The Fellowship, valued at $865,628.00, will support Dr Tamburic’s project on ‘Large scale urban stormwater reuse: safe, clear and odourless water supply.’ With industry partners Melbourne Water Corporation, the project aims to build capacity in urban stormwater reuse and address an industry-identified need to determine the suitability of urban lakes and wetlands for stormwater harvesting.

Project activities will include using satellites to image urban lakes and wetlands and to identify the best sites to supply stormwater; and the development of new monitoring techniques to ensure that reused stormwater is safe and fit for purpose. The project will inform adaptive planning and infrastructure readiness at water utilities, guiding Australian policy on stormwater reuse. 

Dr Tamburic explains, “Australia has a growing population – which increases our demand for water – and a drying climate – which reduces supply. This project aims to improve the resilience of water supplies by building capacity to reuse stormwater at scale.”

He added that there are many benefits to reusing stormwater, saying, “Stormwater can be reused to maintain additional street trees and public open spaces, helping to develop greener, cooler and more liveable suburbs. This approach will also reduce demand on river water so that it can be used as drinking water or returned to the environment.”

Dr Tamburic is one of four academics from the UNSW Faculties of Engineering and Science who received ARC mid-career industry fellowships. The scheme is designed to help solve industry-defined challenges using the expertise and skills of researchers from both universities and industry.

Head of the UNSW School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, PSM Professor Nasser Khalili said, “This is an outstanding achievement and testament to Bojan’s pursuit of excellence, commitment to quality, and working closely with industry.  This achievement is particularly significant noting the national success rate of applications was 8% and that only nine fellowships were awarded across Australia in engineering.”

Australian Research Council (ARC) Chief Executive Officer, Ms Judi Zielke PSM, referenced Bojan’s project directly in her media release announcing the Fellowship recipients, saying, “One of the ARC’s fellowships awarded today will assist Australia’s not-for-profit sector in aligning services for the disadvantaged more appropriately and at the right time for their clients. Another will build capacity in urban stormwater reuse to future-proof water supplies and reduce the demand on Australia’s river system particularly during drought.”

Dr Tamburic says he is looking forward to sharing the project outputs with Melbourne Water as well as more broadly across the sector.

“Through this project, we will have the ability to inform adaptive planning, to future-proof water supplies and to improve Australian policy on stormwater reuse. This will help us to become more resilient to extreme events and provide increased water security.”

UNSW Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research and Enterprise, Professor Nicholas Fisk said that UNSW’s outstanding success in this funding program validates the University’s prioritisation of working with industry to translate research into tangible outcomes that benefit Australian society. 

“We’re very proud of these UNSW researchers, […] their exceptional dedication and track record in translating cutting-edge research into real world applications.” Prof Fisk said.