The new Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Water Sensitive Cities, based at Monash University, will open this week.


The CRC will have research hubs in the University of Queensland, the University of Western Australia and the National University of Singapore.


Projects that will focus on better ways to manage urban water resources to ensure future cities are resilient to climatic extremes - of floods, droughts and heat - will be undertaken in all Australian capital cities, Singapore and The Netherlands.


The Australian Federal Government has provided $30 million in start-up funding for the Centre, and industry partners and universities have committed an additional $90 million in resources over the next nine years. Substantial private sector investment in projects is also anticipated.


Monash University's Professor Tony Wong, will lead the CRC which has already identified 19 projects and forged links with more than 70 partners across the public, private and tertiary sectors.


Professor Wong said sustainable urban water management was an international issue with city population densities increasing globally.


"By 2050, up to 80 per cent of Australia's population will live in our cities. In order to ensure urban water supplies, urban water systems will require a radical overhaul," Professor Wong said.


"Current systems cater for water supply and waste water disposal, without any focus on recycling water, stormwater collection or incorporating ecological solutions. Supported by access to water, the greening of cities will enhance their biodiversity and urban heat management. The CRC will work directly with government and communities to implement sustainable water management solutions."


The CRC for Water Sensitive Cities grew from the Centre for Water Sensitive Cities established under the auspices of the Monash Sustainability Institute in early 2010. Professor Wong co-founded the centre with Monash Professors Ana Deletic and Rebekah Brown. 


"Our centre is a great example of cross-faculty research - Ana is one of our top researcher in engineering and Rebekah a leading social science scholar from the Faculty of Arts, both with a keen focus on delivering positive impacts to society. We now have five faculties involved in research projects," Professor Wong said.


"The successes we had on the ground allowed us to make a very strong case for the establishment of the CRC."


The Monash Centre for Water Sensitive Cities will independently continue its research on developing water management strategies to enhance urban liveability.