UNSW grand challenges - Engineering Disruption People's Choice Award

As part of the UNSW Grand Challenges Engineering Disruption campaign, several WRL staff (A/P Ron Cox, Dr. Kristen Splinter) and students (Vera Li) participated in the Responding to Climate Change Challenge. Their team formed the Pacific Island Safe Sanitation.

They won the People's Choice Award in Responding to Climate Change at the finals event held at the Michael Crouch Innovation Centre and are now pursuing ways and financial support to implement their project on Kiribati.


Pacific Island communities are being threatened by climate change due to changing weather patterns and rising sea level. Both of these impact the ability to access clean, safe, fresh water that is vital for human survival. We propose a low-cost, low-tech solution to ensure safe water for local communities into the future on remote Pacific Islands. Our proposal involves 2 aspects: the installation of composting toilets and the education/training of local people on water scarcity, safe sanitation and how the bi-products of the toilet can be used to enhance agriculture. We believe our project, though simple, can drastically improve the living conditions of many people in small island developing states where climate change and sea level rise threaten the scarce fresh water resource vital to life.

For more information on this project and how you can help, please contact Dr. Kristen Splinter (k.splinter@unsw.edu.au).

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