Water governance in a water sensitive city will require the integrated management of water sources and services to deliver both efficient and effective multi-functional water solutions. Future arrangements will also require responsiveness and flexibility to meet evolving needs and uses of water, and to cope with unpredictable environmental conditions.

This project aims to examine current institutional challenges to better enable the sustainable water management of a water sensitive city. The project explores how the complex decision- making processes involved might be supported through more adaptive governance arrangements, identifying where and how current centrally controlled governance systems can be supplemented with more flexible governance instruments.
This project has five main objectives:

  1. To review and assess the current national mix of hierarchical, market and network-based frameworks in Australia for addressing complex issues such as water sensitive cities.
  2. To assess the available international range of models emphasising bridging, transition and incentives-based governance for water sensitive cities.
  3. To assess best-practice approaches for evidence use in innovative strategy development and the organisational requirements for evidence-based innovative development of water sensitive city strategies.
  4. To review and develop new models for effective partnerships and networks for knowledge development and capacity building.
  5. To identify best-practice governance models for local and regional scales.

These objectives are central for understanding and addressing the impediments to development of policy and governance arrangements for water sensitive urban design innovation and implementation.


Key outcomes

This research, informed and guided by stakeholder workshops, will lead to a series of discussion papers and reports that provide thorough assessments of the current state-of- play, best-practice options developed in Australia and internationally. They will address policy governance, and innovative approaches for improved policy governance arrangements for water sensitive urban design and related complex issues at a variety of local, regional and national scales.

These contributions will help policy-makers and stakeholder organisations to better understand the mix of governance instruments necessary for effective innovation, and the diverse evidence requirements for integrated policy and planning for long-term issues such as water sensitive cities. State and local authorities will build their capacities for developing and implementing evidence-based policy, planning and regulation.

Outputs from the project will include a set of guidelines that help industry analyse governance structures to identify barriers and opportunities to change within their context, and design collaborative strategies to pursue change agendas. Researchers have also published a review of recent governance approaches and how they deal with complexity based on literature and interviews.

Last updated: 13th Jun 2016