Finalist: Science Innovation Award

The University of Queensland and Partners

Modelling of purified recycled water inputs

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.