Water Journal : Water Journal December 2012
small water & wastewater systems water DECEMBER 2012 73 Finally, further research is currently underway which should help improve the way we value recycled water (‘The Economic Viability of Recycled Water Schemes’ – Marsden Jacob Associates), incorporate flexibility, reliability, risk and uncertainty into assessments (‘Planning for Resilient Water Systems’ – ISF) and improve the way we identify opportunities for viable small systems in an urban redevelopment (City of Sydney Decentralised Master Plan – GHD; Building Industry Capacity To Make Recycled Water Investment Decisions – ISF). However, forewarned is indeed forearmed. By identifying and understanding the way both the MCA process and its application can bias against small systems, practitioners can look for ways to minimise the influence of biases on their decisions. Conclusion Multi-criteria analysis is a valuable tool for making sustainable decisions in the water industry. However, there are some restrictions with the method and its practical application that can bias against smaller systems in relation to larger centralised alternatives. Current research will help assess the value of the flexibility of small systems and the complementary value they can provide to centralised system robustness when used as a complement. Meanwhile, specifically acknowledging these biases and taking them into account when undertaking sensitivity testing will aid in the fair and robust consideration of smaller alternatives in relation to larger centralised options. The Authors Rachel Watson (email: Rachel.Watson@ uts.edu.au) is a PhD student at the Institute of Sustainable Futures, UTS, Sydney. Rachel is supervised by Professor Cynthia Mitchell and Dr Simon Fane. Rachel’s PhD is titled: ‘The full range of costs and benefits of decentralised recycled water systems’ and is kindly sponsored by Sydney Water. Rachel is currently seeking sites to be involved in her study. If you are interested, or would like to know more, please contact Rachel via email. Professor Cynthia Mitchell (email: Cynthia.mitchell@ uts.edu.au) ‘fell into’ sewage treatment in the early ’90s and never really recovered from all the bad joke possibilities. She was appointed Professor of Sustainability at The University of Technology Sydney in 2009, and has been the recipient of various national and international awards from industry and academia for her interdisciplinary work for the environment. Dr Simon Fane (email: Simon.email@example.com) has been a researcher and consultant on water and wastewater issues for over 15 years. This year he finally left University and now works for the NSW Government planning for a secure and sustainable water supply for Sydney. References Asafu Adjaye J (2005): Environmental Economics for Non-Economists: Techniques and Policies for Sustainable Development, 2nd edn, World Scientific Publishing Co, River Edge, NJ, US. 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Water Journal February 2013
Water Journal November 2012-1