Institutional Challenges for Achieving a Whole of Water Approach – The City of Sydney Response
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Urban water managers and policy makers are struggling with the challenge of transitioning to an approach that considers a whole of urban water approach, where water planning and the urban form are considered in an integrated manner. The recent drive for liveable cities, where water is used to enhance the urban landscape through reuse and stormwater management, has seen a shift in focus. This has brought a number of challenges to bear on institutions charged with water planning and management at strategic, tactical and operational levels. Five central challenges have emerged from the research undertaken by ISF, viz.: Legislations and regulations that are prescriptive, overlapping and inconsistent Economic and financial systems that are restrictive and traditional Planning that is uncoordinated and non-collaborative Organisational and professional cultures that are siloed and inflexible Citizens engagement that is uncoordinated, technical and uninspiring Drawing on the approach adopted by the City of Sydney, the paper will illustrate how a number of these challenges were overcome by local council in their attempt to achieve liveability goals, make the city more resilient to climate change, and reduce pollution levels in the water ways and harbour. The City undertook a consultative process to develop a decentralised water master plan that would both drive and guide future recycling, stormwater management, and pollution control initiatives. Six transferable lessons and enabling actions were identified that will have relevance to other cities and urban planners aiming to achieve a whole water approach and liveable cities.
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