Title: Emergence of decentralised water and sanitation systems in Melbourne, Australia

Authors: Dena Fam; Cynthia Mitchell; Kumi Abeysuriya; Abby Mellick Lopes

Addresses: Institute of Sustainable Futures, University of Technology (UTS), Building 10, Level 11, 235 Jones St., Ultimo, 2000, Sydney, Australia ' Institute of Sustainable Futures, University of Technology (UTS), Building 10, Level 11, 235 Jones St., Ultimo, 2000, Sydney, Australia ' Institute of Sustainable Futures, University of Technology (UTS), Building 10, Level 11, 235 Jones St., Ultimo, 2000, Sydney, Australia ' School of Communication Arts, University of Western Sydney (UWS), Building BB 1.60, Werrington South Campus, Penrith, Australia

Abstract: In Melbourne, Australia, a shift is occurring in the approach to wastewater management. With increased pressure from landscape drivers such as population growth, urbanisation, and over a decade of extended drought conditions, a new model of wastewater management is being explored by Melbourne's metropolitan water utilities in the development of their latest Metropolitan Sewerage Strategy (MSS). With input from key industry leaders and a broad range of stakeholders a collaborative 'vision' of sustainable sewerage services to Melbourne over a 50 year timeframe was developed with decentralised systems emerging as a key, long-term component of service delivery. Drawing on the multi-level perspective (MLP), we investigate the interrelated and reinforcing factors that have driven this shift in perception toward decentralised systems and serious consideration of alternative socio-technical configurations of wastewater management in Melbourne's future planning strategy. We then explore the process in which cross disciplinary participants from industry, government and civil society articulated their vision of a long term sustainable sanitation future for Melbourne.

Keywords: multi-level perspective; decentralised systems; emergence; transition management; visioning; sustainable development; sustainability; futures planning strategy; Melbourne Sustainable Sewerage Strategy; cross disciplinary collaboration; water systems; sanitation systems; Australia; wastewater management; sustainable sanitation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJW.2014.060962

International Journal of Water, 2014 Vol.8 No.2, pp.149 - 165

Available online: 23 May 2014 *

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