Benchmarking and Best Practice for Urban Waterway Management
This report was produced for the Urban Water Research Association of Australia, a now discontinued research program.
Report no. UWRAA872
The Waterways Benchmarking and Best Practice Project was an attempt by Melbourne Parks and Waterways to apply benchmarking techniques to the field of waterway management. Project objectives were to compare Melbourne Water’s waterway management activities to those of other organisations and identify ways to improve performance; to outline a method for benchmarking management processes; and to compile a database of information about waterway management authorities and contracts around the world.
Initial investigation of Melbourne Water’s activities enabled the choice of one key process, nonpoint source (NPS)pollution control, as the project’s focus. A world-wide search for organisations involved in managing urban waterways was already under way, and eventually thirty-two organisations with responsibility for controlling NPS pollution of urban waterways agreed to participate. Information was collected from twenty-eight of these organisations – the benchmark partners – using two questionnaires, visits and informal queries via facsimile and telephone.
By examining the practices used by the partners, areas in which Melbourne Water might be able to improve its performance were identified. These are the development of a NPS strategy; coordination of NPS activity within the organisation and with councils; and collection of new information about NPS pollution and its control. Specific practices which might be used in Melbourne include better construction site controls; urban development which automatically incorporates good NPS controls; permeable pavements, and drain labelling. Other opportunities for learning from the partners exist but were not fully investigated in this project.
This report includes information about the activities of the partners, as well as several hundred sets of contact details for individuals and organisations in water resources fields worldwide. It is hoped that this exercise will stimulate further productive exchange between waterway management organisations.