The Student Water Prize (SWP) aims to encourage and reward students for excellence in water-related studies & research. On Thursday 10 September 2020 student and water industry associates gathered in the GHD Boardroom to hear nominees for the 2020 WA SWP present on their projects. The presentation evening provides nominees with a forum to display their academic excellence, research findings and innovations to the WA water industry.
Mark Shaw, as the program partner representative from GHD indicated that the presentation evening is a great opportunity to relate what graduates are working on as they start their water careers, with water stewardship and the value of water, as industries, countries and governments all over the world state to step up in developing stakeholder value where water is a big part of their communities. Mark also indicated he is seeing a rise in companies, government and organisations looking at the 17 sustainable development goals, of which 9 of the 17 have water related issues within them, including clean water and sanitisation. Mark finished off by wishing all nominees the best of luck in this year’s awards.
The 5 student projects that were nominated this year were:
Ramon Skane and Hamid Asaie, Murdoch University
Innovating the Transition of Newman into a Water Sensitive Town
The aim of this project was to provide a complete holistic assessment of Newman as a dynamic and circular system inclusive of all factors consistent with a triple bottom line assessment, as evoked in many sustainability assessments. The proposed solutions included considerations of social, economic and environmental criteria in present and future modelling so that the Shire of East Pilbara could effectively make an informed decision on the premise of numerous complexities that affect water consumption and disposal. The primary goal was to analyse complex behaviour of the residents and account for it in the modelling. There was also an aim to drive innovation within the water balance modelling industry by emphasising focus on the social aspects too.
Simeon Kendall, Edith Cowan University
Vetiver Wetland System for Wastewater Treatment and Disposal
The aim of this project was to validate the effectiveness of constructed Vetiver wetland systems for wastewater treatment and disposal in Csa (hot-summer Mediterranean) climates as classified using the Köppen-Geiger climate classification system. It was also expected that preliminary design criteria for the Vetiver constructed wetland system would be produced. Specific objectives of the project were:
• Quantifying Vetiver’s ability of evapotranspiration and phytoremediation performance for nitrogen and phosphorous uptake from wastewater of various characteristics.
• Understanding how the aerobic soil conditions affect nutrient removal from wastewater and evapotranspiration disposal rates.
• Exploring the links between climate, Vetiver plant biomass and nutrient uptake, and also between plant biomass growth and water evapotranspiration rate.
• Producing preliminary design criteria for potential field application of the Vetiver wetland system for wastewater treatment and disposal.
Raveena Raju, The University of Western Australia/Water Corporation
An Investigation into the Optimisation and Evaluation of Smart Ponds for Sludge Management
Advanced Facultative Ponds (AFPs) combine the advantages of facultative and anaerobic waste stabilisation ponds in one single system. In addition to high treatment efficiencies, AFPs are also known to have low desludging frequencies. However, due to insufficient understanding of sludge deposition, accumulation patterns and the effect of pond hydraulics on sludge accumulation rates, sludge management in AFPs is still an area which requires improvement. This project, ‘An Investigation into the Optimisation and Evaluation of Smart Ponds for Sludge Management’ focuses on this knowledge gap. This project aimed to improve our understanding of the various processes affecting sludge accumulation, and production rates & patterns in AFPs, thus helping to identify and analyse the problems hindering online desludging in AFPs.
Mark Ferron, Murdoch University
Fit for Purpose Water – A PVRO Water Solution for Farms in the Wheatbelt
Australia’s water vulnerability is ever increasing especially in areas such as the Wheatbelt region which is fed water through a $3B extensive piping network. The fit for purpose water project aims to provide the Wheatbelt with an alternative inexpensive, solution to get water. Using a Photovoltaic Reverse Osmosis (PVRO) desalination system, ground water at key locations across the Wheatbelt can be processed into clean drinking water with the aid of renewable energy. Some key objectives for this project include:
• Locating communities where the system can be deployed.
• Design a maintenance support workshop and program for the communities in the Wheatbelt region.
• Identify areas in which the system can be improved – such as solution for brine, battery improvement and combinations with larger solar arrays to provide energy for the community as well.
Blake Marxsen, Murdoch University
Techno-Economic Analysis of Microalgal CO2- bioremediation From a West Australian Coal-Fired Power Station’s Flue-Gas
This project investigates the techno-economic of microalgal CO2 bioremediation to create employment in Collie and decrease CO2 emissions from Bluewater’s Power Station II (BPS). Four designs have been created assessing the ability of two microalgae strains grown in a variety of conditions, all under the influence of BPS’s bulk flue gas. Consultation with the Shire of Collie has aided in a multiple-criteria analysis to select the most suitable design presented as ‘Case 3’ which uses Bluewater Power Station’s human wastewater and freshwater from the Collie Basin to grow the freshwater microalgae strain Chlorella Vulgaris. The Chlorella produced is then sold as a whole-biomass animal feed product at 12,000 USD/metric tonne. Case 3 provides 37 jobs for Collie as well as decreasing the carbon emission of BPS and groundwater extraction.
Chenoa Leange, WA Young Water Professionals (YWP) Vice President, did a great job being MC for the night. Thank you also to Alicia Winkworth (GHD), Amay Mehta (WA YWP Sub-Committee member), Peter Spencer (WA Branch President) and Kyllie Whitehead (WA Branch Manager) for delivering another successful evening.
Congratulations to all nominees and we look forward to seeing finalists and the winner announced at the WA Water Awards Dinner on Friday 23 October 2020 at the Ritz Carlton, Elizabeth Quay, Perth.
The AWA would like to thank our valued program partner GHD for their commitment to the WA Student Water Prize for the last 17 years.