Page 47 - Final Report-8 NO TRANSPARENCY

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Resilient urban systems:
a socio-technical study of community scale climate change adaptation initiatives
Implications for supporting resilient infrastructure
The analysis has identified a diverse set of technical, social and institutional enablers that act collectively
to support system resilience. While the overarching implication is that more resilient infrastructure systems
would incorporate multiple enablers from each of the three domains, system designers, investors and
manager decision-makers face professional, financial and logistical constraints that limit how system
resilience is prioritised. Reflecting this challenge, the following two sub-sections highlight the key issues
affecting the replicability of WestWyck and Aurora (and community-scale systems more broadly), and
suggest a way to prioritise the types of resilience enablers more likely to prove valuable, under contextual
From a technical perspective, there are no significant barriers to replicating the energy and water systems
used at WestWyck and Aurora. Developers considering either option today, face few of the same technical
barriers encountered when the systems were originally designed and built. When initial concept designs for
the water treatment system were taken to market, as one WestWyck stakeholder mentioned
“finding a good
contractor was really difficult.”
but this situation changed rapidly as:
“…in that relatively short period of what,
six years, suddenly the market had a whole lot of new options”
. (S1)
Similarly, systems like Aurora are now planned or in operation across Australia (e.g. Gracetown WA,
Pimpama Coomera QLD, Eynsbury and Sandhurst VIC). In many respects the leadership of the local water
utility in supporting and changing its internal culture (and even some aspects of its structure and billing
system) to accommodate Aurora (and to a lesser extent WestWyck) has assisted the propagation of water
service systems (Anon 2010). In practice, the technical feasibility of replicating the types of water systems
used at either development will depend more on suitable contextual conditions such as suitable site
geography, the development population and available space; rather than the maturity of the technologies
From a regulatory perspective, the only technical system that may not readily be replicated given the
Victorian regulatory regime is WestWyck’s blackwater system. As currently defined, Victorian recycled
water standards do not pose any direct barriers to replicating WestWyck’s greywater or rainwater systems -
provided systems supplying multiple dwellings are EPA compliant and meet the necessary water treatment
quality and system management standards (EPA Victoria, 2003). However, direct challenges may arise
depending on the level of awareness, risk aversion, council approval processes, and/or follow up and
monitoring processes. Regarding the latter, as one stakeholder notes:
“We believe there should be an overseeing committee or organisation for these sorts of
systems” (S1)
The financial feasibility of replicating the energy and water systems at both sites depends on context. The
systems were not designed on a simple profit-based model. As one Aurora stakeholder puts it:
“The premise we were looking at was that people are going to be paying a premium
because there’s been a significant additional cost for innovation in order to recover that
you needed to be able to offer people something that other people didn’t have and that
was green lawns, green nature strips, green oval etc.” (S4)
Indirect subsidies to traditional infrastructure and externalities associated with ‘traditional’ energy and
water infrastructure operation poses a significant ‘hidden’ impediment to system replication and further
innovation in community-scale infrastructure. WestWyck and Aurora were designed with the specific intent
to demonstrate a form of urban development that required a lower environmental impact than conventional
alternatives. The choice of energy and water systems employed reflects these values. Positive externalities
arising from system designs used at both developments include: