At a time of increasing national focus on urban water quality, Stu Farrant from Morphum Environmental was awarded a 2018 Winston Churchill fellowship to undertake international travel and research to better understand the enabling factors which have supported globally leading cities in addressing the complex issues of urban water management. The fellowship supported travel to Hamburg, Copenhagen, Malmo, Stockholm, Portland, Seattle and San Francisco to meet with industry leaders and practitioners who have been instrumental in these city’s transitions towards improved environmental and social outcomes through better and more integrated management of stormwater.
The research aim was to learn from cities which are proven exemplars of good urban water management to get a sound understanding of how they have successfully implemented change and how this can benefit cities across New Zealand in the coming years.
Specifically, the fellowship research investigated how;
Connections with representatives from municipalities, utilities and private practice provided insights into effective implementation and examples of how city scale change can transform the social, environmental and economic outcomes for communities. This paper presents the key findings from the fellowship and proposes how these might be used to shape future policy and practice across New Zealand.
As cities and towns across New Zealand grapple with the regulatory drivers of the NPS-FM, and increasing community aspirations for better water quality outcomes, the fellowship provided a timely opportunity to learn from international experiences where comparable drivers have motivated different responses. Covering issues of policy, non-regulatory tools, professional practice and community behaviour change the paper provides exemplars which demonstrate that institutional change and thought leadership are transferable to New Zealand to enable a shift in practice founded on lessons already learnt internationally.