Distinguished Geotechnical Alumni Speaker

   Dr. Chack Fan Lee (PhD '72)

    Title:  Water Resources Management in China
    Date:  October 15, 2013
    Time:  12:30 - 1:30 p.m.
    Room:  SEB 1200




China faces shortage (or acute shortage) of water supply in hundreds of its cities. The country is determined to transform itself into a water-conserving society (including water-conserving agriculture, industry and life-style). Such water-conserving measures have prevented the cut off of flow in the lower reaches of the Yellow River and other rivers in northwestern China.

Deforestation over a period of two millennia has resulted in numerous barren hillsides in western China, leading to soil erosion, sedimentation, rise of the riverbeds and frequent disastrous floods. Historically, flood hazard was controlled by raising the height of the river dykes. This sometimes worked and sometimes did not. A more ecologically oriented approach to flood hazard mitigation was adopted in 1998, calling for the re-vegetation of the barren slopes to reduce soil erosion and sedimentation. Tree cutting in the upper reaches of the Yangzte and Yellow Rivers becomes illegal. A number of measures were also introduced to encourage tree re-plantation. These measures have met with some initial success, but there is still a long way to go along the path of the “Green Long March”.

Rapid industrialization and economic growth over the past three decades have led to the pollution of both surface water and ground water resources. Hundreds of factories have been closed to reduce pollution. As well, hundreds of waste water treatment plants are being built across the country, along with sewage collection networks, in order to protect the aquatic environment.

Strategic Project Grants

   Dr. Clare Robinson









Western researcher Clare Robinson has been named among 83 scientific teams at universities across the country receiving Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Strategic Project Grants.

Of the 83 funded projects, 81 are receiving more than $36 million over three years to support early-stage work and to encourage collaboration among academic researchers, industry and government partners. The goal of these grants is to increase research and training in areas that could strongly influence Canada’s economy, society or environment in the next 10 years in four target areas: environmental science and technologies; information and communications technologies; manufacturing; and natural resources and energy.

Dr. Clare Robinson, a Research Director of the Geotechnical Research Centre, Department Civil and Environmental Engineering professor, will receive $504,000 over three years for her project, Quantification of groundwater contribution to fecal and nutrient pollution at beaches of the Great Lakes.

Designer Microbial Cultures

Ph.D. Candidate - Omneya El Sharnouby (Trillium Scholar)
Supervisor - Dr. M.H. El Naggar


Environmental pollution and dwindling energy supplies are two of the most pressing challenges facing societies. Anaerobic treatment of organic wastes can simultaneously resolve these challenges by not only mitigating environmental pollution, but also by producing clean energy in the form of hydrogen and methane. The production of biohydrogen from real wastes is however severely limited by microbial and metabolic shifts, as well as low hydrogen yields and production rates.

El Sharnouby’s research focuses on the development of anaerobic “Designer microbial cultures”, consisting of mixtures of pure strains that operate in synergy to concomitantly maximize hydrogen yield and biodegradation of organic contaminants to alleviate environmental concerns from specific wastewaters. The development of these novel microbial consortia is essential for the significant advancement of both the understanding and practical application of anaerobic treatment processes.

Both my parents and my brother obtained their PhD. Degrees in Engineering from Western, so graduating from here has been always one of my dreams.”

Faculty of Engineering • Spencer Engineering Building
Western University
London, Ontario, Canada, N6A 5B9 Tel: 519-661-3344
Updated June 18, 2013 by cquintus
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