Centre for Coastal Reservoir Research (CRRC)


The Centre for Coastal Reservoir Research (CCRR) at the University of Wollongong (UOW) is the world 1st research centre in coastal reservoir (CR) research. CR is a technology that harvest floodwater from the sea before seawater mixes and pollutes the freshwater. CR is a freshwater reservoir inside the seawater, one side of its dam is freshwater, the other side is seawater. CR can be used for water supply, flood mitigation, energy storage, even wastewater treatment to protect coastal environment (i.e., to prevent red tide, etc). Australia and Netherland constructed their CRs in 1930s. Hong Kong is the first city whose drinking water comes from its CR without desalination.

Currently Shanghai’s CR is the largest in the world for about 1.3 million people’s water supply. CCRR is leading the world in CR’s development and our research outcomes include CR’s feasibility study and design of CR’s layout, water quality/quality simulation, monitoring, dike design and hydraulic structural modeling, environmental impacts assessment and its social impacts’ analysis. The group members are actively engaged in a number of fundamental and applied research projects in collaboration across the world with industries in various areas of water industry, geotechnical/structural engineering, energy pipeline, coastal flood management, urban designers/planers. This research covers all aspects of engineering and management. Our objective is to drive scientific approaches to CR’s optimal design and implementation by focusing on achieving sustainable development for coastal communities.

CCRR has developed very strong capability for CRs’ development like hydrodynamic modelling, online monitoring, FBR application etc. which covers water resources engineering, hydrology, hydraulics, water quality engineering, coastal engineering, structural/geotechnical engineering, signal process and statistical data modelling, condition prediction, diagnosis and prognostics, process simulation and optimisation. CCRR has real practices in research for dam design, sedimentation in reservoirs, wetland pretreatment and purification, etc. . These include a range of activities from reviewing existing CR projects worldwide. CCRR has become a world leader for future CR development. CCRR has hosted the 1st International workshop on CRs, and also the headquarter of International Association for Coastal Reservoir Research. CCRR is concerned with the planning and control of all CR-related activities to ensure that all CRs’ performance meets the intended strategy. All aspects related to CR life cycle activities from concept to disposal are crucial to the success of an organisation. These activities are naturally both interdisciplinary and interrelated.


To supply sufficient, high-quality and affordable water with minimum environmental/social impacts by providing feasibility studies and research needs of coastal communities


  • To provide coastal communities required feasibility studies for CR projects to achieve a win-win solution for environment and water development.
  • To drive a scientific approach to CR engineering focused on achieving outcomes for coastal communities.
  • Hydrology and Analysis of water resources availability;
  • Catchment management and water quality improvement
  • Eco-hydraulics and agricultural wetland
  • Real time measurement of water quality and dike stability
  • Maritime geotechnical and dike construction
  • Durable structural engineering in seawater
  • Algal bloom prevention in reservoirs
  • Protection of coastal environment and coastal engineering
  • Life Cycle Cost and Risk Management Models


Current Research Projects

  • Eco-hydraulics and interaction of turbulence flow with vegetation;
  • Wetland treatment;
  • Sediment transport;
  • Netravathi Coastal Reservoir, India;
  • Johor Coastal Reservoir, Malaysia;
  • Applying CR concept to inland region for its floodwater development, case study of Dongting Lake, China; 

Research project proposals developed

  • Under development

Research direction and industry collaboration

  • Conceptual Development and Feasibility Study
  • Detail Design and Analysis
  • Water Quality Assessment and Treatment
  • Project Evaluation and Risk Assessment
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Maritime Law
  • Life Cycle Cost and Risk Management Models

Industry collaboration

Our current industry collaborators include Water, geotechnical, coastal engineering companies in India, Malaysia, China.

Research collaborators

Our research collaborators include:

  • Indian Institute of Science
  • China Agricultural Univ.
  • Sun Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS , Malaysia


Securing adequate water supplies to meet the needs of ever-growing coastal populations is a major challenge faced by water authorities across the world. The conventional approaches to dealing with this challenge are framed around the longstanding notion, ‘shortage of water’, which by its very nature limits the scope for exploring the feasibility of alternative options and innovative solutions.

Research undertaken at the University of Wollongong (UOW) over the past decade or so, has led to the development of a novel solution approach that shift the focus of the world’s water problem from “water shortage” to “water storage”. This solution approach involves an improved coastal reservoir (CR) design that harnesses flood water from sea, at a fraction of the cost of the desalination technologies currently being used. This improved design also addresses most of the limitations associated with the previous generation of CRs that have been adopted in several countries; for example, the Marina Barrage in Singapore, Plover Cove in Hong Kong and Sihwa Lake in South Korea.

Building on its pioneering work in this area and its reputation for ground-breaking research, UOW has taken a crucial step to expedite the development of CRs by setting up the world’s first-of-its kind Centre for Coastal Reservoir Research (CCRR). Through this ambitious initiative, UOW has been able to assemble a strong multidisciplinary research team with vast experience and reputation in all requisite areas, including: geotechnical and structural engineering; water quality and environmental engineering; systems engineering and risk analysis; and modelling and simulation. This has also meant that CCRR is now in a position to contribute to any future CR development efforts with the following capabilities.

Conceptual development and feasibility studies

  • Site profiling and ranking (e.g. seabed, current/tidal/wave; salinity levels, flooding information)
  • Evaluation of ecological implications (impact on sea level rise, extreme storm events and tsunamis)
  • Sustainability assessment (social, environmental and economic aspects over the full life cycle)
  • Reservoir profiling and pre-feasibility (e.g. catchment information, water availability)
  • Proof-of-concept/preliminary design (e.g. water demand, reservoir size, safe yield; barrier type)

Detail design and analysis

  • Barrier design (geo-technical; structural engineering; material selection and testing)
  • Gate location and pumps selection, including the development of operations protocols
  • Identification and assessment of water treatment options
  • Evaluation of water transport options/reticulation systems

Water quality assessment and treatment

  • Estimation of land use impact on water quality along river gradients
  • Site-specific assessment of estuarine water quality and treatment options
  • Monitoring of water quality and salinity levels and mitigation of contamination risks

Project evaluation and risk assessment

  • Environmental impact assessment
  • Stakeholder mapping and analysis
  • Project evaluation and feasibility studies, including risk analysis
  • Benefit management and realisation plans

Modelling and simulation

  • Geo-spatial mapping and modelling for site selection and ranking
  • Spatial modelling of water quality along river gradients and estuaries
  • Geo-technical and structural engineering modelling for barrier selection and construction
  • Hydrodynamics and salinity modelling of estuaries (2-D and 3-D circulation and mixing)
  • Economic modelling, financial analysis and sustainable functionality measurement

Coastal management - in collaboration with the UOW Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS)

  • Oceans law and policy (international frameworks, national and regional offshore arrangements)
  • Marine governance (planning, institutions and processes for spatial areas and sectoral interests)
  • Coastal zone management (ports, fisheries, reserves and protected areas)
  • Social impact assessments (amenities, environmental services, economic uses)