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Conference paper
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apo-nid306344.pdf 495.41 KB

The water sector is increasingly facing unprecedented challenges and disruptive change, as are many other sectors of the economy. Market shifts, privatisation, increasing competition, technological innovation, and changing consumer behaviour pose significant challenges for water utilities. Such factors have been disruptive to many other sectors, including energy and telecommunications, which have often been caught unprepared. The next phase of disruptions will impact the water sector, and the partial privatisation of water assets is just the beginning of this process. Climate change impacts will exacerbate all these challenges. Action needs to be taken now if threats are to be turned into opportunities. This paper examines the barriers and enablers of climate adaptation in the water sector. It uses data collected through informal meetings (short conversations), semi- structured in-depth interviews and a workshop on climate change adaptation with selected representatives from water/wastewater utilities across Australia. The results indicate that utilities face both internal and external barriers to adaptation. Barriers faced by the water sector are similar to those in other sectors and include community values and perceptions, high costs of adaptation and community’s reluctance to pay, political instability and sensitivity of climate change across all Australian states, and lack of coordination and collaboration between organisations.

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