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Adaptive Management of the Water Cycle on the Urban Fringe: Three Australian Case Studies

Alistair Gilmour, Macquarie University
Greg Walkerden, Wyong Shire Council
James Scandol, University of Sydney


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Our group at Macquarie University has run three adaptive management projects in New South Wales, Australia. Their objectives were: (1) to evaluate water cycle management strategies to minimize impacts of urban development on water quality in the Hawkesbury-Nepean basin; (2) to evaluate development planning policies to minimize water quality impacts on a series of coastal lakes; and (3) to carry out a preliminary assessment of the potential impacts of greater recreational use of Sydney water catchments.

These projects are examined to evaluate the contribution of the adaptive management approach to water cycle management on the urban fringe in New South Wales. The role of the adaptive management approach in education, as a negotiation process, and in policy formulation and evaluation, is presented. The importance of community participation, the role of an "institutional champion," and the need to manage the lead-up phase and the postworkshop phase with as much attention to detail as the workshop phase is underlined. Proposed prerequisites for a successful adaptive management project are developed along these lines.

Key words

adaptive management, conservation biology, ecosystem management, sustainability transition, sustainable development, water quality, watershed management.

Copyright © 1999 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087