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INTELLIGENT WATER SOLUTIONS
How research–government collaborations translate
While the CRCWSC has a strong research focus, the success of
the CRCWSC really depends on being able to translate end-user-
driven research into on-ground environmental, social and economic
change. Collaborations and partnerships between the CRCWSC and
its government and industry participants are critically important in
shifting conventional practices and enabling transformation.
The strengthening of networks and relationships plays a critical
role in creating impact. Through activities such as industry partner
workshops, demonstration projects and capacity-building activities,
a collaborative platform is created, which provides opportunities for
networking within and between the 88 committed organisations.
Networks provide improved accessibility to subject matter experts and
locally relevant information, facilitate the sharing of knowledge and
reciprocal support, and help to build formal and informal relationships.
These relationships have facilitated the exchange of ideas,
information and resources within networks and beyond the CRCWSC.
To achieve fundamental changes in how we build our cities, the
CRCWSC aims to develop the required capacity among its partners
to do so. Through various activities, the CRCWSC aims to increase
individual and organisational knowledge and understanding of technical
and non-technical aspects of alternative water practices. Demonstration
projects, in particular, have been invaluable in improving the knowledge
and understanding of new technologies, and how to deliver complex
projects with multiple objectives and multiple stakeholders.
Understanding how water literacy can contribute
to a water sensitive city
In order to foster a public appetite for these types of innovations,
CRCWSC researchers are also working on understanding
community perceptions about water conservation, stormwater
treatment, catchment management, and the key question of what
water sensitivity means.
Local citizens and communities play an important role in building a
water sensitive city. High levels of water literacy are associated with
the uptake of water-saving devices and action, and the acceptance of
alternative water sources, such as treated stormwater and greywater.
Recent CRCWSC research involved a survey of more than 5100
people to determine different Australian communities’ current
levels of water literacy, as well as their current engagement in
‘water sensitive behaviours’, such as fixing leaking taps, using rain
tanks, and building rain gardens.
While a majority of Australians exhibited good knowledge of
some water issues, the survey revealed some surprising aspects
that were less understood. Only 27 per cent of the sample
group was aware that domestic wastewater receives treatment
before entering waterways, and only 46 per cent understood the
definition of a waterway catchment. A more concerning result
was that only 41 per cent of survey respondents understood that
the amount of water available for use is finite.
The following case studies highlight the various successes and
impacts that can be achieved through collaboration between
researchers and local government.
City of Boroondara, Victoria
The City of Boroondara adopted its new Integrated Water
Management Strategy 2014–2024 in May 2014. The document
sets the strategic direction and implementation approach for
improving water cycle management across the municipality over
the next decade. The Strategy reflects the emerging direction
for councils to consider flood management initiatives along with
stormwater management, enabling a more integrated approach
to water management. This is an advanced approach by a local
council, identifying synergies between the often disconnected
objectives of water sensitive urban design and flood management.
Importantly, the Strategy is founded on good science. In early
2014, the CRCWSC worked with Council to finalise the Strategy,
using the knowledge of six key CRCWSC researchers to provide
feedback to refine the consultation draft. In response to feedback
from researchers, an additional objective and strategies relating to
flood management were captured within the Strategy.
City of Greater Geraldton, Western Australia
In May 2014, the City of Greater Geraldton endorsed its new
Water Planning and Management Strategy. The Strategy aims
to facilitate ‘a sustainable water future for the City of Greater
Geraldton that utilises smart technologies to build a livable green
community, which values efficient water use and is resilient to
Which states have the highest and lowest levels of water literacy? Survey
findings showed that 14 per cent of the population has ‘high water
literacy’, which is defined as having given correct responses to at least 14
of 17 literacy questions.
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