Water research benefits community and industry
Tuesday, 8 February 2005
The interests of researchers, industry and the general community alike will be promoted today with the launch of a new research initiative at the University of Adelaide, 'the Water Research Cluster'.
The research 'Cluster' concept within the University of Adelaide is designed to build large cross-disciplinary teams with expertise to tackle big research questions and to enable University researchers to work more effectively with industry, other research organisations and the community. The work of researchers early in their careers will be particularly encouraged through the Clusters.
The launch of the Water Research Cluster will take place today at the National Wine Centre (corner of Hackney Road and Botanic Road) from 3:30pm to 5:00pm.
"Clusters will be a forum for developing dynamic partnerships, making more effective use of our talent and resources, and creating even more innovative educational and training programs by building on cross-sector relationships," University of Adelaide Vice-Chancellor Professor James McWha says.
Water, a major geo-political issue with local, national and international resonance, is aptly the theme of one of the four 'Clusters' supported within the University. The others are: Healthy Ageing, Healthy Development, Defence and Security.
"In South Australia, in particular, water has become a crucial community issue as the population begins to face the reality of water restrictions and higher water prices, while at the same time demanding that our rivers and water bodies be protected and restored," Professor McWha says.
In the above context, the University's 'Water Research Cluster' has the potential to benefit large communities. It covers a wide range of water-related topics, such as: impact of climate change, water supply infrastructure, water-efficient buildings, river ecology, river health, water recycling, and coastal management.
The Water Research Cluster draws on a long tradition of water research at the University. Adelaide researchers have contributed to a dynamic water industry in South Australia, leading the world in innovative delivery and management of water systems.
Academics from the Cluster have already made a difference to water research in Australia through such projects as: identifying the impact of human activities on coastal Australia, assisting the Murray Darling Basin Commission identify how much water the River Murray needs, reducing the costs of installing piped irrigation systems to replace channels in the Riverland and devising soil treatments to reduce loss of nutrients from catchments.
"The Water Research Cluster has the capabilities and resources to have an even greater impact in the future on our lives and our environment, and as well as on those of our neighbours in the Asia-Pacific region," Professor McWha says.
"For example, the Cluster already has links with the Centre for Water Supply and Drainage at the Harbin Institute of Technology, China. The provision of clean water supply is a major issue in China, where it is not possible in many cities to drink water out of the tap without first boiling it."
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