June 25, 2020 @ 1:00 pm – 1:45 pm

Topic: Challenges in transitioning to Sustainable Stormwater Practices: Insights from the Investigation of Stormwater Control Measures Maintenance in Melbourne

Presenters: Andrew Thomas – Vice President, Stormwater NSW

Date:  Thursday 25 June 2020

Time:  1.00pm – 2:00pm

Presentation Summary: The expansion of urban development across the globe has brought with it significant environmental impacts. Prominent amongst these impacts is the degradation of marine and freshwater environments caused by conventional approaches to stormwater management infrastructure that facilitate the rapid conveyance of untreated stormwater to waterways. Stormwater control measures (SCMs) are a sustainability innovation developed to redress these environmental impacts. However, there are growing concerns that SCMs are not receiving sufficient maintenance and that, consequently, their long-term performance may be compromised.

This study sought to gauge the veracity of these concerns and ascertain the barriers and challenges to the maintenance of SCMs. Nine local councils in Melbourne, Australia were engaged to provide condition data for their SCMs and access to their professional staff to collect perspectives on the barriers and challenges to SCM maintenance. 55 inter-dependent barriers and challenges were identified across nine sociotechnical categories, confirming SCM maintenance as a complex multi-causal sociotechnical problem, and one potentially symptomatic of a loss of momentum towards mainstream adoption. Termed Failure to Thrive, this loss of momentum is considered a function of three over-arching issues: An under-developed stormwater industry, government policy inertia and, importantly, the invisibility of SCMs in the community.

Three ‘intervention pathways’ are postulated to redress shortcomings in the maintenance of SCMs by Victorian local government and, likewise, address the Failure to Thrive scenario. An alternative transition pathway for Sustainability Transitions is proposed that accounts for the complex path-dependencies involved in the transition of sustainable innovations like SCMs and the need for pro-active institutional work accordingly to minimise the risk of partial or total failed transitions.

Registration:  This webinar is FREE of charge to all. Follow the link below to register: