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The Rule of Unintended Consequences: Sydney's Water Supply Strategy

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This paper analyses recent developments in the Sydney Metropolitan Region that may affect the viability of the city in the longer term. Parts of Australia have recently experienced a long drought with a consequently heightened political interest in the problem of sufficient water storage to outlast a future drought. Serious consideration has been given to the development of a desalination plant and a nuclear power plant in Sydney to assure the long-term viability of the water supply system. There has been limited discussion between the engineering and political community about this long-term water supply strategy. The strategy introduces a significant number of complexities into planning a response to a major disaster, such as an earthquake, and may lead to a reduction in the ability of the city to survive such a disaster. This paper reviews the decision-making process for Sydney's water supply strategy and considers the potential unintended consequences and alternatives

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2006-12-29

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  • Built Environment is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. With an emphasis on crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing global perspective, each issue focuses on a single subject of contemporary interest to practitioners, academics and students working in a wide range of disciplines. Issues are guest-edited by established international experts who not only commission contributions, but also oversee the peer-reviewing process in collaboration with the Editors.

    Subject areas include: architecture; conservation; economic development; environmental planning; health; housing; regeneration; social issues; spatial planning; sustainability; urban design; and transport. All issues include reviews of recent publications.

    The journal is abstracted in Geo Abstracts, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Journal of Planning Literature, and is indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Publications.

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