Water Wednesday podcast available


The podcast from the presentation by Professor David Chittleborough and Professor Graeme Dandy is now available for download.

The Water Research Centre in conjunction with the Australian Water Association SA Branch presented a special Water Wednesday featuring Professor David Chittleborough from the School of Earth & Environmental Sciences and Professor Graeme Dandy from the School of Civil, Environmental & Mining Engineering on Wednesday 10 July 2013.

The presentation titled What the world should know about water discussed present and future demands for water.

Professor David Chittleborough

School of Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Adelaide

Professor David Chittleborough received his PhD in Pedology in 1982 at the University of Adelaide. At the time he was a field pedologist mapping soils in central South Australia. He joined the Department of Soil Science of the University of Adelaide in 1983 at which time he began research on processes of non-point source pollution. His research interests are on the impact of soil processes and soil management on water quality, the development of methods to reduce the impact of phosphorus and dissolved organic carbon in runoff from catchments, the origin and properties of soils with subsurface physical and chemical constraints and the development of techniques to separate and analyse the finest particles and colloids in soils and water. He also has a long-standing interest in natural resource science and management and is a member of the Environment Institute’s Landscape Futures Program where he is working on setting up observatories to monitor ecosystem and hydropedological processes.

Professor Graeme Dandy

School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering, University of Adelaide

Professor Dandy completed his PhD in environmental engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA) in 1976. He has been a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Adelaide since 2000. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and a Fellow of Engineers Australia. His research interests include the application of evolutionary optimisation techniques to the design and operations of water distribution systems; monitoring, modelling and optimising water quality in water distribution systems; the use of artificial neural networks techniques for forecasting hydrologic and environmental variables; and integrated urban water management.

Download the flyer

Listen to the presentation

Water Wednesday: What the world should know about water

WRClogoThe Water Research Centre in conjunction with the Australian Water Association SA Branch would like to invite you to a special Water Wednesday on Wednesday 10 July 2013, celebrating the stellar careers of Professor David Chittleborough and Professor Graeme Dandy.

With the impending retirements of Professor David Chittleborough from the School of Earth & Environmental Sciences and Professor Graeme Dandy from the School of Civil, Environmental & Mining Engineering, we invite you to join us and learn from these two distinguished Professors “What the world should know about water“.

When: Wednesday 10 July 2013
Time: 5:30pm – 6:50pm
Where: Horace Lamb Lecture Theatre, the University of Adelaide (map)
Cost: free

Register your interest

Download the flyer

All welcome!

World Oceans Day June 8

Cuttlefish ear boneGuest blog by Dr Zoë Doubleday. Dr Doubleday is a Post-doctoral Fellow in the Marine Biology Program, School of Earth & Environmental Science at The University of Adelaide. She is currently working on a number of post-doc and student related projects and has a particular interest in the utilisation of hard calcified tissues, found in aquatic organisms, as innovative tools for answering critical questions in aquatic ecology.

Body parts of aquatic organisms help solve questions in aquatic ecology

When you look at a tree stump what do you see? Rings; rings radiating out from the centre to the edge; rings that represent the growth history of the tree. Aquatic species also have rings laid down like this, year after year, decade after decade, in all kinds of body parts. Fish and squid ear bones, shark vertebrae, coral skeletons, marine mammal teeth, bivalve and gastropod shells, cuttlefish bones. . .and the list goes on.

The beauty of hard calcified tissues is that many form growth rings with a precise periodicity (e.g. daily or annual), providing a time-calibrated archive of biological and environmental information. To extract information from these natural chronometers we can analyse their chemical composition (such as trace elements and isotopes) and examine their growth ring patterns (such as number and width) in relation to the temporal context of ring formation. From here we can examine both the biological history (e.g. age, growth, diet, and movement) and environmental history (e.g. temperature and salinity) of an individual from birth to death. This type of data can additionally tell us two important things: how the environment is changing and what biological impact that environmental change is having.

Another valuable attribute of calcified tissues is that they can hang around long after the organism has died. This allows us to compare information derived from modern-day samples with information derived from historical (e.g. 19th and 20th Century), archeological, and even paleontological samples. Such comparisons are very powerful and can provide a rare and crucial insight into past biological baselines and what aquatic environments may have been like prior to industrial-scale fishing or European colonization. This in turn can help us make a more realistic assessment of how much humans have impacted, and are impacting, the environment and about what environmental changes might happen in the future.

In the Marine Biology Program, we have a number of biochronologists working away on a range of calcified tissues collected from freshwater to oceanic environments. From here we are linking chemical and growth pattern data to various climatic and oceanographic variables, tracking movement patterns of individuals over large spatial and temporal scales, and seeing how biological indices, such as growth rate, age, and diet are changing. However, there is still much to discover and uncover in calcified tissues and, in my opinion, is a much underutilised resource of historical data, particularly in Australia. As we continue to dig up long forgotten sample archives, find novel body parts with chronological properties, and work with constantly evolving analytical technology, who knows what we will find next…

Dr Zoe DoubledayGuest post by Dr Zoë Doubleday.

If you would like to contribute as a guest blogger on the Environment Institute blog, email environment@adelaide.edu.au

WRC Water Wednesday – Optimisation of Urban Water Supply Systems: A Pipe Dream?

The Water Research Centre are proud to present the final Water Wednesday for the year, ‘Optimisation of Urban Water Supply Systems: A Pipe Dream?‘, on Wednesday 19th of September 2012.

Professor Graeme Dandy

This seminar draws together three international experts who will talk about recent developments in the optimisation of urban water supply systems and prospects for further developments in this field. Speakers include:

  • Professor Dragan Savic, University of Exeter
  • Asst. Professor Dominic Bocelli, University of Cincinnati
  • Professor Graeme Dandy, University of Adelaide

When: Wednesday 19th of September 2012
Where: Horace Lamb Lecture Theatre, University of Adelaide
Time: 5:30pm – 6:50pm
Please note: Although this is a free event, registration is essential.

Find out more and register

New Paper: Environmental management alternatives for rivers and wetlands

Professor Graeme Dandy

Professor Graeme Dandy

A new paper titled ‘A framework for using ant colony optimization to schedule environmental flow management alternatives for rivers, wetlands, and floodplains‘ investigates using ant colony data to assess environmental management alternatives for rivers, wetlands, and floodplains. The paper discusses the importance of these regions and the need for future management as many of these areas are facing a bleak future due to a wide variety of reasons.

The paper involves Environment Institute members Joanna Szemis, Graeme Dandy and Holger Maier (all also of the University of Adelaide) and has been published in Water Resources Research.

Download the paper to read about their findings

SA Branch Conference 2012 – Event

The SA Branch Conference is one of the premier knowledge-sharing events on the local water industry calendar. The conference continues to bring together members of the water industry from around the state to discuss current trends and challenges being addressed in South Australia.

This year’s conference has the theme Way Out Water – Beyond the City and Into the Future and will examine the challenges faced in water management beyond the city and into the future.
Confirmed speakers include:

  • Jurg Keller, University of Queensland
  • Neil Palmer, National Centre for Excellence in Desalination
  • Tony Minns, Goyder Institute
  • Lee Morgan, Power and Water Corporation

Where: Stamford Grand Hotel, Glenelg
When: Friday 17 August 2012
Time: 11:00am – 6:15pm

Register for the conference
Download the brochure

Four in 40: Managing carbon in catchments

The Water Research Centre and the Department for Environment, Water & Natural Resources (DEWNR) presents a “Four in 40” seminar on Monday 23 July at the Flinders Street Baptist Church Hall, titled “Managing carbon in catchments”.

Where: Flinders Street Baptist Church Hall, 65 Flinders Street
When: Monday 23 July
Time: 1:00pm-2:00pm
Please note: Although this is a free event, registration is essential by 19 July 2012.

Register for this event
Download the pdf brochure

Young Water Professionals Annual Forum

The Australian Water Association’s SA Branch Young Water Professionals Annual Forum will be held on Thursday 7th June 2012.

The forum will examine the current state of the water sector and the political drivers guiding the industry’s future.
Topics include:

  • Water reform and the National Water Initiative
  • Managing water resources in a changing climate
  • Adapting to future water supply challenges

This full day forum will allow young water professionals to share knowledge and network with their industry peers while investigating these issues. The forum will feature an opening address bu Hon Paul Caica, Minister for Water and the River Murray.

When: Thursday 7th June 2012
Where: The Fig Tree Function Centre, Adelaide Zoo
Cost: Students – $35, AWA Members- $90, Non AWA Members – $120

Download the pdf flyer for more information.

Register online here.

Water Wednesday – ‘Making consultation more effective’

Making consultation more effective will be the subject of a free public forum at the University of Adelaide this Wednesday, 13 April.

Hosted by the Water Research Centre, the ‘Water Wednesday’ forum will focus on improving community and industry engagement in natural resources management.

Water Research Centre Director Associate Professor Justin Brookes says there are concerns that community engagement needs to be more effective in order to support key reforms in water management.

“We need to ensure that the story of good science is told well and that data is accessible to the communities and stakeholders who will be affected by recommended reforms,” says Associate Professor Brookes.

“The process of consulting with community and interest groups needs to be just as well researched and advanced as the evolving science designed to support management decisions.”

Guest presenters at the forum will include:

• Ms Ann Shaw-Rungie, private consultant specialising in facilitation and community engagement

• Assoc Prof David Paton, School of Earth & Environmental Sciences, The University of Adelaide

• Ms Ruchira Talukdar, Healthy Ecosystems Campaigner, Australian Conservation Foundation.

Speakers will give examples and suggestions on how to build community and industry support for sustainable resource management and to undertake necessary reforms such as in water management. The forum will explore the way that communication is changing, with social media and networks, and more sophisticated technologies for more immediate social connections.

Assoc Prof Brookes said, “The recent stormy process of consultation for the Guide to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan discredited the good science underpinning the Plan, and has undermined and delayed the consultation process for critical water reforms.”

“This Water Wednesday forum aims to present examples of effective engagement, and to draw conclusions about how to learn from these experiences to assist the water reform process through better engagement with community groups and stakeholders.”

WHERE: Napier 102 Lecture Theatre, North Terrace Campus, University of Adelaide

WHEN: 5.30pm–6.45pm, Wednesday 13 April

COST: Free, but bookings essential. BOOK HERE

South Australian River Murray floods 2010-2011 breathe life back into river ecosystem! Guest Blogger Dr Anne Jensen

Guest Blogger Dr Anne Jensen gives a summary of her visit to the River Murray Floods.

Guest Post by Dr Anne Jensen, Dr Anne Jensen is an environmental consultant with extensive experience in natural resources management particularly relating to water issues and the environment. She is a Consulting Scientist to the Water Research Centre of the Environment Institute. Anne competed her PhD study in 2008 with the School of Earth & Environmental Sciences at the University of Adelaide on the topic, ‘The role of seed banks and soil moisture in recruitment of semi-arid floodplain plants: the River Murray, Australia,’ with the goal of investigating optimum conditions for application of environmental flows. Previously Anne was CEO of WetlandCare Australia, a not-for-profit conservation company which has coordinated multiple wetland projects in South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland. She has strong international networks in wetland and natural resource management through involvement with Ramsar, UNESCO, Ducks Unlimited, and government agencies in the UK, USA, Canada and Denmark.

The Lower River Murray has been given a reprieve. The sustained flows coming into South Australia since October 2010 have been at a level which will do minimal damage to infrastructure and property while providing major benefits to the stressed ecosystem.

The wetlands of the River Murray below the Darling Junction at Wentworth have been severely affected by drought conditions since 2002. Prior to the drought effect, water for wetlands was much reduced due to the effects of dams retaining small to medium floods in order to provide water for irrigation and town supplies. Wetlands of the Lower Murray floodplain had not seen effective over-bank flows since 1996, and the drying impacts were apparent with more than 75% of river red gums along the length of the valley dead, dying or stressed.

The current floods bring a precious opportunity to recover from 14 years without over-bank flows. There is enough water available to allow it to spill out onto the floodplain in sheet flows, to infiltrate into the soils and replenish the shallow freshwater lenses which overlie the highly saline regional groundwater. These lenses were exhausted by the lack of floods and the extended drought, so that the river red gums had their roots in salt water. Now they will get a new lease of life from the floods, and the moisture reserves will be topped up for future years.

At the flood peak, I revisited my PhD study sites on the Chowilla floodplain near Renmark and Clarks Floodplain near Berri, and reported significant recovery in response to prolonged and extensive inundation. The mainstream is flowing swiftly, demonstrating the healthy pulse of production in the ecosystem with large surface mats of bright green native duckweed and floating fern (Lemna spp. and Azolla sp.). Approximately 80% of the floodplains are inundated, with reports of high numbers of frogs, fish and waterbirds breeding.

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Photo’s included in this post show the recovery at previously stressed sites. However, there are many instances of long term damage, with dead river red gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) and black box (E. largiflorens) beyond recovery due to their reduced resilience as a result of water deprivation prior to extended drought stress. The floods have provided a reprieve and significant recovery, but the issue of securing water in the future to maintain a healthy river ecosystem remains.

Guest Post by Dr Anne Jensen, if you would like to contribute your research to a guest blog on The Environment Institute Blog email environment@adelaide.edu.au.