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Source Water and Environment

Overview of Program

Managed by Dr Karen Rouse, this team develops projects in the source water and environmental research areas. One key area is to develop predictive modelling and conduct field research for water quality (including the marine environment), catchment processes and SA Water's emissions and associated impacts / environmental responses. Other key research areas include novel methods for controlling cyanobacterial blooms and development of new techniques for detecting contaminants of human health concern to support hazard identification and risk management in catchments and source waters.

Capabilities and expertise

  • Ecology and management of cyanobacteria
  • Sustainability and environmental management systems
  • Modelling (hydrodynamics, climate change)
  • Aquatic environmental impact assessment and remote sampling techniques
  • Marine ecology
  • Development of rapid methods for detecting waterborne pathogens and problem-causing microorganisms
  • Microbiological processes that affect water quality and pathogen prevalence / survival
  • Identification and control of human enteric pathogens in water
  • Protozoan parasite systematics / genetics

Specialist analyses

  • Bioassays for the measurement of cytotoxic and genotoxic compounds in water
  • Flow cytometric analysis of microorganisms
  • DNA extraction and PCR-based analysis of environmental samples
  • DNA sequencing and phylogenetic analysis of microorganisms

Past and current projects

  • Impact of climate change on reservoir water quality: Happy Valley Reservoir
  • Evaluation and validation of rapid molecular methods for the detection and identification of microorganisms in water
  • Ultrasound control of cyanobacteria
  • Alternative and innovative methods for source water management of algae and cyanobacteria
  • Adelaide coastal waters modelling suite
  • Development of cell culture-based assayto assess inactivation/infectivity of Cryptosporidium.
  • Flow cytometric detection of total and active bacterial numbers through water treatment and distribution; assessing effectiveness of treatment and early warning of distribution system instability
  • Molecular profiling of total and active bacterial populations through water treatment and into distribution
  • Optimisation of rapid molecular assays to detect ammonia oxidising prokaryotes (both Bacteria and Archaea) responsible for nitrification events within chloraminated distribution systems
  • Investigation into biological removal of algal metabolites (both toxins and taste and odour compounds) from surface waters