Water Sensitive Cities Index

Benchmarking cities against urban water indicators

Interested in benchmarking your city?

For more information email: admin@crcwsc.com.au

What it does

Benchmarks and facilitates the transition to a water sensitive city

Cities around the world are realising the fundamental importance of managing water resources and water systems services to enhance the liveability, productivity and resilience of cities. These benefits are captured in the concept of the water sensitive city, a term that originated in Australia and has diffused around the world and now defines the highest level of performance and achievement in urban water management.

The Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities (CRCWSC) has developed a Water Sensitive Cities (WSC) Index that offers users the ability to benchmark cities (at the metropolitan or municipal scale), based on performance against a range of urban water indicators that characterise the water sensitive city.

What is it?

A tool to enable decision makers to lead change

The Index has been developed from of a significant history of multidisciplinary research and two years of testing and validation with industry partners to ensure a useful product that is functional, reliable, and scientifically robust.

The WSC Index is accessed through a web platform with powerful functionality to visualise benchmarking results for a range of audiences, including policy makers, service providers, and community. The web platform includes functionality that allows organisations to set targets, model the impact of potential management responses, track progress over time, and collaborate more effectively with other industry organisations to manage water in ways that helps create more liveable, productive, resilient, and sustainable urban environments.

Potential end-users

The WSC Index is a tool that can benefit a range of end users including policymakers, local and state governments, public agencies, service providers, research organisations, consultancies, land developers, and the community, enabling them to identify their citys’ urban water management conditions, and actions to support the understanding and uptake of more water sensitive management practices at the city scale.

It draws on cross-organisational knowledge sharing and collaboration that will strengthen industry relationships with progress toward a shared vision. Breaking down organisational and institutional silos and opening up communication channels are some of benefits that come with using the WSC Index Tool.

What it measures – Urban water indicators

Using the Water Sensitive Cities Index

How to use it

Benchmarking a city using the WSC Index usually involves an accredited consultant or CRCWSC specialists facilitating an engaging one day workshop with knowledgeable representatives from a range of interests and sectors.  The results are immediately available on the Index website including overall progress along a water sensitive city continuum, goal and indicator scores, measures of sustainability, liveablity, resilience and productivity and measures of water sensitive practices.  The Index website allows cities to compare status and scores and will eventually become a significant knowledge sharing platform for cities seeking to improve their water sensitivity.

How to read the results

Indicator scores are translated into several measures of city status to assist cities to understand their progress towards greater water sensitivity. The water sensitive city continuum represents a city’s progress through a number of historical phases of infrastructure and institutional development. Measures of sustainability, liveability, resilience and productivity, help a city represent the degree to which water system services are directly contributing to these outcomes.  The extent of practices such as managing cities as catchments, delivering ecosystem services and encouraging water sensitive citizens are also represented in the results.

Identifying gaps and setting targets

The WSC Index is one of a number of CRCWSC tools to help cities transition to a more water sensitive future. Many cities are now using the web-based Index tool to identify gaps and set targets to accelerate their transition progress. Targets can be set for overall water sensitivity using the city continuum or for individual goal and indicator scores.  The impact of actions can be modelled by manipulating indicator scores and re-running the Index tool to show results.  This planning functionality in the tool is being further developed in a major project with a number of case study cities currently underway.

Building the index

The WSC Index has been designed in collaboration with industry partners through multiple project stages. The beta Version of the tool was released on 30 September 2016.  Further industry validation of the Index is currently taking place, with a number of cities and councils around Australia being benchmarked through a series of workshops. Version 1.1 is on track for release by the end of 2017.

More about this project

Testimonial

 Interested in benchmarking your city?

For more information email: admin@crcwsc.com.au

Cities and councils using the WSC Index

  • Adelaide
  • Bendigo
  • Melbourne
  • Perth
  • Sydney
  • Townsville
  • Canning
  • Gold Coast
  • Mandurah
  • Moonee Valley
  • Subiaco
  • Swan

International

  • Kunshan (China)
  • Madalay (Myanmar)
  • Suva (Fiji)

Organisations involved in the development of the Index

“This was the best consultative work that I have witnessed in 17 years. The CRCWSC’s professionalism and knowledge showed that the Council clearly found the right people for the job. The workshop environment was truly objective, with no bias or pressure. I am very confident that the outcomes will yield the best results for the project.”
Dr Hamid Mirfenderesk , City of Gold Coast

Using the Water Sensitive Cities Index

How to use it

Benchmarking a city using the WSC Index usually involves an accredited consultant or CRCWSC specialists facilitating an engaging one day workshop with knowledgeable representatives from a range of interests and sectors.  The results are immediately available on the Index website including overall progress along a water sensitive city continuum, goal and indicator scores, measures of sustainability, liveability, resilience and productivity and measures of water sensitive practices.  The Index website allows cities to compare status and scores and will eventually become a significant knowledge sharing platform for cities seeking to improve their water sensitivity.

How to read the results

Indicator scores are translated into several measures of city status to assist cities to understand their progress towards greater water sensitivity. The water sensitive city continuum represents a city’s progress through a number of historical phases of infrastructure and institutional development. Measures of sustainability, liveablity, resilience and productivity, help a city represent the degree to which water system services are directly contributing to these outcomes.  The extent of practices such as managing cities as catchments, delivering ecosystem services and encouraging water sensitive citizens are also represented in the results.

Identifying gaps and setting targets

The WSC Index is one of a number of CRCWSC tools to help cities transition to a more water sensitive future. Many cities are now using the web-based Index tool to identify gaps and set targets to accelerate their transition progress. Targets can be set for overall water sensitivity using the city continuum or for individual goal and indicator scores.  The impact of actions can be modelled by manipulating indicator scores and re-running the Index tool to show results.  This planning functionality in the tool is being further developed in a major project with a number of case study cities currently underway.

Interested in benchmarking your city?

We run a series of workshops, with online access to the web tool, so that participants can review benchmarking results, as well as plan and track progress.

For more information please email:   admin@crcwsc.com.au