Water Research Centre

We promote excellence in water research by creating an open and collaborative environment where members can combine their disciplinary expertise to address the challenges of the water services sector.

New Zealand needs to improve its water service infrastructure to prevent harm to the health and well-being of our communities and environment. The impacts of population growth, climate change and natural disasters have shown us that we need to deepen our understanding of the issues facing the water sector. We are working towards,

  • Developing solutions to mitigate the impacts of flood, drought and tsunami occurrences
  • Making water infrastructure resilient to climate change
  • Improving the performance of water and wastewater infrastructure
  • Developing multi-scale integrated modelling frameworks to assess and mitigate future ecosystem threats
  • Increasing the teaching and research capacity of the department on water resources management by including key topic areas such as water allocation, water demand forecasting and water trade

Our research

We use a cross-disciplinary approach in our research by utilizing the knowledge of faculty members from different Faculty and University Research Centres. This helps us to solve current and emerging challenges faced by industry and the Government. 

The Centre will conduct research and development in the following areas.

Water Hazards
Physical and computational modelling for risk prediction, assessment and mitigation of flood, drought and tsunami impacts.

Water and Wastewater Treatment Systems
Net zero carbon and climate change resilient infrastructure, water demand management, innovative low-cost and high-performing treatment systems, and recycling and resource recovery operations.

Stormwater Management
Develop biomimetic and nature-inspired solutions for managing stormwater and the ecological health of our urban streams and coastal waters.

Water Data Repositories and Analysis Frameworks
Coherent and systematically collating temporal and multi-scale water datasets for NZ and the Pacific Island Countries, data analysis frameworks and computational pipelines for risk prediction and mitigation.

How can you work with us?

  1. Connect with us. The Water Research Centre connects people, projects, publications and research with resources, forums and events in Water Engineering. We provide leadership in a curated and convening fashion.
  2. Work with us. Are you interested in how to improve water engineering? We believe in collaboration and cross-disciplinary research, get in touch if you would like to be apart of our Centre.
  3. Study with us. We offer opportunities for students in undergraduate and postgraduate study to get involved with our Centre. 

Our people

Te Tiriti o Waitangi

Innovation comes from thinking differently about problems. The Te Ao Māori (Māori worldview) concept of Te Mana o te Wai (Māori for the mauri, or life force, of water) refers to the fundamental importance of water. It recognises that protecting the health of freshwater supports the health and well-being of the wider environment. Adopting Te Mana o te Wai will enable us to develop a holistic understanding of the core issues and generate innovative solutions. 

We partner with iwi and Māori businesses to co-develop solutions founded upon Mātauranga Māori and Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Using our emerging relationship with the Purohu STEM Academy and our membership in Water NZ’s Knowledge and Information Sharing Group, we work with Māori students and experts to collaborate on our projects. 

Dr Kilisimasi Latu, a key member of our Centre and the Māori and Pacific Engineering Faculty Research Centre, oversees engagement with iwi and Māori organisations. Additionally, we seek input from Dr Kepa Morgan and Dr Emily Afoa on iwi engagement opportunities.