Managing our water resources is, and will become increasingly challenging for urban development. The State’s growing population together with a drying climate will impair the availability of water. A strategic approach is needed to ensure that competing social, economic and environmental demands for water are appropriately managed with water secured for all of our needs. While management of water within the urban setting is nuanced and multifaceted in its challenges so too are the solutions and innovative approaches being developed by industry.
In the land use planning context, sometimes the greatest constraints are those artificially imposed by regulatory frameworks which fail to properly consider solutions which may deliver best practice outcomes. Some of the management approaches which continue to be the focus of decision making can include a risk adverse approach to design. In addition, the current approvals process associated with the management of water can, at times, result in project timelines being impacted by overlapping regulatory requirements, limited information sharing between agencies, and inconsistencies between regulators’ advice and objectives. The UDIA would like consistency in navigating the approvals process which consider the whole of cycle outcome in order to facilitate innovation and ingenuity.
With significant developments in the design and construction of urban water management systems, opportunities exist to improve upon key outcomes such as basic raw material use, alternative water sources and supply and the health of waterways.
The UDIA calls for:
- Stronger government commitment for fit for purpose water use, which includes the investigation and adoption of innovative and best practice water recycling methods; coupled with water sensitive urban design that recognises the benefits they can provide.
- Streamlined approval processes with clear and consistent guidance;
- The advancement of water sensitive urban design to ensure resilience against a changing climate;
- Practical, cost effective drainage solutions and flood mitigation measures which maximise social, economic and environmental benefits.