Our strategic plan

UNSW Global Water Institute BeachMission

To contribute to a future where all communities have access to world-leading research, education, information and innovation to better manage water resources for drinking, agriculture and the protection of marine and fresh water ecosystems


Our goal is to provide opportunities for members of the UNSW water community to participate in, and contribute to, high-impact projects and programs. Simply, we seek to identify opportunities across our three thematic areas that require collective action and multidisciplinary solutions


  1. Build a global reputation and awareness of UNSW capabilities in fresh and marine water resources
  2. Engage with strategic partners in each thematic area
  3. Build and strengthen new foundations for UNSW water research and education
  4. Promote scholarship and strengthen research collaborations

Thematic Areas

The Water governance and security theme covers water allocation & planning, policy, regulation and market-based instruments, the application of ecosystem science and community engagement to drive equitable water management to ensure just and sustainable outcomes for towns, agriculture and the environment. In a development context the work focuses on improving water quality, alleviating poverty, reducing conflict and building resilient and sustainable communities.

The Healthy Oceans – Resilient Coastlines theme focuses on activities to protect ecosystems and infrastructure at the intersection of marine and freshwater environments. Focused is placed on identifying and adapting to anthropogenic threats including storm surge, sea level rise and pollution. Activities include research and capacity building in natural and engineered systems for water quality protection, erosion control, coastal monitoring, estuarine management and trends in policy, regulations and frameworks for maritime trade, ecosystem science and protection of the natural and built environment.

The Safe Water: Access and Equity for All theme deals with water management in urban, peri-urban and rural communities in developed and developing contexts. Activities are linked to Sustainable Development Goal 6, which aims to achieve water and sanitation for all by 2030. Specific projects are focused on the role of water in promotion of livable communities in a warming climate and activities at the intersection of technical, environmental humanities and public health disciplines to develop culturally appropriate approaches to reduce mortality and disease and improve quality of life.

What we do

  1. Help solve global water problems and shape future innovation for the water sector through world-class, multi-disciplinary research and its application
  2. Provide excellence in water education, capacity building and sharing of water knowledge, technologies and expertise
  3. Collaborate with government, industry, NGOs, communities and other research organisations in achieving an enduring global impact
  4. Improve the lives of disadvantaged and marginalised communities, including Indigenous peoples, through exchanging water knowledge and promoting equality, diversity, open debate and economic progress
  5. Connect research to water policy development and on-ground management
  6. Respond to major public issues, industry requirements and community needs
  7. Educate, mentor and give voice to young and early career water professionals
  8. Develop new ideas, innovations and technologies and stimulate positive change through thought leadership
  9. Marshall all the water-related research and education capabilities across UNSW into a coherent offering to the local, national and global water market