Helping secure a sustainable future for Western Australia’s water resources will be the focus for the inaugural Alcoa Chair in Sustainable Water Management at Murdoch University, Professor Richard Harper.
As Chair, Professor Harper will work with Alcoa of Australia, Murdoch University and community stakeholders to address water catchment challenges, impacts of changing rainfall patterns, water capture, water reuse and recycling.
Murdoch Vice Chancellor Professor John Yovich said Murdoch University was proud to be at the forefront of research on water management.
“Good science, relevant to Western Australia’s conditions, is needed to support the development of new water-related technologies, while training the next generation of water managers,” Professor Yovich said.
“It is on this basis that the Alcoa Chair in Sustainable Water Management was established.”
Professor Harper has over 20 years’ experience in science and policy roles for the WA Government and was an early advocate for using investment in carbon mitigation to tackle intractable land management issues such as salinity and erosion.
“Australia is the world’s driest continent and there are increasing pressures on water from both an increasing population and future predictions of climate change,” Professor Harper said.
“It is crucial that we develop smarter and more innovative ways of managing our water resources.”
Initial research will focus on the South-West. Professor Harper will travel through the region consulting with environmental and community groups as well as industry partners to determine key issues and priorities.
Alcoa’s Managing Director Alan Cransberg said that as part of its environmental stewardship, Alcoa was focused on developing better ways to ensure a sustainable future and this included seeking solutions to water management challenges.
“We see collaboration as the key to success in tackling critical sustainability issues,” Mr Cransberg said.
“We need to find new ways of doing things, to preserve our precious resources as our planet changes and our priorities with it.
“This partnership with Murdoch University is part of our water conservation strategy, the coming together of environmental leaders to advance water management solutions for everyone.”
The Alcoa Chair in Sustainable Water Management partnership, valued at $600,000, will be supported by Alcoa of Australia for at least three years.