Fountain at The University of Queensland
Without water our cities simply could not function: fountain at The University of Queensland

The theme of ‘water for cities’examines how water is sourced,used and disposed of in an urban environment. It examines the pressure on the catchments that supply our water, the treatment and provision of fresh water, and the downstream management of sewage and stormwater.

The environmental,economic, and social equity dimensions that arise from technological innovations are considered in an integrated manner.

Key research questions include:

  • What is the relationship between energy and water use in cities, and how can this ‘nexus’ be managed to ensure efficiency for both energy and water supplies?
  • What is the level of societal acceptance of recycled water, and how can this be increased?
  • What infrastructure and associated behaviour is required to maximise the resilience of urban water systems during extreme weather events and climate variability?
  • What are the opportunities to increase the interface between agricultural provision and the urban consumers?

UQ Researchers

Associate Professor Damien Batstone (Advanced Water Management Centre) Industrial wastewater treatment, anaerobic technologies, environmental biotechnology, and biosolids management. 

Dr Yvette Bettini (Institute for Social Science Research) Urban-focused policy and water catchment management 

Professor Bill Clarke (Civil Engineering) Re-use and recycling of solid organic waste from both municipalities and the agricultural sector, concentrating on bioconversion processes.

Associate Professor Caroline Gaus (National Research Centre for Environmental Toxicology) Environmental toxicology for  contaminant management strategies that protect the environment and human health. 

Dr Badin Gibbs (School of Civil Engineering) Environmental monitoring systems and numerical models to assist water resource managers to better understand the key hydrodynamic and biogeochemical factors that influence water quality in water supply reservoirs.

Professor Jurg Keller (Advanced Water Management Centre) Biological wastewater treatment, environmental biotechnology, microbial fuel cells and water recycling. 

Dr Steve Kenway (School of Chemical Engineering) Water-energy-carbon nexus and urban metabolism. 

Professor Paul Lant (School of Chemical Engineering) Biological nutrient removal wastewater treatment, resource and energy recovery from wastewater streams, industrial wastewater treatment, greenhouse gas emissions and life cycle assessment of water systems. 

Professor Ling Li (School of Civil Engineering) Water resources engineering

Professor Eric McFarland (Dow Centre for Sustainable Engineering Innovation) Fundamental chemical science related to energy and chemical conversions.

Professor Jack Ng (National Research Centre for Environmental Toxicology) Chemical speciation in environmental and biological media, bioavailability in relationship to toxicities using various animal and cell models, carcinogenicity and mechanistic studies of chronic arsenic toxicity in both humans and animals

Dr Ilje Pikaar (School of Civil Engineering) Resource recovery, integrated urban water management, and environmental electrochemistry

Dr Steve Pratt (School of Chemical engineering) Sustainable waste management, utilising waste streams

Dr Marguerite Renouf (School of Chemical Engineering) Evaluating the water efficiency and hydrological performance of urban settlements using ‘whole of system’ approaches – environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) and urban metabolism

Dr Keshab Sharma (Advanced Water Management Centre) Water and wastewater Engineering.

Dr Simon Smart (School of Chemical Engineering) Membrane and membrane reactor technologies for clean energy and water applications

Dr Stephan Tait (Advanced Water Management Centre) Engineering for the wastewater treatment industry 

Dr Qilin Wang (Advanced Water Management Centre) Free nitrous acid (FNA)-based strategy to achieve sludge reduction, enhance methane production, and improve biological nitrogen removal 

Dr Laura Wendling (School of Agriculture and Food Sciences) Processes governing the behaviour, transport and fate of trace metals and emerging chemical contaminants in soils, sediments, and aquatic environments

Dr Liu Ye (School of Chemical Engineering) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and mitigation from biological wastewater treatment processes; sludge minimization and biogas production enhancement by using free nitrous acid (FNA) based technology; advanced biological nutrient removal (BNR) technology development. 

Professor Chengzhong Yu (Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology) Novel nanoporous and nano- materials for biotechnology, clean energy and environment protection

Professor Zhiguo Yuan (Advanced Water Management Centre) Solutions for urban water management through effective integration of fundamental science and applied engineering



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