The Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) is issuing a call for proposals for the new Civil Society, Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Fund. Deadline is Friday 10 August 2012.
Water Futures & Governance
Water is an issue of global importance, inextricably linked to food and energy security. Multiple factors are combining to place great pressure on urban and agricultural and environmental water supplies including: climate change, population growth, urbanisation, increased demand for protein-based food and the shift towards resource use for biofuel production.
Water for food production is now critical. By 2030 the world will need 50% more food, much of which must be produced from irrigated land. Currently up to 50% of fresh water supplies are wasted due to inefficiencies in delivery systems, infrastructure and practices. At the same time, increasing water use by humans is diverting more and more water from environmental flows and decreasing the availability and quality of water that is required to sustain ecological systems.
In recent years the efficient and sustainable management of water has become a high priority for Australia, with variable climatic conditions leading to reduced water availability for both urban and agricultural use. The Murray-Darling Basin catchment is the 'food bowl' of Australia and shortage of water is placing particular stress on this area at the present time.
Solving the problems associated with water, in ways that achieve a balance with environmental factors, will need a deep transformation in water management practices. This in turn requires new, whole-system, multi-faceted, interdisciplinary approaches to research and development – ones which take into account the complexities of environmental, economic and social factors. Water networks, both natural and constructed are complex interconnected systems spanning oceans, catchments, rivers, aquifers, irrigation canals, urban pipe networks and domestic services. Within these networks, water takes on many forms (i.e. rain water, fresh water, black water and recycled water) and is used in many applications across domestic, industrial, agricultural, environmental and recreational settings.
The gathering and processing of enormous quantities of data in real-time is needed to enable us to make sense of and manage these complex natural and constructed systems, to improve our understanding of the ecological and production requirements and to inform better operational decisions in relation to both the environment and industry. This requires highly sophisticated data analytics and control regimes. Until recently it was possible neither to measure the state of an entire water network in space and time, nor to process the vast quantities of information that yields. But today’s dramatic advances in sensing technologies and networks, electronics, visualization software, databases, smart meters, data analytics, communications and high performance computing platforms, open unprecedented opportunities for new whole-of-systems water management.
The University's research approach addresses all aspects of water management from catchment, allocation, quality management, to the usage patterns, market needs, and the economic, social, legal and political aspects.
- Land and Water Australia: www.lwa.gov.au
- Victoria Department of Primary Industries: www.dpi.vic.gov.au
- Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment: www.dse.vic.gov.au
- New South Wales Industry and Investment: www.industry.nsw.gov.au
- National Association for Sustainable Agriculture: www.nasaa.com.au
- West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority: www.wgcma.vic.gov.au
- National Program for Sustainable Irrigation: http://www.npsi.gov.au/taxonomy/term/330