Flinders in key role in Singapore water project

Flinders University will provide the technology and research expertise in a major international collaboration that aims to improve the quality and use of Singapore’s stormwater.

The practical applications of the new technology flowing from the project will ultimately be transferred to Adelaide and the rest of Australia under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in Singapore on 25 June.

The MOU involves a $1.1 million research project that brings together Flinders’ expertise in leading edge water technologies and research capability with a major Australian water company, United Water International, and the National University of Singapore, the Singapore-Delft Water Alliance (“SDWA”, comprising Singaporean public utilities and Dutch water experts) and Deltares Netherlands (a Dutch business consortium).

The project will install and trial a state-of-the-art filtration system in a major canal in Singapore down which millions of litres of tropical rainfall currently flow from dense urban areas to reservoirs and the sea, carrying with it undesirable impurities. The highly porous, large capacity, modular filter system being developed by Flinders University will purify the storm water and have major cost and efficiency advantages over conventional gravel and sand-based systems. Importantly, as part of the SDWA programme, it will enable these large and often unsightly canals to be landscaped for aesthetic and recreational purposes, and yet remain flood-preventative.

Flinders Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Barber, said the two year project, co-funded by the Australian Research Council, was “an excellent example of international collaboration to address a major environmental issue”.

“The importance of water conservation in a world threatened by climate change is now widely recognised and this multilateral collaboration has the potential to bring substantial gains on this front in Singapore, Australia and beyond,” Professor Barber said.

“It is also an exciting opportunity to showcase Flinders’ technology and research and development expertise on the world stage,” he said.

The MOU signing ceremony was witnessed by South Australia’s Water Security Minister, Karlene Maywald, a distinguished guest of the Singapore International Water Week.

“South Australia is leading the world in recognising and addressing issues of urban water management, largely through the calibre of research in our scientific institutions,” Minister Maywald said.

“Partnerships such as these enable institutions like Flinders University to develop their innovative thinking and processes into applications of real value to South Australian and the world,” she said.

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