Infrastructure and Urban Planning Context for Achieving the Visions of Integrated Urban Water Management and Water Sensitive Urban Design: The Case of Melbourne

Casey Furlong, Meredith Dobbie, Peter Morison, Jago Dodson, Micah Pendergast

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    Challenges associated with managing urban water, particularly in rapidly growing cities, have given rise to the visions of Integrated Urban Water Management (IUWM) and Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD). Our aim in this chapter is to understand the major barriers to achieving these visions. We begin with a literature review to clarify these visions, summarize previously identified barriers, and then explore these barriers through discussion of Melbourne, Australia, as a case study. This chapter draws on wide-ranging consultation with water industry experts in Melbourne to uncover the practical infrastructure and urban planning processes that are rarely covered in academic papers. We find that achieving the visions of IUWM and WSUD, as with all grand visions, cannot be considered as pass or fail, but rather as a journey of continual improvement. Progress is made when policy development, strategy and planning, and implementation of WSUD approaches, in both new and existing suburbs, are effectively coordinated. The primary barriers to achieving these visions in Melbourne are found to be (1) policy ambiguity around environmental, livability, and water security targets;(2) lack of policy guidance around appropriate and justifiable planning processes, in particular financial evaluations; (3) limitations on what developers can be required to do in new developments without more ambitious policy and legislation; and (4) limited resources available for projects in existing suburbs and the difficulty directing resources to the most beneficial uses.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationApproaches to Water Sensitive Urban Design
    Subtitle of host publicationPotential, Design, Ecological Health, Urban Greening, Economics, Policies, and Community Perceptions
    EditorsAshok K. Sharma, Ted Gardner, Don Begbie
    Place of PublicationAmsterdam, Netherlands
    Number of pages22
    ISBN (Electronic)978-0-12-812843-5
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


    • barriers
    • decision-making
    • Integrated urban water management
    • Low impact development
    • Urban planning
    • Water infrastructure planning
    • water sensitive urban design

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