Flinders tackles wastewater and more

Creating sustainable wastewater recycling systems, conserving vital groundwater supplies and climate ‘action’ are among Flinders Uni expert talks at South Australia’s Water Forum 2017.

The Goyder Institute for Water Research event, on July 4 and 5 at The University of Adelaide, will showcase the State’s expertise in a range of disciplines and sectors – including the work of the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT) at Flinders.

South Australia’s water industry contributes more than $591 million annually and employs about 8360 people across the state.

The use of high-rate algal ponds for treating wastewater from pork production is a focus of research by Flinders postdoc student environmental studies Ryan Cheng, pictured here at the Kingston on Murray solar-powered algal pond plant.

On the first day of the forum, Flinders aquatic microbial ecologist Professor Howard Fallowfield will present the results of collaborative, translational research which established high-rate algal ponds as alternative systems for inclusion in community wastewater management schemes.

The algal pond system is operating at Kingston on Murray in SA’s Riverland, powered by solar panels with battery storage. The technology is currently being replicated at larger scale in the State.

Professor Fallowfield says the community wastewater management systems can be used by councils for towns outside metropolitan areas sewered by SA Water and in remote locations such as mining camps.

They also provide an affordable option for small villages in developing countries to set up low-energy, high-efficiency water re-use systems.

Among the Goyder Institute Water Forum sessions on Wednesday 5 July, NCGRT Director and Australian Water Professional of the Year Professor Craig Simmons will give an opening talk on groundwater management in Australia. Flinders PhD candidate, Pragya Pradhan Shrestha, will join the session talk to speak on groundwater nitrate contamination.

Other Flinders presenters Gabriel Shepherd, Olanrewaju Abiodun, Dr Dylan Irvine and Karina Gutierrez will speak in later sessions.

Among the keynote speakers, Kathryn Anderson, the Deputy Director of the New Venture Institute at Flinders, will cover off on the benefits of university-business engagement in solving scientific and technology problems.

Other keynote speakers include Professor Andy Pitman, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, and Adjunct Professor John Williams, from the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy. Dr Williams, a former head of CSIRO Land and Water and a founding member of the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, and climate scientist Professor Pitman will also speak at the Goyder Water Forum Dinner.

The Goyder Institute is a partnership between the South Australian Government, CSIRO, Flinders University, University of Adelaide, UniSA and the International Centre of Excellence in Water Resources Management (ICE WaRM).

Later in July, experts from the NCGRT, led by plenary speaker Professor Simmons, are also due to speak at the Australasian Groundwater Conference in Sydney (11-13 July). They include Dr Dylan Irvine, Professor Okke Batelaan, Dr Saskia Noorduijn, Associate Professor Hossein Esmaeili, Dr Daniel Partington, Dr Camille Bouchez, Dr James McCallum, Dr Eddie Banks, David Poulsen, Dr Juliette Woods, Thomas Anderson, Dr Yueqing Xie, and Dr Ilka Wallis (poster presentation).

The conference, hosted by NCGRT research partner University of NSW, is one of the largest groundwater events in the world with more than 250 presentations over three days.


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