Water supply, demand & security research

The aim of this research is to address imbalance between water supply, demand and security of supply due to the following:

  • increasing population growth and urbanisation
  • degradation and overexploitation of natural resources
  • climate change impacts.

Research areas

Decentralised & distributed systems

Understanding the role of decentralised systems in addressing the impacts of urbanisation, population growth and climate change on current water systems.

This includes exploring various approaches/systems for their harvesting potential for water conservation, water quality improvement and flood mitigation and decentralised wastewater treatment for local reuse.

The research will include undertaking hydraulic, hydrologic, economic and environmental assessment of urban water systems.

Green Infrastructure & Urban Heat Island Mitigation

A challenge for liveability and sustainability of cities is improvement of microclimate and Human Thermal Comfort (HTC) condition for the urban dwellers. Green Infrastructure (GI) is an interconnected network of green spaces that conserves natural ecosystem values and functions.

The infrastructure has been proven as the most effective strategy to moderate urban temperature by shading and evapotranspiration process. Research is undertaken into analyse the effect of shape, size and distribution of GI on microclimate and HTC.

Integrated urban water management & water sensitive urban design

Exploring the applications of integrated urban water management approaches for sustainable urban water services. This covers technical, economic, social, environmental, climate change, water demand, risk and reliability aspects. It includes green infrastructure.

The impact of these approaches and factors on water infrastructure and associated management for their long-term sustainable operation and maintenance will also be investigated.

The externalities and social aspects of integrated water management and water-sensitive urban-design approaches will be investigated in collaboration with other research groups at VU.

River Water Quality Modelling

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

Improving river water quality considering point and non-point sources of pollution.

Water Infrastructure & Asset Management

Researching ways to efficiently and cost-effectively upgrade Australia's aging water infrastructure. Our current research in water infrastructure and asset management includes identifying the key factors that are causing excessive leaks and bursts in Melbourne’s water supply network.

Analysing the impacts of climate change and urbanization on urban drainage systems, including impact of source management practices on septicity in sewerage pipe networks.

Analysing deterioration models for stormwater pipes and monitoring corrosion in water mains using in-situ sensors have also been researched into.

A woman adjusts the outflow of plastic containers in a complicated lab set up
We have Water Management and Treatment Facilities for innovative research including bench and pilot scale equipment and analytical laboratories.

Research projects

The following are the industry supported projects in this area:

  • Estimating the Economic Level of Leakage for Greater Western Water (Nitin Muttil; VU RISE project) – 2021–ongoing
  • Stormwater quality and quantity monitoring at Werribee funded by Melbourne Water ($70k) – current
  • Development of Intelligent Water Networks supported by Western Water* ($75k) – current
  • Climate Change Effects on Urban Drainage System in the City of Greater Shepparton, Victoria (Nitin Muttil; $5,604) – 2018–20
  • Developing a Leak Management Strategy for City West Water* - Problem Identification (Nitin Muttil; $32,461) – 2020–21
  • Effect of Green Infrastructure on Microclimate and Human Thermal Comfort (Anne Ng; $10,000) – 2020–current
  • Recovery of excess energy from City West Water* Network (Nitin Muttil; $54,390) – 2018–19

*City West Water and Western Water integrated in 2021 to form Greater Western Water.

Staff & students

 Read about our researchers, and access further information in the sections below.

Partners, funders & collaborators

  • AusAid 
  • City of Melbourne
  • City of Greater Shepparton
  • Greater Western Water
  • Melbourne Water
  • WaterRA
  • Wyndham City Council

Contact us

Dr Nitin Muttil
Phone: +61 3 9919 4251
Email: [email protected]