This Committee is providing expert advice on drinking water quality and public health. 

The NHMRC Water Quality Advisory Committee (WQAC) provides expert advice to NHMRC on public health issues related to drinking water quality.

The major role of WQAC is the rolling review of the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG). Other activities in WQAC's Work Plan are outlined below. 

WQAC members provide expertise in the fields of microbiology, toxicology, water quality risk assessment and management, water chemistry and recycling, groundwater hydrology, guidelines and methodology. Jurisdiction representatives with knowledge of implementing the ADWG are also members. WQAC has observer members from Food Standards Australia New Zealand, the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, and Water Services Association Australia. 

WQAC members are members of professional networks and consult within and outside these networks to provide expert advice on water quality issues nationally and internationally.

WQAC convenes working groups to focus on targeted Work Plan activities and may source additional experts where appropriate.

Terms of Reference

The NHMRC’s Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG) provide an authoritative reference on what defines safe, good quality water. The ADWG undergoes rolling review to ensure currency.

Water quality is an important issue requiring a specialist committee to provide technical advice and expertise to the NHMRC. This is part of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) commitment in its current Corporate Plan to maintain a leadership role in the development of public and environmental health advice.

The Water Quality Advisory Committee (the Committee) will:

  1. Guide and provide expert advice on the rolling review of the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines, focusing on the public health aspects of water quality and priority issues identified by the NHMRC.
  2. Provide rapid scientific and technical advice to the CEO of the NHMRC on current and emerging health issues relating to water quality in Australia, as required.
  3. Provide advice on the translation of research findings into national health related water quality policy and practice initiatives.
  4. Identify evidence gaps in NHMRC water quality guidelines, and advise on the research needs relating to water quality and health.
  5. Work closely with jurisdictional environmental health representatives as required in delivering on the above.

In consultation with NHMRC, the Committee may source expertise from outside the Committee to conduct its activities if required.

The Committee will report to Council of NHMRC. Appointments to the Committee will commence on 2 January 2019 and conclude on 31 December 2021.

Work Plan 2019 - 2021

The WQAC work plan has been developed with input from Commonwealth and state/ territory agencies involved in water quality management, industry groups, water suppliers and the general public. 

WQAC current activities include: 

  • Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG): rolling review of 14 chemical fact sheets on ten prioritised chemicals and four disinfectant by-products 
  • Develop Short Term Exposure Value (STEV) Guidance with the advice of the WQAC Chemical Subgroup. This guidance will describe processes for determining guideline values for short term exposure (up to 7 days) to chemicals that enter drinking water supplies as a result of spills or incidents. 
  • Finalise and publish a revised ADWG Chapter 5 on Microbial quality of drinking water, incorporating new health based targets (HBTs) advised by the WQAC HBT Working Group  
  • Finalise and publish revised ADWG Chapter 7 : Radiological quality of drinking water, and Chapter 10: Monitoring for specific characteristics in drinking water with input from ARPANSA AND WQAC members. 
  • Consider updating the Community Water Planner, a companion resource of the ADWG
  • Cross-reference the Environmental Health Standing Committee (enHealth) 2019 Water sampling guidance for metals in water from plumbing products to the ADWG 
  • Publish NHMRC Guidance on PFAS/PFOA/PFxS (PFAS) in recreational water.
  • Work in collaboration with the enHealth Water Quality Expert Reference Panel on matters related to water quality

WQAC Members 

Chair,
Professor
Frederic
Leusch

From the School of Environment,  Griffith University. Areas of expertise: Environmental toxicology; Chemical pollutants in the environment; Endocrine disruption; Bioanalytical tools in water quality assessment; Chemical risk assessment and guideline development

Declaration

  • Head of Discipline, Griffith University, Soil Water and Energy, School of Environment.
  • Associate Editor (environmental toxicology) for Chemosphere 2014 – present
  • Appointments: NHMRC’s Fluoride Reference Group 2014 – present; Health and Environmental Sciences Institute –Animal Alternatives for EDC Testing Workgroup 2014 – present; Project Review Team – Water Research Australia 2012 – present; Board Member – SETAC 2015 – present: Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Independent Expert Panel – Water Quality and Monitoring Programme 2016 - present
  • Recipient of Australian Research Council Linkage Grants
  • Published numerous research papers, conference publications, reports and book chapters
  • Presentations at international and national conferences, seminars and workshops
  • Has provided expert advice to Californian and Australian water utilities on recycled water quality and micropollutants of emerging concern.
  • Conference organisation: Chair – SETAC Australasia Conference 2012; Co-Chair: Micro Pool & Ecohazard 2011; Organising Committee: EmCon & WiOW 2016 – Emerging Contaminants and Micropollutants in the Environment; SETAC AP 2014; SETAC Australasia 2013; Discussion Leader – Disinfection By-Products Gordon Research Conference 2015
  • Committees: Chair  of Steering Committee – Bioanalytical Risk Assessment Validation and Experimentation – Australian Water Recycling of Excellence 2015 – present; European Commission Seventh Framework Programme – Demonstration of Promising Technologies to Address Emerging Pollutants in Water and Waste Water 2014 – 2015; Water Research Foundation – Screening Endocrine Activity of Disinfection By-Products 2010 – 2014
  • Member of: Australasian College of Toxicology and Risk Assessment; International Water Association; Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 

Ms
Miranda
Cumpston

From the Australian Clinical Trials Alliance, specialising in evidence-based public health and systematic reviews.

Declaration

  • Undertake activities in collaboration with NHMRC and other partners, including public advocacy in relation to the conduct and funding of clinical trials in Australia
  • Voluntary Editor at Cochrane Public Health, which receives infrastructure funding from NHMRC through the University of Melbourne
  • Publications and provided input into research design, conducted qualitative interviews, research interpretation and drafted paper which constitutes public advocacy for the use of systematic reviews in policy

Dr
David
Cunliffe

From the South Australian Department for Health and Wellbeing; expertise in  water regulation, microbiology and risk assessment.

Declaration

  • Principal water quality specialist with the SA Department for Health and Wellbeing. A regulator with over 35 years of experience dealing with public health aspects of drinking water, recycled water and recreational water.
  • Contributed to a range of national and international guidelines on drinking water quality, safe use of recycled water and recreational water quality. Member of the NHMRC/ARMCANZ Drinking Water Review Coordinating Committee formed in 1998; later a member and then chair of the Water Quality Advisory Committee until the end of 2015. Chair of the working group that developed the Framework for Management of Drinking Water Quality. Member of the Joint Steering Committee for the development of the Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling and chair of the Health Risk and Drinking Water Augmentation working groups.
  • Member of WHO Water Quality Committees since 2001 and current chair of the WHO Drinking-Water Guideline Development Group. Contributed to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th editions of the Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality and the Guidelines for Safe Use of Wastewater, Excreta and Greywater. Lead editor and scientific adviser for WHO texts on “Potable Reuse”, “Water Safety in Buildings” and “Water Safety in Distribution Systems”. Contributed to WHO texts on “Developing Drinking-water Quality Regulations and Standards” and “Legionella and the Prevention of Legionellosis”.
  • Published on drinking water quality, recycled water, desalination, and rainwater quality. Member of international expert panels on drinking water quality in Singapore and Hong Kong.
  • Chair of the Who Drinking Water Guideline Coordinating Committee

Mr
Cameron
Dalgleish

From the Tasmanian Department of Health. Expertise in Environmental science, water quality and risk management, auditor, public health. 

Declaration

  • Health regulator on drinking water safety in Tasmania; administering legislation, policy and guidelines. Cover both drinking water quality and fluoridation and an understanding of the implementation of the ADWG framework
  • An environmental scientist specialising in water chemistry with 19 years’ experience in the water industry. Previously worked across construction, natural resource conservation, environmental management and as a regulator
  • An active member of the enHealth Water Quality Expert Reference Panel of the Tasmanian Fluoridation Committee
  • Publication of journal articles, reports, fact sheets, guidelines and presentations at national conferences, seminars and workshops.

Dr
Dan
Deere

Independent consultant from Water Futures, The University of New South Wales. Expertise in water quality and risk management; Data analysis, interpretation and modelling; Auditor.

Declaration

  • Consultant: Visiting Fellow at The University of New South Wales – Water Futures
  • Committee member of: Seqwater Water Security Program Independent Review Panel; WSAA HBTs Working Group;  NATA Cryptosporidium and Giardia Proficiency Testing Program; NATA Biological Accreditation Advisory Committee; NSW Health Cryptosporidium and Giardia Testing Independent Expert Panel; NSW Decentralised Systems Working Group
  • Past committees: NHMRC Drinking Water Guidelines Reference Group 2009 – 2011
  • Member of: Australian Water Association; International Water Association; Water Research Australia 
  • Taught numerous training events for local Government and Water Utilities in water quality and risk management
  • Expert witness on water quality protection for both governments and water utilities
  • Publications of numerous journals, book chapters and reports; also presentations at international and national conferences, seminars and workshops 

Professor
Cynthia
Joll

Deputy Director at Curtin Water Quality Research Centre, Curtin University. Expertise as an Analytical chemist with a focus on disinfection by-products, both in terms of formation, detection and analysis of the chemicals.

Declaration

  • Since 2006 – Deputy Director, Curtin Water Quality Research Centre, Curtin University. The Curtin Water Quality Research Centre is a Strategic Research Alliance with the Water Corporation of WA. Curtin University is also a research member of Water Research Australia
  • Chief Investigator on a current ARC Linkage project on nitrogen compounds in wastewater treatment. Chief Investigator on past ARC Linkage projects on disinfection by-products in drinking water systems with partner organisations Water Corporation of WA and Water Research Australia. Future applications to ARC for research support.
  • Publications of numerous journal articles, book chapters and reports

Professor
Stuart
Khan

From the Water Research Centre, University of New South Wales. Areas of expertise: Trace chemical contaminants in water; Risk assessment and risk management.

Declaration

  • Academic at the University of New South Wales – Water Research Centre
  • Consultant: undertook work for members of the Australian Water Industry
  • Committee/Advisory member of: WHO – Water Quality and Technical Advisory Group 2015 – present;  Water Quality Research Australia –  Project Quality Review Team 2012 – present;  U.S. WateReuse – Technical Advisory Committee 2015 – 2017; Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Independent Expert Panel – Water Quality and Monitoring Programme 2016 - present
  • Past Committee/Advisory member of: U.S. WateReuse Foundation – Project Advisory Committee 2010 – 2014; Australian Water Recycling Centre of Excellence – Project Advisory Committee 2011 – 2014; CSIRO and NSW Environmental Trust – Project Advisory Committee 2010 – 2013; South East Queensland Urban Water Security Research Alliance – Project Advisory Committee –  Purified Recycled Water Project 2008 – 2012
  • Journal Editorships: Associate Editor – Environmental Science – Water Research and Technology; Journal of Water Supply – Research Technology
  • Recipient of research grants from government and non-government agencies – including Australian Research Council and Water Research Australia
  • Publication of numerous journal articles, reports and book chapters; also presentations at international and national conferences, seminars and workshops
  • Member of: Australian Water Association; International Water Association; Engineers Australia 

Associate Professor
Susan
Petterson

Associate Professor, School of Medicine, Griffith University, Director, Water & Health Pty Ltd, Editor, Journal of Water and Health. Expertise in Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment and risk assessment software tool development. 

Declaration

  • Associate Professor at School of Medicine, Griffith University
  • Director of Water & Health Pty Ltd
  • Editor: Journal of Health and Water (IWA Publishing)
  • Consultant to: Viega Plumbing on opportunistic pathogens; the City of Edmonton, Canada – on recreational water; expert testimony for AGL Macquarie on opportunistic pathogens
  • Current projects for: Global Water Pathogens Project; Public Health Agency of Sweden 2012 – present; Sydney Water Corporation 2012 – present; NSW Health 2012 – present; WHO 2009 – present
  • Past projects for: Government of Alberta, Canada 2013 – 2014; INTARES EU 2011 – 2014; Water Research Australia 2011 – 2013; Swedish Water and Wastewater Association – Stockholm Water Ltd 2011
  • Publications on numerous journals and reports; also presentations at international and national conferences, seminars and workshops

Professor
Craig
Simmons

From the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training, School of the Environment, Flinders University, the University of Western Australia. Expertise in groundwater hydrology; Hydrological, environmental, earth and applied engineering sciences. 

Declaration

  • Director – National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training
  • Mathew Flinders Distinguished Professor of Hydrogeology and Schultz Chair of the Environment – Flinders University; Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences & Engineering; Adjunct Professor at The University of Western Australia
  • Committee member of: Alternate Deputy Chair –  Statutory Independent Scientific Committee (IESC) on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development; Chair –  IESC  Research Subcommittee; Deputy Chair of the ATSE’s Water Forum; Chair – Roundtable for Oil and Gas Projects in South Australia; Member – Research Advisory Committee, Goyder Institute for Water Research South Australia; Member – Engineering and Medicine Roundtable on Unconvential Hydrocarbon Development, US National Academies of Sciences; Member – Agency reference Group, Office of Groundwater Impact Assessment, QLD; Member – Steering Committee, SA NRM research and Innovation Network
  • Member of: Australian Institute of Company Directors; National Groundwater Association of the U.S.A; International Association of Hydrogeologists;  American Geophysical Union; Geological Society of America; Hydrological Society of South Australia
  • Editorial boards: Australian Journal of Water Resources;  International Journal  of Water Conservation Science and Engineering; International Journal of Environmental Modeling and Assessment; Groundwater; Journal of Hydrology; Vadose Zone Journal
  • Publications of numerous journal articles, book chapters and reports; presentations at international and national conferences, seminars and workshops

Ms
Carolyn
Stanford

Consumer Representative at Stanford Marketing. Area of expertise in marketing and communications.

Declaration

  • Consultancy fees to Stanford Marketing from Goulburn-Murray Rural WaterCorp for marketing and communication services
  • Fees paid to husband’s company by Coliban Water for metal fabrication services
  • Development of Goulburn – Murray Water publications
  • Development of various guidelines, standards, educational material or fact sheets for Coliban Water 1999 – 2005

Dr
Katrina
Wall

Water Unit Health Protection NSW. Expertise as a Health Regulator and Environmental microbiologist.

Declaration

  • Employed by NSW Health as Senior Project Officer with the Water Unit, Environmental Health Branch since 2008. Provide water quality advice, policy and regulation for NSW
  • Represent NSW on the enHealth Water Quality Expert Reference Panel since 2016, providing advice and national guidance on water quality and public health
  • Represent NSW Health on the NSW Carp Advisory Group, provides advice and NSW policy position to the National Carp Control Program
  • Corporate member of the International Water Association and personal member of the Australian Water Association
  • Published journal articles conference proceedings and reports, presented at international and national conferences, seminars and workshops

Mr
Marcus
Walters (Observer)

From the Australian Department of Agriculture. Expertise is in National water policy and reform. 

Declaration

  • Australian Government national water quality policy

Dr
Nick
Fletcher (Observer)

From Food Standards Australia New Zealand. Area of expertise in Toxicology and risk assessment. 

Declaration

  • Manager Risk Assessment Chemical Safety and Nutrition, Food Standards Australia New Zealand
  • Senior Associate (Toxicology) Coffey Environments 2012-2013

Mr
Adam
Lovell (Observer)

Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) - Executive Director, Global Water Research Coalition (GWRC) – Board Chair

Declaration

  • WSAA is a peak industry body representing the urban water industry
  • The GWRC is a non-profit organisation that serves as a focal point for the global collaboration for research planning and execution on water and wastewater related issues. The function of the GWRC is to leverage funding and expertise an=mong the participating research organisations, coordinate research strategies, secure funding not available to single country research foundations and actively manage a centralised approach to global issues.