The University of the Sunshine Coast and EcoNova have signed an agreement which could see the region become a world leader in water conservation.
This agreement aims to establish a regional water testing program, develop a business partnership which services industry and governments, and promote teaching and research into water conservation and quality.
EcoNova and USC have already launched a pilot testing program in which EcoNova provides guidance in water analysis, while University staff and students conduct a wide range of water quality tests.
USC senior lecturer in environmental chemistry Neil Tindale said this pilot program was assessing what was required to provide ongoing water quality testing for a broad range of markets.
Tindale said this included providing testing of potable water plants, domestic and commercial effluent, water quality in rivers, creeks and waterways, newly-constructed sewage treatment system outflows and aerated water treatment systems.
"It will involve continuous monitoring of domestic waste water, industrial waste from factories, workshops and processing plants," he said.
Tindale said the business partnership would provide an enhanced range of services for industry and government bodies, including water quality testing and monitoring, effluent toxicity testing and a broad range of environmental consultancies.
He said local government and State Government initiatives to recycle and reuse water required testing, management programs and laboratory capacities.
"To date, very few institutions are capable of providing the complete service to allow water recycling initiatives to go ahead," he said.
"We will actively exploit research opportunities for Honours and PhD students in developing techniques and standards for water quality testing and monitoring, and in the design of potable water and waste water treatment systems."
The agreement with EcoNova also would see plans developed to establish a sustainable water facility at the University to provide potable water and Class A+ effluent for toilet flushing and irrigation.
EcoNova's General Manager and Director of Marketing Christian Uhrig said he was excited about the agreement with the University of the Sunshine Coast.
"Having our home base at the Innovation Centre, we are excited to see that the University practices what it preaches," he said.
"Setting up a sustainable solution is going to help students to learn world's best practice. Currently, many meaningful water saving initiatives in Australia are held up by a lack of education and scientific support."
The memorandum of understanding was signed by USC Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Thomas AM and Christian Uhrig of EcoNova.