Water resources

Water resources research

Reservoir during drought

Our Water Resources research group works closely with the Institute of Sustainability and Innovation (ISI), water industry and several Australian and overseas universities.

We conduct research in major areas of water resource planning, integrated urban water management, water-sensitive urban design, green infrastructure, hydrological and hydraulic modelling, water infrastructure and asset management, river water quality modelling, and water and wastewater treatment.

Water research projects

We are investigating sustainable ways of improving water use efficiency and productivity by developing methods and techniques for:

  • allocating water
  • protecting rivers and streams
  • reusing stormwater and wastewater
  • managing demand
  • managing water assets.

Water resource planning

Bridge over dam

Reservoir with associated structures

We conduct research into water supply and demand focusing on ecological and environmental needs of rivers and streams. Our current research in water resource planning includes:

  • potential impact of climate change on water resource systems
  • meeting consumptive uses of water through efficient and equitable sharing of water resources
  • stream flow generation techniques (e.g. using remote sensing data)
  • sustainable river basin management
  • protection of integrity and sustainability of ecosystems.

Integrated urban water management

Wetlands

Managing urban water sources

Our research focuses on meeting the needs for water services to cater for projected increase in population and rapid urbanisation. Our current research in integrated urban water management includes:

  • stormwater opportunities for urban development
  • short-term non-residential urban water demand modelling
  • 'third pipe' issues using stormwater and recycled water
  • alternative water sources, including rainwater, reclaimed and treated water
  • water-sensitive urban design and green infrastructure.

Hydrological & hydraulic modelling

We use hydrologic models (conceptual and black box or data-driven models) for flood forecasting and predicting catchment stream-flow in urban areas. Our current hydrological modelling research includes:

  • climate change and urbanisation impacts on urban drainage systems
  • short term forecasting of hydroclimatic variables
  • statistical downscaling of General Circulation Model (GCM) outputs to catchment level hydroclimatic parameters.

Water infrastructure & asset management

Water infrastructure

Water infrastructure

We are researching ways to efficiently and cost-effectively upgrade Australia's aging water infrastructure. Our current research in water infrastructure and asset management includes:

  • deterioration models for stormwater pipes
  • asset management of sewers and manholes
  • climate change and urbanization impacts on urban drainage systems
  • monitoring corrosion in water mains using in-situ sensors
  • impact of source management practices on septicity in sewerage pipe networks.

River water quality modelling

Storm water run off into lake

River and lake pollution

Rivers can provide valuable supply of drinking water for humans, irrigation water to farmlands, water for hydropower and home for many aquatic ecosystems. Our current research in river water quality modelling includes:

  • agricultural non-point source pollution
  • septic tank pollution of rivers
  • improving river water quality (considering point and non-point source pollution)
  • river water quality index development.

Water & wastewater treatment

Researcher working in lab

Our water & wastewater treatment research area focuses on the treatment of drinking water, municipal and industrial wastewater and water reclamation and reuse.

Our research of water and wastewater treatment includes:

  • membrane separation technologies
  • desalination
  • advanced oxidation processes
  • biological nutrient removal
  • energy and resource recovery from wastewater.

Research facilities & equipment

Water research facilities and staff

Water research facilities

We have a fully equipped fluid mechanics and hydraulics laboratory. Most research projects involve field work and monitoring, using pluviometers, flowmeters, and water quality monitoring equipment.

The majority of our projects use computer modelling. We use a range of industry standard hydrological and water resources computer software packages including GIS and REALM.

Workshops

We provide REALM software workshops on behalf of the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment. REALM simulates the harvesting and bulk distribution of water resources within a water supply system, and models the water storage behaviour.

Capabilities statement

View the Water resources capabilities statement for a brief overview of our research focus, expertise, facilities and resources, track record, profile and contact information.

Our researchers

Name Phone and email Research interests
Dr Nitin Muttil
Leader
+61 3 9919 4251
nitin.muttil@vu.edu.au
Hydrologic modelling, urban water management, urban drainage and flood control, water-sensitive urban design, climate change impact studies and hydroinformatics.
Dr Anne Ng
Deputy Leader
+61 3 9919 5507
anne.ng@vu.edu.au
River water quality, integrated urban water management, water infrastructure management, dendrohydrology and green infrastructure.
Dr Shobha Muthukumaran +61 3 9919 4859
shobha.muthukumaran@vu.edu.au
Integrated urban water management, green infrastructure practices, membrane separation technologies, water and wastewater treatment and advanced oxidation processes.
Dr Dimuth Navaratna +61 3 9919 5554
dimuth.navaratna@vu.edu.au
Advanced water and wastewater treatment, energy and resource recovery,membrane bioreactors (An.Ae MBR) and other membrane separation technologies.
Dr Fuchun Huang +61 3 9919 4431
fuchun.huang@vu.edu.au
Applied statistics, computational statistics, and time series analysis and forecasting.
Associate Professor Ashok Sharma +61 3 9919 4519
ashok.sharma@vu.edu.au
Integrated urban water management, water-sensitive urban design, green infrastructure, decentralised water and wastewater systems, hydraulic design, optimisation and hydrological modelling.
Professor Chris Perera
Emeritus Professor
+61 3 9919 4729
chris.perera@vu.edu.au
Hydrology and water resources, climate impact studies, integrated urban water management, river water quality, and water asset management.

Our research students

Current students

Name Thesis topic
Sushil Kumar Das (PhD) Management of agricultural non-point source pollution - a case study on Yarra River.
Suchana Barua (PhD) Non-residential urban water demand forecasting using disaggregated procedures.
Seneviratne Banda Abyekoon (PhD) Decision support system for management of urban stormwater drainage network.
Varuni Jayasooriya (PhD) Exploration of the application of Green Infrastructure Practices in Industrial Zones.
Marina Perera (Masters) Third Pipe Project Investigation.
Tasnim Nasrin (PhD) Optimal strategies for minimizing impacts of sewer overflows.
Sajal Kumar Adhikary (PhD) Optimal design of rain gauge network to improve streamflow forecasting.
Arief Sutadian (PhD) Cost effective river water quality assessment through development of a water quality index: A case study of West Java province, Indonesia.
Imran Hosen (PhD) Mitigation of Urban Heat Island using Green Infrastructure.

Past students (graduated since 2009)

Name Thesis topic
Prasad Inamdar (PhD) Evaluation of potential stormwater opportunities and sites in an urban development
Sachindra Dhanapala Arachchige (PhD) Catchment level downscaling of hydroclimatic variables from general circulation model outputs.
Iwan Juwana (PhD) Development of a water sustainability index for West Java, Indonesia.
Nilantha Gamage (PhD) Use of remote sensing data for generation of streamflow time series.
Nepi Marleni Ni Nyoman (PhD) Impact of source management practices on septicity in sewerage pipe networks.
Shishutosh Barua (PhD) Drought assessment and forecasting using a non-linear aggregated drought index.
Sithranjan Shanmugasundaram (Masters) Statistical analysis to detect climate change and its implications on water resources.
Stephanie Ashbolt (PhD) Development of short-term optimal operating plans for water grids.
Walter Godoy (PhD) Multi-objective optimisation of water supply systems - a shared vision.

Contact us

Dr Nitin Muttil
Leader, Water Resources Group
Phone: +61 3 9919 4251
Email: nitin.muttil@vu.edu.au

Dr Anne Ng
Deputy Leader
Phone: +61 3 9919 5507
Email: anne.ng@vu.edu.au