Celebrating UNSW-GWI's research, people and partnerships.
Speakers in the Future of the Murray-Darling Basin Forum. Back row L-R: Kerry Brewster, Jeremy Buckingham, Alan Whyte, Chris Lamey, Bruce Shillingsworth, Chris Minns. Front row L-R: Mary-Anne Slattery, Kate McBride, Richard Kingsford, Roy Butler. Absent from photo: David Shoebridge.
Welcome to our 2nd GWI newsletter for 2019
In the past month members of the UNSW water community participated in a number of important projects and events. In particular, GWI was humbled to provide a forum for members of communities along the Darling to share their experiences and engage in dialogue with representatives of the NSW parliament. Held on a wet and windy Saturday, over 120 people heard from stone fruit grows, dry land cotton farmers, graziers, scientists, water managers and political candidates for the NSW state election. The speakers shared their experiences, concerns, ideas and hopes for the management of the Murray Darling basin. During the Q&A session, as debated and discussion between the panel, agricultural groups, scientists, hydrologists and community groups, a member of the audience, Bruce Shillingsworth, respectfully asked to make a statement. A link to the video of Bruce's speech may be found in this newsletter. I strongly encourage you to watch this moving commentary on the current problems facing the river and plea for prompt, decisive and inclusive action for responsible stewardship of this critical river system.
In other news, Professor Richard Kingsford along with other water scientists completed the report on the factors leading to fish deaths along the Darling river for the Australian Academy of Sciences; Andrew Dansie and Mitch Harley ran a training workshop in Fiji to roll out "Coast Snap" stations which harness the power of social media and data analysis to monitor changes in coastlines across the Pacific; and, undergraduate students worked with members of the Dharriwaa Elders Group in Walgett NSW to develop solutions to drought proof community vegetable gardens operated by the Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service.
During February we were pleased to host seminars for Dr Seán Kerins from the Australian National University who spoke on water issues in indigenous communities in Southwest Gulf of Carpentaria and Dr Ruud van der Ent, Hydrologist from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands who gave a seminar in advances in hydrological modelling of rainfall patterns.
Our February newsletter concludes with an update on a new project with UNESCO Bangkok on floating mangroves; progress on the Nuisance and Harmful Algae Partnership (NHASP) including funding for new PhD scholarships; and a profile of PhD student Liza McDonough.
I hope that you enjoy this newsletter and thanks again for your continued interest and support.
Prof Greg Leslie
Director, UNSW-GWI
GWI hosts public forum on the Future of the Murray-Darling Basin
This month, GWI hosted a forum for voices from the far west of NSW to discuss their concerns on current status of the Darling river and future stewardship of the Murray-Darling Basin. The Forum allowed community representatives, subject matter experts and other stakeholders to present their knowledge, ideas and opinions on the issues being faced in the far west, and suggest actions that may be taken to support healthy ecosystems and vibrant, growing communities.
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Bruce Shillingsworth captivates audience at Murray-Darling Forum
Among the audience at the recent public forum on the Future of the Murray Darling Basin was Bruce Shillingsworth, an Aboriginal man from the town of Brewarrina in North West New South Wales. Bruce gave an impromptu and passionate eight-minute speech during the forum Q&A, which has been heralded a highlight of the forum by many attendees.
Watch now
Water solutions for Walgett
GWI and Impact Engineers visited Walgett recently to scope water solutions for the Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service (WAMS) Community Garden and the design of chilled drinking water kiosks for the township. The collaboration is taking place through the Yuwaya Ngarra-li, a unique partnership between the Dharriwaa Elders Group and UNSW Sydney to work towards the DEG’s positive vision for change in Walgett.
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'Twinning' for coastal monitoring in the Pacific
The final week of January saw representatives of GEF IW Ridge to Reef projects, Government, the Pacific Community and UNSW Global Water Institute (UNSW-GWI) come together for a Twinning Workshop on CoastSnap, the community-based mobile phone coastal monitoring platform developed by Mitch Harley at the UNSW Water Research Laboratory.
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The long fight to protect Country and Water in the Southwest Gulf of Carpentaria
The Southwest Gulf of Carpentaria in Australia’s Northern Territory is home to many precious billabongs, creeks, streams and river systems vital to Indigenous economic and cultural life. Unfortunately, ongoing development, beginning with pastoralism and now dominated by poorly regulated mining, has contaminated waterways and wildlife limiting Indigenous societies’ access to their natural resources. Dr Seán Kerins from the Australian National University was the latest presenter in UNSW-GWI’s Seminar Series, telling the story of the Indigenous peoples’ long fight to protect their water resources.
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Opportunities abound through Algae Partnership
The Nuisance and Harmful Algae Partnership (NHASP) is making great strides towards more effectively managing harmful algal blooms for the benefit of the Melbourne region. Recently, NHASP researchers were awarded a grant by the Australian Research Council to mitigate the risk of cyanobacterial blooms in wastewater ponds, in collaboration with Melbourne Water the University of Western Australia. The NHASP also has PhD opportunities currently available for students with degrees in civil, chemical or environmental engineering, or similar.
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Hydrology expert presents new view on the hydrological cycle over continents
GWI recently supported the UNSW School of Civil and Environmental Engineering in hosting a guest presentation by Dr Ruud van der Ent, Hydrologist from Delft University of Technology, Netherlands. Dr van der Ent spoke about the moisture recycling process from different angles, exploring several new concepts and metrics developed to describe and understand the local to global scale moisture recycling process.
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In the spotlight
GWI-UNESCO mangroves project welcomes Joseph Ashley
The GWI-UNESCO research project on floating mangroves welcomes Joseph Ashley who will be conducting his honours research as part of his Bachelor of Environmental Engineering at UNSW’s Water Research Laboratory to conduct testing of floating platforms. Joseph’s experience building scale models will be applied to floating pontoon design and tested in dynamic wave conditions. Supervised by A/Prof Will Glamore and Dr Andrew Dansie, Joseph’s research will investigate the engineering considerations behind the ultimate goal of floating mangrove forests as an ecological and economical resource that does not compete with land-based freshwater resources.
Read more
   In Profile
Introducing Liza McDonough, PhD Student
Liza McDonough has always had an interest in the environment. As a child, she found nature, geology and environmental processes fascinating, so it was no surprise that she went on to complete a Bachelor of Environmental Science at UNSW. Now, through her PhD, she is investigating organic carbon sources and sinks in groundwater systems, a topic relevant today with the depletion of groundwater resources expected due to climate change and over-extraction.
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