Michael Stewardson wins Eureka Prize for water research

September 11 / 69

Dr Michael Stewardson from the Department of Infrastructure Engineering has won the 2011 Eureka Prize for Water Research and Innovation in conjunction with colleagues from the Crawford School of Economics and Government at the Australian National University.

The prize is sponsored by the National Water Commission, and is part of the annual Australian Museum Eureka Prizes, the most prestigious awards in Australian science.

The research team developed a dynamic river-flow model, which will be used to manage river systems and achieve the right balance between the demands of agricultural irrigation and the health of river ecosystems.

The model is the first in the world to allow decision-makers, in real time, to allocate water while considering the state of the river system.

Dr Stewardson said taking part in the project had been a tremendous opportunity for him to work with some top researchers from different disciplines.

“This project links economics, ecology and water resource management. The innovation has been in aligning these different disciplinary perspectives of the Murray-Darling Basin into a single system,” Dr Stewardson said.

“We have developed a practical solution to achieving a better balance between environmental and irrigation use of water.”

He said winning the award was a real boost for the project team, and would allow it to extend this work and drive its adoption for sustainable water management in Australia and overseas.

“We already have stage II in the pipeline and plans beyond that,” Dr Stewardson said.

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