Water industry to put its mark on the Commonwealth’s latest innovation fund

April 12, 2021

Water Research Australia (WaterRA) and the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) will be partners in the newly established National Environmental Science Program (NESP) Sustainable Communities and Waste Hub.

Both organisations will support value creation from national research into sustainable communities and waste, as part of the federal government’s $149 million second phase of the NESP.

The NESP Hub seeks to research key areas associated with four main transition pathways to more sustainable and resource-positive communities:

  • Sustainable People-Environment Interactions
  • Reduce Impact of Plastics and Other Materials
  • Management of Waste, Substances and Pollutants
  • Improved Air Quality, Forecasting and Assessment

Research will be prioritised to meet pressing environmental management and policy needs, with an emphasis on waste impacts, climate adaptation, threatened species and protected places.

The Sustainable Communities and Waste Hub consortium is comprised of six research institutions led by UNSW Sydney, including the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Monash University, Swinburne University of Technology, Curtin University and the University of Tasmania.

The HUB includes industry, government and community partners ranging from the water industry to waste authorities, regulators, retailers and organisations in the business of waste processing and recycling. There are currently four water industry partners earmarked for collaboration, including Water Corporation, SA Water, South East Water and Melbourne Water.

The partnership between WaterRA and WSAA will see the development of a framework for both organisations to work in-sync for the best interests of their members, the broader water industry and their customers and communities

Karen Rouse, CEO of WaterRA said delivering science-based opportunities – for the water industry and beyond – to turn wastes into resources has been one of WaterRA's keystone efforts. 

“Our 25-year track record of facilitating and delivering collaborative water, wastewater and recycling research that addresses both industry and regulator needs, equips us well to provide a unique cross sector end-user perspective and help to ensure the innovation-readiness of research delivered by the NESP HUB,” Ms Rouse said.

“Working with WSAA provides an exciting opportunity to extend the research into policy and implementation for the water industry.

WaterRA and WSAA will seek to gain water industry inputs through a collaborative workshop to take place in the near future.