Did you know there are many clever people who are dedicating their careers to ensuring we have sustainable access to water?
One of these people is Director of the National Water Grid Authority’s (NWGA) Science Program, Dr Carol Grossman.
To celebrate National Water Week and build awareness around how science is informing water management, we’ve sat down with Dr Grossman, over a glass of fresh water, to find out more about her story.
Q: What is your science background and why science?
I’ve got a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin, and I came to Australia in the 1990s to work at CSIRO on plant molecular biology.
I've always had a natural curiosity – I’m always coming up with questions about whatever I see or hear. I also enjoy the analytical aspects of science and looking for ways that scientific research can be used to get better outcomes for Australia.
Q: How do you see your role with the NWGA, and more broadly, water in Australia?
As Director of the NWGA’s Science Program, I’m responsible for more than $40 million in research projects to inform water infrastructure investments and investigate new or emerging technologies. Part of my role is to connect science with policy – I get to guide the research program which answers important policy questions and use these project findings to inform government decisions. If I do it well, I’m playing an important part to improve Australia’s water security and prosperity.
Q: Why do you work in water and what sort of progress in Australian water do you look forward to?
Water is so fundamental, and in many places water availability is under pressures from climate change, population growth and competing interests. I hope my work helps us to use sound evidence in water planning, and that we are able to make better use of emerging technologies such as Managed Aquifer Recharge, which seems to have tremendous potential in parts of the country with the right hydrogeology.
I joined the Australian Public Service in 2007, to work on climate change and land management and to try to use my knowledge to make a difference. I think how we adapt to climate change will be a big determinant of Australia’s future – what kind of country will we leave for our children?
Climate change will be felt most through changes to natural disaster frequency, and changes to water availability. To me, these are the most important areas I can focus my energy. I’m proud to have been part of the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements, and I’m equally proud to be working on science to inform our decision-making around water.
Q: What would you say to somebody who is interested in pursuing a career in science, and in particular, water science?
I’d say do it! There is a tremendous need for water professionals in Australia and internationally. This includes groundwater and surface water hydrologists, modellers, water planning and policy professionals, water ecologists – the list goes on. Take some courses and follow your interests and you can’t go wrong – water science has many career paths with good employment opportunities, interesting work, great people and a chance to help with one of the most pressing Australian and global issues.
For more information about the National Water Grid Authority (NWGA) and they work they do, visit www.nationalwatergrid.gov.au