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Over the last four decades the water science group at UC has brokered key partnerships and generated fundamental and applied knowledge, which has strongly influenced freshwater management in Australia. CAWS staff have built and and maintained enduring relationships of trust with private water utilities, local, state and Commonwealth agencies, the agricultural sector and environmental groups to achieve positive impact in the area of freshwater management. This is achieved through combining an excellence in fundamental science and commitment to inter-disciplinary approaches with a strong culture of collaboration. CAWS staff shape their research programs around finding solutions to management problems and students are trained with a heavy focus on bringing science to application. This approach drives the UC water science group’s internationally-recognised focus on developing new and innovative tools for assessing effectiveness of management of freshwaters.

CAWS hosts in partnership with eWater two major tools that are applied by government and industry in water management.


The Australian River Assessment System (AUSRIVAS) bioassessment tool, developed at UC, is a prediction system used to assess the biological health of Australian rivers and continues to be applied in most states and in national State of the Environment monitoring. UC runs an online and field-based training course using   AUSRIVAS each year to teach the skills and knowledge required to assess river health, enabling participants to be acquire the industry recognised AUSRIVAS accreditation.

A web-based knowledge base which collates and assesses the quality of studies in order to inform expert panel assessments. Both are widely applied in Australia and form the basis of current Category 1 research activity.