April Research News
Research Newsletter – April 2022
Welcome to our April 2022 research and innovation newsletter.
If you’re worried about the water lapping at your window, the war in Ukraine or ballooning Covid numbers this is the place for you. There is none of that here – read on in complete freedom.
Oh… and if you see any interesting articles, projects or news about research that others might be interested in, please send to [email protected] – it could even make the next newsletter due in May 2022.
If you’ve stumbled on this newsletter and would like to receive future editions please click this link. Or if you know someone who really needs this: forward to a friend.
Industry Innovation and Resilience
Image is cover of Action Plan
WSAA Circular Economy Action Plan

The circular economy is gaining momentum and the water industry is well positioned to be a leading player.

The nature of our operations gives us huge scope to contribute to national and international decarbonisation and sustainability goals, and provide opportunities for others as well.

Our Circular Economy Action Plan includes a series of actions WSAA will lead to help the water industry in Australia and New Zealand accelerate towards designing out waste, keeping resources in use, and regenerating natural capital.

Read the plan here at WSAA

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Benchmarking Customer Performance – the Why, the How and the So What

Over the last ten years, the Australian water sector has shifted its focus from asset centric to customer focused organisations.

But why do we benchmark customer performance, how do we benchmark customer performance and what do we do with the results?

Evelyn Rodrigues, WSAA’s Manager, Customer and Community provides an insightful look at benchmarking customer performance.

Read what Evelyn has to say at Water360

Image pexels-photo-91413_David McEachan
Developing a Water Industry Innovation Ecosystem

While everyone has been working from home and learning to Zoom into work, WSAA has been thinking about how all the elements of our water industry work together to support innovation.

The Industry Innovation Ecosystem is a bold shift in how we think about innovation, research and development. In a nutshell, it’s about looking more broadly and focussing on things that we have thought, traditionally, were out of our control.

Read more about the Ecosystem here at Water360.

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New Research from Water Research Foundation

There is some great new research available for WSAA members from the Water Research Foundation:

Occurrence Survey of Bromide and Iodide in Water Supplies (4711) This project gathered important occurrence data for bromide and iodide in various types of source water.

West Basin Municipal Water District Custom Engineered Membrane Filtration Pilot (4906). This project evaluated five polyvinylidene fluoride membrane modules for their performance treating ozonated secondary effluent water.

Distributions of Waterborne Pathogens in Raw Wastewater. WRF reuse research was featured in an open-access article published in Water Research.

A Call to Record Stormwater Control Functions and to Share Network Data. WRF’s Harry Zhang co-authored an open access article on stormwater control measure data sharing.

Login to the WRF to find more research

Image clipped from GrantConnect website
New ARC Linkage Program Announced

Australian academics who partner with Industry through the Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Program will receive almost $84 million over six years. The ARC will fund almost $32 million dollars toward sixty-eight new projects, with 141 industry partners committing nearly $52 million to these projects.

Linkage grants enable research teams from around Australia to partner with industry, business and community organisations to drive innovation and deliver outcomes and solutions to benefit all Australians.

Find out how to apply at GrantConnect


Ozwater – Inclusive Networking with Confidence Workshop

Monday 9 May | 2.30pm-5.30pm

Are you a Young Water Professional, new to the industry or want to grow your networking and communication skills? The Ozwater’22 ‘Networking with Confidence Workshop’ aims to provide practical skills to help you network confidently and develop industry connections.

Importantly, this program has a focus on embracing diversity and encouraging inclusion in the water community.

Read more and register here

water supply and security
A Chronology of Conflict

A really interesting look at water and conflict from Peter Gleick, President Emeritus and a Senior Fellow at the Pacific Institute.

If you can get over the corny jingle this is a great opportunity to take a deep dive into this very timely issue.

Make yourself a drink, find a comfortable spot and get ready for 20 minutes of very thoughtful discussion.

Watch it here at Waterloop

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Smart Approved WaterMark Rebrands to The Water Conservancy
The Smart Approved WaterMark has now rebranded to The Water Conservancy with a broadened remit.
The Water Conservancy are committed to making Australians aware of their water use so they conserve more and waste less.
The Water Conservancy also certify water efficient products and services and provide advice about saving water at home, at work and in the garden

Energy and the Circular economy

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Aussie Hysata Claims Lead in Green Hydrogen Sprint

Wollongong University spin-out Hysata has published research related to its hydrogen electrolyser technology that it claims provides a clear path to enabling hydrogen production costs of “well-below” $2 per kilogram.

The company says its “ultra-high” efficiency electrolyser will make green hydrogen competitive years earlier than generally assumed, accelerating global decarbonisation.

Read more here at InnovationAus.com

Read the scientific paper here on Nature Communications

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Using Soap to Remove Micropollutants from Water

Researchers at MIT have developed a system that employs hydrogels and surfactant to remove micropollutants. They claim that the system, which essentially cleanses the water, can outperform activated carbon.

The physical interaction used in the system is strong enough to pull micropollutants from water, but weak enough that the hydrogel particles can be separated from the micropollutants, restabilized, and reused.

Read more here at MIT

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Carbon Pickling is Newest Idea to Remove Greenhouse Gas from Air
There is some unique work being done by an Australian start-up called InterEarth which is looking at the possibility of burying wood in saline groundwater to reduce carbon emissions.
Yes, you read correctly. This is really interesting. The wood is essentially pickled in the briny groundwater beneath degraded land. The start-up is hoping that it can offer carbon-removal credits for less than US$50 a ton.
Lot Fourteen – Creating a Global Precinct

There are some really interesting things happening in South Australia with the development of Lot Fourteen; a special precinct focused on innovation, entrepreneurship, research, education, culture, and tourism.

Already home to 1,000 people, the Lot Fourteen collaborative workspaces aim to provide an exciting environment for global companies, start-ups and organisations from the hi-tech, space, defence and creative industries.

Read more here at Lot Fourteen

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Roadmap Pinpoints Research Required for Smooth Transition To Renewables

CSIRO have released a Roadmap highlighting the research required to continue Australia’s transition to a more secure and affordable electricity system, which shows that innovation can drive the integration of renewables.

The Roadmap was developed in collaboration with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), and is based on input from leading Australian and international system operators and research agencies.

Read more at CSIRO

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Food Processing Wastewater May Find Use as Farmed Seaweed Fertiliser

Researchers from Sweden’s University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology have used wastewater from food processing to grow four different varieties of sea lettuce.

The protein rich sea lettuce promises to provide an added source of protein for other foods.

Potentially, farmed fish could be raised on feed made of algae that was grown using their farm’s own wastewater!

Read more at New Atlas

Liveability and health
Developing Strategic Consumer Messaging for Microplastics in Drinking Water Supplies

The Water Research Foundation have embarked on a really interesting project provide foundational information to help address concerns from the public and the media about the implications of microplastics in drinking water.

The work will conduct proactive research to help the water industry anticipate and understand these concerns, develop appropriate and accurate responses, and communicate with a consistent voice.

Read more about this project at the WRF

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Chemists Cook Up Way to Remove Microplastics Using Okra
Researchers from Tarleton State University in the US have proposed the use of okra, a common thickening agent in cooking, to help with the removal of microplastics from water.
Although the idea of using okra as a coagulant is not new, the news that it is effective at removing microplastics is promising.
Working with the community
Image from the Canberra times
Serious Gaming Can Raise Stakeholder Awareness on Water Supply and Demand

It’s a game concept that will raise a few eyebrows, but it’s sure to be a hit among the kids – and those who like toilet humour.

Icon Water has just launched its mobile and online game, Free the Poo. Yes, you did read that right. And yes, you do play the game as a smiling piece of faeces, armed with a plunger.

Read more in the Canberra times

Cut to the chase and play the game! 

Some interesting things
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Practical Knowhow on Black Soldier Fly Biowaste Processing

Yep. This is an image of Dr. Stefan Diener up to his eyeballs in Black Soldier Fly Larvae.

Researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology are putting their research on black soldier fly larvae to good use.

This second edition of the book “Black Soldier Fly Biowaste Processing – A Step-by-Step Guide”, is a fascinating and amazingly detailed look at the required materials and equipment, as well as each working step. It’s similar to a cookbook with its respective recipes.

Watch his compelling short video here

Read everything you need to know here

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Why Water is One of the Weirdest Things in The Universe

This is a short video by science journalist Alok Jha, filmed for the BBC, on why water is so incredibly strange.

Prepare to have your mind blown…

Watch the video here at BBC IDEAS

Image from web page
Drawing Up a ‘Google Earth’ of the Human Body

Researchers in Europe have developed a Google Earth for the human body that can provide detailed 3D views of real organs with micron or near-micron resolution.

The new capability is based on a new imaging technique called Hierarchical Phase-Contrast Tomography (HiP-CT).

Read some background here

Access the Human Organ Atlas directly here

Water Research Foundation – 2022 Tailored Collaboration Research Program Update
5 April 2022, 6:00 -7:30 am (AEDT)
WRF’s Tailored Collaboration (TC) Program is a matching program that supports utility-specific/regional issues and provides an opportunity for subscribing utilities to partner with WRF on research projects that may be more specialized or regional in nature, but still have the potential for broader applicability.
This webcast will share everything you need to know to prepare to apply for the 2022 TC Program.
37th Annual WateReuse Symposium – Available Online
March 21 – April 30, 2022, San Antonio, Texas and Online

The 37th Annual WateReuse Symposium on-demand option will feature recordings of all plenary sessions and most technical sessions, viewable from March 21 through April 30, 2022.

Non members can access the On-Demand content for $950

10-12 May 2025, Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre
Ozwater is Australia’s most prominent international annual water conference and exhibition, considered the highlight of the water sector’s calendar of events.
This year’s theme is Our Water Journey, which celebrates the evolution of the water sector from its rich history, where we are now and what possibilities lie in our future.
SWAN 12th Annual Conference

May 24-26, 2022, Georgetown, Washington, DC and Online

The SWAN 12th Annual Conference is a leading smart water
event in the US and could be a great opportunity to network with progressive utilities, leading experts and thought leaders while exploring global innovative technologies.

The conference will have an online offering which might be attractive to Australian audiences.

Vicwater Annual Conference

7 – 9 June 2022, The Langham, Melbourne

This year the VicWater conference will explore the theme of ‘resilience and readiness’ highlighting the areas in which we need to progress.

The conference includes both in-person and online opportunities.

The Conference will commence with a program for in-person delegates with a social hour on Tuesday evening, before the commencement of the official program at 8:30am Wednesday morning.

13th IWA Specialist conference on Wastewater Ponds and Algal Technologies
3-6 July 2022, Melbourne
The 13th IWA Specialist Conference on Wastewater Ponds and Algal Technologies (WPAT22) will be held as a hybrid event, combining a face-to-face program in Melbourne, Australia (3-6 July 2022), with virtual sessions for those unable to attend in person
  • Explore novel approaches to better engineer wastewater pond treatment for improved public health outcomes
  • Build knowledge of underlying photosynthetic &
    non-photosynthetic microbial ecology
  • Discover opportunities for knowledge exchange &
    networking with a global delegation
  • Join an environment that inspires innovative thinking & generates collaboration

African Water Association Knowledge Management Platform

Sharing Africa’s water and sanitation sector knowledge
Australian Government – GrantConnect
Forecast and current Australian Government grant opportunities
WaterRF web site image and unSplash
Free Access to US Water Research Foundation Resources
Great news! If your utility is a member of WSAA, you have access to all the online resources of the US Water Research Foundation (WaterRF), including:
  • Access to a huge library of research, webinars and support material covering all facets of the water industry.
  • Opportunities to participate in collaborative research projects with international teams and gain first-hand access to results.
  • Opportunities to participate in Project Advisory Committees, learn from international experience and share your expertise.
  • Access to the TechLink program and the industry’s shared experience with emerging technology.

Watch a short video

If you would like access to WaterRF – and who wouldn’t – please send an email to Dale Watson.

Image clipped from the Water360 Homepage
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Water360 is the best place to start searching for the latest and most reliable information to support your work in the Australian water industry.



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WSAA utility members can access reports and webinars for free