Decentralised water supply systems are becoming increasingly affordable and commonplace in Australia and have the potential to alleviate urban water shortages and reduce pollution into natural receiving marine and freshwater streams. Learning processes are necessary to support the efficient implementation of decentralised systems. These processes reveal the complex socio-technical and institutional factors to be considered when developing an enabling environment supporting decentralised water and wastewater servicing solutions. Critical to the technological transition towards established decentralised systems is the ability to create strategic and adaptive capacity to promote learning and dialogue. Learning processes require institutional mechanisms to ensure the lessons are incorporated into the formulation of policy and regulation, through constructive involvement of key government institutions. Engagement of stakeholders is essential to the enabling environment. Collaborative learning environments using systems analysis with communities (social learning) and adaptive management techniques are useful in refining and applying scientists' and managers' knowledge (knowledge management).
Keywords: adaptive governance, community engagement, decentralised systems, social learning, transition