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International Benchmarking of Sustainability Practices

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Worldwide, the water industry is developing a more sustainable and holistic approach to water management due to the increasing pressure on water resources from increasing population, diminishing rainfall and climate change. The Water Corporation of Western Australia is applying sustainability principles across the full scope of their business and to planning for the long term provision of reliable water services to customers. The Corporation is interested in learning from a diverse range of public and privately owned water utilities where a sustainability approach is being applied to decision making in the water sector and what institutional frameworks are in place to support or hinder this approach.

Black & Veatch used a sustainability questionnaire to provide a format for a discussion of the regulatory framework of other utilities and the sustainable planning approaches taken. A measurable method of comparison between the selected systems was to review the benchmarking systems designed to improve decision making and performance through operational cycles. The comparison provided an understanding of where the Water Corporation is positioned at present with respect to the application of sustainability principles in planning, and what steps others have taken to move to a more contemporary regulatory position in respect of true sustainability. A range of water utilities comparable in size and function that are focused on water management excellence were selected to participate. The seven utilities were located in the United Kingdom, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore, Western Canada, Eastern Canada and the Southwest USA.
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Keywords: Planning; benchmarking; economics; environmental; social; sustainability

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-01-01

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