Establishing an Innovative, Community-Based Decentralised Water Service: Challenges and Benefits

  • Cr Debbie Blumel
  • Peter Henderson
  • Peter Waterman


In Australia, the innovative management of water resources and water infrastructure is of critical importance, given that the continent is characterised by scarce water resources, a burgeoning population, and is already experiencing the pressures of climate change. In examining how regional Australia can play a role in managing water supply/demand issues, this chapter addresses three objectives. Firstly, it explores the regional advantage to be gained by moving towards the delivery of decentralised water services, particularly in peri-urban settings. Secondly, the key features and advantages of these services are illustrated through a case study example from Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, where novel, community-based infrastructure has been installed, based on the principles of Integrated Water Cycle Management (IWCM). The case study highlights the implications of such systems for both water security and sustainability, including how the latter can be assessed. Thirdly, commentary is provided on the challenges and barriers to be overcome in establishing new arrangements for water entities, such as ‘Community Water Limited (CWL)’. Through this case study, this chapter raises the argument that innovation for water security involves both technological and structural innovation. Indeed, it requires a paradigm shift, with major changes in thinking, attitudes and behaviour. Most importantly, as a new market mechanism with distinct value in regional settings, the establishment of community-based water companies needs specific policy and legislative support, if regional Australia is to be able to innovate for sustainability, water security, and climate change adaptation.


Climate Change Adaptation Water Service Sustainability Assessment Water Security Water Company 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Bonacci Cullen. (2010). Report review: Conceptual design and economic analysis of integrated water cycle management schemes at Ridges. Peregian Springs.Google Scholar
  2. Australia, E. (2003). Triple bottom line reporting in Australia. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia.Google Scholar
  3. Holbrook, J. C. (2007). Towards establishing principles of climate change. Adapted urban development (CCUAD), Unpublished project report, SUDTEC, Hong KongGoogle Scholar
  4. Kuhn, T. (1962). The structure of scientific revolutions. London: The University of Chicago Press Limited.Google Scholar
  5. Laves, G., Waterman, P., James, D., Barr, D., Tunbridge, A., Wood, K., & Noble, E. (2010). A sustainability assessment of a climate change adaptive urban development. Sippy Downs: University of the Sunshine Coast.Google Scholar
  6. Parsons Brinckerhoff. (2009). Recycled water management and drinking water quality plan. Unpublished report to sunshine coast water.Google Scholar
  7. Troy, P. (2008). Troubled waters – confronting the water crisis in Australia’s cities. Canberra: ANU E-Press.Google Scholar
  8. QWC (Queensland Water Commission). (2009). Draft South East Queensland water strategy. Brisbane: Queensland Water Commission.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cr Debbie Blumel
    • 1
  • Peter Henderson
    • 2
  • Peter Waterman
    • 3
  1. 1.Sunshine Coast Regional CouncilQueenslandAustralia
  2. 2.Environmental Management Solutions Pty LtdQueenslandAustralia
  3. 3.University of the Sunshine CoastQueenslandAustralia

Personalised recommendations