Impressive turnout for WRL Open Day

In support of UNSW’s efforts to actively engage with our community, WRL opened its doors to around 650 curious visitors on Saturday morning. With 9 interactive displays set up throughout our laboratories, visitors were treated to a first-hand look at our current research, equipment and facilities – an experience only made available to the general public every 5 years or so.

Jamie Ruprecht inspiring the next generation with the interactive mini flume

Principal Engineer and Manager, Grantley Smith, said that WRL was astounded by the response on the day. "We have not held an open day since 2013, and the level of interest on display by people of all ages and backgrounds was fantastic." said Mr Smith.

With hundreds of families passing through the laboratory doors during the morning, it was such a pleasure for WRL’s staff and students to see the next generation of future water engineers and scientists so curious about the world around them. While the huge model dam and interactive wave flume were cause for excitement, it was the chance to see how we combine new technologies with our science that had the children truly inspired - our fleet of multi-rotor drones attracting a constant crowd and never ending questions about how we use this technology as one of our scientific instruments for monitoring and mapping the environment!

Other highlights in the tour included the 50 m long wave flume, with a visual display of the impacts of storm surge and waves on Pacific Islands, raising issues about the effect of climate change and sustainability for remote island communities. Due to its size, the 30 m x 16 m wave basin always gathers an audience, with a mobile beach and harbour model on display for visitors; and the large fish ladder model, which demonstrated an innovative engineering solution to an ecological conservation challenge. 

Special thanks also go to the Manly Vale Public School who put in a tremendous effort into providing a sausage sizzle for our many hungry visitors and raised funds for their school.

Associate Professor Martin Andersen teaching kids about groundwater Dr Stefan Felder at the model cars in floodwater display
 Associate Professor Denis O'Carroll at the dam physical model  Associate Professor Ron Cox at the Pacific Island model
 Dr Helen Rutledge at the fishway model  Visitors getting involved with the fishway model
 Alice Harrison at the very popular drone display  Associate Professor Ron Cox's extensive expertise gathers an audience
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