Western Australian tranche 2 regional implementation projects

As part of the second tranche of activities in Western Australia (WA), a Research and Adoption Plan for Western Australia 2016-2020 was developed, which outlining the projects which the WA Regional Advisory Panel (WA–RAP) consideres to be critical to the successful transition to a water sensitive region. These projects will inform the selection of the CRCWSC tranche 2 research activities from 2016/17.

Advancing the vision (Water Sensitive Cities Transition Strategy)

This project will result in the preparation of a Transition Strategy to deliver the vision, critical strategies and actions outlined in Shaping Perth as a Water Sensitive City. It will build on the outcomes of CRCWSC tranche 1 projects and optimise utilisation of outputs and tools such as the Water Sensitive Cities Index.

The strategy will contain an action plan that outlines agreed roles, responsibilities, and timing for delivery of identified needs to facilitate Perth’s transition to a water sensitive city. This plan will also provide an overarching framework for the delivery of tranche 2 projects over the next four years, and identify a range of activities beyond the scope and resources of the CRCWSC.

Knowledge brokering and building capacity

We need to capture the lessons from CRCWSC research to build a community of practice around water sensitive cities, which – through improved service delivery – leads to enhanced liveability, sustainability, and resilience within our cities and towns.

This project will increase access to effective tools and products within locally relevant contexts. It aims to facilitate improved understanding – backed by practical knowledge – of requirements for planning, design, construction, and maintenance of WSUD options.

Key focus areas are likely to be:

  • options for management of groundwater quality and levels in an urban context;
  • preparation and assessment of supporting information and documentation;
  • sharing latest findings with respect to WSUD science on the Swan Coastal Plain;
  • maintenance of WSUD assets, as it is critical that information on requirements, timing, and costs is gathered and disseminated effectively to local governments to improve current attitudes towards maintenance; and
  • engaging the community in the identification and delivery of the WSC Vision for Perth.

Governance, regulatory, policy, and delivery frameworks in WA

This project aims to improve the regulatory environment in which our cities are developed, to ensure that their planning and development are consistent with water sensitive cities principles. It will facilitate improved integration and improved collaboration across organisations and sectors.

This project will focus on the range of delivery frameworks that include legislative, regulatory, policy, and/or guideline criteria in order to facilitate an environment which encourages innovation and the delivery of water sensitive city outcomes in Perth.

Key objectives are to:

  • improve the implementation of State Planning Policy 2.9: Water Resources and Better Urban Water Management (WAPC, 2008), including support for innovation and application to infill and small-scale development;
  • streamline drainage governance to deliver water sensitive city outcomes;
  • address inconsistencies in water management objectives and criteria applied by State and local governments as part of planning and design approvals through an improved understanding of real and perceived risks and technically rigorous assessment of management and mitigation responses;
  • facilitate rationalisation of approval requirements for fit-for-purpose water supply systems which are practical and reflective of the level of risk;
  • identify effective incentives for application of water sensitive city practices, and scope mechanisms for their introduction; and
  • clear and agreed roles and responsibilities for stakeholders involved in regulation and management of the water cycle and WSUD solutions.

Local scale water supply and servicing

The aim of this project is to optimise opportunities for local scale integrated water cycle planning (drinking water and non-drinking water) and delivery (servicing) in WA.

WSUD science in WA

This project aims to address unresolved scientific questions and key knowledge gaps important for achieving the vision of water sensitive Perth. It will provide evidence and on-ground "proof of concept" that WSUD approaches work under local conditions to facilitate acceptance by industry and approval from authorities.

This project will also assist in the generation of data to inform critical policy decisions by resource management agencies to ensure the long-term protection and management of our urban water environments (wetlands, waterways and groundwater). Key areas of focus for WA are:

  • effective treatment options for high levels of nutrients (in various forms) in groundwater;
  • performance of swales, tree pits, constructed wetlands, living streams and biofilters;
  • stormwater runoff volumes from different urban typologies with different site conditions including infill;
  • ecological health of receiving environments including prevention of degradation, impacts, tipping points and management; and
  • impact of high water tables on urban microclimates and vegetation/waterway health.

This project aims to provide critical support for the practices (tools and techniques) used by urban planning, architecture, engineering, and water management practitioners to create the physical, social, and biological form of cities, to implement best-practice water sensitive urban design.

Responsive urban form

Aimed at increasing density and infill residential, commercial, and industrial development, this project aims to provide practical development and redevelopment solutions that optimise water sensitive city approaches and outcomes over a range of site conditions, including in areas of shallow groundwater.

Key areas of investigation and required guidance include:

  • stormwater management on lots less than 300m2 in sand, sandy clay, and clay soils, and in areas with high groundwater;
  • landscaping and water management and conservation opportunities for apartments;
  • public domain improvements which integrate grey and green infrastructure;
  • urban designs, drainage and water management systems, and alternative housing designs and construction, that reduce the amount of sand fill necessary to enable development in high groundwater areas, improve housing affordability, and achieve ecological and social benefits;
  • infill development which optimise stormwater management, green infrastructure, and fit-for-purpose water; and
  • optimising water sensitive city outcomes in activity centres (addressing drainage; green infrastructure; heat island effects; and provision of water, wastewater, and non-drinking water services and supplies).

This project aims to ensure that guidelines are available for context-specific water cycle solutions, with associated design, operational, and asset management information, to support best-practice delivery of water sensitive city practices including in urban water services.

Improved frameworks for evaluation of costs, risks and performance of water sensitive practices

One of the most critical success factors for the implementation of WSUD practices is confidence in the long-term financial performance of the system, and transparent costs and benefits in both monetary and non-monetary forms. To address this need, a key objective of this project is to address this need and:

  • provide evidence to support full life-cycle benefit-cost analyses that also consider non-monetary values;
  • prepare new financial models and incentives that recognise the full range of values and benefits of water sensitive cities;
  • develop guidance on preparation of a business case for WSUD; and
  • engage with local government to identify perceived and actual risks to local government and the community from implementing o not implementing WSUD, and to undertake a risk assessment.

Research synthesis and application in WA

This project will deliver a number of synthesis workshops as well as the provision of independent expert review and advice on key strategic policy, strategy, and guidelines.

This will ensure that water sensitive city principles and approaches are recognised in all national and state policy and growth plans. Implementation of this project will also improve the practices (tools and techniques) used by urban planning, architecture, and water management practitioners to create the physical, social, and biological form of cities, and to implement water sensitive cities best-practice.

Last updated: 6th Dec 2017