The CRC for Water Sensitive Cities (CRCWSC) has developed an economic evaluation framework to identify and quantify economic, environmental and community values of investments in water sensitive practices and systems. As part of this evaluation framework, the project team has built two tools that will help to inform a business case or aid in better decision making to achieve water sensitive, liveable and resilient cities.
Training opportunities on the tools will be held around the country soon, with one scheduled in Adelaide on 4th June. This is free for CRCWSC Partner organisations to attend, and is open to both newcomers to the tool as well as those who attended the initial beta version training session last year.
Following the release of the beta versions of the INFFEWS Benefit Cost Analysis (BCA) Tool and the Value Tool last year, fairly extensive feedback on how to further develop the tools has been received. The tools are currently being updated and the newer version will be released later in the year. However, as a CRCWSC member, the beta version of these tools are available to download once logged in to the CRCWSC website, and you are encouraged to explore these and apply them in your work. If you are not a member but would like to trial the tools, please contact Mellissa Bradley.
The project team has created some succinct Industry Notes that summarise the purpose and key features of these economic tools. The Industry Notes are intended for all practitioners to use when engaging with various organisations and departments on the economic benefits of water sensitive urban design projects.
They are available now for all to download from the CRCWSC website:
The Benefit: Cost Analysis (BCA) Tool has been designed to assess investments related to water-sensitive cities. It supports balanced and systematic decision making and provides evidence for use in business cases. The stand-out features are that the specification of benefits is highly flexible, and can deal with any type of benefit likely to emerge in a project related to water or green infrastructure. A government agency can focus on benefits and costs for society as a whole, whereas a business, such as a water utility, may choose to focus on benefits and costs to the organisation responsible for the project. It can be used by any organisation interested in the distribution of benefits of a project or investment among multiple stakeholder groups.
The Value Tool is a comprehensive database of dollar values for non-market benefits generated by water sensitive systems and practices, and a set of user guidelines that explain how the information in the database can be used to support business case development using benefit transfer. The tool contains 336 non-market benefit values from 76 Australian studies that are specifically related to investment in water sensitive cities. 20 different benefit types are represented, with a spread of values available for each.
Upcoming events & activities
The project team recently undertook a semi-independent review of the project to determine what stakeholders are saying about the project and how we should direct efforts in the coming year. The survey responses indicated that stakeholders believe the tools will help with decision making and thought the engagement and communication activities were either effective or very effective. While they considered CRCWSC were doing a good job with their partners, they suggested the project could do more to engage with other stakeholders, and offer more capacity building in using the tools.
The project team is responding to this feedback and are planning the following for 2019:
- Five face-to-face training sessions to help end users test the tools across multiple cities – Adelaide training will be held on 4 June.
- The Project Steering Committee and CRCWSC regional managers are actively considering which influential organisations and individuals to target that could help with adoption and mainstreaming activities.
- Engagement with the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA), to discuss the framework and better understand their needs and knowledge gaps, so that we can better target engagement activities.
- A dedicated workshop for treasuries and regulators.
If you have any questions about the project, please contact either: