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'Drought Proofing' Australian Cities: Implications for Climate Change Adaptation and Sustainability

Authors: Phoenix Lawhon Isler, John Merson, David Roser


Urban water management in Australia faces increasing pressure to deal with the challenges of droughts, growing population and the climate change uncertainty. Addressing these challenges is an opportunity to incorporate the parallel goals of sustainable water management and climate change adaptation through holistic, non-technical means. This paper presents case studies from Perth and Sydney which show how despite robust adaptation plans and experience, recent efforts to 'drought proof' cities have focused on supply-side measures (i.e. desalination), rather than rethinking how water is used and managing demand. The trend towards desalination as a climate adaptation measure raises questions about the sustainability of urban water futures in Australia.

Keywords: Climate change adaptation, desalination, drought management, sustainable urban water management.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

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