University academic improving the planet’s water quality and access

20 MARCH 2020

University academic improving the planet’s water quality and access

Charles Sturt University's Dr Richard Culas has spent time researching the waterways in Pakistan and said there can be a lot to be learned to benefit waterways on a global scale ahead of World Water Day on Sunday 22 March.

  • Charles Sturt lecturers and researchers weigh in on water debate ahead of World Water Day
  • University researchers conducting projects to save water resources on a global level
  • World Water Day will be held on Sunday 22 March

Charles Sturt University researchers and lecturers are helping to save the planet’s water resources and encourage all residents to do what they can ahead of World Water Day.

World Water Day is to be held on Sunday 22 March, and University academics are working toward the longevity of the world’s water resources.

Institute for Land, Water and Society researcher and Senior Lecturer in Agribusiness in the School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences Dr Richard Culas’s paper explores the challenges facing water allocation in Pakistan.

Orange-based Dr Culas co-wrote the paper with Irfan Baig, which was published in the official journal of the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage.

Together they analysed the allocation of canal and groundwater for farmers, showing the distributary at the head of the system can extract more groundwater while the distributary at the tail of the system should use more canal water.

Factors such as irrigation and salinity were considered, and it was found that crop yields were affected based on allocation and what section water was being retrieved from.

Dr Culas said there is much to learn from this research that could be applied to other countries, including Australia.

“This paper is about a quality issue,” he said.

“In Australia, less water is available and it will have implications.”

Much like the farmers in Pakistan who had to adapt to changed water quality and access, Dr Culas said Australia was also reacting to how it treated its water sources, especially as climate change plays a part in the amount that is available.

“Water is going to be a critical issue,” he said.

“Water scarcity is happening because of climate change. You don’t get water when you need it and then you get water when you don’t need it and that causes damage.

“Australia is trying to become water smart and teach farmers to be more knowledgeable, improve water efficiency and adapt to change.”

Dr Culas said there were things residents could do, such as using water-saving taps and shower heads or using rain water, which will save this precious resource.

Charles Sturt Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Engagement) Professor Heather Cavanagh said this is just one example of how research conducted by the University’s academics is improving the world we live in.

“Water is a precious resource and Charles Sturt University researchers are working to improve resources in not just Australia, but in countries around the globe,” she said.

“It is important, especially ahead of World Water Day, that we are able to highlight these initiatives in recognition of how the University is contributing to making the world a healthier and safer place to live in on a global scale.

“The international water research complements our work on the sustainability of the Murray-Darling and Australia’s inland waterways.”

Media Note:

To arrange interviews with Dr Richard Culas, contact Nicole Barlow at Charles Sturt Media on 0429 217 026 or

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Orange Agricultural Science Charles Sturt University ILWS Research