Discussions at the recent International Water Association’s World Water Congress in Brisbane have reinforced the importance of water sensitive cities as a globally relevant phenomenon.

The Congress enabled over 4500 participants from 108 countries to discuss new solutions to the world’s major water challenges. Common themes at the congress were: more meaningful customer engagement, innovation in water supply and wastewater treatment, improving waterways, planning for a changing climate through diversification, and building a stronger role for water in the design of cities.

The CRCWSC was represented by a strong contingent of 25 researchers promoting the water sensitive city message and offering practical solutions.

This began from day one, when Professor John Thwaites (CRCWSC Project A3.3) provided the opening keynote presentation on the role of water in achieving the global Sustainable Development Goals.

This graphic illustration of John’s keynote was drawn in real time to capture the salient points.

It continued with CRCWSC’s first incubator city in China, City of Kunshan, being invited to speak at the City Leaders Forum as one of four case study cities. Other cities included Melbourne, Copenhagen and Kampala. The Deputy Mayor Shen Xiaoming presented the Kunshan Water Story to share the lessons of its urban water management journey and its collaboration with CRCWSC over the past six years.

A further highlight was the launch of the International Water Association’s Principles for Water-Wise Cities. Developed by Professor Rob Skinner, CRCWSC Board member, these principles help city leaders ensure that everyone in their cities has access to safe drinking water and sanitation, that cities are resilient, and that water is integrated into city planning to increase liveability. The Principles offer a familiar lens for the CRCWSC, with their emphasis on regenerative water services, water sensitive urban design, basin-connected cities, and water-wise communities.

Rob Skinner launching the IWA Principles for Water-Wise Cities at the World Water Congress in Brisbane
Melbourne Water’s Gwyneth Elsum reading about Melbourne’s journey to become a water-wise city

More information on the Principles for Water-Wise Cities can be found below.