Social inequality and water use practices in Australian communities

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


This paper explores the impact social inequality has on the way different communities experience and use water in Australian cities. Through a model for understanding the dynamic between social inequality and water use practices in urban centres this paper analyses 60 in-depth interviews with people in communities of varying social advantage and disadvantage in two Australian cities of Melbourne and Perth. Findings show that the cultural and economic resources of households define lived experiences that shape daily water use practices. Using water use meanings as an example, we find that for those in more advantaged communities lived experiences regularly create and reinforce water use for luxury and leisure, while disadvantaged communities placed greater emphasis on using water to enhance their basic needs for quality of life. The implications of these findings are then discussed where I connect the large scale objectives of water sensitive cities to the everyday concerns and experiences of householders in urban contexts with the aim of ensuring better collaborations between government, business and communities for water resource management, to create avenues for an effective transition to more water sensitive cities and futures.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventAustralian Young Water Professionals Conference 2016 - University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
Duration: 18 Feb 201619 Feb 2020
Conference number: 4th


ConferenceAustralian Young Water Professionals Conference 2016
Internet address


  • Water sensitive cities
  • social inequality
  • domestic water use
  • Practice Theory

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