Australian Partners

University of New South Wales

UNSW is one of the leading research intensive universities in the Asia Pacific region with world class expertise, facilities and infrastructure. The University has a unique focus on the scientific, technological and professional disciplines. Water is one of the areas of research strength for the University, and UNSW has an outstanding record of research and delivery in the areas of Water research and technical advice, and some very good existing links to countries in the Indo-Pacific region. The University has been providing water related advice since 1959 when the Water Research Laboratory was established. Since then, other water related centres have been added and now the University hosts the Water Research Centre, the UNESCO Membrane Centre, the Connected Waters Initiative and the Centre for Ecosystem Science, as well as research in environmental sociology etc. Through the various water-related Centres on campus, UNSW possesses great breadth and depth in many areas of water research which would assist in achieving the development outcomes in the AWP vision and Mission.

– Climate change impact assessment for water resources systems (droughts, extreme rainfall)
– Hydroclimatology including Flood Forecasting incorporating remotely sensed data
– Hydrology including catchments, quality of runoff in urban catchments, water budgeting, reservoir operations,
environmental flows and the sedimentation, geomorphology, and flooding of rivers.
– Groundwater especially in agriculture and mining, and including quality, transport and fate of contaminants.
– Coastal and Ocean Engineering including coastal zone management and impact assessments
– Civil and Engineering Hydraulics
– Physical and Numerical modelling of water and wastewater treatment systems, outfalls, catchments, flooding
– BioGeoChemical Processes including, improved remediation strategies, Factors controlling the growth and
toxicity of marine and freshwater algae
– Water Law and Governance
– Water Quality and water treatment processes
– Wastewater and wastewater Treatment processes
– Membrane Technology
– Environmental odours

  • Environmental Flow management in the Macquarie Marshes
    This project is modelling the responses of a range of different organisms (invertebrates, fish, frogs, vegetation and waterbirds) to environmental flows to advise governments on the most important strategies for the management of the river to conserve areas of high conservation importance (i.e. internationally listed wetland). –
  • Assessing future drought risk for water resources system management
    The Project will develop a new method for understanding drought drivers in eastern Australia and how well these are portrayed by climate models. The intended outcome of the Project is to provide a framework for evaluating climate models on their representation of drought drivers and then use this information to develop improved downscaling schemes. The downscaling will provide inputs to water sharing plans that can be used to assess the future risks of droughts in catchments across New South Wales. Traditional downscaling approaches do not capture changes in variability in rainfall and evaporation at interannual and interdecadal timescales. This project aims to address this problem by providing a comprehensive drought downscaling framework
  • Identify and assess the water quality risks from extreme events
    Extreme weather-related events pose a significant challenge for managing drinking water quality in the future. Events such as bushfires, floods and cyclones can lead to chemical and microbial contamination of source waters. Furthermore, they may damage infrastructure and impede the ability of water utilities to reliably treat and distribute the water to customers. This project will enhance the ability of Australian water utilities to manage the consequences of a range of extreme weather events and continue to produce safe drinking water. It will do so by investigating the known relationships between extreme weather events and impacts.
  • Membrane Facilitated Subsurface Drip Irrigation
    Recently, Centre researchers demonstrated that a subsurface drip irrigation line manufactured from a commercially available reverse osmosis membrane was capable of providing sufficient water for the cultivation of tomato plants on brackish water while preventing the accumulation of salts in the soil. These preliminary experiments demonstrated that brackish and saline groundwater that would normally be unsuitable for use in irrigation systems for the cultivation of food crops can be used to grow plants, such as tomatoes without allowing the build up of salts in the soil. In these experiments, the plants grew by creating suction in the root zone (sub-surface) which provided sufficient force to draw water across the reverse osmosis membrane, however, the RO membrane prevented the transport of salts which can damage the soil.
  • Improving Regional Capacity for Assessment, Planning and Response to Aquatic Environmental Emergencies: Jakarta Bay, Indonesia
    The project aims to improve regional capacity for assessing, planning, and responding to aquatic environmental emergencies through field studies, hydrodynamic modelling, hands-on training and the development of risk assessment tools. Thirteen canals and rivers discharge into Jakarta Bay contributing a heavy load of sewage, nutrients, litter, heavy metals and organic pollutants to the bay, which houses an active fishing and mussel farming industry. (
  • Revitalising Collaborative Water Governance: Lessons from Water Planning in Australia
    One of Australia’s greatest challenges is managing its scarce water resources. However, fundamental flaws in the design and implementation of collaborative water governance have undermined Australia’s water reforms. This project will critically evaluate collaborative water governance, develop legal and policy principles enabling its mobilisation in an effective, efficient and equitable manner, and investigate the challenges it poses for the theory and practice of water regulation, markets and water governance more generally. The lessons learned can then be applied to reshape water strategy, ensure meaningful collaborative community engagement and reduce the over- allocation and overuse of water in Australia
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