Jan 06, 2021

PhD Opportunity: “The Living Moorabool: Evaluating Human-driven Change on River Health”

$30,000 yearly
  • Barwon Water
  • Deakin University, Waurn Ponds Campus, Pigdons Road, Waurn Ponds VIC, Australia
Full time   Research


$115,000 Scholarship Package over 3 years

($30k p/a stipend, $25k in operating and PD support)

Preferred Start Date: Semester 1, 2021 (ie., T1, March 2021)

(Alternate Start Dates will be considered, up until June 2021).


  • Open to applicants currently based in Australia (this includes all permanent residents, and international citizens on suitable visas).
  • Applications will also be considered from candidates who will be located in Australia mid-year 2021.


As Australia and the world confront the challenges of climate change and a growing population, water resource management has never been more important. Research will play an important role in helping shape and manage water resources, now and into the future, particularly in Australia, where water resources are scarce and highly variable.

The Moorabool River is one of Victoria’s most important regional rivers. As well as providing drinking water for the expanding cities of Geelong and Ballarat, the river serves as a critical biodiversity corridor, a popular waterway for recreational purposes, and holds significance to its Traditional Owners. It is, however, also a highly stressed river where the construction of farm dams, weirs, diversions, land-use change, and water extraction for both urban and rural use have all impacted the health of the Moorabool River. In 2017 the Victorian Government initiated the “Living Moorabool” project to deliver a healthy culture, environment, and community.

Based out of Deakin’s award-winning Geelong campus, this PhD-level research is sponsored by Corangamite Catchment Authority (CCMA), Barwon Water, and Deakin University’s ‘Centre for Regional and Rural Futures’ as part of the “Living Moorabool” project.

We are seeking a suitably qualified environmental scientist with knowledge and interest in ecological and land-use change assessment, as well as community and social licence factors (such as cultural connection, stewardship), to undertake research on how interventions (such as the land-use change, river diversions, extraction, restoration activities) and social factors have impacted on the health of the Moorabool River. The candidate will utilise existing field monitoring systems and a variety of historical proxy data-sets and indicators to construct a vivid depiction of the river’s health; quantifying and pinpointing the relative impacts of interventions. Field-based surveys of local land-holders to evaluate the efficacy of various land management practices will compliment and strengthen the methodology.

The outcomes from this research will provide an empirical baseline from which the river’s key stakeholders can use to shape future management practices in the Moorabool catchment.

The project is open to domestic and international students, and would be well suited to mid-career NRM or water professionals looking for a stimulating change, or to provide a competitive career edge.


Academic Supervisor:

Industry Supervisor:


Barwon Water

Job ID

WaterRA 4549

Required work rights


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