Chris Chesterfield



Research activity per year

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Personal profile


Chris is a Professor of Practice at the Monash Sustainable Development Institute with a focus on water sector governance and leadership.

He joined Monash University in 2014 as part of the executive team at the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities where he was a key strategic thinker and research leader with a focus on water governance, urban and water planning and city scale transitions to more sustainable and liveable futures.

Chris leads research to develop new evidence, insight and industry tools for benchmarking, envisioning, planning and implementing water system transformations. These tools have been adopted by city and water stakeholders to drive changes in policy and practice. For example, the Water Sensitive Cities Index has been applied in more than 50 cities in Australia and internationally by trained and accredited providers. The provider cohort has recently expanded to Asia, the Pacific, Africa, North America and South America in response to international interest in water sensitive city benchmarking and transition planning.

Chris is nationally recognized for his leadership in waterway and urban water management and for his contribution to establishing Melbourne as a world leader in water sensitive urban design. He held roles as General Manager at Melbourne Water and CEO of the Office of Living Victoria before joining Monash University.

He has contributed to advancing water and urban planning practice through a number of other recent roles including as chair of several Ministerial advisory committees that have led to significant planning and legislative reforms and as a member of advisory panels for Melbourne Water, the Victorian Planning Authority, Infrastructure Victoria and the Office of the Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability. He chairs an Integrated Water Management Forum of CEOs and MDs for the Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning.

Chris is Commissioner and Chairperson of the Victorian Environmental Water Holder and in 2019 was appointed by the Minister for Water to chair the Birrarung Council, a new bicultural statutory body to act as the ‘voice for the Yarra River’.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

External positions

Chairman, Monash Medical Centre

Chairman, Victorian Environmental Water Holder

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or