Small urban centres in the South West Pacific face many challenges regarding urban water management in the light of future uncertainties and climate change. Without implementing sustainable urban water management (SUWM), they risk adverse environmental and public health impacts, but little is known regarding the receptivity of urban water professionals towards its principles and practices. This paper assesses the willingness and ability of urban water managers from the region to implement SUWM. Results demonstrate that whilst aware of current failures, there was limited awareness of sustainable solutions, and a limited ability to identify benefits arising from SUWM implementation. There is a need to increase the opportunities for urban water professionals in the region to acquire skills and implement SUWM. This study identifies the capacity development needed in the region to increase receptivity to SUWM.