The workshop outcomes will directly shape the future direction for Water Sensitive Elwood, and created community champions to continue to develop the vision and strategy for Elwood’s future.

Water sensitive Elwood Community Consultation Case study

Water sensitive Elwood Community Consultation Case study

CRC for Water Sensitive Cities

Water Sensitive Cities Australia Head Office Monash University Clayton VIC 3800 | Map:

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This case study is an excellent example of community consultation for beter water management outcomes

The Water Senstive Elwood case study can be accessed via CRC for Water Senstive Cities site

Project Overview

Elwood has a history of water management issues related to flooding and water quality, and is home to an active engaged community that feels a strong connection to their local area. Twenty-four local residents participated in research discussions to develop a citizen-led vision of a future water sensitive Elwood: a suburb celebrating, rather than resisting, its natural water presence, able to adapt to rising waters, and enjoying its thriving biodiversity.  The project was a partnership between CRC for Water Sensitive Cities , City of Port Phillip  and Monash University .

Drivers and Objectives

Ongoing flooding issues – Unfortunately, Elwood’s low-lying position at the bottom of the catchment has led to semi-regular flooding of the area. Although flow from upper catchments has been diverted elsewhere, Elster Creek, which runs through Elwood, still floods from time to time, and surges from the Bay can also flood the Elwood canal. The risk of flooding is a constant anxiety for local communities.

. • Empowering communities with knowledge and owning solutions – Complex challenges like those for Elwood require good communication and understanding and a shared ownership of solutions. It was recognised early that engaging community in the strategy was essential.

• Need for a whole of catchment approach – Lying at the bottom of the catchment, Elwood is strongly affected by upstream water management. There was an opportunity to take a whole of catchment approach, bringing together key stakeholders including councils and water authorities.

• An opportunity to learn – Recognising the potential of Elwood to become a test case and model for transition to a water sensitive city, CRCWSC ran five research projects with stakeholders and communities. These included testing community participation processes (Project A4.3), developing tools for land planning (Project B4.1), improving flood risk management practices (Project B4.2), and reviewing precinct-scale water sensitive urban design (Project D5.1).


• CRC for Water Sensitive Cities

• City of Port Phillip

• Monash University

Project Outcomes

Priority outcomes included; management of flood paths, greening streets and lanes to reduce flood risk, use of WSUD in upper catchment, rainwater & stormwater harvesting and having community actively engaged in decision making to shape the future of Elwood.

Lessons Learnt

The community-led solutions also gave the politicians confidence to implement these solutions and also lead to the creation of an institutional mechanism for collaborative decision making across the councils in the catchment.

• Empowering local residents to discuss their concerns, values and aspirations in these areas not only boosts the agenda’s legitimacy, but also builds ownership of the local changes and their vision for the future.

• For Elwood, engaging with local residents resulted in a rich source of ideas for strategies and solutions for improving Elwood’s water sensitivity, highlighting the value of developing local and regional-scale solutions with community knowledge and support.

• The message is positive: sustainable, resilient, productive, and liveable communities are well within reach if communities are actively engaged.

• Community engagement and ownership can also provide local government with confidence in proposing new solutions.

Project Cost



Three days of workshops with 24 local residents were held to develop a citizen-led vision of a future water sensitive Elwood