Water Journal : Water Journal August 2012
water AUGUST 2012 7 my point of view I have seen the impact of change imposed from the outside with the water reforms of the 1980s and '90s in Victoria, and we have seen it more recently in Queensland. In both cases, institutional inertia was seen as a barrier to needed change rather than the industry being a leader of change. The risk is that a huge amount of value can be lost in these top-down driven changes. A Paradigm Shift In Victoria, the reforms of the '80s and '90s were driven by a new efficiency and accountability paradigm. Commercialisation and corporatisation resulted in radical change to the prevailing public water utility business model of the time. I believe we are now experiencing another paradigm shift with some fundamentally new goals or drivers for service delivery. Those new drivers are sustainability and liveability, which are demanding a more integrated approach to urban water management. Many businesses have adopted sustainability goals. For example, the Melbourne Water vision up until 2012 was: "Working together for a sustainable water future". The sustainability goal has been driven by two things -- the threat of climate change associated with greenhouse gas emissions, and the growth of cities like Melbourne exceeding the ability of our environment to service our needs for water supply and waste assimilation without intolerable levels of environmental damage or unacceptable cost increases. "Liveability" has emerged as another business driver and is at the core of the Coalition Government's urban water policies. The drought gave us a glimpse of a potential future with less water and the impacts on liveability were clearly significant Liveability is something we all value (even though we all may define it differently). It is both something we share with others and something we benefit from ourselves -- whereas sustainability has perhaps come to be perceived as involving sacrifice for the benefit of future generations. The industry is responding. An example is Melbourne Water's new vision: "Enhancing Life & Liveability". However, it is unlikely that the industry can successfully respond to these drivers unless we are willing to challenge what we do and the way we do it, by transforming our mindsets and our prevailing service delivery models. Predicting the Future It's hard to predict what the water industry will look like in 10 years' time. Each transformational phase it has been through in the past has been characterised by uncertainty, ambiguity, the need for experimentation and risk taking, and a focus on learning. The Office of Living Victoria has been established to help drive this transformation. It sits outside normal delivery processes so that it can focus on influencing and enabling the mindset and policy changes needed to achieve more integrated urban planning and water management for liveability outcomes. Our approach relies on us working collaboratively with agency and industry stakeholders and being a 'bridging' organisation that can transfer knowledge and speed up the learning process and adaptation, working with planners and designers, local government and the private sector and engaging the community. This is different to the 'top-down' approach to change in the 1980s and '90s. Working together we can make integrated water cycle management and liveability a new 'business as usual'. Contact a Hach Pacific office near you for direct order and sales support: AUS: 1300 887 735 NZ: 0800 50 55 66 www.hachpacific.com Innovative Process Instrumentation Integrated Lab Solutions and Chemistries Expert Support Dependable Service Products. Support. Expertise. When you buy direct from Hach Pacific you will receive access to the largest offering of the highest quality lab and process water analytics as well as outstanding service and application support. Hach is your trusted partner in water analysis.
Water Journal September 2012-1
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