What is Strategic Waterways?
Strategic Waterways is a new tool to help waterway managers to assess and prioritise actions across the catchment and was recently launched at the World Engineers Convention, Melbourne on the 20th of November. It takes a fresh look at the hazards damaging waterway health and strategies to manage our water values. It’s unique colour-coding and scoring system means it is easy to:
- visualise hazards, values and needs;
- diagnose what type of action is needed most;
- decide which sites are highest priority; and
- keep track of restoration progress for each section of waterway.
The Strategic Waterways Tool can also be accessed via the Living Waterways portal below:
Why is it needed?
Waterway management is complex. There are often many competing objectives and it is very difficult for council and private industry to find the best mix of solutions. Current Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) policy in Queensland tends to focus solely on sediment and nutrient reduction. It does not recognise the complexity and typically results in one-size-fits all solutions that do not address the complete risk picture nor the potential co-benefits. New tools and new ways of thinking are needed.
How does it work?
Strategic Waterways uses a colour coding system to represent complex interactions between hazards, values and needs. These three dimensions combine to form a diagnosis of the catchment condition and can assist in planning potential treatment strategies and recovery pathways for the waterway. Strategic Waterways follows a 5-step process similar to the medical model as outlined below:
- Step 1: Condition assessment (what is the current health status of the waterway?)
- Step 2: Diagnosis (what is causing ill waterway health?)
- Step 3: Treatment strategy (what treatment options should be used?)
- Step 4: Triage (which section of waterway has the highest priority?)
- Step 5: Monitoring (how effective is our strategy?)
The tool has a relatively simple visualisation and colour coding system which allows a masterplan for the catchment to be easily communicated and implemented. The results from the tool can be plotted on a single GIS layer highlighting key project sites within the catchment.
Water by Design have published a number of papers that explain the background and intent of Strategic Waterways