In the water sensitive city, a hybrid mix of centralised and decentralised water systems and sources will operate at a range of scales to provide sustainable fit-for-purpose water services that will safeguard environmental quality, intergenerational equity and landscape amenity. Governance of these systems is likely to differ from the traditional arrangement, involving multiple stakeholders who must work together to manage risk. Trust will be essential to effective governance. This study explored attitudes of Australian urban water practitioners towards ownership and management of different water systems that might comprise the water sensitive city, including who they would trust to manage the associated risk. Results support the status quo, in which risk management responsibilities lie with state and local government or corporatised water utilities. Although practitioners support ownership and management of lot-scale water systems by homeowners, they trust them only to manage the risks associated with rainwater tanks. These results can be interpreted as risk perceptions, which are influenced by trust and knowledge. Implementation of decentralised water systems should be accompanied by governance arrangements that include strategies to enhance trust between stakeholders and to facilitate the co-production of knowledge to inform shared decision-making.


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Last updated: 14th Jun 2016