35 years of Asset Management Leadership experience, having worked in government organisations at both Federal and State levels as well as in the private sector.
Susan Worley
Susan has been involved in water resources management in Western Australian public sector over the past 27 years with planning, regional and educational roles. Her work in water planning has focused on responding to climate change effects on water resources, in particular groundwater. This included a strong focus on urban potable and non-potable water supply, wetland resilience and on drainage associated with urban growth. Retired since June 2021, Susan is now contributing to the sector through advisory, mentoring and support roles including Perth’s Water Sensitive Transition Network.