Climate-Smart Utility Case Story
Yarra Valley Water utility located in southern Melbourne serves about 2 million people. The current growth acceleration in human development particularly socio economic and environmental trends for example (population, GDP, transport, fertiliser application, telecommunication) are pushing the planet beyond its boundaries. This challenge combined with climate impacts brings lots of uncertainties to cities in Australia with its associated impact on available water resources. Just as any water utility, Yarra Water is interested in the availability of freshwater both in terms of quality and quantity, and for this reason, present a great challenge as they find it difficult to plan and invest in long term decisions in an uncertain future.
With climate change as the most pressing issue, one major action taken by Yarra Valley Water to embrace resilience is developing a Climate Resilience Plan to implement actions that can expand their capacity, reduce vulnerabilities and also support long term planning in an uncertain future. The Plan considers 3 focus areas 1) reducing service vulnerabilities 2) enhance adaptive Planning and 3) foster collaborative partnership. In the future, Yarra Valley would also consider focusing on building community resilience as part of key actions as they believe this would help strengthen relations with customers and trust.
The lesson learned through addressing climate issues at Yarra Valley Water is that building climate resilience is dependent on collaborative efforts. Highlights were made on participation in government plans to support resilience also benchmarking with key organisations for improvement. Further to this, partnerships have also been established with other agencies for example the National Bureau of Meteorology to assist in providing data to manage future uncertainties during planning.
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