Modelling transitions in urban water systems

W. Rauch, C. Urich, P. M. Bach, B. C. Rogers, F. J. de Haan, R. R. Brown, M. Mair, D. T. McCarthy, M. Kleidorfer, R. Sitzenfrei, A. Deletic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Long term planning of urban water infrastructure requires acknowledgement that transitions in the water system are driven by changes in the urban environment, as well as societal dynamics. Inherent to the complexity of these underlying processes is that the dynamics of a system's evolution cannot be explained by linear cause-effect relationships and cannot be predicted under narrow sets of assumptions. Planning therefore needs to consider the functional behaviour and performance of integrated flexible infrastructure systems under a wide range of future conditions. This paper presents the first step towards a new generation of integrated planning tools that take such an exploratory planning approach. The spatially explicit model, denoted DAnCE4Water, integrates urban development patterns, water infrastructure changes and the dynamics of socio-institutional changes. While the individual components of the DAnCE4Water model (i.e. modules for simulation of urban development, societal dynamics and evolution/performance of water infrastructure) have been developed elsewhere, this paper presents their integration into a single model. We explain the modelling framework of DAnCE4Water, its potential utility and its software implementation. The integrated model is validated for the case study of an urban catchment located in Melbourne, Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-514
Number of pages14
JournalWater Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


  • Exploratory modelling
  • Flexible design
  • Integrated modelling
  • Transition
  • Urban drainage
  • Urban water management

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