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The Urban Water Industry: Adapting to Climate Change: 

The Urban Water Industry: Adapting to Climate Change Ross Young Executive Director Water Services Association of Australia

Drivers for Change: 

Drivers for Change Increased variability of climate Population growth Healthy waterways Water resources are fully allocated Increasing the efficiency and economic output of irrigated agriculture Sustainable water resource management for cities The sustainability agenda

Climate Effect on Runoff Sydney 1909-2003: 

Climate Effect on Runoff Sydney 1909-2003

Climate Effect on Runoff Perth 1911 - 2003: 

Climate Effect on Runoff Perth 1911 - 2003

Streamflow Variability: 

Streamflow Variability

Population Growth: 

Population Growth Population of main land capitals (+ Hunter region & Gold Coast) to grow by 4.3 million (33%) by 2030 Current unrestricted consumption already exceeds sustainable yields for urban Australia aggregated Reductions in yields due to climate change and increases in consumption due to population growth will create a water deficit of between 800-1000GL by 2030

Per Capita Reductions: 

Per Capita Reductions * Based on WSAAfacts 2003 plus 15%

Challenges for Urban Water: 

Challenges for Urban Water Ongoing reductions in per capita consumption Water sensitive design in greenfields and major redevelopments Trading between rural and urban users Greater use of recycled water for non portable purposes: Management of trade waste Local sewerage treatment plants Property rights Pricing Diversification of supplies e.g. surface and ground water, recycled water, desalination etc. Water efficient homes and commercial buildings

Responses from Governments and Water Utilities: 

Responses from Governments and Water Utilities Inclining block tariffs to send stronger price signals Rebate for water efficient appliances and rain water tanks Mandatory water efficiency labelling scheme for appliances Permanent low level water restrictions Mandatory water reduction standards for new developments Development of rules to facilitate increased water trading Water sensitive urban design for new developments Increased use of recycled water for non potable purposes Diversification of water sources – desalination, ground water, stormwater, recycled water etc.

Water Conservation The Next Low Hanging Fruit: 

Water Conservation The Next Low Hanging Fruit Urban irrigation efficiency Pressure reduction Leakage reduction Hot water system wastage Retrofitting older commercial buildings Evaporative air conditioners Mandatory appliance standards

Information needs of the Urban Water Industry: 

Information needs of the Urban Water Industry To be able to predict down to a fine scale the impacts of a range of climate change scenarios on the total urban water cycle including yields, sewerage systems, treatment processes and stormwater systems.


Conclusion The urban water industry is: Going through an adaptation process to climate change Getting its ‘own house in order’ in relation to greenhouse gas emissions To manage risks the industry is in vital need of detailed geographic specific information on climate change implications Without this information a conservative approach will be adopted Adequate water for growing cities is a vital issue for Australia

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