Urban Water cluster researchers awarded $14m for informal settlement revitalisation

Posted on January 25, 2017
Professor Rebekah Brown

Director of MSDI and Urban Water Cluster Lead Professor Rebekah Brown presents at the Australia-Indonesia Leaders Program, May 2016.

The team behind the Australia-Indonesia Centre’s Urban Water research cluster has been awarded AUD $14 million for their projects dedicated to revitalising informal settlements around the globe.

Monash University reports that global charitable foundation the Wellcome Trust’s ‘Our Planet, Our Health’ funding program has dedicated $14 million to a program which aims to transform water infrastructure, water management, and sanitation practices in informal settlements – often referred to as ‘slums’.

The ground-breaking research will be lead by Professor Rebekah Brown, Director of the Monash Sustainable Development Institute and the Cluster Lead for the Australia-Indonesia Centre’s Urban Water cluster.

“Currently 2.3 billion people globally lack basic sanitation and more than one billion of those are living in urban informal settlements” Professor Brown said.

“Access to clean water and sanitation is crucial and we know the centralised, energy-intensive ‘Big Pipe’ solution used for the past 150 years to pump water from reservoirs into cities, and sewage to centralised treatment plants, often overlooks informal settlements. This has led to avoidable health and social issues such as diarrhoea killing 760,000 children per year,” Professor Brown said. “But by ensuring safer, more reliable water supplies and wastewater disposal, our goal is first and foremost to reduce exposure of communities to environmental faecal contamination.”

The new approaches to sustainable urban development will come in the form of infrastructure projects in 24 informal settlements in Indonesia and Fiji, chosen as typical of the type of development challenges facing the Asian-Pacific region. The research aligns with the MSDI Urban Water projects funded by the Australia-Indonesia Centre.

To learn more, read the full article on the Monash University website and watch the video below, which models the MSDI sustainable urban water infrastructure plans.