- Charles Sturt researchers to lead Next Generation Water Engineering and River Management Hub
- Hub will develop solutions to the current and future problems threatening inland Australia’s waterways, including poor water quality and diminishing fish stocks
- Hub to be funded by Australian Government’s Regional Research Collaboration program and will support eight new, regionally based positions within the University
Researchers from Charles Sturt University will lead a new research hub which will facilitate the “out-of-the-box ideas” required to ensure successful management of regional Australia’s waterways.
Funded by the Australian Government, the $3.6 million Next Generation Water Engineering and River Management Hub (NGWERMH) will be led by Charles Sturt’s Institute for Land, Water and Society, including staff from the School of Indigenous Australian Studies and water engineers from the School of Computing, Mathematics and Engineering.
They will collaborate with Australian and international industry partners, universities, researchers and businesses, as well as First Nations Elders, to develop solutions to the current and future problems threatening inland Australia’s waterways, including poor water quality and diminishing fish stocks.
Professor Lee Baumgartner (pictured) will lead the NGWERMH, which he said will facilitate “out-of-the-box ideas for water management in regional Australia”.
“It will act as an opportunity for us to trial innovative approaches for water management solutions which regional Australia needs but which don’t really fit under any of the current frameworks,” Professor Baumgartner said.
“These ideas include partnering with a university in Germany to scope a design of a revolutionary new hydro power station, and creating a partnership with First Nations Elders in the Northern Basin to co-design an approach to restore traditional, cultural ways of managing fisheries.
“Charles Sturt University collaborates with our partners on research with impact, which is precisely what the Next Generation Water Engineering and River Management Hub will produce.”
Projects the NGWERMH will undertake include:
- Partnering with a university in Germany to implement best-practice design of a fish-safe hydro power station - the first time this technology has been applied in the Southern Hemisphere
- Restoring traditional fish management strategies and techniques of First Nations people in the Northern Basin
- Partnering with an American agency which has developed a remote water-quality testing unit which provides real-time data
- Implementing a community-led fish tagging program
- Field testing an innovative ‘fish pump’ to provide fish migrations at large dams
Professor Baumgartner said collaboration with the University of NSW would be a crucial cog in the NGWERMH’s work, with that university’s water research laboratory having been operational for almost 70 years.
Funding to establish the NGWERMH will come from the Department of Education, Skills and Employment’s Regional Research Collaboration program, which is funded as part of Job-ready Graduates program.
Minister for Education and Youth, the Hon. Mr Alan Tudge, said the project would be a collaboration with other universities and local industry partners.
“We want our world-class research to be at the forefront of our economic and social success and we want regional universities to be a big part of that,” Minister Tudge said.
“By linking universities with local businesses, we increase the opportunity for findings to be translated into practical solutions that could then be commercialised, with benefits for the university, businesses and local jobs.
“I want to see more world-changing new ideas and revolutionary products developed right in our own backyard in regional Australia.”
In addition to the impactful research outcomes it will produce, the NGWERMH will support eight new, regionally based positions within the University.
The funding is the latest in almost $40 million realised this year for Charles Sturt-led research and partnerships in agriculture, water and the environment, including:
- The Southern NSW Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga
- The Global Digital Farm - Australia’s first ‘hands-free’ farm – built in collaboration with Food Agility Co-operative Research Centre
- The planned expansion of the AgriSciences Research and Business Park (AgriPark)