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Research KSA 1 - Thrust 3

(KSA 1) Water Resource Management

THRUST 3: Water  Quality Management

Scope : This thrust acknowledges the significant water quality problems in our natural water resources.  Water quality is generally reflected in concentrations of substances and microorganisms, physico-chemical attributes, radioactivity, as well as biological responses to these.  Within each of the programmes in this thrust, research will focus on two broad fronts, namely, (1) consolidation and knowledge transfer and (2) alertness to emerging issues.  Consolidation is necessary of the vast amount of existing water quality-related research outputs in priority domains. The primary aim will be to distil effective decision support for management of our water quality problems.  Emphasis will be more on formulating solutions than on formulating problems.  By actively sharing knowledge with decision makers, and working closely with them, the decision support must explicitly address their absorptive capacity in its broadest sense.  On the one hand, solutions need to be based on a thorough holistic and realistic examination of likely consequences of implementation of those solutions.  This must create confidence that risks of unintended consequences will be minimised.  However, on the other hand, solutions must cater for the inherent complexity (and hence uncertainty) of both the institutional and natural environment.  Research will also be encouraged that heightens awareness, and/or recommends management approaches, specifically to important emerging issues, i.e., those potential or recognised concerns that are either not addressed, or are only partly addressed, in current water quality management practice and research.  High priority issues include those of national concern, those for which the frequency or probability of adverse conditions occurring is high, and the consequences are severe, and so on. Water quality necessarily cuts across various KSAs as well as thrusts within this KSA.  The scope of this particular thrust focuses primarily on water quality of inland surface waters and its management.

Programme 1: Water Quality Monitoring

Scope: Sound water quality monitoring data are crucial to sustainable management because they provide information on the current status and trends.  Creative yet soundly-scientific approaches to monitoring are required that optimise information and minimise costs.  All phases of monitoring design need careful consideration, from data acquisition, data storage and management, information generation and dissemination, through to realistic implementation strategies.

Programme 2: Water Quality Modelling

Scope: The programme will encourage a move to open-source modelling platforms that benefit individual model developers, while allowing effective interfacing with other modelling modules in a way that provides integrated, scientifically-defensible water quality information.  Business models of such platforms must be as much in the interests of users of such information (e.g. catchment management agencies) as the service providers and modellers.

Programme 3: Impacts on and of water quality

Scope: This programme will focus on identifying, characterising, and understanding (1) the changes in the state of water quality in our water resources associated with either point or non-point pollution sources, and (2) the associated impacts of such compromised water quality.


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