Cities as Water Supply Catchments

Across Australia, cities are facing a range of critical pressures related to climate change and urban expansion. We are experiencing critical water shortages along with increasing weather extremes and the degradation of our urban streams and waterways. At the same time, public health is further threatened by urban heat island effects as our cities become more consolidated to accommodate increasing population and changing social expectations.

The vision presented in the Cities as Water Supply Catchments research program is to harness the potential of storm water to overcome water shortages, reduce urban temperatures, and improve waterways health and the landscape of Australian cities.

This Program with its eight separate but interlinked research projects (P1 to P8) and its integrated demonstration and communications strategies, addresses key issues which have so far restricted the on-site capture and use of storm water to ease long term water shortages in urban environments in Australia. In addition to proving that storm water harvesting is safe, practical and cost effective, the solutions we propose will enhance the liveability of our cities by delivering improvements in urban micro-climates, waterways health, and urban landscaping. These benefits are not available as part of any other water supply management strategy, and can be delivered within a timeframe that is synchronous with the rate of urban development and at a cost significantly lower than traditional water supply alternatives.