Goal #6

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Group photo of the UNSW delegation to Fiji

Fijian Government commends UNSW partnership

In November 2022 a delegation from UNSW's Institute for Global Development and Global Water Institute met with Fijian Government officials, the UN & local university partners to discuss opportunities to accelerate sustainable development in the Pacific. UNSW was commended for its ongoing partnership and commitment to addressing important issues for Fiji and the Pacific, including water, food & energy security, climate change and disaster resilience.

Find out more

WRL Open Day 2023

The UNSW Water Research Laboratory (WRL) tackles some of the most complex water engineering challenges, and translating these technical ideas to a broad audience is key to sharing water knowledge and making science and engineering accessible to everyone.

WRL embraced the opportunity to promote water literacy to 820 visitors during the recent WRL Open Day, through interactive mini-flumes and hands-on experiments, with a strong emphasis on inspiring a future generation of water engineers and scientists.

Find out more

A researcher explaining to a young visitor the water infrastructure

Improving water security in Walgett

In 2022, a study by Yuwaya Ngarrali found that 44% of respondents reported water insecurity in the remote Aboriginal community of Walgett NSW. The study’s community survey found that water insecurity is also having severe negative effects on household expenses and food security.

In 2018, UNSW Global Water Institute water engineering experts with medical researchers from The George Institute for Global Health had confirmed for the Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service and Dharriwaa Elders Group that Walgett’s water supply contained unsustainable levels of sodium. UNSW Global Water Institute has been working in the Yuwaya Ngarrali partnership with the Walgett community since 2018 to help develop community-led solutions to address these concerns.

Photo courtesy: Dharriwaa Elders Group Walgett. Dharriwaa Elders Group staff and members campaigned about Walgett’s drinking water crisis and the fact that residents have to buy water from the supermarket, during NAIDOC Week 2022, using that year’s NAIDOC call for action. L-R: Vanessa Hickey, Stephen Dennis, Richard Lake, Bow Simpson, Clem Dodd, Lewis Beale.

Photo courtesy: Dharriwaa Elders Group Walgett

Dharriwaa Elders Group staff and members campaigned about Walgett’s drinking water crisis and the fact that residents have to buy water from the supermarket, during NAIDOC Week 2022, using that year’s NAIDOC call for action. L-R: Vanessa Hickey, Stephen Dennis, Richard Lake, Bow Simpson, Clem Dodd, Lewis Beale.

Find out more

Testing the waters: local communities engage with sustainable water practices

Dr Marilu Melo Zurita from the UNSW School of Humanities & Languages is leading a team of social scientists and water engineers to work with local communities to maintain the health of their waterways. UNSW is partnering with Riverwood Community Centre in Canterbury Bankstown and Georges Riverkeeper through the Georges River Combined Councils’ Committee for the research.

The project, funded by Sydney Water, aims to develop a community engagement model for local councils to improve community knowledge of local stormwater management systems and promote meaningful long-term connections with water. The project will also deliver community-led sessions, develop new wetlands signage and community participation activities, such as community-guided tours, to promote that sense of community ownership.

Find out more

UNSW Global Water Institute

The UNSW Global Water Institute (UNSW-GWI) is a world leader in water research, innovation and problem solving. The Institute is a truly multi-disciplinary venture, drawing on water expertise across UNSW to create the Nation’s most advanced water knowledge hub. This includes:

The UNSW Global Water Institute are committed to collaborating with government, industry, NGOs, communities and other research organisations in achieving an enduring global impact and contribute to a future where all communities have access to world-leading research, education, information and innovation to better manage water resources for drinking, agriculture and the protection of marine and fresh water ecosystems.

In this short video, world-leading researchers, engineers and academics with expertise in wetlands, built environment, Flood Management, hydrology and more share insights into some of the impactful projects underway among the UNSW water community.

All linked to water, this work is helping to improve health outcomes and community wellbeing, address inequalities, build resilience to Climate Change, and nurture valuable ecosystems.

The video was prepared as part of a collection introducing how International Association for Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research (IAHR) Institute Members are contributing to sustainable development and the achievement of the water-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The centres and research groups that contribute to GWI include: 


A view with Sydney harbour bridge, across the water to the Opera House

UNSW Water Research Centre

The Water Research Centre (WRC) is an international leading university centre that provides multidisciplinary research in water resources, engineering, management and the development of tools for environmental management and sustainability for improving aquatic and atmospheric environments.

With its two research locations in Sydney, it operates as an externally funded UNSW research centre within the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, serving more than 50 staff and supporting more than 80 PhD Students.

Find out more

Rice fields being farmed on a rainy day

Connected Waters Initiative 

The Connected Waters Initiative (CWI) is a multidisciplinary initiative at UNSW that undertakes world-leading research that advances knowledge of groundwater processes to create solutions which provide effective water supply management for communities, agriculture and mining in the Asian Pacific region and internationally, while improving social equity and sustainable environmental outcomes.

With its partners, CWI continue to train the next generation of expert researchers and groundwater professionals.

Find out more

A/Prof Fiona Johnson and A/Prof Kristen Splinter represented UNSW at the 2022 Cook Islands Science Expo, held at the National Auditorium on the island of Rarotonga from 17-21 October, 2022.

They were joined by Anna Blacka who works for the UNSW Water Research Laboratory and is currently based in the Cook Islands.

The Dharriwaa Elders Group in Walgett has secured funding from the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) for the Indigenous River Rangers Program. The initiative acknowledges Indigenous Australians' connection to the environment, focusing on water activities across the Murray Darling Basin.

Academics from UNSW will train the Ngarrangarra-li Walaaybaa Rangers on water management, quality, ecological monitoring, and legal frameworks from a First Nations perspective.

Global Water Partnership logo

Global Water Partnership

The UNSW GWI is a member of the Global Water Partnership, which is a global action network across 183 countries which aims to inform decisions and affect policy on water use and management.

Find out more

UNSW documents Icon

UNSW Environmental Sustainability Report

UNSW has a history of environmental stewardship across research, learning & teaching and campus operations across several decades. The Environmental Sustainability Report 2022 measures and outlines our achievements to date.

Read now

Village Green refurb

Village Green upgrade

The $40m transformation of Village Green included upgrading the 16 million-litre below-ground stormwater infiltration tank located on the site, which is expected to reduce water usage by around 18,000kl per annum.

Find out more

Managing campus water, gas and energy demands

Exterior shot of the Law and Justice Building, Kensington, UNSW

Energy and water efficiency initiatives at all of our campuses are led by the Facilities Management Energy team, with support from other Estate Management teams and the wider University.

Learn more in the 2022 Environmental Sustainability Report

A kangaroo jumping across a beach at sunset

The Australian Water Partnership

Australia’s experience in water reform in a federal system of government, the application of science to build the foundation for national water policy, and the establishment of policies and institutions to ensure the sustainability of reforms are of keen international interest.

UNSW is a proud partner of the AWP, promoting conscious water usage off campus and in the wider community by highlighting how stormwater and treated wastewater are possible water sources.

Find out more

UNSW SDGs Annual Report 2022 cover image

UNSW Sustainable Development Goals 2022 Report

This report outlines UNSW's performance against the SDGs in 2022.


Related stories

More SDGs