Environmental engineering researchers awarded $135,000

Researchers in environmental engineering, Associate Professors Muttucumaru Sivakumar and Shuqing Yang, were successful in obtaining a AUS$135,000 grant from the Indian government under a new ‘Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration’ (SPARC) that was established to assist in the development of collaborative research linkages between Indian and international universities.

The funding has been received for their work in coastal reservoirs as a sustainable strategy for water security.  Coastal Reservoirs are a new and growing field of research to help combat the effects of climate change and water shortages. They can be used for water supply, flood mitigation, energy storage, even wastewater treatment to protect coastal environments.

Coastal Reservoirs are a technology that harvest floodwater in the marine environment before freshwater mixes with seawater. The freshwater reservoir is built within the seawater perimeter with one side of the dam storing freshwater, and the other side seawater.

Effectively the reservoir stores water downstream instead of upstream by impounding fresh water in a coastal environment before it enters the sea. China, Singapore, the Netherlands and Australia are already using the system of coastal reservoirs as water security to store fresh water for citizens.

Professor Sivakumar was delighted with the funding opportunity.

“Water security is becoming a key issue both in India and Australia and this is further aggravated by climate change,” he said.

This grant will help strengthen UOW research collaboration with three other highly reputed Indian universities namely Indian Institute of Science at Bangalore, Indian Institute of Technology at Guwahati and National Institute of Technology Karnataka at Surathkal in the area of sustainable water resources management.”