Water Network Group

An interdisciplinary network of University of Adelaide water researchers across all its faculties who wish to share knowledge and develop opportunities on water issues nationally and internationally.


  • Faculty of Arts

    Dr Douglas Bardsley, Senior Lecturer, School of Social Sciences

    Douglas trained as a social geographer, an educator and an agricultural scientist, and his research represents that cross-disciplinary interest. Over the last 18 years, his work has focused on environmental and agro-ecological risk management, and especially climate change adaptation; links between conservation and development; and education, for sustainable development.

    Dr Georgina Drew, Senior Lecturer, School of Social Sciences

    Water research interests: gendered and socio-economic dimensions of water inequity; focus on cultural politics to examine the colonial and 'decolonial' approaches to water that impact contemporary indigenous water rights.

    Dr Melissa Nursey-Bray, Head of Department, School of Social Sciences

    Melissa's research interest is the examination of how communities or communities of interest become involved in decision making and in this context she has worked primarily in the area of Indigenous resource management, protected area management, and more recently in climate change adaptation. As a member of the National Institute of Marine Conservation and Resource Sustainability (UTAS, Tasmania), Melissa was active in building research in climate change adaptation for fisheries and local government.

    Associate Professor John Tibby, Senior Lecturer, School of Social Sciences

    Research interests include: freshwater ecology, geography, palaeoclimatology, palaeoecology, physical geography and environmental geoscience, quaternary environments.

  • Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences

    Dr Bree Bennett, Postdoctoral Researcher, School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering

    Bree is a Senior Research Associate within the School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering at the University of Adelaide. Bree’s research interests focus on applying modelling and simulation to environmental engineering problems. In her research Bree currently works across two main fields: (i) the development of stochastic spatial rainfall models and evaluation frameworks for rainfall models, and (ii) developing scenario-neutral climate impact assessment approaches. In her work Bree seeks to produce research that is impactful to both the scientific community and industry practitioners in the fields of hydrology and climate resilience.

    Emeritus Professor Graeme Dandy, Emeritus Professor, School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering

    Research interests: Water resources planning and management; Optimisation of water resources and environmental systems using evolutionary algorithms; Decision support systems for environmental planning and risk management; Integrated urban water planning; Forecasting water resource and environmental variables using artificial neural networks.

    Dr Matthew Gibbs, ARC Senior Research Associate, School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering

    Research interests: The interface between research and improved decision making for sustainable water resource management focusing on the development, improvement and application of methods in the fields of hydrology, hydraulics, environmental science and computer science. Matt also has a role with the South Australian Department for Environment and Water to translate these research outputs into decision making for water management, with a focus on issues related to the River Murray.

    Dr Jinzhe Gong, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering

    Research interests: Hydraulic transient analysis in water distribution systems; Pipeline leak detection and wall condition assessment; System operation and data analysis for smart water networks.

    Dr Michael Leonard, Lecturer, School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering

    Expertise includes: experience in many areas of water engineering: hydrologic modelling, hydraulic modelling, flooding, water security and multivariate extremes.

    Professor Holger Maier, Professor, School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering

    Water research interests include: Optimal design and operations of water supply and irrigation systems; Rainfall-runoff modelling; Water quality management in rivers; River health assessment; Natural Hazard Risk Reduction; Climate Change Impact Assessment.

    Associate Professor Seth Westra, Associate Professor, School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering

    Seth is the Associate Dean of Research and Innovation within the Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences at the University of Adelaide, and has research and consulting experience across both academia and industry. Seth has contributed to the fields of hydrology, water resource assessments and climate risk, and has published over 80 journal and conference papers on these topics. He also co-chairs the Australian Energy and Water Exchange (OzEWEX) Research Initiative—a national research network that seeks to encourage a collaborative environment between researchers and end-users on issues related to the water and energy cycle.

  • Faculty of the Professions

    Dr David Adamson, ARC DECRA Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Global Food and Resources

    David is an economist who plays with risk and uncertainty as it impacts on water supply and the behavioural response to the realised water supply. David has been commissioned to work on the water section for The Garnaut Climate Change Review and was part of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s Economic Modelling and Costs Analysis Technical Group that was established to help evaluate the socio-economic impacts of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. David is currently working on his ARC DECRA (DE160100213) "Optimising the National Benefits from Restoring Environmental Flows", where he is exploring ways to maximise welfare from irrigating the environment. More details about his DECRA and publications can be found here.

    Professor Paul Babie, Professor, Adelaide Law School

    Paul’s expertise is water law and property, he wrote an LLM thesis entitled "The Implementation and Operation of Transferable Water Entitlements in Victoria and Alberta" (University of Melbourne, 1995) which was later published as "The Implementation and Operation of Transferable Water Entitlements in Victoria and Alberta" (Government of Victoria, 1997). Paul practised natural resources law with what is now Borden Ladner Gervais in Canada, and he teaches Water Resources Law in the postgraduate program of the Adelaide Law School.

    Dr Juliane Haensch, Research Fellow, Centre for Global Food and Resources

    Juliane’s PhD thesis examined the importance of spatial influences on irrigators’ water trading behaviour in Australia’s southern Murray-Darling Basin and was awarded a Dean’s Commendation for Doctoral Thesis Excellence and nominated for a University Research Medal.

    Mr Paul Leadbeter, Senior Lecturer, Law School

    Research Interests: Environmental Law with a particular focus on law and policy for biodiversity conservation and protection, the protection and conservation of cultural heritage, pollution control and site contamination and the environmental regulation of the mining industry; Land-use planning law and policy; Water law; Public law particularly from the perspective of the role and responsibilities of local government authorities and associated entities.

    Dr Adam Loch, Senior Lecturer, Centre for Global Food and Resources

    Dr Adam Loch is a Senior Lecturer and ARC DECRA Fellow at the University of Adelaide. Adam currently researches topics such as irrigator decision-making, water markets and institutional reform, transaction costs, and reallocation policy/program effectiveness. He is the current President of the South Australian branch of the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society (AARES-SA).

    Professor Sarah Wheeler, Australian Research Council Future Fellow and Associate Director of Research, Centre for Global Food and Resources

    Sarah is also the Chair of the Murray-Darling Basin working group of the Food, Energy, Environment and Water (FE2W) Network. Sarah has over 100 peer-reviewed publications in the research areas of irrigated farming, climate change, organic farming, water markets, water scarcity, crime and gambling.

    Dr Ying Xu, Research Fellow, Centre for Global Food and Resources

    Ying is an applied economist. Her work has centered on risk analysis from both theoretical and empirical perspectives, which covers a wide range of topics including forest management under sequential natural disturbances, agricultural water use and irrigation technology adoption under climate risks, and wildlife conservation decisions under spatial-correlated risks. She is currently working on the climate and environmental impacts on health outcomes.

    Professor Mike Young, Professor, Centre for Global Food and Resources

    Mike is best known for his contribution to the development of robust natural resource and environmental policies. In recent times, his research has focused on the development of market-based approaches to the resolution of water scarcity and quality issues. He played a critical role in the consideration of water reform options for the Murray Darling Basin and, recently, developed blueprints for the transformation of water right and abstraction systems in the UK and the USA. Key research areas are: Agriculture, Ecological Economics, Environmental and Natural Resources, Law Environmental Science and Management Environmental Sciences, Freshwater Ecology, Natural Resource Management, Water Treatment Processes.

    Dr Alec Zuo, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Global Food and Resources

    Alec’s research focuses on environmental and agricultural economics, water markets, climate change, migration and social security in China. He has co-authored a book on the role of water markets in climate change adaption, has published over 30 book chapters and refereed journal articles, and has presented his research at conferences throughout Australia and internationally.

    Dr Peter Burdon, Associate Professor, Adelaide Law School 

    Peter is an expert in environmental theory and has written and edited books on Earth Jurisprudence and Earth Democracy. He is the deputy chair of the Global Network for Study of Human Rights and the Environment and director of the Australasia chapter. Peter also sits on the steering committee of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Ethics Specialist Group and the Ecological Law and Governance Association. He publishes regularly in outlets such as the Sydney Review of Books, The Conversation, The Drum, Overland, New Matilda, Independent Australia and various state and national newspapers.

  • Faculty of Sciences

    Professor Justin Brookes, Professor, School of Biological Sciences

    Justin’s major research field is the quality of source water for potable supply and river and lake ecology. The importance of water to Australia and internationally with the threat of climate change and a drying climate mean that Justin’s skills are in demand for research, consulting and educating the next generation of water scientists. Currently Justin leads several large inter-institutional projects examining degradation of chemical contaminants of concern (endocrine disruptors, pharmaceuticals), carbon cycling in lakes and rivers and the ecology of the Coorong and Lower Lakes of the River Murray.

    Associate Professor Timothy Cavagnaro, Associate Professor, School of Agriculture, Food and Wine

    To investigate the impacts of land management and environmental change on soil microbial communities, nutrient cycling and plant growth and nutrition in order to help to increase global food production in a sustainable manner.

    Professor David Chittleborough, Adjunct Professor, School of Agriculture, Food and Wine/Earth Sciences

    Research Interests: Biogeochemistry; soil hydrology; catchment processes including the management of nutrient and organic transport from landscapes into streams and water storages; effect of plants on the cycling of water and elements within and through soils.

    Dr Zoe Doubleday, Research Fellow, School of Biological Sciences

    Expertise includes: marine and freshwater ecology, human impacts, ecological risk assessment, and sustainable fisheries.

    Dr Virginie Gaget, Post Doctoral Fellow, School of Biological Sciences

    Virginie’s research focuses on water quality issues and their impact to human and animal health with particular interest in: improving risk assessment by providing new technical tools and developing improved monitoring polices; microbial evolution and taxonomy; ecotoxicology, especially linked to the production of secondary metabolites by cyanobacteria; studying the impact of natural resources and the environment on physiology and the human microbiome.

    Professor Bronwyn Gillanders, Professor, School of Biological Sciences

    Bronwyn’s water expertise: fish ecology, fish stocking, understanding shifting baselines.

    Dr Maria Marklund, School of Biological Sciences

    Dr Cesca McInerney, ARC Future Fellow, School of Physical Sciences

    Dr McInerney examines how climate change influenced terrestrial ecosystems in the geologic past by analyzing the chemical signatures of fossilized plants.

    Dr Luke Mosley, Senior Research Fellow, School of Biological Sciences

    Key areas of expertise and current project areas: Aquatic geochemistry (PhD is in aquatic geochemistry); Metal speciation and modelling; Impacts of drought and climate change on water quality; Effects of acid sulfate soils on water quality; Nutrient dynamics and processes in the River Murray and Coorong system; Hypoxic blackwater modelling and assessment on the River Murray; Measurement and modelling of pH and inorganic carbon system using advanced techniques; Assessment and management of pollutants; Salt field remediation.

    Dr Vinay Pagay, Lecturer, School of Agriculture, Food and Wine

    Key areas of expertise: Agricultural Engineering; Agriculture; Agronomy & Agriculture; Horticultural Crop Growth and Development; Horticultural Production; Horticulture; Oenology and Viticulture; Plant Biology; Plant Physiology; Sensor Technology.

    Dr Jonathan Tyler, Senior Lecturer, School of Physical Sciences

    Jonathan is a palaeoclimatologist and isotope geochemist. He is interested in past climates and the use of chemical tracers in sediments to develop our understanding of past climate changes. He mostly works with lake sediments, but is branching out to work with marine and cave deposits.

    Dr Todd Wallace, Research fellow, Ecology and Environmental Science, School of Biological Sciences

    Todd Wallace has 15 years’ experience working in freshwater and marine environments. A key area of research is the ecological processes that determine outcomes resulting from the use of environmental water. He has extensive experience providing scientific leadership, and in building and maintaining productive relationships with natural resource managers and community groups including irrigators. Since 2006 he has been lead or co-author on more than 45 reports on management of floodplain and aquatic environments within the Murray-Darling Basin.

  • Division of Research and Innovation

    Professor John Williams, Pro Vice-Chancellor - Research Operations, Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research)

    John’s main research interest is public law and in particular Australian constitutional law, The High Court of Australia, comparative constitutional law, federalism and legal history. In recent times he his research covers issues of water management and the regulatory framework in Australia, water law and the regulation of the Murray-Darling.