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USP, Auckland University to research water quality in Oceania

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Dr Krishna Kotra, Science Progamme Coordinator, Mr Ruben Markward, Campus Manager, Dr Lokesh Padhye, University of Auckland (Middle from Left to right) along with staff of Emalus Campus

The University of the South Pacific (USP) will be working with a team of scientists from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, experts and other key stakeholders in Oceania Region to identify the most critical water security, equity, and sustainability issues facing New Zealand and the rest of Oceania, as well as develop solutions to tackle the challenges. 

Dr Krishna Kotra, Science Programme Coordinator at USP’s Emalus Campus, Port Vila, Vanuatu said the University has been a champion in the research front in the Pacific with in-house and collaborative projects being underway.

“USP has made these research works part of their curriculum and also provides first-hand training to its students. The University is moving towards being an excellent University hence has been vibrant in all areas of research both in the Pacific and all over the world,” he noted.

He mentioned that USP’s Emalus campus has been hosting these types of collaborative research initiatives for the best usage of student engagement and as a part of science promotion in the region and capacity building.

Dr Kotra welcomed the collaborative initiative from the University of Auckland and Dr Lokesh Padhye and stressed that Emalus campus and USP would certainly be part of the network and look forward to working together towards sustainable solutions for the needs of the Pacific.

Mr Ruben Markward, Campus Manager, Emalus Campus welcomed Dr Lokesh Padhye and said that the campus is looking forward to have many of these initiatives. He further added that Dr Krishna Kotra has been working on these types of projects in the campus and thus students would benefit at the best. He further assured that the campus would provide all the support in regards to any research initiatives.

The research work into water quality and sustainability in Oceania was the topic of a presentation by Dr Lokesh Padhye, Senior Lecturer in Engineering of the University of Auckland, hosted by USP’s Emalus Campus in Port Vila, Vanuatu, on June 14.

The Oceania Water Research (OWRC) was established by the Auckland University and Dr Padhye said that its intension is to “create a network of researchers in Oceanic to carry out this project.”

He stated, “It is to find out how to make Oceania more resilient to ever increasing water stress issues related to climate change and limited water resources due to increasing population and rapid urbanisation.”

Almost total reliance on rain-fed water across South Pacific puts economies and livelihoods at risk in this region due to climate change, increasing population, and more urbanisation.  Nearly 10 per cent of deaths of children under five in the region are attributable to water-related causes; 90 per cent of these deaths can be traced to poor sanitation treatment systems. 

Dr Lokesh Padhye confirmed, “There is a need to establish a network of experts, policy makers, and key stakeholders around these issues to find solutions to these complex challenges over the long term.  This is what the proposed consortium is set out to achieve.

“A project team based at the University of Auckland, with the help of collaborators, is engaged with some of the key personnel in New Zealand and South Pacific, to initiate this process. 

“The network includes a number of academics partners in the South Pacific and majority of the research and projects will be undertaken in these countries with the help from University of Auckland and potential academic and industry partners in New Zealand,” Dr Padhye said.

Dr Padhye said if necessary, initial research training for these researchers will be undertaken in New Zealand to advance their research capacity. 

The network will have a formal process established to have Pacific researchers visit research laboratories in New Zealand for research training.

This news item was published on 3 Jul 2017 10:41:59 am. For more information or any High-Res Images, please contact us on email

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