CQ University water expert believes 'slowing the flow' could answer water problems

Ben Harden
By Ben Harden
Updated April 14 2021 - 1:19pm, first published November 20 2020 - 12:00am
As Australia heads into a La Nia weather event, Dr Rose believes it is a reminder about how Australia is affected by cyclic weather patterns and reinforces the concept that all is not lost for our climate and environment if we focus on the water cycle.

Slowing the flow of some of Australia's key river systems, such as the Fitzroy River catchment, could help to reverse some of the nation's big environmental and climate concerns, according to a recent study.

As Australia heads into a La Nina weather event with a high expectation of rain on the horizon, CQ University water expert Dr Adam Rose believes it is a reminder about how Australia is affected by cyclic weather patterns.



Dr Rose said instead of focusing our efforts on changing climate, we should focus on fixing what we can.

"Australia has quite literally been shaped by the cycle of flood, good times, drought, fire then flood again," Dr Rose said.

"These cyclic weather patterns have existed for thousands of years. We only have to look at some of the adaptations that exist in our plants and animals to prove this.

"The first place we should start is with the water cycle. This will help build resilience in our environment and help us cope with the hard years."

CQ University water expert Dr Adam Rose said the answer to many of our water problems could be found in slowing the flow.

Dr Rose said the answer to many of our water problems could be found in slowing the flow.

"Retaining water upstream in river systems, through contouring, re-vegetation, and specialised water storage areas, could reduce the amount of sediment that flows down the systems at times of flood," he said.

According to Dr Rose, more than a billion kilograms of sediment and nutrients flow out of river systems into the ocean, and in some parts of Queensland directly on to the Great Barrier Reef.

Rather than sending the water and precious carbon to the reef at a rapid pace, we could be reaping the benefits of it staying longer in the upper reaches of the catchments

- CQ University water expert Dr Adam Rose

"It may sound simple, but the solution to many of the current issues is to reduce the velocity of water travelling through our catchments, so that it is unable to carry sediment," he said.

"The faster water moves, the more sediment it can carry. To put it simply, we must slow the flow.

"This would give the water more time to infiltrate and percolate into our soils; ultimately reducing sediment, nutrients and plastics flowing into the reef."

Dr Rose has launched a campaign to change public perception about the importance of the water cycle from the ground roots, targeting families through a children's story book. He also featured in CQ University's Impact research podcast this week.

"I know it will take a long time to change the current narrative about our water issues in Australia, so it's my intention to start with parents and children," Dr Rose said.

"The book encompasses a poem that I wrote earlier in the year about my 'slow the flow' research and is currently being illustrated by a talented Queensland Indigenous artist, Yvonne McDonald."

  • The Impact podcast can be found on Apple and Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.
Ben Harden

Ben Harden

Queensland Country Life Journalist

Based in Rockhampton, Central Queensland. Contact: 0437528907

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