Safe drinking water is essential to maintaining good health.  Communities with limited water  prioritise it for drinking, followed by sanitation, hygiene and food preparation.
Safe drinking water is essential to maintaining good health. Communities with limited water prioritise it for drinking, followed by sanitation, hygiene and food preparation.

The 'water-resilient communities' theme explicitly explores the social contexts and structure within which communities can access safe fresh water supplies, sanitation, and hygiene, and ensure resilience during climate variability, extreme weather events and natural disasters.

Current barriers and opportunities are governance structures, adaptive policies, and existing behaviours and values.

Key research questions include:

  • What policy and governance frameworks can increase water supply resilience in times of drought and flood?
  • What decision-making tools will support informed decision-making for effective water provision?
  • How can water be allocated to water-dependent industries to manage times of extreme supply or deprivation?
  • In the developing world, what barriers and opportunities exist to improve health and well-being associated with water and sanitation?
  • What governance and engagement is required between governments and non-government organisations to provide scaled-up, long term water and sanitation?
  • What are the water-related needs and opportunities for regional and remote communities?
  • How can disaster responses and management be improved regarding water supply and sanitation?
  • What social aspects can be improved to reduce the infection of waterborn diseases?


Dr Simon Albert (School of Civil Engineering) Catchment management impacts on inshore ecosystems, and the impacts on island communities

Professor Saleem Ali (Sustainable Minerals Institute): Geopolitics of transboundary water projects, particularly in southern Africa and south Asia and has also research environmental conflicts around large hydropower projects. He was the Principal Advisor to the Asia Society’s report on Water Security

Dr Angela Dean (School of Communication and Arts) Water-engaged communities and water literacy

Professor Sara Dolnicar (UQ Business School) Societal acceptance of recycled potable water

Associate Professor Kelly Fielding (Institute for Social Science) The psycho-social dimensions of environmental sustainability, including drivers of water consumption and water literacy

Professor Brian Head (Institute for Social Science Research) Water policy and governance

Associate Professor Peter Hill (School of Public Health) Human health aspects of the Sustainable Development Goals, including the water-focused SDGs

Professor Karen Hussey (Global Change Institute) Environmental governance, water resources planning, and water management

Dr Paul Jagals (School of Public Health) Environmental health impact assessment, and management of water for health and wellbeing

Dr Martina Linnenluecke (UQ Business School) Strategic adaptation and resilience of businesses and industries to climate change and the expected increase in the number and severity of weather extremes.

Mark Pascoe (International Water Centre - Griffith/UQ) Integrated water resources management, and water, sanitation and hygiene capability development

Professor Helen Ross (School of Agriculture and Food Sciences) Community management and governance of waterways; climate change adaptation and resilience-building needs within management of a social-ecological system

Professor Jose Torero-Cullen (School of Engineering) Sanitation, waste management and contaminated land remediation.

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