In response to the State Government's water, salinity and sustainability strategies, a new Centre of Excellence for Ecohydrology - a joint venture between The University of Western Australia, Edith Cowan University and the Department of Agriculture and Food - will be launched at UWA next week.
The Centre will focus on improved water and nutrient management in a changing climate and deliver tangible benefits to the State's agricultural and water industries. Ecohydrology is a crucial field of study for WA. Our dependence on agriculture for local consumption and economic well-being means we need to understand and manage the balance between farming and the environment and resolve problems of water supply and quality, including an improved understanding of native ecosystem response to groundwater abstraction.
The Centre's 40 scientific, academic and technical research staff will be based at UWA, ECU, and in DAFWA's regional offices in Esperance, Albany, Bunbury and Waroona. The Centre has already established collaborative projects through the Federal Government's Department of Environment to manage biodiversity decline and salinity impacts on natural resources.
It has also established links with Hohai University in China and the University of Queensland to enhance understanding of hydrological processes in semi-arid landscapes.
The CSIRO, the Water Corporation, Murdoch University, the CRC for Future Farm Industries and CENRM Albany are among the Centre's other collaborators. The Centre program also builds on links with agricultural industry through Dairy Australia, the Alcoa Foundation, Harvey Water and the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation.
A significant initiative that will deliver long-term benefits for the State, the Centre has already attracted $1.5 million in State funding and a further $5.5 million from industry and research partners.
Jointly led by Project Director Adjunct Associate Professor Neil Coles of DAFWA and Research Director Winthrop Professor Keith Smettem, who is also Head of UWA's School of Environmental Systems Engineering, the Centre aims to be the leading ecohydrological research centre in the Southern Hemisphere.
LAUNCH: The Centre of Excellence in Ecohydrology will be launched by Mr Bill Marmion MLA, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Transport, at 12pm, Tuesday 23 June at UWA's School of Environmental Systems Engineering (Carpark 15, enter via Fairway entrance 3).