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We participate in and coordinate a range of activities, initiatives, and activities that align to SDG 6 Clean Water and Sanitation. Explore the information on this page to find out more. 
CMERC Researcher collecting water from a pond

Our Actions

We work consciously to improve the sustainability of our campuses and surrounding areas. Please read more for examples of how we work to achieve this


Free drinking water is available on all campuses. There are drinking fountains located at multiple locations across our campuses for staff and student use. We encourage all our staff and students to avoid single-use water bottles and opt for reusable water bottles. Staff and students can bring their own reusable bottles, or purchase a CQU bottle from our bookshops


Being the largest regional university in Australia, CQUniversity’s footprint covers land and property that sustains an interesting mix of native and non-native species. Our Sustainability Framework guides our actions to ensure that all natural watercourses and riparian bushland are preserved as much as possible to their original state.  

CQUniversity campuses range from inland dry arid conditions to wet tropical lush rainforests to city landscapes. Our multiple locations harbour various microclimates that support thriving biodiversity with a range of flora and fauna. CQUniversity has constructed building and structures around our rich biodiversity and in some situations have rebuilt and landscaped the surrounding to naturally blend into the existing topography and vegetation.   

Our gardens and landscapes are developed using native and water-conscious plants that support the local fauna and thrive in the local environmental conditions.  We aim to expand the use of native species for sustainability and support of local fauna. View our Sustainability Framework for more details 

In the Community

Noosa Tree-planting- Funded by the Noosa Biosphere Reserve Foundation (NBRF) along with supporting partners' Noosa Council' Zero Emissions Noosa' Greenfleet' and Noosa Landcare, the CQUniversity-led study aims to understand why many people particularly young people' suffer ongoing feelings of hopelessness and despair about the future due to climate change and how they can overcome their concerns by taking action. Tree planting is a positive action that can be undertaken relatively simply but is often overlooked in its importance in the fight against climate change. The event is part of an iconic revegetation project in Noosa Shire with results also contributing to a large study into eco-anxiety across Australia. 

Woorabinda- A community event held at Horseshoe Lagoon in Woorabinda included native tree-planting, water quality testing, birth watching, and learning about water life and creatures. This event was run in conjunction with the Woorabinda Rangers, Greening Australia, BMA, Darumbal Rangers, Birdlife CQ, and the Department of Environment and Science. 

Bringing Nature Back to Frenchman's Creek- This project allows participants to study local flora and fauna, control exotic weeds and support bush regeneration by planting native plants. 

CQUniversity owns and leases a wide range of land and built environments including sports grounds, buildings, accommodation, and office blocks. Our built environment aims to be resource-efficient, operationally cost-effective, and provide improved environmental, economic, and social benefits to students, staff, and surrounding communities. 

CQUniversity has been actively growing with new buildings and refurbishments throughout Australia which are designed in accordance with the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) frameworks in building design for all future developmental work. New builds and refurbishments are installed with 5-star water-efficient equipment. 
We are continually introducing sustainable features into buildings and grounds such as water harvesting, solar panels, and strategic shading installed in new buildings. We actively check and adjust irrigation systems to minimise wasted water. View our Sustainability Framework for further details.  

In 2018, CQUniversity used just over 120ML of water (excluding metros and residential properties). This is a combination of town water and harvested sources, with town water making up around 90% of the total. Water uses on our campuses include irrigation of sports fields, landscaped lawns and gardens, research and teaching activities, and general consumption for drinking and cleaning purposes. 
We are committed to reducing our water use and dependency on town water by installing water tanks with a capacity of 200,000 litres and electric pumps across the campus to sustainably collect and store rainwater. This will offset the usage of council-supplied potable water. 

  • CQUniversity's Sustainability Policy and Framework are dedicated to water conservation and express the commitment to safeguard our land and aquatic ecosystems. We comply with storm water and trade waste regulations to prevent any discharge of pollutants into local waterways and stormwater systems.
  • The Coastal Marine Ecosystem Research Center (CMERC) uses innovative water recycling initiatives, which include a process of recycling water from our mud crab research tanks through our seagrass nursery tanks which removes fine sediment and nutrients, promoting the growth of the nursery plants used in restoration research. This sustainable approach not only minimises nutrient wastewater release into the waters of the Great Barrier Reef but also demonstrates our commitment to environmental stewardship. 
  • The Handling and Storage of Hazardous Chemical Policy outlines the appropriate procedures for the disposal of hazardous chemicals to prevent water pollution as well as land and water contamination.
  • Rainwater is harvested at Rockhampton North campus with the installation of water tanks with a capacity of 200,000 litres and electric pumps across the campus to sustainably collect and store rainwater. This will offset the usage of council-supplied potable water.
  • Our regional campus locations are landscaped with plants that are low-maintenance, hardy, water-efficient, and whenever possible, native.

Community Engagement

We are proud of the connections we have in our communitites and the work we contribute to building a sustainable future for our regions

Four free workshops were run across Victoria by the Female Farmers of the Future program to link local producers with the latest technology for future drought-proofing and preparedness. 

Water expert, Dr. Adam Rose, provides expert commentary on the Fitzroy River

University is a key partner in the Fitzroy Partnership for River Health which provides free educational sessions.

BROLGA- Designed for Indigenous students in years 5-12, the BROLGA program is a mix of on-campus and 'on country' learning experiences that incorporate elements of community, country, and culture. As part of this program, Dr. Adam Rose facilitates a session on water management.  For more information email

Slow the Flow- this initiative highlights the importance of the flow of water from rivers to reefs and the impacts a slower flow would have on the environment.

Rockwood Weird- As part of the Rockwood Weir Project, CQUniversity, in collaboration with Fitzroy Basic Association and Sunwater, prepared a monitoring program that enables the quantification of direct water quality impacts resulting from decayed vegetation and facilitated agriculture. 

Fitzroy Partnership for River Health - CQUniversity has members on the Independent Science Panel providing technical and scientific advice to drive research to support the continuous improvement of the Fitzroy Basin Report Card.

Drought Preparedness- The Decide and Thrive project is a joint initiative between CQUniveristy, the University of New England, and the CSIRO that focuses on drought-preparedness. 

Precision Horticulture- CQUniversity’s Precision Horticulture team is focused on improving the productivity and profitability of Queensland’s major horticultural commodities. Specialist research skills within the team include drone-based crop sensing for factors including crop water status. 

High-Value Tropical Cropping- CQUniversity is working with industry to design viable farming systems that can survive the increasingly regular extreme weather events – be it drought, torrential rainfall or heatwaves – while meeting the community’s expectations to minimise impact on the land and water.

Local Government Collaborations

  • Rapid Response to Reef Nutrients- Sponsored by the Mackay Whitsunday Regional Council & QLD Government, CQUniversity research into real-time monitoring of nutrient levels in the Great Barrier Reef aims to dramatically reduce the time and cost of identifying a problem and the subsequent remediation of nutrient loads in the Reef. 
  • Local Catchment research at Byfield- CQUniversity and Livingstone Shire Council collaborated on a study of Byfield’s Kelly’s Off Stream Storage and Water Park Creek

State Government Collaborations

  • Fitzroy Partnership for River Health - The Fitzroy Basin, in Central Queensland, is comprised of over 20,000 kilometres of waterways, possesses abundant natural assets, and is a region of significant economic importance. It includes six major river systems: Fitzroy, Dawson, Mackenzie, Nogoa, Comet, and Isaac/Connors. This project provides technical, scientific advice and coordination through the Fitzroy Partnership for River Health (FRPH) Independent Science Panel to drive research to support the continuous improvement of the Fitzroy Basin Report Card. 
  • Making Water Work- The core focus of this project is to identify the processes needed to improve cooperation and coordination between players in the developing irrigation sector, so as to improve the efficiency of water allocations and water use in the region. 

National Government Collaborations

  • Northern Australia Water Security- This project will organise the collective expertise of 3 North Australian-based universities (CQUniversity, James Cook University, and Charles Darwin University) who have recently formed the Northern Australia Universities Alliance (NAUA). 

Global Collaborations

  • United Nations Global Environment Outlook- Dr Shaneel Chandra holds a role in the author team for the UN Global Environment Outlook which is the flagship report for the United National Environment Program and provides an integrated assessment of the state of the global environment. 
  • Latin America- CQUniversity has established a partnership with a leading Latin American research agency, with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Argentina’s Ministry of Science and Technology (MINCYT) and the National Council for Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET). The partnership will enable collaboration between post-doctoral researchers at CQU and CONICET in areas of mutual excellence, such as environmental science. 

Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre (CMERC)

CMERC has been established to work with coastal industries and communities to develop practical and sustainable solutions for our unique coast and marine environments.