Ginninderra Project Team – Staff spotlight on Simon Toze

Simon Toze has been a leader within CSIRO’s urban based research for more than a decade and currently plays an important role within the Ginninderra Project Team as a Principal Senior Research Scientist.

Joining CSIRO in 1992 as a Postdoctoral Fellow to work on the remediation of contaminated environments, Simon is internationally recognised for his research on the reuse of water in urban environments.

His current principal research focus is on the reuse of water in urban environments, in particular involving Indirect Potable Reuse and Managed Aquifer Recharge; as well as studying the presence and attenuation of microbial and chemical contaminants in reservoirs, urban stormwater and roof harvested rainwater. He has a range of research interests which include studying the fate and behaviour of microbial pathogens in the environment; the influence of groundwater microorganisms on the biogeochemistry of aquifers; and the development of rapid and accurate molecular based methods for the tracking, detection and enumeration of viable microbial pathogens in environmental water samples.

As part of his role within the Ginninderra Project, Simon has been developing research into resilient urban systems to benefit Australian and international communities. More specifically, he has been looking into how to make the site become a model water-wise development which achieves a zero water-discharge. This requires new ways to reuse storm water, rain water and treated wastewater within the Ginninderra site. This captured water can then be used for urban greening, passive cooling and heating of buildings, protecting surrounding local waterways, and improving urban water efficiencies.

Simon believes the Ginninderra project can become an international benchmark for urban sustainability and liveability.

“With Ginninderra, we have the opportunity to produce an urban centre that is the standard for liveable, sustainable and resilient development in Australia and the world,” said Simon.

“The knowledge gained through studying and developing urban innovations at the Ginninderra site will be influential in directing the necessary changes Australia will need to make to take advantage of the opportunities and challenges of the 21st century.”

Simon is also assisting in the setup of a CSIRO Urban Living Lab at the Ginninderra site which aims to assist industry and governments to test future technologies, social and environmental health initiatives, as well as environmental options.

Simon obtained his PhD in Environmental Microbiology from the University of Queensland in 1992 and is an Honorary Associate Professor with the University of Queensland School of Population Health.

Project update – September

Our focus this month was on community engagement, with two neighbourhood drop-in sessions held in Evatt and Gold Creek.

The purpose of these sessions was to seek targeted feedback and ideas about elements that were identified as important by the community in the first phase of engagement in September 2015.

These included housing, conservation, roads and transport, and community facilities.

Additional feedback at the August sessions covered topics including the community engagement process, the impact of future development on residents of surrounding suburbs, and CSIRO’s role in relation to planning.

Engagement by the community in these sessions was both strong and constructive, providing a wealth of ideas for further consideration in the planning process.

The sessions also confirmed the importance to the community of:

Residents were also able to view the 701-hectare CSIRO property as captured from a series of locations using both 4k and 360 degree cameras mounted underneath a remotely piloted drone. The drone aerial survey led by a team from CSIRO Land and Water and Data61 has produced a visual record and basis for further planning and modelling of development and conservation at the site.

The latest drop-in sessions follow five years of preparation and investigation that led to the approval (in May 2016) for CSIRO’s Ginninderra Field Station to be classified as ‘Urban’ under Amendment 86 to the National Capital Plan.

As with all of our engagement with the community, we are committed to taking on board the comments received in future planning and design processes.

Feedback received from these sessions will be included in the briefing materials for the Request for Tender process to ensure that potential future development partners are mindful of the community’s expectations.

If you were unable to make it to the sessions, or have further comments or questions, we invite you to complete our community feedback form.