Despite broad agreement on the need for a transition toward more sustainable urban water systems, there remain significant social and institutional barriers to such a change. These include insufficient skills and knowledge about sustainable urban water management (SUWM), organisational resistance, lack of political will and limited regulatory incentives to implement SUWM.

This project aims to address these barriers by identifying the key social and institutional structures and processes needed to actively advance the mainstream application of SUWM, in particular decentralised urban water systems such as stormwater harvesting and treatment. The practical focus of this research project is to understand how to facilitate widespread application of stormwater systems and improve the industry’s and community’s receptivity or willingness to accept such an approach.

Key outcomes

The key outcomes from this project include principles for improved urban water governance, guidance for improved co-governance of decentralised water systems, critical insights regarding the role and complexity of practitioner risk perceptions and guidelines for understanding and improving community receptivity of green infrastructure such as raingardens.

This project will provide stakeholders with:

  • an understanding of the structures and processes of effective urban water governance for urban water systems;
  • guidance to enable co-governance of combined centralised and decentralised water systems operating at different scales and with different sources;
  • risk profiles of different water systems as viewed by Australian urban water practitioners; and
  • design and management guidelines for green infrastructure to enhance its appreciation and acceptance by Australian communities.

Researchers have published advice on the aesthetic design for raingardens based on landscape perceptions and a guidance manual featuring tools to assist industry and government in transforming their water management. These tools are specifically targeted at water practitioners, including policy-makers, urban designers and engineers.

The project will deliver a framework identifying personal and professional attributes that might influence perceived risk of alternative urban water systems and sources, and a report on current risk perceptions of Australian urban water practitioners towards alternative urban water systems, technologies and sources.

Last updated: 13th Jun 2016