WA Water Minister Dave Kelly announced the launch of a new hub for water sensitive city research and practice in Western Australia in October 2021. The hub is a partnership between Perth’s Water Sensitive Transition Network (WSTN) and Water Sensitive Cities Australia.
“The new Water Sensitive Cities Australia hub to be based in Perth will play a pivotal role in driving local water-focused projects,” said Minister Kelly.
Perth is already a leading water sensitive city, with activities being led by local champions and cross-agency partnerships like the WSTN.
As well as driving Perth’s waterwise transition, the new hub is part of a national network coordinated by Water Sensitive Cities Australia (WSCA) that is mainstreaming water sensitive practice. This hub-based approach ensures activities in each location address local needs, and gives local partners greater control on designing, delivering and scaling up projects. For example, the hub has identified mainstreaming priorities for Perth including improving community water literacy, understanding how to better embed water sensitive practices in smaller scale infill development, and harnessing water sensitive approaches to improve urban ecological outcomes across Perth.
These needs have also been translated into several national projects (that relate to multiple state hubs). The first is to develop evidence-based tactics to lift community water literacy; the second is to develop a national database to track the lifecycle costs of small scale water sensitive systems.
Linking the WSCA Perth hub to the WSTN connects research and mainstreaming with stakeholders who are implementing the Waterwise Action Plan. It offers stakeholders pathways to identify and act on specific local knowledge and practices gaps, and provides an immediate feedback loop to those who will implement the water sensitive practices.
WSCA is supported by several major foundation partners. In Western Australia, these include the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, Water Corporation, the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, and the Department of Communities. Several councils have also expressed interest in joining, as well as private organisation such as Urbaqua and Josh Bryne and Associates.
The WSTN meets regularly throughout the year. If your organisation would like to participate, you can contact Winsome MacLaurin (Department of Water and Environmental Regulation) or Antonietta Torre (Water Corporation).