The Evolution of Urban Water Management

(2006 – 2009)

Through historical socio-technical research, this project traced how the policy context in Melbourne, Australia has influenced the uptake and implementation of water sensitive urban designs (WSUD) for stormwater quality improvement over the past 40 years.

The research identified a number of transition factors behind Melbourne’s change from being a water supply and drainage focused city to the institutionalisation of stormwater quality management. These factors included variables determining the enabling context of the change, and qualities of champions who played key roles in driving change processes. The interplay between context variables and champion qualities illustrated different phases in Melbourne’s transition to a more water sensitive city.

A continuum of ‘city states’ based on these  phases and characterised by key socio-political drivers and respondent service delivery functions provide a framework for understanding institutional reform processes for sustainable urban water management.

This project formed part of a large interdisciplinary project focused on advancing the adoption of WSUD principles by improving knowledge of the design and operation of biofiltration systems. The project brought together researches from Monash University Faculties of Arts, Engineering and Science, coordinated by the Facility for Advancing Water Biofiltration (FAWB).

Research Team:
Prof Rebekah Brown and Ms Jodi Clarke

Project Partners:
EDAW, Melbourne Water, The Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board, Landcom, VicRoads, Manningham City Council and Brisbane City Council

Key industry Report:
Brown R.R. and Clarke J.M. (2007) The transition towards Water Sensitive Urban Design: The Story of Melbourne, Australia. Report of the Facility for Advancing Water Biofiltration, Monash University, Melbourne. PDF (1.2MB)

Other Publications (link)

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