WaterMicro23 Conference Website


21st Symposium on Health-related Water Microbiology 

4 -9 June 2023, Darwin

Online registrations close 26 May.

About the Conference

The conference program will cover all aspects of health-related water microbiology across the whole water cycle, applied and basic research on water, micro-organisms and impacts on human health. It will bring together microbiologists, researchers, policymakers, water practitioners from academia, industry, engineers, water utilities, indigenous communities, public authorities and administration to exchange the latest scientific findings, experience and know-how.

The conference will welcome over 200 delegates from across the world to Darwin, in Australia's North during the beautiful dry season. The conference will be held at the waterfront Darwin Convention Centre, close to the city centre, accommodation and local amenities. 

Delegates will include specialists in environmental and clinical microbiology; infectious diseases epidemiology; and water and sanitation engineering and environmental health practice.

Conference Theme

“Water Safety for All — reflections and emerging concerns.”

The theme encourages reflection on the efficacy of water and sanitation safety plans, water quality guidelines, frameworks and surveillance adopted over the past 20 years. A focus on emerging concerns from climate change, environmental stress and extreme events will also feature in the program. The theme contributes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.


Indigenous knowledge and engagement 

  • Cultural indicators of water health 
  • Co-designing water and sanitation safety plans 
  • Incorporating indigenous knowledge and values in water quality management

Water safety planning - reflections and improvements

  • Lessons from success 
  • Incorporating indigenous knowledge and values into water and sanitation safety planning 
  • Water quality management in emergencies, disaster situations and other extreme events 
  • QMRA and achieving health-based targets 
  • Capacity development 

Climate change impacts on water safety

  • Water-sensitive cities and adapting to the changing environment 
  • System impacts of climate change 
  • Climate impacts on catchments, drinking water sources, sanitation and recreational waters 
Pathogenomics and bioinformatics 

  • Metagenomics 
  • Microbial source tracking 
  • Anti-microbial resistance
  • Applications in QMRA
Realising the potential of new technologies and data analytics

  • Rapid point of use surveillance technologies 
  • Using digital platforms 
  • Real-time, remote sensing 
  • Automation of water quality information and interpretation 
  • Using citizen data and apps 
Evolution of wastewater-based surveillance

  • Lessons learned from Covid-19 and new possibilities/application 
  • Quality assurance in sampling and laboratory analyses
  • What do policymakers need and when? 
  • Social licence for surveillance 

From research to practice

  • Evidence-based policy vs policy-based evidence 
  • Global environmental change – emerging research needs
  • Unrecognised pathogens and those of emerging concern 


  • An abstract theme we have not listed that will help to keep communities safe


Organising CommitteeProgram Committee
Darryl Day, Peter Cullen Trust (Co-Chair)
Prof Nicholas Ashbolt, Southern Cross University (Chair) 

Dr Annalisa Contos, Atom Consulting (Co-Chair)

Prof. Regina Sommer, Medical University Vienna, Austria     

Prof. Nicholas Ashbolt, Southern Cross University 

Prof. Hiroyuki Katayama, The University of Tokyo, Japan

Wayne Sharp, Power and Water Corporation

Prof. Rosina Girones, University of Barcelona, Spain

Prof. Anne Roiko, Griffith University

Prof. Daisuke Sano, Tohoku University, Japan
A/Prof. Helen Stratton, Griffith UniversityMs. Maronel Steyn, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, South Africa
Dr Susan Petterson, Water and Health
Dr. John Scott Meschke, University of Washington, USA
Karen Rouse, Water Research Australia
Dr. Ricardo Santos, Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal
Dr Marion Savill, Affordable Water Ltd
Dr. Kwanrawee Sirikanchana, Chulabhorn Research Institute, Thailand
Sonya Kozak, Griffith University
Dr. Susan Petterson, School of Medicine, Griffith University, Australia
Dr Christobel Ferguson
Prof. Andreas H. Farnleitner, Karl Landsteiner University for Health Sciences, 3500 Krems, Austria

Patrick Schnelle, Atom Consulting
Dr. Kathleen Alexander, Virginia Tech, USA
Robert Bos
Dr. Eiji Haramoto, Interdisciplinary Center for River Basin Environment University of Yamanashi, Japan
Jacqueline Frizenschaf, Water Research Australia
Dr. Veronica Rajal, National University of Salta, Argentina
Prof. Karen Gibb, Charles Darwin University Prof. Anne Roiko, Griffith University, Australia

Dr. Lisa Casanova, Georgia State University, USA

Dr. Christobel Ferguson, Australia

Prof. Nicholas Ashbolt, Southern Cross University, Australia 

Prof. Ana Maria de Roda Husman, Centre for Infectious Disease Control, RIVM, Netherlands

Prof. Gertjan Medema, KWR & Technical University of Delft, Netherlands

Dr Joan Rose, Michigan State University, USA

Dr João Brandão, National Institute of Health Dr. Ricardo Jorge, Portugal

Dr Marion Savill, Affordable Water Ltd, New Zealand 

A/Prof Helen Stratton, Griffith University, Australia

Dr Annalisa Contos, Atom Consulting, Australia

Prof. Gary Toranzos, University of Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico

Contact Us

WaterMicro23 Event Manager

Emily Smigowski  | AA&P Events
+61 8 8942 3388