Young water experts win major awards

Photo by Dorota Kaszczyszyn.

Photo by Dorota Kaszczyszyn.
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Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Five University of Adelaide students researching more efficient use of water in Australia have been judged the best in their field.

The students from the School of Civil, Environmental & Mining Engineering have taken out separate awards for a range of water-related projects, including better distribution systems, water quality and wetlands, and urban supply issues.

The award winners are:

  • Matt Gibbs, who won the SA Branch of the Australian Water Association Postgraduate Award for his thesis on using mathematical tools to improve water distribution systems in Australia;
  • Abby Goodman, who has taken out the Best Student Presentation Award at the Australian Society of Limnology Conference for a wetlands project in the Upper South East of South Australia;
  • Liam Harnett, Jason Nicolson and Rebecca Tennant, final-year undergraduate students who have been awarded the SA Branch of the Australian Water Association's Hodgson Medal for their research focused on reducing costs and optimising urban water supply systems to meet environmental outcomes.

Matt's work was applied to a water distribution system in Sydney, leading to reduced greenhouse gas emissions, a lower risk of disinfectant by-products and up to a 30% reduction in operating costs.

Abby is investigating how water management changes in the Upper South East, including construction of deep drains, is affecting the health of 200 wetlands in the region. Her research is helping the Department of Water, Land and Biodiversity Conservation to develop better management guidelines for the wetlands.

The Hodgson Medal - won by Liam, Jason and Rebecca - honours the pioneering South Australian environmental engineer Harry Hodgson, who died in 1992 after a distinguished career in the water industry. In their research, the students demonstrated the feasibility of grey water reuse schemes at an urban cluster scale with the reclaimed water being used for toilet flushing and garden watering.

Professor Graeme Dandy, Leader of the Water Research Cluster at the University of Adelaide, congratulated the students for their contribution to water research. "Australia faces a critical shortfall in water management expertise," he said. "These students will be tomorrow's leaders in managing our critically important water resources."

Vice-Chancellor and President Professor James McWha said the students' work had delivered real benefits to Australia. "The University of Adelaide appreciates the willingness of the State Government and our industry partners to provide opportunities for our students to help solve important problems," he said.


Contact Details

Professor Graeme Dandy
Leader, Water Research Cluster
University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5472
Mobile: 0413 189 979

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762