A city scape.

Urban Water research is providing the innovative science and technology solutions to help Australia's cities transition to more sustainable water management.

Urban Water Theme

Urban Water is one of four research themes within the Water for a Healthy Country Flagship. This research aims to enable the mainstream adoption of innovative, integrated and sustainable water management for Australia’s cities.

  • 18 March 2011 | Updated 14 February 2014


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With an expected 50 per cent increase in urban population by 2050, providing safe, reliable and sustainable water services for Australia's cities is a major challenge for the 21st century.

As cities expand, the demand for water, energy, land, materials and food will increase, as will the generation of waste streams, stormwater runoff and the flow of nutrients and chemical contamination.

These environmental pressures will be exacerbated by climate change.

The Urban Water Theme's goal is to secure climate resilient integrated water services that enhance the sustainability and liveability of Australian cities and provide A$800M per annum in net benefits by 2030.

The transition of Australia's cities to more sustainable models of urban water management requires innovative science and technology solutions.

The Water for a Healthy Country Flagship's Urban Water Research Theme aims to contribute to the creation of healthier, more liveable Australian cities.

Australia's urban water challenges

The considerable challenges facing Australia's urban water sector include:

  • water security in a changing climate – climate change and population growth indicate our cities face increasing water availability uncertainty
  • managing diverse sources of supply – optimising the management and provision of safe, reliable, fit for purpose water supplies from a range of water sources
  • resource efficiency – reducing the carbon footprint of urban water supply and use, and recovering energy and nutrients from wastewater
  • healthy water environments – urbanisation places increasing ecological stress on our waterways and wetland systems
  • aging infrastructure – maintenance and management of our aging water infrastructure will continue to increase
  • people and institutions – governments need to establish appropriate governance, institutional and pricing structures to encourage innovation without compromising social and environmental outcomes.

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