Integrated Urban Water Management — Why a good idea seems hard to implement

Productivity Commission


This report highlights impediments to implementing Integrated Water Cycle Management (IWCM) in the policy environment, in water service planning and delivery, and in the regulatory environment.

It recognises pressures on our major cities to remain liveable in the context of increasing pressures of climate change and required amenity enhancements and the role of IWCM in achieving this. IWCM is defined as a whole of system, multidisciplinary approach that aims to manage the entire urban water cycle by integrating the delivery of water, wastewater and stormwater services to contribute to the full suite of water security, public health, environmental and urban amenity outcomes that the community seeks.

The report summary states that IWCM cannot be delivered by the water sector alone. Implementing IWCM will require significant, ongoing collaboration between the land use planning and local government sectors and the water sector, in both policy and planning at a range of different scales.

To achieve this, the Productivity Commission recommends that implementing IWCM may require better on ground arrangements between organisations covering operational decision making, risk sharing, land management and project governance, with agreed accountabilities for monitoring, ongoing maintenance and stakeholder engagement.