Water Journal : Water Journal September 2014
water SEPTEMBER 2014 32 Feature article Of increasing recognition is the reduction in urban heat island effects, which is observed from providing water to green infrastructure in an urban landscape (Wong et al., 2012). A reduction in urban temperatures in cities in summer not only improves the comfort of citizens, but has also been suggested to reduce the number of heat-stress health related incidents and resultant social and economic cost to the community (Tapper and Loughnan, 2009). Other, less-recognised benefits include improved environmental awareness within the community; and improved water availability through increased infiltration and recharge. Increasing water use efficiency and recycling also delays the need for additional water sources to be secured to cope with growing populations and the usually significant cost of the infrastructure that is required. Wa’s Urban Water plannIng frameWork The objective of Better Urban Water Management (WAPC, 2008) is to achieve better management and use of urban water resources by ensuring that an appropriate level of consideration is given to the water cycle at each stage of the planning system. It identifies the various actions and investigations that are required at the various stages of the WA planning process and proposes that each planning application is supported by a corresponding water management report. One of the foundation principles of Better Urban Water Management is to adequately inform decision making. Accordingly, each water management report should contain sufficient information to support the planning decision being made. For example, where land is to be rezoned for urban development, Better Urban Water Management requires that this application is supported by an assessment of whether the land, from a water resources perspective, is capable of being developed. This generally includes the identification of critical elements such as important environments to be protected; the amount of land required for drainage; and the availability of water sources for future uses (Figure 1). The next stage of planning determines the broad structure of a development. Better Urban Water Management asks that this is supported by “proof of concept” regarding the management of stormwater, groundwater and wastewater, and the supply of potable and non-potable water needs. Experience has shown that this stage and the “district-level” stage beforehand are critical to the optimisation of urban water outcomes. Planning for water at the subdivision stage, which is reflective of the process pre-2008, is too late to facilitate ecological outcomes, alternative water and wastewater servicing/reuse, or ensure sufficient land is identified to adequately manage surface water flows and quality. A large variety of WSUD options exist to achieve various water management objectives. It is important, therefore, that the proposed WSUD strategy is appropriate for the specific site characteristics and the urban form that is proposed. This is noted in Better Urban Water Management, through the remaining foundation principles of relevance and risk management. The intent of Better Urban Water Management is to ensure that the risks to and from water resources Figure 1. Integrating water planning with land use planning processes (adapted from WAPC, 2008).
Water Journal November 2014
Water Journal August 2014