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Topics > Water > Water in our towns and cities

Urban Water Directions Statement

Smart water management in our towns and cities is essential for South Australia’s economy and an important enabler for South Australia to remain liveable, sustainable and productive.

Managing our urban water resources in an integrated way is important to ensure our towns and cities:

  • have safe and reliable water supplies
  • can safely and conveniently manage wastewater
  • minimise inconvenience and damage to lives and property by managing urban stormwater and floods
  • minimise impacts on precious fresh water, creeks and rivers, and our marine environments.

As the driest state in Australia, with highly variable weather that sometimes produces heavy rains and floods, it is important that we are well prepared for current challenges as well as those that will arise in a drier and stormier climate.

Other challenges include:

  • changing urban development patterns, with increasing urban density in some locations providing the prospect of more impervious surfaces − this may potentially increase urban runoff creating challenges for our stormwater networks
  • existing urban water infrastructure is ageing, with some assets likely nearing the end of their useful life, including some stormwater drainage assets.

Traditionally, we have managed each part of our urban water system separately (i.e. drinking water, wastewater, stormwater, recycled water and natural environments). While this has worked in the past, a more integrated approach promises a broader range of benefits, such as: water security, public health, enhanced urban greening and amenity, and a cleaner environment.

Integrated urban water management involves more than just building infrastructure. We also need to incentivise institutional cooperation, clearly define roles and responsibilities, ensure that we have supportive enabling regulation, and build a well informed and supportive community.

The Urban Water Directions Statement outlines priority actions in all of these areas for delivery over coming years.

Implementation of the Statement’s strategies will help to deliver affordable and fit-for-purpose water supplies, improve the liveability of our towns and cities, and minimise environmental impacts.