Page 25 - Final Report-8 NO TRANSPARENCY

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Resilient urban systems:
a socio-technical study of community scale climate change adaptation initiatives
In summary, interviews suggest that perceptions of risk and vulnerability, including the nature and magnitude
of the perceived risk/vulnerability, are a function of householders’ perceived capacity to cope in terms of
financial, social, technical and institutional arrangements - essentially, what options they feel they have
available to them to help maintain their day-to-day practices.
The differences emerging between the two groups of interviewees naturally invite observations about
underlying characteristics of the two system models that appear to be contributing to increased or
decreased resilience. These differences relate to the technical systems themselves, the institutional
arrangements surrounding them, and social dynamics of the respective communities.
Section 5 deals respectively with each of these themes, and uses data from the householder and
stakeholder interviews where relevant to illustrate the discussion around factors determined as being
important for resilience.
Risk and hazard context
A broad assessment was conducted by the researchers to identify types of hazards and disturbances that
might affect energy and water system functions at the case study sites. The assessment included instances
where system faults occurred as well as potential risks arising from external factors, with a primary emphasis
on threats from climate change. Issues, summarised in Table 1, were identified from on-site visits and
interviews with stakeholders responsible for energy and water system functions at various levels, including
system managers, maintenance personnel, users and relevant experts.
Perceived hazards
At both sites, perceived hazards from a stakeholder perspective stemmed from the use of recycled water
(at both developments) and on-site blackwater treatment (at WestWyck). At Aurora, stakeholders (S4; S5;
S7) saw health risks as largely managed at the supply end and pointed to a range of mitigation measures,
• In-line water quality testing mechanisms;
• Periodic validation of ‘Class-A’ water quality;
• Clearly separating and colouring pipes and outlets connecting to recycled water sources;
• Periodic integrity testing of the recycled water system at various stages during design and
construction; and
• Multiple auditing procedures to detect pipe cross-connections during third-pipe network
construction phase.
Potential concerns posed by Aurora’s third-pipe system relating to the point of end-use (S4; S8; S9) mirror
comments by environmental health experts and research into the use of recycled water by the Department
of Health (Sarkis and Reid, 2004). At Aurora, end-use risks are managed through multiple measures
• Educating residents about the acceptable uses of recycled water;
• Pricing recycled water to reduce the cost advantage of using it for potable water uses;
• Using clear signage of third-pipe systems to reduce the possibility of accidental misuse; and
• Training and auditing plumbers.