Welcome to our GWI August newsletter
Commonwealth Park Lake Canberra - Prof Nick Schofield
Welcome to our August newsletter
Welcome to the UNSW-GWI August newsletter—the fourth issue of 2017, and the first since I took on the role as Acting Director back in mid-June.

My first two months leading GWI have been incredibly busy, rewarding and eye-opening. Having worked for the University for many years and previously been on the GWI leadership team, I was already aware that we had many great ‘water’ minds among our staff and students, but the achievements, innovation and dedication I now hear about daily are truly inspiring—with this newsletter providing just a glimpse into some of our recent successes.

Our previous Director, Professor Nick Schofield, clearly achieved a great deal in his time with GWI. He has established an institute which has hundreds of passionate and engaged members across multiple disciplines, is attracting global interest, and, most importantly, making a real difference in solving the world’s water issues. We thank Nick very much for his outstanding contribution and wish him all the very best in his new role as CEO of the Australian Water Partnership.

In recent news, our global focus is now underpinned by an International Advisory Committee – a panel of diverse, renowned experts from all facets of water who offer advice, guidance and insight into water issues and priorities globally. Some of these faces may be familiar to you, and others we look forward to introducing you over the coming months.

I hope you enjoy reading about some of our latest news and current initiatives in this newsletter. I look forward to meeting you all in due course and invite you to reach out to me any time with your feedback, suggestions and ideas to help advance our institute’s mission to achieve positive global impacts for all water users.

Professor Greg Leslie
Acting Director, UNSW-GWI
Water resources rankings - UNSW-GWI
UNSW ranked in world's top ten for water resources
UNSW has been ranked in the top ten universities worldwide for water resources not once, but twice, in 2017. In its inaugural subject rankings released in May, the Centre for World University Rankings (CWUR) rated UNSW 7th in the world for water resources. More recently, on 28 June, the influential ShanghaiRankings Global Ranking of Academic Subjects (GRAS) placed UNSW 6th in the world for water resources and 1st in the Oceania region, cementing UNSW-GWI’s position as a global leader in this space.
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Groundwater conference - UNSW-GWI
Region's groundwater experts rally at UNSW
UNSW hosted the Australasian Groundwater Conference on 11-13 July, welcoming 340 attendees to Sydney to examine the multi-dimensional challenges affecting the sustainable development of the region’s groundwater resources.The three-day event, managed by the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT) and the Australian Chapter of the International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH), focused on the theme of Groundwater Futures: Science to Practice, bringing together representatives from industry, academia and government for one of the largest assemblies of groundwater specialists this year.
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PhD graduates 2017 - UNSW-GWI
PhD graduates show breadth of water research
Twenty-three students have graduated with PhDs in water-related research in the first UNSW graduation ceremony of 2017.Graduation took place from 13 June to 23 June at the Kensington Campus, and the number of PhDs awarded spanning water-related topics asserts the increasing urgency of advancing knowledge in this domain. However, it is the incredible breadth of research on display which is truly extraordinary –providing a snapshot of the vast expertise in the faculties of Science and Engineering available through UNSW Global Water Institute (UNSW-GWI).
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Murray-Darling pelicans - UNSW-GWI
Opinion: Murray-Darling plan may deliver only a trickle to the environment
The sorry state of Australia’s mighty Murray-Darling rivers is a tragedy entirely of our own making, not the result of cyclical droughts, as is so often claimed. It’s now five years since $13 billion was allocated by the Federal Government to save this critical, precious river system and the surrounding environment. Yet, little has been done to alleviate the intense competition over access to water, nor to provide the clear data we need to better manage Basin’s water flows. In fact, as revealed on the recent Four Corners program, no one knows how much water we are taking from the Basin’s rivers.
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Water in the Himalayas - UNSW-GWI
Leading transformation in the Hindu-Kush Himalayas
The Himalayan region is being severely impacted by climate change, with its rate of temperature rise five times higher than the global average. In an area which contains the third largest ice mass in the world, it is no wonder that the Himalayan region is attracting considerable global concern. Dr Krishna K. Shrestha and Dr Hemant Ojha, from the UNSW School of Social Sciences, have spent two decades researching environmental, social and political issues in the Himalayan region, generating critical knowledge that will help put policies and practices in place to build resilience in the region; allowing productive, sustainable livelihoods and fostering economic development in the face of climate change and various social and political complexities.
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Stacy Levy - Pink Wedge - 2010
UNSW hosts PLuS Alliance workshop on participatory environmental humanities
On 18-19 July, UNSW hosted a workshop on “Humanities for the Anthropocene” on behalf of the PLuS Alliance, - a collaborative partnership between UNSW, Kings College London (KCL) and Arizona State University (ASU). The workshop explored the diverse participatory and public faces of the environmental humanities, involving scholars from environmental humanities as well as engineering, science and law. The organisers intend to soon produce a series of outputs stemming from the workshop on participation in environmental humanities.
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Tata clean water project - UNSW-GWI
Cutting-edge technologies to provide clean water to rural India
In 2015, a new water research initiative was established at UNSW-GWI with funding from the Tata Trust of India. In partnership with the Trust and their teams, the initiative, which is being led by UNSW-GWI member Scientia Professor David Waite, aims to provide safe drinking water to regional India through low-cost water purification solutions. India has serious water accessibility and quality issues, with an estimated 77 million people living without access to safe water. Sustainable Development Goal six aims to achieve water and sanitation for all by 2030, and UNSW-GWI is making real strides towards achieving this goal.
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Storm fronts study - UNSW-GWI
Extensive study on storm fronts exposes new risk
The world’s most extensive study of a major storm front striking the coast has revealed a previously unrecognised danger from climate change: as storm patterns fluctuate, waterfront areas once thought safe are likely to be hammered and damaged as never before. The study, led by Dr Mitchell Harley, a senior research associate at UNSW’s Water Research Laboratory, was published in the latest issue of the journal Nature Scientific Reports. The study relied on data collected during the June 2016 ‘superstorm’ that battered eastern Australia.
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In the Spotlight
Operation Crayweed Team a finalist in Eureka Prize
The Operation Crayweed Team, which includes Dr Adriana Vergés, Dr Ezequiel Marzinelli, Dr Alexandra Campbell and Professor Peter Steinberg, is a finalist in the NSW OEH Eureka Prize for Environmental Research. The Operation Crayweed team has worked with the public to restore Sydney’s coastal crayweed forests, enhancing coastal biodiversity and demonstrating the environmental and ecological benefits of the precious marine habitat.
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Operation Crayweed - UNSW-GWI
   In Profile
Evolution and ecology research centre - UNSW-GWI
Evolution and Ecology Research Centre
The UNSW Evolution and Ecology Research Centre was established in 2009, providing a cohesive and cooperative environment for the University's effort in evolution and ecology research and research training. Evolution is responsible for all of the biological diversity in the natural world, occurring through ecological interactions between an organism and its environment. The Evolution and Ecology Research Centre builds capacity for world-leading research in this important field, by providing seed funding for exciting research collaborations, recognising excellence, running an innovative graduate program and engaging in public outreach relating to evolution and ecology There are thirteen labs operating under the auspices of the Evolution and Ecology Research Centre and more than sixteen major research projects. The interdisciplinary Centre draws together the diverse strengths of over fifty academic staff and independent research fellows, and over sixty postgraduate students, from the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, School of Mathematics and Statistics, School of Economics and Humanities & Languages at UNSW Sydney.
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Keng Han Tng - UNSW-GWI
Introducing Keng Han Tng, PhD Candidate
Water utilities are arguably one of our most important modern resources, responsible for sustaining healthy urban communities and thriving economies by supplying unlimited clean water to millions of people in Australia alone. However, with climate change, increasing population growth and urbanisation comes an unprecedented burden on water infrastructure. Typically, low investment in the maintenance of water treatment plants further exacerbates the pressure on these resources, compromising their ability to continue producing a consistent, clean water supply without disruption. Keng Han Tng (‘Han’), a PhD student with the UNESCO Centre for Membrane Science, has identified the need to better manage these treatment plants by gaining a more in-depth understanding of the membranes used in the wastewater treatment process. His research explores the way membranes age, how and why membrane failures occur and how mechanical failure can affect the reliability of advanced water treatment plants.
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E: gwi@unsw.edu.au
UNSW Global Water Institute
Kensington Campus, NSW, 2052
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