Duncan Rayner

Duncan Rayner
Principal Environmental Engineer
UNSW Water Research Laboratory
Contact details:
(+61) 2 8071 9851

Duncan Rayner investigating a peat swamp

Duncan is a Principal Environmental Engineer at the Water Research Laboratory. He is an expert in environmental water and leads WRL’s industry research projects for rivers and estuaries, floodplain and catchment hydrology, and wetland rehabilitation. Duncan specialises in data-driven management of challenging water environments, combining detailed site investigations with numerical modelling to achieve project outcomes.

Duncan holds a Masters of Engineering Science in Water Resources and a Bachelor of Environmental Engineering with Honours. Both his Bachelor and Master’s theses focused on estuarine water quality and hydrodynamics, providing the foundation from which he now leads industry research and specialist consulting projects spanning paddock-scale wetland rehabilitation; to complex and dynamic estuarine process studies; to state wide assessments on coastal floodplains. 

Over the past decade, Duncan has focused on data-driven approaches for the management of estuarine and coastal shelf environments through applied research into process assessment, development of management options, and ultimately implementation of practical rehabilitation solutions. From 2019, he led a detailed assessment to prioritise diffuse poor water quality across seven large NSW coastal floodplains, including the detailed investigation of sea level rise impacts on floodplain drainage and coastal environments.

Duncan has designed and implemented numerous large-scale coastal wetland rehabilitation projects to address issues of poor water quality, lost aquatic connectivity and habitat degradation, resulting in improved land management, and the establishment of endangered ecological communities and blue carbon ecosystems. 

As part of the EcoEng @ WRL team, he has been awarded the National Trust of Australia's Heritage Award and Engineers Australia’s Engineering Excellence Award. In 2021, Duncan was awarded the UNSW Faculty of Engineering Excellence Award for Industry Engagement.