Macquarie University
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Drivers and challenges of implementing integrated water-cycle management strategy in regional NSW

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posted on 2022-03-28, 10:39 authored by Tasneem Kanpurwala
Regional water utilities in the state of New South Wales (NSW) are recommended to prepare a 30-year Integrated Water Cycle Management (IWCM) strategy. The aim of IWCM strategies is to ensure that the regional town water supply, sewage, stormwater and related infrastructure, is safe, secure, efficient and sustainable, fit for purpose and meets with community needs at fair price. But, barriers to implementation of IWCM strategies are fraught with many challenges including multiple regulatory obligations, differing community expectations, shifting political priorities and influences and having to navigate institutional silos. This study reveals an insight into the challenges and opportunities faced by and for rural-regional water utility's strategic planning and its implementation. The method used is stakeholder engagement of the bottom-up perspectives of strategic and operational water managers and top-down perspectives of state level water managers and regulators. The vertical and horizontal approach is designed to facilitate the needed step change in IWCM to future proofing water services of regional towns in NSW. The findings from on-grounds, bottom-up barriers in IWCM strategy development is that: process is very expensive and resource intensive; used as procedural document to obtain funds; multiple and prescriptive regulations leading to prolonged approvals processing times; resource limitations and internal organisational silos. The top-down solutions as suggested by the strategic water managers and regulators are: acknowledgement of governance as a major reform area; identified need to streamline the IWCM processes and procedure, but that the options analysis requirement - needs to consider all available options; taking ownership of the strategy development process (reducing reliance on consultants), legislations are enabling the pieces in the puzzle of achieving water security; These challenging, complex and interwoven settings, if not overcome, may result in towns being without a reliable supply of water as has, and is, presently occurring across the rural-regional NSW -- abstract.


Table of Contents

1. Introduction -- 2. Literature review: development of IWCM in the last century -- 3. Research method -- 4. Data collection: literature review and stakeholder engagement -- 5. Analytical discussions: a review of stakeholder responses -- 6. Recommended actions -- 7. Conclusions and future directions -- References -- Appendix A -- Appendix B -- Appendix C.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 51-55

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Department of Environmental Sciences

Department, Centre or School

Department of Environmental Sciences

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Peter Davies

Additional Supervisor 1

Scott Wilson


Copyright Tasneem Kanpurwala 2019. Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (viii, 55 pages)

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