The battle to recharge urban aquifers is the focus of a two-year international research collaboration between Flinders University and a leading German water ecology institute.
Researchers from the School of the Environment in liaison with the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training based at Flinders have won a grant under the 2015-16 Universities Australia-Germany Joint Research Cooperation Scheme.
They will share and build knowledge with scientists from the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) in Berlin, looking at how both locations are managing groundwater-surface water interactions.
The latest initiative builds on Flinders’ School of the Environment becoming the only Australian university to become an external partner in the European Union Horizon 2020-funded HypoTRAIN research and training initiative.
The initiative involves PhDs across Europe and three non-European universities to develop solutions to river-groundwater conservation and improvements.
“In semi-arid regions like in Adelaide losing rivers creates riverine corridor zones where aquifers are recharged and shallow groundwater is available for exploration as well as for sustaining ecological values,” says Professor Okke Batelaan, Strategic Professor in Hydrogeology and Dean, School of the Environment.
“Thus, an improved process of understanding urban groundwater replenishment is important for water managers here and in other locations around the world.”
The latest joint research project, “Groundwater-surface water interactions in metropolitan areas,” will be funded under the Australia-Germany Joint Research Cooperation Scheme – a joint initiative of Universities Australia and the German Academic Exchange Service with support from the Australian Government Department of Education.
The German researchers, led by senior scientist Professor Jörg Lewandowski, will work with Flinders School of the Environment research fellows Dr Margaret Shanafield, Dr Eddie Banks and Dr James McCallum on the eco-hydrology project.
It was one of a 100 research applications selected from 380 applications for projects to run in 2016 and 2017.
Each project team receives up to AUD $25,000 for travel and living expenses to support their research work in Germany.
Another round of applications will be opened in early April 2016. For more information see Universities Australia website. Universities Australia plays a vital role for its member universities and Australia’s higher education sector by building such partnerships with university sectors in other countries.