We released the Vision and transition strategy for a water sensitive Adelaide in December 2017. And already, South Australia is getting on with the business of turning this vision into reality. Water Sensitive SA and the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities brought together water practitioners, policy makers and decision makers, to discuss what a ‘water sensitive’ future means to them, and the next steps in realising that vision.

Chris Chesterfield (CRC for Water Sensitive Cities), Rachel Barratt (Water Industry Alliance), Steven Gatti (Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources), John Devine (City of Unley) and Greg Ingleton (SA Water)

The Vision and transition strategy expresses participants’ aspiration for a water sensitive Adelaide in the following outcome statements:

  • Adelaide’s terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems are diverse, healthy and productive.
  • Adelaide’s water infrastructure systems are smart, sustainable and flexible.
  • Adelaide’s urban form is accessible, liveable and integrates water creatively to highlight the city’s unique features.
  • Communities actively participate in water management and embrace the natural cycles of water abundance and scarcity.
  • Water supports a strong economy underpinned by Adelaide being an affordable, vibrant and culturally rich city.
  • Water governance can adapt to complex challenges and drive holistic, innovative and collaborative solutions.

Those attending the launch also heard what a ‘water sensitive future’ meant to a diverse range of South Australians:

A panel of experts gave their thoughts on how to action a water sensitive city under the current planning strategy for Adelaide (the 30 year plan for Greater Adelaide):

We need to help the community to realise the value of being a water sensitive city. We could promote more flagship projects such as the award-winning Adelaide Airport stormwater project. (Greg Ingleton, SA Water)

The private sector also needs to contribute to canopy cover targets. Our community (the City of Unley) wants a green city that is self reliant in terms of water supply for its parks and streetscapes. (John Devine, City of Unley)

Water sensitive urban design is the most economical solution in greenfield sites. However, the use of water sensitive urban design solutions in in-fill scenarios may need to be encouraged through incentives. (Stephen Hains, Stormwater Management Authority)

The panel also identified the tangible next steps or opportunities for Adelaide:

We need to keep engaging with industry, in forums like the upcoming Smart Water Summit in March 2018 in Adelaide to widen the network of water sensitive champions. (Rachel Barratt, Water Industry Alliance)

The Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act  2016 (SA) will provide many opportunities to better integrate water as Adelaide develops. (John Devine, City of Unley)

We can cool homes by using water differently in our outdoor spaces. (Greg Ingleton, SA Water)

And the push for change is not just coming from the big end of town. Local government (Steve Smith, Local Government Association of South Australia) suggested options for mobilising support at the local government and industry level.

Adelaide’s water story (illustration: Simon Kneebone)