|April 2005||National Research Flagship||www.csiro.au/healthycountry/|
From the mountains to the sea - Australian cities and their water
Without water a city cannot survive, and the survival of surrounding ecosystems also depends on the quality of the city’s water management.
The Flagship’s Urban water team is developing Hydro Planner, a tool to help cities understand the interactions between the components of the urban water system and the surrounding environment.
It is increasingly important to Australia’s metropolitan managers and planners to understand the impact of urban water systems on the natural environment and the regional and national economy. Researchers are being called on to provide comprehensive and practical models of our cities and their place in the Australian environment and economy.
This is an exceedingly complex task, as we come to grips with everything from microscopic organisms, urban lifestyles to massive freeway design. The Flagship integrates these elements in the master plan dubbed Water Smart Cities. This Program focuses on regional and city level physical water system interactions and the social and economic aspects of providing urban water.
Research components of Water Smart Cities include
A tool developed as part of the Water Smart Cities project is a software package called Hydro Planner, a planning tool designed to aid understanding of system-wide water quality and quantity problems.
Hydro Planner deals with questions such as who is using the water and for what purpose and in what quantities and quality? What are the cumulative impacts of climate change and population growth, what water sources are available and what impact does utilising this water have on the surrounding environment and community?
“We hope to be able to give a scientific answer to important town planning questions such as how to achieve a balance of supply and demand in the context of climate change, ever expanding urban development and population growth,” says Dr Shiroma Maheepala, leader of the Water Smart Cities Program.
“We can expect considerable changes in how people plan and build their houses and business premises. And we need to calculate the system-wide implications of this new approach to urban living.”
The Hydro Planner will link hydrological, water quality, and system simulation models. It will give researchers and planners a practical means for understanding and managing a city’s water, from mountain streams and storages, through urban waterways, to the waters of the rivers, bays and ocean.
The Hydro Planner prototype will be available by April 2005.
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