Goal #6

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

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.

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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.

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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.

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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. Partnering with Riverwood Community Centre in Canterbury Bankstown and Georges Riverkeeper, the project aims to develop a community engagement model for local councils to improve community water knowledge 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.


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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).

Visit the UNSW Global Water Institute

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.

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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.

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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.

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UNSW Environmental Sustainability Plan

UNSW has a history of environmental stewardship across research, learning & teaching and campus operations across several decades. The Environmental Sustainability Report 2021 measures and outlines our achievements to date.

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UNSW Sustainable Development Goals 2020-2021 Report

This report outlines UNSW's performance against the SDGs over the years 2020-2021.


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