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2015. Transition Towards Water Sensitivity- Defining the Building Blocks. Paper Asia Pacific Stormwater Conference.

Authors: Damian Young and Stu Farrant


This paper investigates, defines and summarizes key elements and ‘building blocks’ necessary for cities to transition to water sensitivity, with a particular focus on the stormwater aspects of this spectrum, drawing on local project examples and overseas exemplars.

Many towns and cities across New Zealand are limited by issues around scale and resources (both financial and personnel) to achieve effective water sensitivity. This is compounded by the long held reliance on ‘traditional’ networks delivered with a singular focus on quantifiable service delivery measures typically governed by conveyance and flood mitigation. Water sensitivity offers a new paradigm in the design and implementation of public/private infrastructure which capitalizes on synergistic benefits through integrated solutions. These in turn provide increased levels of service which encapsulate a range of tangible and intangible benefits to Councils, communities, Iwi and receiving environments. This paper articulates the institutional processes, community understanding, technical guidance and functional delivery mechanisms required to support transition to water sensitivity.

International exemplars of cities which have successfully adopted water sensitivity as part of their approach to stormwater management will be identified and investigated. This will inform an understanding of the actions and drivers which have underpinned their transitional change and the barriers which they have overcome in this process. These experiences will be evaluated against recent domestic progress to better understand tangible and intangible impediments to change in the New Zealand context. This process will identify the ‘building blocks’ which support the effective paradigm shift towards water sensitivity as they relate to key stakeholders including Councils, utilities, iwi and private enterprise.

This process will give confidence to the subsequent prioritization of actions through a consistent and concise understanding of the locally relevant; governance issues, institutional barriers, community aspirations, ecological contexts and cultural considerations. These will in turn inform guidance on the required building blocks encompassing; 

- Priority data procurement 

- Institutional capacity building 

- Local policy documents 

- Regional collaboration 

- Community understanding/education 

- Multi-disciplined technical skill shortages


Water Sensitive Cities, Water Sensitivity, Integrated Stormwater Management

. Damian Young _ Stu Farrant, Transition Towards Sensitivity, Defining the Building Bl


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