CRC for Water Sensitive Cities

The Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities (CRCWSC) was established in July 2012 to help change the way we design, build and manage our cities by valuing the contributions that water makes to economic growth and development, our quality of life and the ecosystems of which cities are a part. The water sensitive cities agenda, and the partnerships forged by the CRCWSC, offer major direct and indirect economic benefits through innovation in urban water policies and governance, and development of systems and technologies tailored to local circumstances to deliver:- • More cost effective use of underused/wasted water sources;

• Greater productivity from existing infrastructure and their avoided or delayed upgrade;

• Reduced flood damage and insurance burdens;

• Reduced community morbidity and mortality from urban heat;

• Avoided or reduced restoration costs to urban waterways and adjoining rivers and bays; and

• Improved health and liveability for urban communities.

There are opportunities for developing nations to leapfrog into 21st century models for urban water services rather than follow more conventional models with their 19th century origins. Since the CRCWSC was established, partnerships with water authorities, industry partners, and local and state governments have helped bring some impressive, innovative projects to fruition.

The key objectives of the CRCWSC are to:

• Develop knowledge across a wide range of topics and disciplines,

• Integrate or synthesise the knowledge into practical, targeted solutions for government, industry and the community, and

• Influence and inform key players who shape and manage our cities and urban places to implement water sensitive solutions.

Organisational Capability

  • • Synthesis of latest multi-disciplinary research into on ground projects
    • Interdisciplinary collaboration (research and practice) spanning biophysical and social sciences
    • Integrated Urban Water Resources Management
    • Strategic spatial and water infrastructure planning of cities and towns
    • Water Sensitive Urban Design
    • Institutional and Governance Arrangements for contemporary urban water management
    • Capacity Building and Development for water sensitive urban design
    • Envisioning and Scenario Planning for Resilient Urban Water Systems
    • Institutional Capacity Building for Sustainable Urban Water Management
    • Developing educational and training materials for Sustainable Urban Water Management

Projects

  • Kunshan, China - Ring Road Ecological Landscapes Strategy
    CRCWSC researchers have inspected key sites and developed a conceptual city-wide open space strategy that aims to provide the city with ecosystem services by improving water quality, enhancing landscape connectivity, creating biodiversity, introducing food production into the landscape, and influencing the urban microclimate. The strategy addresses current and emerging issues that are typical of many Chinese cities. These issues are associated with degrading ecological health and biodiversity of urban open spaces and waterways, progressive loss of arable land, progressive cultural disconnect of local food production in Chinese communities, and increasing vulnerability to floods and urban heat.
  • CRCWSC Educational programs to foster future Water Sensitive Cities leaders
    CRCWSC researchers have been working to characterise the kinds of skills and knowledge required to deliver WSC outcomes by interviewing WSC project and program champions from across Australia, the Netherlands, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia and China. The results of this work will feed directly into the product design and market assessment of WSC education and short course programs.
  • Water Sensitive Cities Winter School
    The 2014 Winter School brought together Australia’s foremost researchers and thoughtleaders to discuss the actions being taken to deliver water sensitive cities – cities that are sustainable, resilient, and liveable – in the face of significant population growth and climate change pressures. Lectures and workshops presented the latest solutions and concepts relating to urban design, integrated urban water management and modelling, climate change adaptation, behavioural change, and social and government engagement. These interdisciplinary topics were all discussed in the context of broader urban sustainability issues and linked to lessons from the international community.
  • Asian Development Bank
    The CRCWSC has recently been invited by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to establish a partnership with the bank to provide ongoing strategic and technical advice on the planning of urban water infrastructure for developing countries in Asia as the basis of the banks strategic relationship with these countries. The aim of the partnership is to support the bank in influencing more sustainable and resilient outcomes in their lending strategies for urban development of these nations.
  • ABC Waters Design Guidelines, Engineering Procedures and Accreditation Course
    The Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters (ABC Waters) is a long term strategic programme by the Public Utilities Board (PUB), Singapore’s national water agency, that aims to transform utilitarian canals, drains and reservoirs in Singapore into clean flowing rivers, streams and lakes that blend naturally into the urban environment. As part of a long-standing relationship with PUB, CRCWSC researchers have been actively involved in this programme since 2006 with the delivery of these training material by researchers (who are now part of the CRCWSC) from 2010 to 2013.
  • Water for Liveable and Resilient Cities; Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)
    The CRCWSC collaborated with Monash University and FutureLearn in the development of a Massive Open Online Course, called Water for Liveable and Resilient Cities. (https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/liveable-cities) Speakers includes leading Australian and International researchers and thought-leaders. The course provides the opportunity to explore the concept of water sensitive cities – cities designed with water in mind to ensure they are liveable and resilient in the face of rapid urbanisation and climate change impacts. The course explores leading-edge research from the environmental, social, economic, political and engineering disciplines. 4,300+ students and industry professionals have taken part to date (April, 2015).