Water Journal : Water Journal April 2013
WATER APRIL 2013 68 Feature Article to note at this juncture that integrated urban water cycle management (IUWM) could be undertaken in isolation and is a subset of WSUD that combines these two processes of planning. We can achieve IUWM with a concentrated centralised infrastructure, while the many additional bene ts of WSUD can only be attained through a largely decentralised approach to urban water management. Future water-sensitive cities: ef ciently use the diversity of water resources available within cities; enhance and protect the health of urban and natural waterways; and mitigate against ood risk and damage. Public spaces are green infrastructure that harvest, clean and recycle water, increase biodiversity, support carbon sequestration and reduce urban heat island effects. LEAPFROGGING THE LEGACY OF PAST PRACTICES Many developed countries are often encumbered by 'path-dependent lock-in' owing to institutional legacy limiting the range of acceptable solutions/interventions to those that would t into the existing institutional paradigm. Studies have identi ed numerous factors leading to path-dependent lock-in, and this is often expressed in attempts to secure improved system resilience and sustainability by simply improving the ef ciency of the existing urban water system. A typical argument leading to path-dependent lock-in is signi cant weight given to the 'sunk cost' associated with the legacy of past decisions. Developing countries where infrastructure and institutions are not well established are, therefore, more exible and conducive to unconventional solutions. It is often for this reason that cities in developing countries are well-placed to leap-frog from a water supply city directly to a water-sensitive city. This is on the proviso that international aid programs do not inadvertently impose developed-world conventional thinking, planning and design of water systems onto these countries. Adaptive and integrated management approaches offer an alternative to the traditional urban water regime and present alternative urban water governance frameworks to support more sustainable and resilient practices. Sustainable urban water management regimes would emphasise a systems approach, whereby interconnections between the management of the urban water streams and other related urban water governance functions such as land use planning, urban design, infrastructure delivery and maintenance, project nancing, etc, would deliver and protect multiple bene ts, and are resilient to unanticipated outcomes by being prepared for multiple potential future conditions. THE WATER-SENSITIVE CITIES KNOWLEDGE HUB The CRC-WSC has on its forward planning agenda the establishment of a Knowledge Hub to serve the following key functions: 1. An Information Hub where software infrastructure will be established to serve as: • A repository of research outputs from CRC-WSC projects; • A portal to other information hubs of relevance, including database of location-speci c bio-physical information, water governance policies, design guidelines, case studies of water sensitive urban design projects etc.; • A repository for high level meta-analysis of information available. 2. As the Water Sensitive Cities Design Institute, where forums and workshops are regularly convened to facilitate the synthesis of new and existing knowledge and information derived from the many disciplinary studies in developing context-speci c water-sensitive urban design solutions. Some of its key activities include: • Convening industry partners workshops; • Convening project-speci c workshops and design charrettes. These are envisaged to be three- or four-day events, hosted by a sponsoring participant organisation, where key researchers and industry practitioners from CRC-WSC participant organisations come together to explore water-sensitive cities' strategies for a focus site/project (nominated by the host organisation); • Convening hub activities such as technical seminars and eld trips; • Providing a neutral ground on which researchers and practitioners would interact with government agencies, regulators and the water sector. 3. As the enterprise that facilitates small to medium enterprises (SME) participation in the CRC-WSC, which will provide SMEs with the opportunity to invest in having access to CRC-WSC researchers, the research outputs, opportunities to participate in the development of demonstration sites, and education programs focusing on personal and organisational capability enhancement. Unlike participants in the CRC-WSC, those subscribing to membership of the Knowledge Hub are not investing in the research program, merely investing in having access to the outputs of the research programs and associated education and training activities. These subscriptions will be a revenue stream for the Institute. Figure 2. Water Sensitive Cities Knowledge Hub structure.
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