Tony Wong (Chief Executive Officer) and Nora Foley (Research Portfolio Manager) sell the water sensitive message.

Our staff and researchers shared their vision for water sensitive cities at the Australian Water Association’s Ozwater’18 conference in Brisbane earlier this month (8–10 May 2018). This large forum gave us many opportunities to contribute to discussions and debate about Australia’s water future—as presenters, as audience members, and through discussions with colleagues (both Australian and international).

One of the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities’ key messages is about creating the relationships—between multiple stakeholders and with the community—that are necessary to make water sensitive approaches business as usual. That is, water sensitive approaches are a mix of social and technical disciplines. Pleasingly, this social aspect was reflected in the program for Ozwater’18.

Collaboration and fostering relationships was one of the key issues raised at our panel discussion:

Improving liveability and productivity of Australian cities—how can the water industry influence our rapid urban development and help to deliver this desirable outcome?

Panel members and the audience discussed topics such as:

  • encouraging collaboration between multiple stakeholders, by articulating shared values and identifying how benefits and risks can be shared among stakeholders
  • engaging communities throughout planning and implementation stages of new projects, especially when defining the benefits
  • fostering political leadership and getting broad support for water sensitive projects
  • capturing concepts such as liveability in key performance indicators and financing models, given it can mean different things in different context and over time.

Our staff presentations focused on our progress in transitioning to water sensitive cities, and how we can further encourage the transition, by engaging with communities and empowering champions:

Our stand at the Trade Exhibition also attracted a constant stream of visitors, reflecting high levels of awareness of and interest in CRCWSC activities. One lucky visitor—Craig Ma from Queensland Urban Utilities—won free registration our 4th Water Sensitive Cities conference in Brisbane in March 2019.

Last updated: 22nd May 2018