‘New water’ could be key to un-tapping river system solutions

18 AUGUST 2020

‘New water’ could be key to un-tapping river system solutions

Emeritus Professor Jim Pratley has proposed the creation of 'new water' could be the key to solving problems plaguing inland rivers in a proposal for the Bridge Hub Water Challenge.

  • Emeritus Professor Jim Pratley proposes innovative solution as part of Water Challenge
  • Professor Pratley recommends the introduction of ‘new water’ into inland river systems
  • New water can include water generated from recycling existing supplies or desalinating sea water

A Charles Sturt University academic is calling for the introduction of ‘new water’ into inland river systems for the benefit of industries, jobs, communities and the environment.

Charles Sturt Research Professor in Agriculture in the School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences in Wagga Wagga and Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation member Emeritus Professor Jim Pratley’s latest project looks at the prospect of introducing new water into inland river systems.

Professor Pratley (pictured) said there is too much emphasis focused on better management of existing and dwindling water resources when solutions could lie in new water generation.

He is researching how to generate water from recycling and desalinating existing water supplies and how to use modern technologies to provide a higher yield from less water to save our waterways.

The proposal is part of a submission Professor Pratley has made to the Bridge Hub 2020 Water Challenge, which is extending applications until Friday 28 August.

“Currently all the discussion in politics and government has been about better management of the existing water resource and no acknowledgement of the fact there is just not enough water year in and year out to sustain industries, jobs, communities and the environment,” he said.

“We need communities to recycle, treat and multiple-use their water.”

Professor Pratley said another alternative was to look at saline water supplies from aquifers and sea water and desalinate using modern technologies, particularly renewable energy.

“There is a high likelihood that a range of options together will have the capacity to make a real difference … that means all sections of the community will need to be involved,” he said.

“We need to look at the latest technologies from around the world, which will provide higher yields from less water.”

Professor Pratley said University staff, researchers and students need to understand water issues and have a responsibility to be part of the solution.

“We are one of very few university communities that live this water issue 24/7, 365 days a year,” he said.

“Our students become graduates of the regional communities and, as such, play a significant part in the implementation of tactics and strategies to make the water deliver to our needs.

“No one person has all the answers, but together we should be able to bring together the solution and Bridge Hub needs to be congratulated for its vision.”

Charles Sturt Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Michael Friend said the University has a long track record of research around water issues, with staff in the Institute for Land, Water and Society and the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation undertaking work on critical issues relating to water.

“Charles Sturt University has a wealth of knowledge and experience in research into water use, quality and conservation,” he said.

“The Bridge Hub 2020 Water Challenge is a great opportunity for students to learn and experiment with their own ideas and projects, and for staff to further their research to ensure it has impact for our communities and industry.”

An information session will be held online on Wednesday 19 August from 11.30am to midday for researchers, students and start-ups who want to get involved.

Registrations for this online session can be made via the Eventbrite website.

Media Note:

To arrange interviews with Emeritus Professor Jim Pratley, contact Nicole Barlow at Charles Sturt Media on 0429 217 026 or news@csu.edu.au.

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