Monitoring, modelling and management of urban water pollution

Monday, March 25, 2019 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm EDT (GMT -04:00)

As part of the Water Institute's WaterTalks lecture series Professor David McCarthy from Monash University in Australia will present "Monitoring, modelling and management of urban water pollution.”

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Urban water systems are essential elements of our ecosystem, providing liveability outcomes such as recreational opportunities and aesthetic benefits, provision of ecological services and the opportunity for water harvesting and reuse to feed our local communities. However, maintaining these essential services is challenging since urban waters are notoriously polluted and have seriously altered hydrological regimes. This presentation takes the audience on a journey through three essential phases of waterway protection: monitoring, modelling and subsequent mitigation. Monitoring of waterway health is essential, but without careful consideration of the uncertainties involved in field-based data acquisition, the inferences about the appropriate course of action can be flawed. We will discuss the frameworks available for understanding these uncertainty sources, and methods we can employ for their reduction. For urban water systems, which often have a myriad water sources and complex hydrodynamics, modelling is essential to understand pollution sources, sinks and processes. Only when armed with this information can we truly design appropriate strategies to protect downstream ecosystems. The seminar will discuss an important case study on the mitigation of faecal pollution in the Yarra River and how modelling has helped target the right sources of pollution. Finally, the presentation will provide an overview of research conducted into available passive water treatment infrastructure that can remove pollutants of concern to protect ecosystem and human health.

Speaker Bio

david mccarthy
Professor McCarthy's research area is the movement of pollutants within urban water systems and the subsequent treatment of storm- and waste-waters for the protection of downstream ecosystems and, most importantly, human health. His PhD involved the collection and uncertainty analysis of urban stormwater microorganism datasets, and the development of a new model to predict microbes in urban stormwater. He is a project leader in the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities, with a focus on how to effectively remove pathogens from various water sources using passive (or natural) treatment technologies. More recently, he studies the sources, sinks and processes of pathogens in the Yarra River estuary. He is a member and the treasurer of the Joint Committee on Urban Drainage, and the Chair of the International Data and Models Working Group, both of which fall under the International Water Association (IWA) and the International Association for Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research (IAHR). He was the deputy-chair and scientific chair of the 7th International Conference on Water Sensitive Urban Design (2012) and is the Chair of the upcoming International Conference on Urban Drainage (2020). He is a Churchill Fellow (2009), FASIC Fellow (2012) and a Victoria Fellow (2014), and also won a 2014 Young Tall Poppy Science Award.