Engaging local government councillors and senior executives

Building WSC capacity of local government decision makers


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We are working with Urbaqua in Western Australia to improve local government decision makers’ understanding of and role in promoting application of water sensitive cities principles and practices. This project targets mayors, councillors and senior executives in Western Australia.

This project is supported by the Water Sensitive Transition Network. The Project Steering Group comprises representatives from the Western Australian Local Government Association, the City of Canning, the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, Taylor Burrell Barnett and Water Corporation.

Background

Western Australian local governments have made significant progress in transitioning to water sensitive communities. All local government authorities (32) in the Perth–Peel metropolitan area participate in the voluntary Waterwise Council Program. A significant majority (25) have achieved gold recognition under the program, and 22 have completed WSC Index benchmarking.

But while Perth has many local government champions delivering WSC actions, these people are often in engineering, sustainability and landscape professions. We need to build understanding of others, particularly senior local government decision makers (councillors and senior executives).

Local government decision makers should see WSC solutions as fundamental to the health and wellbeing of the community and the protection of the environment, rather than being a ‘nice to have’, ‘add on’ or ‘unconventional’ solution.

What we’re doing

Water Sensitive Cities Australia is working with Urbaqua to design and deliver an engagement package that is relevant to local government councillors and senior executives in the Perth–Peel metropolitan area. The aim is to build knowledge of and support for WSC principles and practices.

The project involves:

  • interviewing key stakeholders to gauge current levels of understanding and identify gaps, challenges and opportunities
  • reviewing existing programs to identify gaps, challenges and opportunities
  • developing key messages such as:
    • what is a water sensitive city
    • how WSC principles and practices benefit local government and communities
    • how to operate and maintain WSC infrastructure
  • developing an engagement plan, including identifying target audiences and delivery channels
  • delivering the engagement program
  • evaluating program delivery against performance measures.

How it will help

This project offers short-term and long-term benefits.

In the short term, it supports Perth’s Water Sensitive Cities Vision. More engaged local government decision makers enable a more resilient, productive, sustainable and adaptive city and community, which in turn supports the wider implementation of water WSC practices.

In the longer term, the engagement package could be adapted and delivered in other locations around Australia.

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What does a Water Sensitive City look like?

The CRCWSC has produced research, guidelines and
tools related to the following topics:

Integrated Urban Flood
Management

Climate change
mitigation

Community
engagement

Economics and
business case


Flood resilience
Green Infrastructure
Urban heat