Community Sustainable Water Planning

(2006 – current)

Photo Courstesy of OurRiver: Cooks River Sustainability Initiative

In partnership with eight councils in the Cooks River Catchment in Sydney, a new model for governing regional-scale water planning and management in is being developed and trialled through the Cooks River Sustainability Initiative (CRSI). The project aims to gain insight into alternative planning approaches often advocated in theory but rarely put into practice.

The implementation design of CRSI is based on a collaborative planning approach developed in partnership with Marrickville Council as part of their Urban Stormwater Integrated Management project. This project produced a set of Guidelines for planning and implementing sustainable water management at the sub catchment scale. The guidelines and their 10 essential steps for integrated sustainable water planning assist local government deal with the social, ecological and institutional complexities inherent in these catchment management endeavours. A copy of the Guidelines is available to download at the bottom of this page.

The CRSI will build on these guidelines; integrating community based planning across 6 sub-catchments of the Cooks River in Sydney. A community developed vision guides the Initiative, which has been politically endorsed by the Mayors of all participating councils. Uniquely, an explicit aim of this vision is to develop and establish new regional/river catchment governance arrangements, engaging with stakeholders from community, business and councils across the Cooks River Catchment.  These collaborative planning processes focus on participation of the community in the co-design and co-management of solutions to local water issues.

This successful approach to managing water in complex socio-ecological and institutional settings is informed by research and evaluation conducted as part of a PhD at the Urban Water Governance Program ( Sustainable Urban Water Management – Translating Governance Experimentation into Practice).

For more information on this award-winning initiative, visit the CRSI website.

Research Team:
Prof Rebekah Brown, Ms Jan Orton, Ms Annette Bos and Ms Jean Brennan

Associated PhD:
Sustainable Urban Water Management – Translating Governance Experimentation into Practice (PhD) – Annette Bos

Project Partners:
Cooks River Sustainability Initiative, Ashfield Council, Bankstown City Council, City of Canterbury, Hurstville City Council, Marrickville Council, Strathfield Council, City of Sydney, Rockdale City Council, NSW Environment Trust.

Key Industry Report:
Marrickville Council (2007) Sub-catchment Planning for Sustainable Water Management: Guidelines for Councils. PDF (5.6MB)

Other Publications (link)

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