Page 26 - Final Report-8 NO TRANSPARENCY

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Resilient urban systems:
a socio-technical study of community scale climate change adaptation initiatives
At WestWyck, stakeholders also saw on-site water treatment and recycling as posing risks to residents.
Developers and experts from the Department of Health interviewed as part of this research considered the
on-site black-water treatment system as posing a greater potential health risk to residents than the grey
water system (S8; S9). However, they also expressed confidence that a range of technical and institutional
arrangements are in place to adequately minimise these, in particular:
• Closed configuration of the blackwater system minimising the potential for residents to come in
contact with it;
• The significant experience of the developers and associated confidence that they had the capacity to
ensure the system did not malfunction; and
• The location of the developers (living on-site), which ensured their personal interest in the system
In its current configuration, the black-water system at WestWyck has proven highly reliable (S1; S2; S3).
Despite stakeholders perceiving similar risks at both sites, there was a clear difference in how these were
managed. For
, stakeholders perceived end-user behaviour as the weakest link when appraising the
security of water system functions. This drove an emphasis on ensuring quality at the ‘supply-end’.
there was less concern about the end-user as a potential problem and a greater awareness
of technical faults as the main cause of system malfunction. Compared to Aurora, greater emphasis was
placed on ensuring early detection (in some cases involving residents) and the technical capacity for
householders/maintenance stakeholders to switch to mains water supply if problems occur (S1; S4; 12).
Interviewees identified the potential prospect of regulatory changes to recycled water use restricting ongoing
development of alternative systems. It was suggested that any water system malfunction might provide
pressure to tighten, and possibly prevent, further use of recycled water in a residential context.
Shifts in ownership and responsibility over system management were also identified as a threat to the
ongoing operation of systems at Aurora. For example, arrangements and responsibilities for the irrigation of
urban greenspace with recycled water have, in similar large developments, passed from the developer to
the local authority, along with other responsibilities for the maintenance of public space. However, the costs
and benefits of such activities can be viewed differently by the developer and the local authority, and the
perceived equity in relation to surrounding non-irrigated areas within the LGA can introduce tensions which
some interviewees identified as potentially leading to the cessation of irrigation in the development area to
fall in line with broader LGA practices.
Interviewees identified a range of instances where energy and water system services and functions did not
meet expected standards or desired outcomes. These had variable impacts on the quality of service to
end-users depending on people’s expectations, capacity to adapt and capacity to address the issue. Issues
reported or experienced are described in the following table.