Water Journal : Water Journal March 2011
feature article water MARCH 2011 67 The transition over the last two decades in Australia from vertically integrated (dam-to-disposal) monopolies to a range of integrated water-solution providers will continue in response to the needs of customers. Some water providers may diversify to become multiple utility providers. Others may become total water cycle providers, and others still may enter the sector to provide a mix of public and private service providers. Suggested actions to progress Theme 4: 1. Better define the respective roles of government and the private sector in the provision of water services -- for example, planning and policy versus service delivery decision making. 2. Continuously review the best ways to engage local communities and the development industry in planning and decision making. 3. Develop a metropolitan integrated management plan that has objectives and outcomes across multiple sectors. 4. Identify any unnecessary financial and regulatory barriers that might restrict competition in the water sector. 5. Build the capacity of the community, industry and government to make informed choices that test, prove, demonstrate and deliver integrated water management. 6. Identify information needs across the water cycle and collaborate and share knowledge between water authorities. 7. Develop the mechanisms to identify the risks of integrated water options and ways to mitigate them. 8. Adopt integrated urban and water planning processes to provide sustainable outcomes for cities and rural areas. To achieve this, include regional stakeholders in planning processes. Conclusions A water-sensitive city is proposed as a response to our current water security challenges, as well as being an adaptation strategy to longer-term climate change. It is also an essential component of building liveability and sustainability into our cities. This approach involves moving beyond the traditional practice of only supplying and removing water from a city from centralised sources. It considers where the water comes from (for example, alternate sources), how it is used within the city (for example, water supply, urban heat island mitigation, sporting field irrigation, market gardens and so on) and where it goes (for example, reducing stormwater waste). Within this approach decisions are not only technical -- they also involve people and land use consideration to embed decentralised options into the city and demonstrate the value they can provide to customers. Achieving a water-sensitive city therefore relies on influencing the urban form, and involving customers and community in water management decisions, in addition to the traditional array of technical experts. Building a water-sensitive city by collaborating with and relying on other sectors is a relatively new and, therefore, challenging idea. While the concept is now becoming more familiar to many urban water planners, the challenge before us is to put the idea into practice. It is suggested that this begins with a vision for a city that is shared and accepted across all the sectors that are responsible for its planning functions. The 12 Principles put forward here provide a basis for such a vision. The Authors Rob Skinner was appointed Managing Director of Melbourne Water in February 2005 and is currently a board member of the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA). He is part of the IWA Spatial Planning and Institutional Reform Working Group, working on the IWA Cities of the Future Program. Jamie Ewert is the Melbourne Water lead for the Cities of the Future Program and is also a member of the IWA Spatial Planning and Institutional Reform Working Group. He was previously a River Health Manager and Team Leader of Environmental Flows at Melbourne Water. Micah Pendergast is a Mechanical Engineer with experience working in both sewage treatment and water supply operations and maintenance. He has also worked in Melbourne Water's Stormwater Quality team, promoting and implementing the latest water-sensitive urban design principles. References 1. Binney P, Donald A, Elmer V, Ewert J, Phillis O, Skinner R & Young R (2010): IWA Cities of the Future Program, Spatial Planning and Institutional Reform Conclusions from the World Water Congress, Montreal, September 2010. 2. CSIRO (2010): Climate variability and change in south-eastern Australia: A synthesis of findings from Phase 1 of the South Eastern Australian Climate Initiative (SEACI). 3. http://www.watersensitivecities.org.au/ 4. Wong and Brown (2010): The water sensitive city: principles for practice, Water Science and Technology, Volume 60, Number 3, pg 673-683, IWA Publishing. 5. Endreny T (2008): Naturalizing urban watershed hydrology to mitigate urban heat island effects, invited commentary, Hydrological Processes, Vol 22, pp 461--463, 2008. 6. West S et al. (2009): The Contribution Of Public Land To Melbourne's Liveability, The McCaughey Centre, Melbourne University. This green belt along the Yarra River provides a source of transport (walking and bike-riding to and from work), recreation, exercise and social connectedness.
Water Journal April 2011