Urban areas facing 21 st century water management challenges need 21 st century water utilities—utilities of the future. And around the world, water utilities are addressing liveability challenges, by transitioning to become these utilities of the future that:

  • manage urban water sustainably, and enhance liveability
  • partner in local economic development
  • foster evolving urban spaces that are appropriately serviced
  • collaborate with other organisations to plan and deliver services
  • use advances in intelligent networks and operations to improve productivity
  • seek the least cost, highest community return solutions at catchment scale
  • focus on customer value
  • are agile organisations with robust commercial capability.

This transition is challenging, but there is much that water utilities can do TODAY. This paper by the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities'  Think Tank presents Australian examples where water utilities are playing a leadership role in broader city planning, through their advocacy, their whole-of- system perspective and technical excellence, as well as their investment in community engagement and industry capability. They are Australian examples, but they address global challenges. That is, the lessons are relevant for international and Australian utilities.

As implemented exemplars, these case studies serve to motivate utilities to start taking action—no matter how small—in positioning and transitioning to utilities of the future.