Cities are not isolated entities - they exist within, connect with and ultimately depend on landscapes which extend far beyond their actual built edge or boundary. A water sensitive city needs to be understood in relation to its broader catchment, the different landscape types and the various local needs for water that occur within that catchment. The need for food production and industry such as resource extraction must be balanced with the needs of the natural environment, urbanisation and related activities such as outdoor recreation. The future of these landscapes, recognising all of these values, needs to be planned in an integrated manner with a whole-of- catchment perspective to sustainably manage Australia’s projected population growth and build resilient communities.
The project aims to develop an integrated approach to whole-of- catchment planning and management that is capable of linking the ecology and hydrology of cities to their region whilst accommodating urban and peri-urban growth adapted to a changing climate. It will explore alternative institutional arrangements for catchment planning and management from a landscape-scale perspective.
At completion, the project will have developed an urban metabolism framework capable of incorporation into a conceptual model of a city-region or whole-of- catchment system. This conceptual model will assist in evaluating regional water budgets and urban growth scenarios along with methods for incorporating ecological and water science into statutory planning processes.
Researchers are working on producing a growth scenarios report detailing methods for incorporating ecological and water science into statutory planning and developing an assessment of planning policies and water security under various growth scenarios for three case studies of Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane.