Student Water Prize

(formerly Undergraduate Water Prize)
Note: The name of the award has been changed to “Student Water Prize” to reflect that this award it is open to all undergraduate and postgraduate students. Another key change is that the award does now not specify the link to a final year project, but is open to any water project or research undertaken as a student. The only requirements is that the project or research, must have occurred within the last 2 years 

Aims to encourage and reward students for excellence in water-related studies and research, and provides a forum for students to display their academic excellence, innovation, and/or research findings to future employees, clients and the water industry. 

Nomination form


Open to students enrolled or recently graduated (within last twenty four months) in a university or tertiary institute within Australia whose focus is on a water industry related topic. 


Scoring is allocated based on the following criteria relevant to the nomination form, the written abstract and an oral presentation:

  • Relevance of the project, research or thesis to the water industry
  • Quality of disciplinary content
  • Innovation and originality
  • Abstract and paper presentation (oral)

Download the abstract template 

When completing the online nomination form you will be asked to answer the following.

  • Name of tertiary institution
  • Course undertaken (indicate if undergraduate/masters/PhD project)
  • Project title
  • Year project, research or thesis completed (Month, Year) 
  • List any co-contributors to your project
  • What is the relevance of your project to the water industry? (250 words)
  • What sector/s of the water industry does your research benefit? (250 words)
  • Outline key outcomes of your project. (500 words)
  • How will the outcomes of your research deliver innovation and advance the water sector? (500 words)
  • Please upload:
  • Resume
  • An abstract (max 500 words). Finalists are required to do a presentation rather than submit a full paper.  Download the abstract template 
  • Hi-resolution photos of applicant x 3
  • Please provide a short overview of the nominee, to be used at the awards presentation night, should they be selected as a finalist. (50 words)

State Prize 

Nominations must be entered into the state awards, where the winner will automatically advance to the national Australian Water Awards. To be eligible for the national awards, the state winner must be available to attend and present at Ozwater’20  (5 – 7 May) in Adelaide. Interstate winners will be provided with flights, accommodation and registration to Ozwater'20 where they will present their papers as part of the conference program.
Note: Winners of the State Award who progress to the National Award will asked to prepare a three-minute video overview of their project for promotional purposes.

National Prize 

12-month membership to the Australian Water Association & YWP (Young Water Professional) Network

Winner’s paper will be published in the Water e-Journal on the Australian Water Association’s website.

2019 Winner - Australian Student Water Prize 

Real-time Monitoring of Cyanobacteria: Validation of Fluorometers as a Tool for Optimising Treatment Processes – Florence Choo, University of New South Wales
Florence is a final year engineering PhD student at UNSW and was a visiting research student at SA Water. Florence is the recipient of the Water RA Nancy Millis Scholarship award and the UNSW Women in Engineering Award. Her work focuses on monitoring cyanobacteria in real-time for drinking water processes.

Previous Recipients

Sarah Aucote with her paper Smart Monitoring for Microbial Risk Assessment, Flinders University, South Australia
Sarah’s Honours project investigated assays targeting mitochondrial DNA as a new and novel approach to tracking sources of faecal contamination. Sarah’s research has potential to provide a decreased cost of performing microbial risk assessments, leading to widespread improvements in monitoring and risk management, which in turn will improve Health Based Target compliance, particularly in regional areas.

Kaitlyn Bell with her paper Development of a Performance Measuring Device for Improved Monitoring of Sewer Pump Stations, Shoalhaven Water and the University of Wollongong, New South Wales
Kaitlyn’s thesis, addresses the requirement for an accurate and reliable method to measure the operational performance of sewer pumps. Her project delivers a new, revolutionary, mobile method which has significantly changed the accuracy of testing. This device has the potential to significantly reduce operational costs, decrease expensive reactive maintenance, and educate staff on the operation of Sewer Pump Stations in the network.


Scott Roy, University of the Sunshine Coast & SMEC Australia, Queensland
Project title: Passive Flood Barrier
With over 20 years’ experience in the water industry Scott is a qualified plumber and gasfitter with experience in all aspects of commercial and domestic water, sewer, stormwater, solar, LPG and natural gas systems. Scott’s project tested the performance of a flow impedance barrier that activates automatically during extreme storm events. This automated function without the need for human intervention, triggers to rise and fall into place without the need for electrical power to operate, resulting in limited impediment to vehicle and pedestrian traffic.


Matthew Makestas, Mark Bailey, Diana Bethune and Joshua Ware
University of Adelaide
The group’s fourth year honours project explores the significance of alternative water sources, specifically stormwater and treated wastewater which are currently underutilised resources. The water supply industry in South Australia is at a point where there is a need for formal design procedures and methodologies. This project successfully created a fast and flexible modelling platform which evaluated the performance of alternative regional water supply schemes.


Anna Wilson
Flinders University
Anna's thesis was entitled Rapid Tools for Cryptosporidum Species Identification. Her work evaluated and improved published polymerase chain reaction assays for Cryptosporidium species identification and developed a novel typing assay.


Caroline Auricht, Lisa Blinco, Nina Hurr, Stefanie Tiggemann
University of Adelaide
Project title: Genetic Algorithm Optimisation of Operational Costs and Greenhouse Gas Emissions for Water Distribution Systems


Ronnie Ling, Augusta Lane, Ian Usher, Catriona Murphy
University of Adelaide  
Project Title: Optimum Use of Subsidies for Reducing Domestic Water Consumption


Chris Browne
Australian National University
Project Title: Developing Transfer: Improviong household water supply in rural Cambodia 


Samuel Cleary
University of Western Australia  
Project Title: Targeting strategic tree and perennial pasture plantings to reduce stream salinity in the Warren River Recovery Catchment. 


Alexandra Bennett
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of NSW
Project Title:  Fill in the Dams


Vinod Ramamurthy
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Curtin University of Technology, WA
Project Title: Rainwater Harvesting for Developing Countries: Gutter and Downpipe Design and Selection


Cameron Wood

School of Physics, Chemistry and Earth Science, Flinders University, SA.
Project Title: The use of seepage meters and radon 222 to quantify groundwater flux in a wetland.


Sarah Jewell, Jarrah Muller, Andrew Telfer and Matthew Thompson

School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Adelaide, SA.
Project Title: Towards a Restoration Plan for a Wetland Affected by Saline Groundwater.  


Monique Retamal
Project Title: Rainwater Tanks and Greywater Reuse: Benefits & Constraints to Household Use in Sydney.