Featuring the brilliant work of UNSW-GWI researchers, staff, students and alumni
Shutterstock - Water quality
Welcome to our February newsletter
Welcome to our first newsletter for 2018. Water news in the first few weeks of the year has been split between coverage of the crisis of supply facing South Africa’s oldest city, Cape Town, and the possible collapse of the Murray Darling Basin Plan as a result of disagreement between the states over proposed reductions in environmental flows. Both possibilities, while in no way equivalent, would be a disaster and underscore the critical role water plays in society.
Unfortunately, however, the crisis in water, sanitation and hygiene faced by Australia’s remote indigenous communities goes largely unreported. Consequently, it was sobering to hear from Dr Nina Lansbury Hall in our February GWI seminar about how much needs to be done for Australia to achieve SDG6 in our own country. Nina’s presentation painted a revealing picture of the challenges faced, but also respectfully suggested solutions that can empower indigenous communities to achieve better health outcomes.
It was a privilege to hear Nina’s presentation and to share the occasion with her parents. It was fitting that the presentation was held in UNSW’s School of Public Health and Community Medicine as Nina’s mother was a graduate of the school.
Also working on issues in remote communities is UNSW PhD student Thanh Hung Pham, whose research on mitigating flood impacts on vulnerable communities is highlighted in this newsletter.
We hope that the stories in this edition of the GWI newsletter are of interest and would welcome any feedback or suggestions for future editions.
Prof Greg Leslie
Acting Director, UNSW-GWI
Andrew Dansie - UNSW-GWI
WRL hosts hundreds at recent open day
The UNSW Water Research Laboratory opened its doors to the public on Saturday 17 February, welcoming a whopping 644 visitors to the world-class facility. Ten different displays were available for the public to explore, featuring model fish ramps, a 29m by 16m wave basin, and a 1:50 scale model of a working dam. Also on show was the Coast Snap initiative - a new system which gives community members the chance to help monitor the state of the Northern Beaches' dynamic coastline.
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Water Treatment - Melbourne Water
UNSW opens new Centre for Environmental Technologies

UNSW has opened its first research base outside of Australia, acting as a hub for the large-scale translation of UNSW environmental research into industrial application in China. “The Centre for Transformational Environmental Technology is a huge opportunity for UNSW researchers and Australian industry,” says Scientia Professor David Waite on UNSW’s most recent venture. “We are actively looking for researchers and companies with expertise in environmental technologies who want to explore the vast array of opportunities in China.” CTET, as the new centre is known, will act as a conduit for two-way information and opportunity exchange between UNSW researchers and their collaborators in China.
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Water Treatment - Melbourne Water
Kingsford to launch book on Lake Eyre Basin Rivers in Brisbane

Professor Richard Kingsford will officially launch his new book on the Lake Eyre Basin Rivers in Brisbane on Tuesday 13 March. The launch will be held at the River Decks, State Library of Queensland, and will include a brief presentation by  Professor Fran Sheldon, Australian Rivers Institute, Dean of Learning and Teaching Griffith Sciences, Griffith University. If you are interested in attending the launch, please email Professor Kingsford at richard.kingsford@unsw.edu.au for more information.
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Water Treatment - Melbourne Water
Abstracts open for Cyanobacteria Workshop
Abstract submission is now open for the 6th Australian and New Zealand Cyanobacteria Workshop, to be helf at UNSW Sydney on 25-26 September 2018. The workshop will explore the latest findings in cyanobacterial research and their potential applications to ensure the ongoing health of ecosystems and communities. Topics within the program include cyanobacterial detection and quantification, taxonomy, the application of science to the regulatory environment, and more. For a chance to present at the workshop, submit your 300 word abstract online by 30 June 2018.
Submit abstract
Nina Lansbury-Hall
Delivering water, sanitation and hygiene services to Australia’s remote Indigenous communities

In remote Indigenous Australia, many communities lack access to adequate clean water and sanitation. While this issue is not new, a recent scan of the status undertaken by Dr Nina Lansbury-Hall from the University of Queensland, suggests that despite Australia’s commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) significant issues abound. Dr Lansbury-Hall’s 2017 discussion paper, titled ‘Water, sanitation and hygiene in remote Indigenous Australia: A scan of priorities’ was the focus of her presentation at UNSW’s School of Public Health on Thursday 15 February, where she presented the first of GWI’s 2018 seminar series.
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ACIAR project team - UNSW-GWI
Water Research Laboratory tackles water issues in the Pacific Islands
The Pacific Islands are home to some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, with stunning turquoise water and lush landscapes attracting millions of tourists each year. Superficially, these crystal-clear waters and the islands they surround may look healthy and thriving, but, beneath the surface – like most countries – some Pacific Island nations are facing a range of water challenges. UNSW’s Water Research Laboratory (WRL) has been working with partners in the region to help manage these issues, with the two latest projects focusing on coastal protection for Pacific Island countries and water quality and lagoon health in Rarotonga, Cook Islands.
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In the spotlight
Prof David Waite elected to US National Academy of Engineering
Congratulations to Professor David Waite, who has been elected to the United States National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in recognition of his distinguished contributions to engineering, specifically for his leadership in water treatment and environmental management. David will be formally inaugurated at a ceremony for new members in Washington DC later this year. Founded in 1964, NAE is a private, independent, non-profit institution that provides engineering leadership in service to the USA. The mission of the NAE is to advance the wellbeing of the nation by promoting a vibrant engineering profession and by marshalling the expertise and insights of eminent engineers to provide independent advice to the federal government on matters involving engineering and technology.
Operation Crayweed - UNSW-GWI
Karin Krchnak takes on new role at World Bank
Karin Krchnak, a member of the GWI International Advisory Committee, has recently taken up the role of Head of 2030 Water Resources Group in the World Bank Water Practice. The 2030 Water Resources Group (2030 WRG) is a unique global public-private partnership, with a mission to facilitate collective action on water between governments, the private sector and civil society, to help countries achieve water security by 2030. Congratulations, Karin!
Operation Crayweed - UNSW-GWI
   In Profile
Intoducing Thanh Hung Pham, PhD student
Remote communities in developing countries are some of the most vulnerable to the impacts of extreme weather events. Floods can result in loss of life, illness, injury and major damage to livelihoods and natural environments. Thanh Hung Pham, a PhD Candidate at the UNSW School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is using satellite data to help predict floods in ungauged basins
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School of Public Health and Community Medicine
The UNSW School of Public Health and Community Medicine (SPHCM) is a leader in public health, community medicine, health management and health systems strengthening. The School has six flagship research areas which are often linked to water-related issues: global health, primary health care, infectious diseases, social science, Indigeneous health and health systems leadership and management.
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    Upcoming Events
World Water Day - 22 March 2018
World Water Day is approaching (22nd March) in celebration of both the importance of water and raising awareness of its conservation, management and sustainable use. The 2018 theme is ‘Nature for Water’ and investigates nature-based solutions to the water challenges we face in the 21st century. Events are held in schools, offices and communities worldwide and this year is also the triennial World Water Forum (18-23 March), the world’s biggest water-related event!
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E: gwi@unsw.edu.au
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