Finalist: Science Innovation Award
The University of Queensland and Partners
The proposed introduction of Purified Recycled Water (PRW) into Brisbane's largest drinking water storage reservoir, Lake Wivenhoe, was the first large-scale project of its kind in Australia, and one of a handful of such projects world-wide.
Researchers from The University of Queensland, Seqwater, BMT WBM and Griffith University used a combination of innovative field measurements and advanced 3-D numerical models to ensure any potential risks to water quality, ecosystem health and human health were well characterised.
The project identified flows from the Splityard Creek hydro-power station as an important factor assisting the mixing of PRW into the Lake. The importance of accurately simulating large-scale mixing processes, such as wind driven destabilisation and catchment inflows, was also identified.
The use of the 3-D model required an improved level of understanding about the bio-physical conditions (such as weather and inflows) that influence Lake Wivenhoe. As a result, significant changes to the environmental monitoring program have been adopted, improving capacity to monitor critical water resources.