Inderscience Publishers

Emergence of decentralised water and sanitation systems in Melbourne, Australia

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In Melbourne, Australia, a shift is occurring in the approach to wastewater management. With increased pressure from landscape drivers such as population growth, urbanisation, and over a decade of extended drought conditions, a new model of wastewater management is being explored by Melbourne's metropolitan water utilities in the development of their latest Metropolitan Sewerage Strategy (MSS). With input from key industry leaders and a broad range of stakeholders a collaborative 'vision' of sustainable sewerage services to Melbourne over a 50 year timeframe was developed with decentralised systems emerging as a key, long–term component of service delivery. Drawing on the multi–level perspective (MLP), we investigate the interrelated and reinforcing factors that have driven this shift in perception toward decentralised systems and serious consideration of alternative socio–technical configurations of wastewater management in Melbourne's future planning strategy. We then explore the process in which cross disciplinary participants from industry, government and civil society articulated their vision of a long term sustainable sanitation future for Melbourne.

Keywords: multi–level perspective, decentralised systems, emergence, transition management, visioning, sustainable development, sustainability, futures planning strategy, Melbourne Sustainable Sewerage Strategy, cross disciplinary collaboration, water systems, sanitation systems, Australia, wastewater management, sustainable sanitation

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