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PENANG, 18 February 2015 - Universiti Sains Malaysia’s (USM) River Engineering and Urban Drainage Research Centre (REDAC) will soon become the reference centre for the study of urban drainage problems including storm water management in the ASEAN region.

This is the result of the cooperation between REDAC and HR Wallingford Ltd of United Kingdom, the largest hydraulic research laboratory in Europe, through the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at the USM Health Campus, Kubang Kerian, Kelantan recently.

Under the MoU, REDAC and HR Wallingford will collaborate for the transfer of knowledge and sharing of expertise and technology in river engineering and sustainable drainage management.

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Focus will also be given to efforts in finding solutions to issues concerning water, river, drainage and floods that occur in our country including the development of software and flood forecasting and warning system to help address those issues.

USM Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dato’ Dr. Omar Osman said as a newly recognised Higher Institution Centre of Excellence (HICoE), REDAC needs to strengthen its role and expand its scope of expertise for the benefit of the local community more holistically.

He added that the collaboration with HR Wallingford Ltd is indeed timely and an appropriate step in finding the most effective solutions to deal with natural disasters such as floods, besides being a stepping stone for the centre to expand its research and consultancy services in its niche areas at the regional level. 

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He said this at a press conference after signing the MoU for USM. Signing on behalf of HR Wallingford Ltd. was its International Business Development Manager, Geoffrey Wilson. Also present was USM Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Dato’ Dr. Muhamad Jantan, USM Health Campus Director Professor Dato’ Dr. Mafauzy Mohamed and USM Engineering Campus Director Professor Dr. Zainal Ariffin Ishak.

Meanwhile, Geoffrey asserted that he was very impressed with how the federal government, local council and the local communities including the university community dealt with the floods, including them coming together to provide all the necessary assistance and support to the flood victims in last year’s massive floods that hit several states in the East Coast. 

Even so, he said there is still much improvements that can be made and HR Wallingford is committed to working with USM through REDAC to help Malaysians, especially when facing unexpected emergencies such as floods.

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He added, HR Wallingford has conducted various studies and is among the first laboratories in the world that is involved in flood-related researches. This collaboration will serve as a platform towards finding better solutions for the future.''

REDAC has been active in research and consultancy projects on urban drainage and river engineering specialising on Sustainable Urban Stormwater Management since 1997 besides offering postgraduate studies via research (M.Sc., Ph.D) in specialised areas of Urban Drainage Management, River Management, Hydro Informatics and Environmental Hydraulics Management.

In the last 10 years, REDAC headed by its Director, Professor Dr. Nor Azazi Zakaria has attained grants from various agencies and ministries amounting more than RM20 million for research and innovation. - Translation: Tan Ewe Hoe/Text: Marziana Mohamed Alias/Photo: Mohamad Danial Shahri 

Source: USM News Portal