Systematic Environmental Management in the Water Industry: Towards Best Practice
This report was produced for the Urban Water Research Association of Australia, a now discontinued research program.
Report no. WSAA 02
The overarching aim of this research project was to develop environmental management guidelines for the Australian water industry. The scope and extent of these guidelines that were developed were determined through a widely consultative research process. Following a literature review, a detailed questionnaire was developed and distributed to the major urban Australian water utilities. The survey was also sent to a number of other water utilities internationally and a few non-metropolitan utilities in Victoria. The survey was designed to explore the existence and extent of environmental management practices and processes in the respondent organisation, the results of which, in turn, assisted in determining the scope of the guidelines themselves.
The survey results showed that all organisations undertook some, generally limited, environmental management activities in a range of the targeted areas, for example, environmental policy, audit and management planning. However, it is clear that within the water industry, environmental management is rapidly evolving from ad hoc, reactive activity based measures to systematic and proactive consideration of the environmental aspects and impacts of the business.
The outcome of this project has been the development of a set of environmental management guidelines for the water industry. These guidelines have been endorsed by the Water Services Association of Australia, an industry association that provides leadership to the major urban water businesses in the delivery of cost effective quality services within national objectives for sustainable water resource management.