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Enabling Decentralized Urban Sewage Infrastructure by Facilitating Successful Organizations to Provide Long-Term Management

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Alternative scales and models of sewage management are increasingly being sought by both public and private organisations. Driven by the impact of excessive water withdrawal, sewage discharges and associated environmental affects, decentralized/distributed systems of wastewater management are emerging as a new paradigm complimentary to conventional centralized approaches. Decentralized/distributed systems not only offer a cost effective way of treating sewage close the source but also offer the possibility of reuse of alternative water supplies for non-potable use (eg. toilet flushing, gardening, laundry). Although there is increasing numbers of decentralised systems being installed, not all regulators have kept pace with the rate of change, with decentralized/distributed systems being installed ahead of institutional support by regulatory bodies. In this paper we report on a project aimed to fill the gap in informing and supporting potential innovators in developing and operationalising these systems. The Guidance Manual for RMEs was developed as a resource to aid the transition toward sustainable management of wastewater. While we acknowledge the provision of expert knowledge to potential innovators is a strategic tool in contributing to system change, we also highlight the importance of demonstrating small scale systems in a way that provides opportunity for further experiential learning across multiple dimensions of the system (technological, social, environmental, institutional, economic). This would mean operationalising decentralized/distributed systems with input from a co-operative network of influential stakeholders in the process, including endusers/householders and the broader community effected by the system.
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Keywords: Responsible Management Entities; decentralized; management; sewage; sustainable; wastewater

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-01-01

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