Reaffirming our mission to see water sensitive practice in every city, every day

May 22, 2023
2022 was the first full operating year for Water Sensitive Cities Australia. As a start-up, we focused on demonstrating value and establishing a strong foundation for longer term growth. As a small team, we achieved a lot:
  • We began a 3-year state and national mainstreaming program.
  • We completed fee-for-service projects in other states and regional areas to build our national presence and as a first step towards ongoing collaboration.
  • We maintained and improved the suite of WSC tools and delivered training on the Transition Dynamics Framework, Management Actions Tool and the INFFEWS tools.

We have industry endorsed projects underway or completed in Western Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia providing timely impact and achieving broad application of research insights to diverse contexts and issues. We have hubs in Western Australia and Victoria, and are exploring opportunities to establish hubs in Queensland and South Australia.

WSCA mainstreaming initiatives, March 2023

We recently did a deep dive on what we’ve learned over the past year, and what we need to do over the next 2 years. At a workshop with our Tier 1 partners, we identified some common areas where we think WSCA can make a significant contribution:

  • Encouraging integrated planning (i.e. land-use, infrastructure, catchment, hazards etc.)
  • Embedding IWM into state-based planning systems
  • Improving water literacy at various levels (e.g. community literacy, decision maker literacy)
  • Building local government understanding of water sensitive practices at various levels (e.g. councillor/senior executive level as well as technical/middle managers)
  • Better understanding lifecycle costs
  • Implementing water sensitive urban design in small-scale and infill developments
  • Scaling up pilot projects
  • Improving funding and financing arrangements for IWM projects (e.g. how to develop a revenue base for IWM that also includes maintenance).

The next step is for us to revise our mainstreaming strategy and national and state programs to reflect these priorities. We will focus on ensuring value for partners and seek out opportunities to connect WSC champions in different locations with leading research and practices.

In the meantime, this edition of waterSENSE highlights some of the ways we’re working to deliver on our mission to mainstream water sensitive practice: