Moving Towards Water Sensitive Cities: A Guidance Manual for Strategists and Policy Makers

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Our cities are experiencing the pressures of climate change, population growth and rapid urbanisation. As such, the shift toward more integrated approaches to urban water management is being recognised as a challenging but necessary direction to take. While some places are still grappling with the delivery of essential services like water and sewerage, others are struggling to address and overcome some of the vulnerabilities inadvertently created by their existing water management systems. For both developed and developing cities, the concept of water sensitivity offers an exciting means of delivering multiple benefits associated with liveability,sustainability and resilience through a city’s water management framework.This manual is the product of research for Cities as Water Supply Catchments – Society and Institutions (ProjectA4.1) and provides guidance for cities seeking to transition toward a more water sensitive future. The information presented here is not merely theoretical, but draws on the experience of cities from around the world to provide practical examples of water sensitive transitions in action.The tools presented here have two purposes. First, to facilitate a greater understanding of a city’s current water sensitive practices. Second, to provide practical guidance on creating the social and institutional conditions needed for a city to realise its ideal water future.
The manual has three parts:
Part A provides an overview of the benefits – and increasing necessity – for cities to transition toward water sensitivity. Part B begins by outlining the Water Sensitive City concept and its core principles. It also highlights the value of benchmarking approaches, which can help to inform the development of strategic initiatives that will most effectively support a city’s water sensitive transition.It then introduces a number of benchmarking tools that can be used to conduct a qualitative assessment of acity’s current water management regime – as well as the social and institutional changes required to move toward increased water sensitivity. We recognise that cities are at different stages of water management. This is why the Urban Water Transitions Framework is useful, as it enables a city to benchmark its current water management practices, policy, and aspiration. By defining the attributes of water management within more sustainable cities, it helps cities to identify their short and long term goals for water sensitivity.From this point, the Transition Dynamics Framework provides insight into how transformative change unfolds on the ground; it identifies six distinct phases of transition which in turn allows cities to benchmark progress toward their aspired water future. Most importantly, this framework can reveal a city’s strengths and vulnerabilities as it embarks on this journey.Part C provides guidance on how to apply these frameworks to benchmark your city and identify its current transition phase in its move toward water sensitivity. It then outlines how these benchmarking results can be used to inform the development of strategic action to enable social and institutional progress toward water sensitive management.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationClayton Victoria Australia
PublisherCRC for Water Sensitive Cities
Number of pages52
ISBN (Print)9781921912351
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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