Eureka! CSIRO awarded prize for irrigation research
Research which underpins water efficient irrigation in Australia and overseas has won the 2007 Land & Water Australia Eureka Prize for Water Research and Innovation.
The prize was awarded to a team of researchers lead by Professor Shahbaz Khan of CSIRO and Charles Sturt University. The research is part of the Water for a Healthy Country Flagship, a CSIRO-led research program that aims to increase the benefits Australia gains from it water resources.
“I congratulate Professor Khan and his team on their award and their contribution to better water management both in Australia and overseas,” CSIRO’s Chief Executive Dr Geoff Garrett said.
The research included a full audit of water, nutrient and salt flows throughout the Murrumbidgee and Coleambally irrigation catchments, development of innovative technology to rapidly detect channel seepage hotspots, and development of a decision support system linking geographic and economic information with water flows.
The research provides the first such assessment for any catchment in Australia, and is a critical prerequisite for identifying possible water savings and increasing the efficiency of water management for irrigated agriculture.
“This is a great honour for my team and for CSIRO. It is a great example of what is possible when many people with different skills come together,” Professor Khan said.
“I am honoured to accept this award on behalf of my team.
“The results allow a better understanding of irrigation water use, highlighting problem areas and identifying areas where water can be saved on and off farm.
“I congratulate Professor Khan and his team on their award and their contribution to better water management both in Australia and overseas,”
CSIRO’s Chief Executive Dr Geoff Garrett said.
“Importantly, the knowledge gained through this study is now being applied more broadly across the Murray-Darling Basin and to analyses of irrigation water systems across the whole Murray region.”
The research has an enormous potential to change the way people think about and use water. Community-led actions are underway in the Coleambally, Murrumbidgee and Murray irrigation areas and Wagga Wagga is becoming a global 'water smart city' through a partnership between Charles Sturt University and Wagga Wagga City Council.
Internationally, Professor Khan’s team is contributing to water management in Pakistan, the Philippines, China, United Kingdom, New Zealand, and other countries in Australasia.
The work has lead to multi-level government policy dialogue and changed irrigation water practice in the Yellow River Basin, China and the Indus River Basin, in Pakistan.
Aspects of the work have also been recognised by UNESCO who accredited the Murrumbidgee as the first global reference catchment under the Hydrology for the Environment, Life and Policy Program.
The team combines expertise from CSIRO, NSW Department of Primary Industries and Charles Sturt University with international input through the United Nations Hydrology for the Environment, Life and Policy Program.
Team members include Professor Khan, Tariq Rana, Akthar Abbas, Mohsin Hafeez, Zahra Paydar, Dharma Dassanayke and Emmanuel Xevi, all of CSIRO Land and Water, Shahbaz Mushtaq, Ismail Hirsi and John Blackwell of Charles Sturt University and Saud Akbar of NSW Department of Primary Industries.
The Australian Museum Eureka Prizes are Australia’s premier award scheme for outstanding science. Presented annually by the Australian Museum, the prizes reward excellence in the fields of research and innovation, science leadership, school science, and science journalism and communication.
The Land & Water Australia Eureka Prize for Water Research and Innovation is awarded to an individual, team or organisation for research and innovation that has made or has the potential to make an outstanding contribution to the sustainable use and management of Australia's water resources.
The Australian Museum Eureka Prize winners will be announced this evening at the Australian Museum Eureka Prizes Award Dinner in Sydney (Tuesday 21 August).
Download images at: Eureka Prize Winners.
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