Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 12

3097ENV – Strategic Planning Studio

Phase 3 Assignment
Water security: ensuring the availability of water sources and
storage for South East Queensland

Mathew Stevens
S2765706
Table of Contents
Executive Summary................................................................................................................................. 2
Introduction ............................................................................................................................................ 3
Defining water security ........................................................................................................................... 3
Methodology........................................................................................................................................... 4
Literature review..................................................................................................................................... 4
1. Methods to improve water supply management ........................................................................... 4
2. Water supply sources and storage options .................................................................................... 5
Recycled water ................................................................................................................................ 5
Aquifers ........................................................................................................................................... 6
Principles best practice of water management ...................................................................................... 7
Case Studies ............................................................................................................................................ 8
Case Study: Perth’s Groundwater System .......................................................................................... 8
Case Study: Los Angeles County Water Reuse Program ..................................................................... 9
Conclusion ............................................................................................................................................... 9
References ............................................................................................................................................ 10

1
Executive Summary
This report is phase 3 in a 5 phase program to produce a discussion paper for a strategic framework
for water management in South East Queensland. This stage of the project involved researching key
issues with respect to water management. The topic concerned for this paper is water security, and
ensuring the continuity of supply for South East Queensland, especially given water events in recent
history.

Water security is a pressing concern in contemporary times and compounded by issues of increasing
population, increasing development, and the effects of climate change. Authors within the literature
however, have not yet reached a single definition for water security, with the concept varying
between disciplines and organisations, depending on their intrinsic focus.

Literature reviewed to address the issue of water security covered two main categories of water
supply management and water supply sources and storage options. Within these two categories is a
myriad of ways to address water security.

To work towards water security will require a range of methods that incorporate many study
disciplines, new science and technology and new management techniques, all of which will need to
be planned and managed under best practice principles of water management. These principles will
include: incorporating community viewpoints, taking a triple bottom line approach, integrating
water security planning into an appropriate scale, incorporate full use of science and incorporate
adaptive management frameworks.

2
Introduction
The availability of a secure water supply in SEQ is a pertinent issue given the regions characteristics
and recent history. With South East Queensland having the fastest growing metropolitan region in
Australia and recent stressors on the water supply as seen during the millennium droughts and the
2011 floods water security is an important issue. Indeed, the world population and its impact upon
the availability potable water is one of the most pertinent issues facing humanity today
(Sophocleous, 2004).

This paper seeks to understand water security in terms of supplying water for a regional population,
review the literature to understand what the issues are, present case studies and define principles of
best practice management. This paper is phase 3 of a 5 phase exercise to present a discussion paper
for a strategic framework of water management in South East Queensland. The overall study
objectives for this process are given below:

Project Objectives
1 *To understand the existing and emerging key issues the SEQ regional landscape faces regarding water
management
2 To understand the regional-scale environmental attributes that define the SEQ regional landscape and their
contribution to defining the SEQ region plans
3 To derive a working definition of “water management” capable of implementation through the regional and local
planning processes
4 *To explore the relationships between water and the regional landscape of SEQ and how surrounding inter and
intra areas impact it
5 *To evaluate the effectiveness of past Regional Framework for Growth Management (RFGM) initiatives in relation
to water and water related issues and how it is possible to further develop them
6 To explore emergent trends of a strategic nature related to water management associated with regional
landscape planning
7 To establish the current state of knowledge and experience, in terms of best management practices and
innovative policy options, for the planning and strategic management of water through the regional landscape
paradigm
8 To derive a strategic framework for the management of water, underpinned by a Triple Bottom Line (TBL)
approach, that can address the SEQ Regional Plan’s Vision Statement and commitment to manage water
9 To develop a Discussion Paper that explores the concept of water and propose a framework for the strategic
management of water through the regional landscape in the SEQ region
10 To confirm the Discussion Paper proposals against the perceptions and aspirations of selected targeted
community stakeholders
*Alteration from original project brief

Defining water security


With water being an essential ingredient to human endeavours (social, economic), and our
understanding of the role water plays in maintaining the environment and ecosystems, coupled with
the increasing pressures placed on our water resources through increased population, development
and the effects of climate change, it is no surprise that water security has become a growing
concern. Indeed as demonstrated by Cook & Bakker (2012), water security is a relatively new
concept first appearing in academic literature in the early 1990s, and only beginning to gain traction
by the early 2000s.

Within the literature it has been recognised that there is no agreed upon definition for water
security (Siwar & Ahmed, 2014, Cook & Bakker, 2012, Foster & MacDonald, 2014), and that
definitions can be broad or narrow in scope and vary greatly between organisations and study
disciplines based on their intrinsic focus. For example, agricultural research or organisations tend to
frame water security as an input required for food security; whereas engineering disciplines may

3
define water security in terms of protection from water related hazards such as droughts and
flooding (Cook & Bakker, 2012, p.96). The literature does however attempt to identify and provide a
broad and integrated definition of water security, for example the Global Water Partnership (2000)
definition includes affordability and access to water, human needs and ecological health,
alternatively, the Asian Water Development Outlook (2013) measures water security across 5 key
interrelated dimensions: household water security, economic water security, urban water security,
environmental water security, and resilience to water-related disasters.

Methodology
As detailed above, water security is a broad, all-encompassing term with variations in scope and
definition depending on the organisation or the focus in question. With that in mind, this literature
review sought to focus on the essential human/household need for an uninterrupted urban water
supply within the concept of water security. This meant considering aspects such as water sourcing,
water storage and management of water supply. Literature searches were conducted on electronic
journals and included terms such as: water storage security, water supply security, water supply
options, water supply planning, regional water supply systems, water security framework, water
security policy, integrated water resources management (IWRM), and water management.

To this end, objectives for the study include:


 perform a literature review to determine the ‘research frontier’
 describe issues relevant to water security in terms of water supply sources, storage and
management
 determine principles of best practice relevant to the above
 present case studies

Literature review
Themes and issues within the literature have been grouped into 2 categories of: 1. Methods to
improve water supply management; and 2. Water supply sources and storage options.

1. Methods to improve water supply management


Kampragou et al. (2011) explain that though water supply and demand management is a widely
analysed field, it is still worthy of study as techniques used depend upon socio-economic features of
the region in question, and are site-specific in character. They demonstrate that as population
increases in relation to water availability, so too does management complexity increase as water
availability may have remained constant or even decreased (see figure 1 below). This is driven by a
number of factors such as increased demand, new water uses, water scarcity, issues of water quality
and ecosystem protection, and climate change. Kampragou et al. (2011) points out that demand
management tools can be used to respond to these factors, and in doing so are part of an adaptive
management framework. These demand management tools essentially set water use parameters
for different water users, and can be either institutional arrangements or command and control
measures. Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck (2009) however contends that management is an issue
of clearly defined water rights that require proper enforcement by government and judicial systems.
Further, they argue that legal policy must encourage exchange of lower-value water uses for higher-
value uses; and that water must be correctly priced to reflect the real cost of storage, treatment and
distribution and must internalize externalities. Rutherfurd & Finlayson (2011) note that continuing
demand control has to be central to water management options to reduced usage, however finding
new sources of water is a more favourable option politically. This is echoed by Brownstein Hyatt
Farber Schreck (2009) calling for new water management techniques that allow for efficient

4
transfers and conjuctive use of groundwater and surface water and for water recycling and
desalination to be implemented.

Figure 1: Paradigm shifts in water management. (Kampragou et al. 2011)

A new approach for strategic management of supply management in the literature is through a
concept called the water supply footprint (WSF) (Stoeglehner et al. 2011). The WSF method is an
environmental approach to water supply planning. It seeks to determine the carrying capacity of a
given regional area by measuring the macro inputs and outputs of water for the region and then
align this to the water use needs of the population. This method can compare the total available
water for the region with the total water demand to ascertain whether the WSF is greater or smaller
than the regional catchment’s supply capability and directly ties in with land use planning for the
region. This information can then be used in the creation of regional water supply strategies. For
example, land use can be restricted so as to secure water quality and quantity.

2. Water supply sources and storage options


As noted by McCartney & Smakhtin (2010), reservior dams are merely one solution for water
storage. As explained by Rutherfurd & Finlayson (2011) this has been problematic with droughts
seen acoss Australia in recent years prompting the cities of Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and
Adelaide to construct desalination plants in the last 5 years. Still, with South East Queensland’s
water supply primiarly based upon rainfed reserviour dams (desalination and western corridor
recycled water project notwithstanding),the focus in the literature review has been to look at
options that can prove beneficial during extended peroids of reduced rainfall or drought. Other
options for water storage include underground aquifers, increased soil moisture, natural wetlands
and ponds/small tanks (McCartney & Smakhtin, 2010). Each of these options perform differently
under changed climatic conditions or increased rainfall variability and can prove beneficial in terms
of water supply security. Rutherfurd & Finlayson (2011) note that in general terms for Australia, and
especially for Australian cities, affordable water options in the form of dams have already been
exploited, thus for future water security new options have to be investigated.

Recycled water
Recycled water is one topic seeing increased interest in recent times. On this matter Rutherfurd &
Finlayson (2011, p.311) raise the prospect of using rainfall and stormwater in urban spaces to in
effect ‘create their own water’ for urban populations. When land is replaced with the urban form

5
(impervious surfaces), this leads to an increase of 5.7 times the normal rate of run-off. If this urban
stormwater runoff can be harvest, treated, and recycled, Rutherfurd & Finlayson (2011) show that
this water is more than enough to meet normal household demand. Using Melbourne as an
example, average yearly runoff from impervious surfaces provides 300 litres per person, per day
(average water use per person/day in Melbourne was 161 litres in 2008). Rutherfurd & Finlayson
(2011) go on to state that while there are complications in using such a source, it does constitute a
major untapped water resource. Significant challenges do exist in terms of using stormwater as a
public supply source, however at the individual level (rainwater tanks), the task is much simpler.

New research in terms of using recycled water is considering new ways to implement recycled water
into the potable water distribution system. As detailed by Australian Academy of Technological
Sciences and Engineering (2013), direct potable reuse (DPR) is where reclaimed wastewater is highly
treated to potable water standards and then returned to a drinking water treatment plant or directly
to the potable water distribution system. This differes from indirect potable reuse (IPR) where the
reclaimed water is delivered to and stored in an ‘environmental buffer’ such as a lake, reservoir or
aquifer for a period of time before again being resumed into the normal distribution system and
going through conventional treatment processes for water supply. IPR has been in use and seen
success in the past, however there is now considerable international interest in the application of
DPR. Advances in the wastewater treatment science of DPR now mean that this technology is at the
point where it can be considered and used as part of normal potable water distribution systems. It is
important to note that DPR cannot meet 100% of demand for water, and DPR generally (though not
always) requires recycled water to be blended with conventional water sources before distribution.
Thus, though DPR can be an important or indeed essential component of the water supply in
ensuring water security, it does not eliminate the need for traditional water sources for supply
(reservoirs, etc.).

It has been recognised that reservoir dams often serve two conflicting roles (McCartney & Smakhtin,
2010). On the one hand reservoirs serve the purpose of supplying drinking water for a population,
sometimes under tough climatic conditions such as reduced rainfall, thus in the interests of
continued water supply, the dam must maintain water levels as high as possible. On the other hand,
the dam may also serve the role of downstream flood mitigation, where it is in the interest to
maintain water levels as low as possible. So we have conflicting priorities for water security (water
supply vs. protection from water hazards). In relation to this, it has been argued that if DPR were to
be in use in places where dams perform these conflicting roles, then damage from floods could be
mitigated, specifically in the case of Wivenhoe Dam and the 2011 floods (Khan, 2012).

Aquifers
In terms of water security, Foster & MacDonald (2014) make the point that the use of underground
aquifers can considerably protect a population against water scarcity. They argue that proponents
of water security tend to emphasize the need to invest in water storage, however this tends focus on
the idea of building additional reservior dams or increasing their capacity. What is considered less
often is the large volume of water that can be be stored unground in aquifers. Water in these
aquifers is not susceptible to evaporation as experienced by conventional reserviors, and this is an
important point for consideration where conventional reserviors may exerience long peroids of
reduced inflows. Aquifer volumes are however susceptible to overuse and the effects of prolonged
drought when recharge is reduced. This can however be overcome through active replenishment
regimes such as managed aquifer recharge (MAR) (Drewes, 2009).

6
Principles best practice of water management
Principles of best practice with regards to supply and management of water availability are as
follows. These have been synthesized from the literature reviewed and compared with principles for
best practice sustainable land use planning.

Principles for Best Practice Sustainable Land Use Planning


1. Acknowledge a “values-led” planning approach (incorporating community viewpoints)
2. Acknowledge a “performance-based” planning paradigm
3. Adopt a city-region planning context (statutory regional plan?)
4. Embrace a strategic planning approach
5. Employ a cyclic (continuous) planning process
6. Incorporating an adaptive management framework (plan for uncertainty)
7. Make maximum use of science (incorporate into planning)
8. Link planning to investment (integrate infrastructure planning including environmental
infrastructure)
9. Move towards ‘Joined-Up’ (integrated) planning
Source: Low Choy (2015)

Principle 1: Community viewpoints must be considered when implementing control measures or


new systems and technology.
This is evident when considering command and control measures to set water restrictions or other
measures in place. It is especially evident in the case of using recycled wastewater in either indirect
potable reuse or direct potable reuse (IPR / DPR). IPR is generally deemed acceptable by the general
public (Dillon et al., 2006). With DPR the community may not be fully accepting and this needs to be
considered and responded to (Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, 2013).

Principle 2: All water supply decision making must take a triple bottom line approach (i.e. what is the
best economically, environmentally and socially sustainable option) and all decision making must be
made objectively on an assessment of the available water supply options (Australian Academy of
Technological Sciences and Engineering, 2013). Further to this, it is recommended that regulation of
potable water supply should be with health-based targets in mind as the first priority objective
(Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, 2013).

Principle 3: Methods used to work towards water security should be integrated into planning at an
appropriate scale (typically regional, however other scales can apply).
This is demonstrated through the application of water supply footprint which enables a strategic
approach to measuring regional water requirements and setting management frameworks
(Stoeglehner et al. 2011). This is also confirmed by Cook & Bakker (2012) as their assessment shows
that different disciplines and organisations consider water security at varying scales.

Principle 4: Planning for water security must incorporate full use of science.
Studies reviewed in this paper have all demonstrated the fundamental and essential nature of
science and the requirement of multiple science disciplines (hydrology, geology, geography,
environmental sciences, engineering, etc.) needed to tackle issues of water security.

Principle 5: Water security planning must incorporate adaptive management frameworks.


Adaptive management allows for planning instruments to respond to the prevailing conditions at the
time. In the case of water supply management, this can allow for demand management tools to
adapt to suit regional requirements for water use parameters, or in the case of using water supply
footprint, it can guide catchment and land use planning for better water quality and quantity

7
outcomes.

Figure 2: Visual representation of adaptation outcomes. Source: McCartney & Smakhtin (2010).

Case Studies
Case Study: Perth’s Groundwater System
Perth has been facing an enduring reduction of water runoff into dams of 50% since the 1970s
(Rutherfurd & Finlayson, 2011). As a result of prolonged drought and continued water shortages,
the Water Corporation (WA government state business) commenced trials in 2010 treating
wastewater to high standards at its Beenyup Wastewater Treatment Plant and injecting the water
into perths underground aquifers (Sizer, 2012, Kelly, 2013). Water is later extracted from these
aquifers, undergoes domestic supply water treatment as per normal and is then circulated for
supply. This case is an example of indirect potable reuse technology, with the use of underground
aquifers as an environmental buffer. The wastewater treatment process involves ultra-filtration,
reverse osmosis and ultra-violet disinfection, similar to what would be expected for direct potable
reuse technology. The reclaimed water is within Australian drinking water standards, however the
use of the environmental buffer (aquifer) makes the concept of wastewater recycling more palatable
to the wider community, and indeed, the Beenyup Wastewater Treatment Plant offers visitor tours
to try to enhance public perception of the wastewater recycling process.

Figure 3: Perth's Water Treatment Cycle. Source: Water Corporation (n.d.)

8
Case Study: Los Angeles County Water Reuse Program
Los Angeles County saw rapid population growth in the early 1900s, leading to increasing water
demand that was so great that water extraction from underground aquifers was double the natural
recharge rate (Johnson, 2009). As a result of this over extraction, aquifers close to the coastal plain
saw seawater intrusion contaminate the aquifers, and wells were abandoned. As a solution LA
County constructed a barrier line of injection wells to halt the seawater intrusion in the 1950s, and
this was a success. LA County originally started replenishing its aquifers in the 1930s and began
using reclaimed water as a source in 1962. Today, the Los Angeles County Water Reuse Program is
one of the largest indirect potable reuse wastewater recycling programs in the world. Water
extracted for potable use must spend a minimum of 6 months in aquifers before it can be used for
supply, and there are strict operating guidelines in place to ensure this, and as a result of these
guidelines, water has often spend years to decades underground before being extracted.

Conclusion
Water security is a pressing concern in contemporary times and compounded by issues of increasing
population, increasing development, and the effects of climate change. To work towards solutions
will require a range of methods that incorporate many study disciplines, new science and technology
and new management techniques, all of which will need to be planned and managed under best
practice principles of water management. These principles will include: incorporating community
viewpoints, taking a triple bottom line approach, integrating water security planning into an
appropriate scale, incorporate full use of science and incorporate adaptive management
frameworks.

9
References
Asian Water Development Outlook (2013). Measuring water security in Asia and the Pacific. Asian
Development Bank, Metro Manila, Philippines.

Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (2013). Drinking water through
recycling: The benefits and costs of supplying direct to the distribution system. Australian Academy
of Technological Sciences and Engineering, Melbourne, Victoria.

Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck. (2009). A water supply crisis or a water management crisis?
American Water Works Association, 101(4), 14-18.

Cook, C., & Bakker, K. (2012). Water security: Debating an emerging paradigm. Global Environmental
Change, 22(1), 94102. doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2011.10.011

Dillon, P., Pavelic, P., Toze, S., Rinck-Pfeiffer, S., Martin, R., Knapton, A., & Pidsley, D. (2006). Role of
aquifer storage in water reuse. Desalination, 188(1-3), 123134. doi:10.1016/j.desal.2005.04.109

Drewes, J. (2009). Ground Water Replenishment with Recycled Water—Water Quality


Improvements during Managed Aquifer Recharge. Groundwater, 47(4), 502–505.
doi:10.1111/j.1745-6584.2009.00587_5.x

Foster, S., & MacDonald, A. (2014). The “water security” dialogue: why it needs to be better
informed about groundwater. Hydrogeology Journal, 22(7), 14891492. doi:10.1007/s10040-014-
1157-6

Global Water Partnership (2000). Towards Water Security: A Framework for Action. Global Water
Partnership, Stockholm, Sweden.

Johnson, T. (2009). Ground Water Recharge Using Recycled Municipal Waste Water in Los Angeles
County and the California Department of Public Health’s Draft Regulations on Aquifer Retention
Time. Groundwater, 47(4), 496–499. doi:10.1111/j.1745-6584.2009.00587_3.x

Kampragou, E., Lekkas, D., & Assimacopoulos, D. (2011). Water demand management:
implementation principles and indicative case studies. Water and Environment Journal, 25(4), 466–
476. doi:10.1111/j.1747-6593.2010.00240.x

Kelly, F. (2013, January 24). WA's water dilemma. Retrieved from ABC Radio National:
http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/wa-laps-up-recycled-sewerage/4481598

Khan, S. (2012, May 11). Recycled water could have stopped Brisbane floods. Retrieved from ABC
Environment: http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2012/05/11/3500512.htm

Low Choy, D. (2015). Lecture: Twenty-first Century Approaches & Principles for Regional & Strategic
Planning. Retrieved from Griffith University 3097ENV Blackboard site.

McCartney, M., & Smakhtin, V. (2010). Water storage in an era of climate change: Addressing the
challenge of increasing rainfall variability. Blue Paper. Colombo, Sri Lanka: International Water
Management Institute

10
Rutherfurd, I., & Finlayson, B. (2011). Whither Australia: Will Availability of Water Constrain the
Growth of Australia’s Population? Geographical Research, 49(3), 301–316. doi:10.1111/j.1745-
5871.2011.00707.x

Siwar, C., & Ahmed, F. (2014). Concepts, Dimensions and Elements of Water Security. Pakistan
Journal of Nutrition, 13(5), 281–286.

Sizer, R. (2012, July 11). Perth's aquifers to benefit from treated wastewater recharge. Retrieved
from Science Network Western Australia: http://www.sciencewa.net.au/topics/fisheries-a-
water/item/1553-perth%E2%80%99s-aquifers-to-benefit-from-treated-wastewater-recharge

Sophocleous, M. (2004). Global and Regional Water Availability and Demand: Prospects for the
Future. Natural Resources Research, 13(2), 6175. doi:10.1023/B:NARR.0000032644.16734.f5

Stoeglehner, G., Edwards, P., Daniels, P., & Narodoslawsky, M. (2011). The water supply footprint
(WSF): a strategic planning tool for sustainable regional and local water supplies. Journal of Cleaner
Production, 19(15), 16771686. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2011.05.020

Water Corporation. (n.d.). Perth's Groundwater System. Perth: Water Corporation.

11