Priority Research Themes | Post-Graduate Student Research | Research Outputs | Research Projects

Masters in Engineering Geology student using a mini piezometer in the field. Photo: Leanne Morgan
Masters in Engineering Geology student
using a mini piezometer in the field.
Photo: Leanne Morgan
The Research Strategic Vision of the Waterways Centre for Freshwater Management (WCFM) is to “integrate disciplinary water research to provide interdisciplinary solutions to freshwater management problems”.

Research into water resources and management is conducted by nearly 50 academic staff from Lincoln University and University of Canterbury. Postgraduate students conducting research relevant to the WCFM supervised by these academic staff are included in the Waterways Centre's activities during their time at university.

Priority Research Themes

The Waterways Centre for Freshwater Management has seven research priority themes which are listed below. Each research priority has a Project Lead, who is responsible for keeping an overview of relevant research being conducted for each theme, communicating with other project leads on potential research projects, and working with the WCFM Research Project Manager on research grant applications.

Visit the research priority theme pages for more information about the researchers affiliated with each research theme. Note that many academic staff hold expertise in one or more research theme, or has knowledge which intersects with all the themes (e.g. climate change, Matauranga Māori, or the application of GIS modelling). The Waterways Centre encourages interdisciplinary research between these themes.


WCFM Research Priorities

End-of-River Environments

To develop best practice for the protection of ecological, iwi, community and recreational values in lower catchment environments, such as river mouths, coastal lakes and estuaries.

Project Lead: Prof. Jenny Webster-Brown. Waterways Center for Freshwater Management

Functional Waterways Networks


To enhance aquatic ecosystem services and biodiversity in water networks, from the mountains to the sea (ki uta ki tai); assessing the ability of ecosystems to adapt to change (in climate, high/low water flow, quality and species invasions), and how network systems can be optimized to improve ecosystem resilience in the face of these changes.

Project Lead: Prof. Angus McIntosh. UC, School of Biological Sciences

People and Water

To build a better understanding of the relationship between people and water, in order to underpin alternative, sustainable freshwater management approaches that meet iwi, community and economic aspirations for the resource.

Project Lead: Dr. Ed Challies. Waterways Center for Freshwater Management

Technology & Infrastructure

To develop and assess innovative infrastructure, technologies, standards and best management practices to improve water use efficiency and reduce water contamination, while supporting economic growth.

Project lead: Assoc. Professor Tom Cochrane. UC, College of Engineering

Sustainable Groundwaters

To improve confidence in the assessment of the effects of groundwater use, utilizing interdisciplinary aspects of groundwater research, applied knowledge and existing monitoring sites and data.

Project Lead: Dr Leanne Morgan. Waterways Centre for Freshwater Management

Sustainable Nutrients

To minimize nutrient movement, within economic and environmental constraints, from developed land into water, and to reduce the effects of excessive nutrients in water bodies.

Project Lead: Dr. Niklas Lehto. Senior Lecturer. LU, Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Urban Water Environments

To better manage water use, discharge and re-use in an urban environment, assessing infrastructure and processes that enhance the value of urban water, promote efficient use (e.g., recycling) and protect natural waterways.

Project Lead: Dr. Frances Charters. UC, Chemistry

Please contact Katie Nimmo, WCFM Research Project Manager if you are academic staff and are interested in conducting research into freshwater management but not currently affiliated to the Centre, or if you are already affiliated with the WCFM, but wish to be listed against different, or multiple research priority themes.