Future Water: Advancing Water Pollution Emissions Modelling in Cities of the Future

Funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC)
(Linkage Project LP160100241)

Improved understanding of the drivers and threats affecting future water quality will enable policy makers to make more informed decisions when developing mitigation strategies to protect the health of our waterways and bay. Mitigation of urban waterway and bay pollution due to stormwater runoff and wastewater discharge has been a long-standing challenge for water management in urban environments. Whilst water quality models underpin decision and policy-making processes in water management practices, there are numerous knowledge gaps pertaining to the modelling of urban water pollution including:

  • Accurate modelling of pollution build-up and wash-off
  • Understand how urban activities affect pollution emission
  • Link pollution discharge to source; and
  • Identify effective mitigation strategies and policy for protecting future water quality.

The Future Water Project strives to develop tools and techniques for improved mapping of urban water pollution from source to sink (end points).

In particular, the project aims to understand the association of future urban development, (e.g. changes in urban form and land use) with levels of key pollutants. The current phase of Future Water is funded by the Australian Research Council Linkage Project titled “Advancing Water Pollution Emissions Modelling in Cities of the Future” and involves the collaboration of researchers across three Australian Universities, Monash, Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and the University of New South Wales, two international partners: the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science & Technology (Eawag) and the University of Innsbruck and three industry partners: EPA Victoria, Melbourne Water and Knox City Council.

Future Water will enable us to test the effectiveness of different management interventions for protecting the health of our waterways under different future water quality scenarios. Determining where the greatest return of investment can be made on point and diffuse source pollution management will not be possible unless we advance modelling tools of water pollution emissions in urban areas. Improved modelling and understanding of the link between urban form and pollution emission, will provide more confidence in today’s decision making for the protection of future water quality.

Project Structure & Modelling Approach

The project builds upon much of the current capabilities of UrbanBEATS, further developing its stormwater modelling capabilities to better incorporate stormwater pollution management. In particular, three key objectives are outlined in the Figure below including:

  1. Understanding the link between urban form and pollution emissions
  2. Developing techniques for mapping pollution generation and fluxes in urban catchment
  3. Modelling future urban water quality scenarios and assessing pollution mitigation scenarios.

Case Study

Much of our investigation in the project is centred around the Dandenong Creek Catchment. We are currently modelling the upstream region of the Dandenong Creek catchment and have been undertaking sampling campaigns and model testing for this smaller region.

Proposed case study for the Future Water Project, located in Metropolitan Melbourne, Australia. The Dandenong Creek Catchment covers large areas of Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs. Specifically, monitoring and initial development of model algorithms focussed on the “Upper Dandenong Creek Catchment”, which features a variety of land use mixes, from residential neighbourhoods to large pockets of industrial districts.

The Team

We are a fairly large team with diverse expertise from catchment monitoring to integrated modelling.

Ana Deletic Project Lead
Professor, Executive Dean
Science & Engineering Faculty (QUT)
Peter M. Bach – Co-Investigator
Research Scientist
Urban Water Management (Eawag)
David T. McCarthy – Co-Investigator
Associate Professor
Dept. Civil Engineering (Monash)
Veljko Prodanovic
Research Associate
Water Research Centre (UNSW)
Behzad Jamali
Research Associate
Water Research Centre (UNSW)
Kefeng Zhang
Research Associate
Water Research Centre (UNSW)
Luke Shi
PhD Candidate
Dept. Civil Engineering (Monash)
Anna Lintern
Dept. Civil Engineering (Monash)
Wolfgang Rauch
Professor, Head of Institute
Unit of Environmental Engineering (Uni Innsbruck)

Other Researchers involved:

  • The Environmental, Public Health and Microbiology (EPHM) Laboratory, Monash University
    • Peter Kolotelo
    • Dusan Jovanovic
    • Miao Wang
    • Stephen Catsamas
  • Industry Partner Participants:
    • Rhys Coleman (Melbourne Water)
    • Leon Metzeling (EPA Victoria)

Industry Partners

The project is supported by three key industry partners, who are actively engaged in the research and development.

Publications from the Project

List is updated as new publications become available

  • Bach, P. M., Prodanovic V., Shi, B. (2018) UrbanBEATS UX Design – Future Water ARC Linkage Workshop. 10th December. Monash University [Link]
  • Deletic, A., Zhang, K., Jamali, B., Charette-Castonguay, A., Kuller, M., Prodanovic, V. and Bach, P.M., 2018, September. Modelling to support the planning of sustainable urban water systems. In International Conference on Urban Drainage Modelling (pp. 10-19). Springer, Cham. [Link]
  • Guo, D., Lintern, A., Prodanovic, V., Kuller, M., Bach, P.M., Deletic, A., Shi, B., McCarthy, D., Ryu, D., Webb, J.A. and Liu, S., 2019. Future Water: Comparing and contrasting approaches to predicting water quality. [Link]
  • Prodanovic, V., Bach, P. M., Shi, B., McCarthy, D. T., Metzeling, L., Coleman, R., Carvalho, C., Jamali, B., Kuller, M., Zhang, K., Lintern, A., Grant, T., Leahy, P., LeRay S., Gerente, D., Deletic, A. (2021) Future Water: Understanding future urban water quality for improving present strategies. ARC Linkage Summary Report July 2021. [Link]
  • Shi, B., Bach, P.M., Lintern, A., Zhang, K., Coleman, R.A., Metzeling, L., McCarthy, D.T. and Deletic, A., 2019. Understanding spatiotemporal variability of in-stream water quality in urban environments–a case study of Melbourne, Australia. Journal of environmental management246, pp.203-213. [Link]
  • Shi, B., Catsamas, S., Kolotelo, P., Wang, M., Lintern, A., Jovanovic, D., Bach, P. M., Deletic, A., McCarthy, D. T. 2021. A Low-Cost Water Depth and Electrical Conductivity Sensor for Detecting Inputs into Urban Stormwater Networks. Sensors, 21(9), 3056. [Link]
  • Zhang, K., Deletic, A., Bach, P.M., Shi, B., Hathaway, J.M. and McCarthy, D.T., 2019. Testing of new stormwater pollution build-up algorithms informed by a genetic programming approach. Journal of environmental management241, pp.12-21. [Link]