UNSW will take a major role in the new $60 million National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT), announced on Thursday by the Federal Government.
The centre is jointly funded by $15 million each from the Australian Research Council and the National Water Commission, with another $30 million contributed from the 20 organisations involved. The consortium is led by Flinders University.
Details are yet to be finalised, but it is expected that UNSW will receive about $8 million over five years through its Connected Waters Initiative - jointly supported by the faculties of Science and Engineering - for new capital equipment, research projects, scholarships and additional staff.
The successful UNSW bid included proposals to establish a new centrifuge testing facility, to conduct research into three-dimensional modelling of underground structures, and research projects to examine the movement of water through aquifers.
The bid also included a commitment from the NSW government for a further $815,000 to augment the new NCGRT funding by establishing a research and training facility for groundwater issues on a rural property already owned by the University at Wellington, in central-western NSW.
The funds will be part used to establish a 50-hectare area of trees on the farm to measure the change in water run-off from the plots. The University will also establish a climate station and rainfall gauges and will conduct detailed studies of water transpiration.
As well, it is intended to train undergraduate and postgraduate students at the site, which is bounded by the Macquarie River.
"The river forms one border of the farm and the floodplain makes an excellent teaching and research location for investigating connected waters issues," notes Professor Ian Acworth, Director of the UNSW Connected Waters Initiative and holder of the Gary Johnston Chair of Water Management.
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