The urban water sector must innovate to meet a multitude of challenges. In Australia, innovation needs to occur primarily within the existing framework of public ownership. Supporting innovation necessitates understanding all the potential regulatory levers which could influence its adoption. This paper analyses the place of public utilities within Melbourne's urban water regulatory terrain and examines how innovation thrived or withered amidst the various regulatory influences through an empirical case study. We conclude that water regulatory systems are overlapping, heterogeneous and more sophisticated than often assumed. Yet despite this inherent regulatory complexity, innovation can occur inside trusted public institutions.
- Urban water