Water in focus

Our goal: to bring life and abundance back into our oceans and waterways.

Water Dam

Oceans of innovation

Water is one of our most precious resources. It feeds us, bathes us, decarbonises our climate, and generates most of the oxygen we breathe. All water belongs to a cycle, flowing through natural ecosystems and man-made structures as part of one living network. Sadly, not everyone has equal access to this network.

Whilst there is still so little known about these subterranean environments, we are already applying its exotic properties in a range of sectors such as bio-compatible textiles, regenerative medicine, agriculture, food technology and hydropower. Our research is embedded in creating infrastructure that restores these vital habitats by bringing the wonders of the deep to the surface. What other eco-friendly innovations are residing in Earth’s deep waters, yet to be discovered?

“With all the materials we’re developing, we’ll ensure they are decomposable, sustainable and eco-friendly for a more biocompatible world.”

- Professor Will Glamore, School of Civil & Environmental Engineering

Our areas of impact

  • Restoring aquatic ecosystems and biodiversity
  • Blue carbon – algae and seaweed
  • Water scarcity and droughts
  • Water quality, treatment and sanitation
  • Plastic-free oceans
  • Preventing erosion

As the world’s largest purification system for indirect potable use, the Groundwater Replacement System (GWRS) project in Orange County California implements a modular water filtration system that was significantly informed by researchers at UNSW, which filters water at the location where it’s consumed – thereby removing obstacles such as distance and water transport for those who need it most. 

Student voices

Using the skillset and problem-solving of an engineer to deliver basic needs to vulnerable communities across the world, our students can make the greatest possible impact.

“In this Sri Lankan Village of 2000 people, there was no cleaning drinking water, and I remember thinking: I wish I could do something about this. I realised the technical skills I was learning as a Chemical Engineering student could be used to address this issue.

Following the completion of our clean water treatment plan, this village is now purchasing water at 40% the original price at 1 rupee per litre from a community-owned, community-driven system that we helped establish.”

- Buddhi Ranasignhe, Chemical Engineering Graduate

Research centres and institutes

UNSW Engineering is a global leader in research and innovation. It’s in the world-class research and institutes we host and participate in that many of our most innovative solutions come to life. These include ARC research hubs, cooperative research centres and other initiatives relating to the future of water.

Our world-class water research facilities include:

  • UNSW Global Water Institute
  • The Water Research Laboratory
  • UNESCO Centre for Membrane Science and Technology
  • Algae & Organic Matter Lab (AOM)
  • Water Research Centre (WRC)

Get in touch and see what’s possible.

Ask how we can help your business, industry, or market through collaboration.