New IWA Specialist Group on Sustainable Coastal and Estuarine Development

IWA Specialist Groups cover a wide range of subjects and are one of the main mechanisms for like-minded IWA members to network and share knowledge. They form important engines for scientific and technical content development driving innovation in the water sector. With 51 Specialist Groups spread across IWA’s membership in more than 140 countries, they are an effective means of international networking, knowledge sharing and more!  As part of IWA’s mission to promote a world in which water is wisely managed, a new Specialist Group has been established to provide sustainable solutions for coastal and estuarine development.

As a voluntary network, the Sustainable Coastal and Estuarine Development Specialist Group is open to all IWA members. Not an IWA member yet? Join here.  

In this article, Prof M. Sivakumar, Chair of the SG, presents some key points about the new group. 


Q: What was the motivation for setting up an IWA Specialist Group on Sustainable Coastal and Estuarine Development? 

Many coastal cities rely on large water storage dams upstream of them. Due to climate change impact, the annual flow into the dam catchments is generally predicted to decrease, giving rise to lower water yields from many of these traditional water storage reservoirs. As a result, some major cities such as Chennai, Cape Town and Jakarta, have shown the potential to run out of water.  

However, during peak flow periods, the ‘fresh’ flood water runoff flowing downstream from these dams is lost to sea. This runoff can be captured in suitably designed coastal reservoirs for use in water supply, seawater intrusion control, flood disaster mitigation, agricultural development, and land reclamation, including urban regeneration. 

Tidal basins on the other hand can be used for energy generation. In fact, worldwide, the renewable energy that can be potentially extracted from the marine environment is not well exploited compared to solar, wind or biomass energy technologies. 

Waterfront developments are being planned and constructed in many countries around the world. The design of such basins can be complex, particularly in terms of the need to deliver sustainable good ecological status of the water within the development.      


Q: How will the Specialist Group contribute to solving the global water challenges related to coastal and estuarine environments?  

Coastal reservoirs, tidal basins and waterfront developments are major infrastructure developments in estuarine and/or coastal environments. Future design of such large infrastructure systems must ensure not only water supply, energy needs or regeneration requirements, but also that salinity, nutrient and sediment fluxes, tidal flow exchanges, access to navigation and leisure craft and fish migration etc. are sustainably managed so that the needs of all users of the coastal and estuarine ‘ecosystem’ are met.  

This new Specialist Group will contribute to solving global water challenges by promoting coastal reservoirs, tidal basin technologies for water and energy security, and urban and agricultural development across the world’s coastal regions. The group will also contribute to: (i) Developing sustainable technologies for coastal end estuarine restoration (ii) Developing  manuals of design and operation practice of coastal reservoirs and tidal lagoons (iii) Research and dissemination on the environmental and ecological aspects of coastal impoundments and (iv) Developing a proposal for a new IWA Publishing journal on “Sustainable Coastal and Estuarine Development”. 


Q: What Specialist Group activities and events are you planning to do in the near future?  

The Specialist Group will conduct regular international conferences and webinars to bring practitioners, managers, researchers, engineers, scientists, planners and academicians together to discuss the design, operation and management of coastal reservoirs, tidal basins and waterfront developments, for water and energy security, and urban and agricultural developments across the world’s coastal regions. Young Water Professionals are particularly encouraged to participate and take leadership roles in promoting this Specialist Group. 

In the near future, we will be helping run an international conference on Coastal Reservoirs and Sustainable Water Management that will be held in Nanjing, China on 6-9 November 2023. The abstracts submission deadline has just been extended to 15 June 2023. There will also be a field visit to the world’s largest coastal reservoir, namely Qingcaosha Coastal Reservoir, in the Yangtze Estuary. It supplies 7500 ML/d of water to the city of Shanghai. More information on the conference and field visit is available at:  

We are also planning to run webinars approximately four times per year starting soon and will be working with IWA to develop a proposal for a new journal on Sustainable Coastal and Estuarine Development.  

We plan to interact closely with three other IWA Specialist Groups, namely: Lakes and Reservoir Management; Watershed and River Basin Management; and, Modelling and Integrated Assessment.  This could involve conducting joint webinars, organising collaborative conferences, and developing manuals, monographs and more. Join us on IWA Connect Plus to stay up to date with our activities and to engage with the group! 


Meet the founding committee of the IWA Specialist Group on Sustainable Coastal and Estuarine Development 


Key office bearers of the Specialist Group 


Sivakumar (Siva) Muttucumaru, Chair

Associate Prof in Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Wollongong, Australia

Siva is an Associate Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Wollongong (UOW), Australia. He has research and teaching experience in Australian and overseas Universities over three decades and established the discipline of environmental engineering at UOW. He has published over 200 technical papers that are relevant to the water and wastewater engineering industry. His research expertise includes coastal reservoirs, water quality and water resources engineering, pollutant export from urban catchments, development of sustainable water and wastewater treatment technologies including management of coastal eco-systems. He was formerly Fellow of the Engineers, Australia and Chartered Professional Engineer, Co-Founder and Vice President of Futureworld Eco-Technology Centre and Founding Board Member of the International Association for Coastal Reservoir Research.


Roger A Falconer, Vice Chair

Emeritus Professor of Water & Environmental Engineering, Cardiff University, UK

Roger Falconer is Emeritus Professor of Water and Environmental Engineering at Cardiff University, UK, Chair Professor at Hohai University, China, and an Independent Water Consultant. He continues to manage a wide range of projects on water and environmental modelling, particularly for coastal and estuarine basins, and has been involved in over 100 EIA studies worldwide. He has published extensively in the field and advises international consulting companies and government agencies on related topics. He also regularly gives lectures world-wide and participates in media and TV interviews on topics relating to sustainable coastal and estuarine development. Roger is a Fellow of the UK Royal Academy of Engineering, Foreign Member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Honorary Member and Past-President (2011-15) of the International Association for Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research, and a Founding Vice-President of the International Association for Coastal Reservoir Research.


Shuqing Yang, Joint Secretary

Associate Prof in Civil Engineering, University of Wollongong, Australia

Dr. Yang is currently Associate Professor at the University of Wollongong. He has been working as a water engineer since 1980 and has been involved in many mega projects in China like the Three Gorges Dam, South-North Water Diversion Project, and the Huanghua Port. After soon realising that dams and long-distance water diversion are not sustainable water solutions, he successfully got the coastal reservoir patent. He jointly founded the International Association for Coastal Reservoir Research with his peers. He has authored about 120 technical papers and five books including “Coastal Reservoir Technology and Application”. He has also answered many unsolved problems in fluid mechanics and sediment transport.


Lim Sin-Poh, Joint Secretary

Consulting Engineer/CEO- Global Water Consultants, Malaysia

Lim Sin Poh is co-founder and Managing Director of Global Water Consultants Sdn Bhd (previously known as G&P Water & Maritime Sdn Bhd), and co-founder and secretariat member of the International Association for Coastal Reservoir Research (IACRR). He is a Registered Professional Engineer in Malaysia, a Corporate Member of the Institution of Engineers Malaysia, and life member of the Malaysian Stormwater Organization (MSO). He is also a specialist in the field of river and coastal hydraulics and a certified professional in erosion and sediment control with over 30 years’ experience in engineering consultancy. He has been involved in more than 200 projects locally and in Indonesia, Cambodia, and Singapore. He has been promoting the application of coastal reservoir in Asia since 2016.


Fang Yenn Teo, Treasurer

Associate Professor of Water Engineering at the University of Nottingham Malaysia

Fang Yenn Teo is Associate Professor of Water Engineering at the University of Nottingham Malaysia, and Chair of the International Association for Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research (IAHR), Malaysia Chapter. He obtained a Ph.D in Civil Engineering from Cardiff University, UK. He has an established professional experience of over 22 years as engineer, science researcher, and senior manager in the field of civil engineering, particularly water engineering and management in a changing environment, including skills in hydrology and water resources, river and coastal engineering, flood and stormwater management. He holds numerous professional engineering qualifications, both local and international.


The Management Committee will consist of the following personnel


Position  Name  Title (Job/University) 
International Advisor – South Asia  Prof T G Sitharam  Professor- Indian Institute of Science and Director Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, India
International Advisor – United Kingdom  Prof Roger A Falconer  Emeritus Professor of Water & Environmental Engineering, Cardiff University, UK
International Advisor – North America  Prof. Glen T. Daigger   Professor of Environmental Engineering, University of Michigan, USA
International Advisor – East Asia (TBC)  Prof. Xia Jun  Professor of Water Resources Engineering, Wuhan University, China
International Advisor –Europe Hubert Savenije  Emeritus Professor of Hydrology, Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands 
International Advisor –Europe Arthur Mynett  Emeritus Professor of Hydraulic Engineering, IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, the Netherlands
International Advisor – East Asia  Prof. Dr. Lim Pengzhi,   Professor of Hydro-informatics, Sichuan University, China 
International Advisor – South East Asia  Dr Yew Chong Tan  Chief Economic Advisor of Malaysia-China Business Council
Member Rep- Australasia and Pacific  Dr Purba RM Sianipar  Water Resources Engineer, Ministry of National Development Planning, Indonesia 
Journal editorial committee  Prof M L Kansal  Prof of Water Resources Development and Management, Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, India
Journal editorial committee  A/Prof Brian Jones  Assoc. Prof of Environmental Science, University of Wollongong, Australia 
Webinar Coordinator  A/Prof Teo Fang Yenn  A/Prof in Water Engineering, University of Nottingham, Malaysia. 
Newsletter editor  Dr Jena BK  Scientist, National Institute of Ocean Technology, India
Young Water Professional representative  Dr Sreevalsa Kolathayar  A/Prof in Civil Engineering- Expertise in Water Geotechnics
Events coordinator  Dr Angie Lee   Global Water Consultants, Malaysia 
External relations coordinator   A/Prof (Siva) M Sivakumar  Assoc. Prof in Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Wollongong, Australia