Monash UniversityWater management

Water management

Asia's modern water opportunity

An international interdisciplinary program is bridging together doctoral researchers from fields as diverse as religious studies and hydrology to advance sustainable water management for developing Asian cities.

Professor Rebekah Brown and Professor Ana Deletic are co-leading a Monash University Graduate Research Interdisciplinary Program (GRIP) that involves a doctoral training partnership between the arts and engineering faculties, the Monash Sustainability Institute and the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities.

The GRIP was launched in February 2015 and comprises an international cohort of researchers from Australia, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, China, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Malaysia and the Netherlands.

"Given the researchers' talent and drive, I am excited about the potential to make a real difference to the sustainability and liveability of communities and their environments in developing Asian cities," Professor Brown says.

The aim of the GRIP is to encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration, and to create a new model for interdisciplinary research to achieve industry and community engagement and impact.

Professor Brown, who leads the Monash Sustainability Institute, represents the arts and social sciences. Professor Deletic represents the engineering and physical science disciplines involved in the program.

Professor Brown says the focus of the sustainable water management in Asia program is to help developing cities leapfrog conventional water infrastructure and social practices that have well-documented flaws.

Instead there is the opportunity to introduce advanced, and locally appropriate, water technologies, management and water-use behaviour.

"So far, Indonesia and China have been identified as priorities for research, although individual projects and cities are still being finalised," Professor Brown says. "Several of the students also speak multiple Asian languages, so they may look at comparative studies across different countries."

There will also be opportunities to align research with UN-Habitat, World Vision and the Australia-Indonesia Centre initiatives in developing countries.

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