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National Collaboration

Collaborative national arrangements for urban water research and development

The Centre was involved in two national initiatives designed to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of urban water R&D generally and water recycling (R&D) programs specifically. The initiatives were:

Australian Water Research and Development Coalition


To work collaboratively with other research and development brokers to deliver effective and cost-efficient outcomes for beneficiaries.

Formed in 2011, the Coalition met four times per year to foster R&D collaboration across jurisdictions and water source research areas. The meetings, hosted in turn by each member, enabled effective strategic planning, sharing of information, and efficiency in investments, for enhanced outcomes for stakeholders and end-users.

Key initiatives of the Coalition to date included:

  • developing a national research ‘roadmap’
  • coordinating the inaugural national urban water R&D needs and capability forum
  • facilitating and coordinating enhanced collaboration on urban water data and knowledge sharing, and improving engagement pathways.

National Urban Water R&D Needs and Capability Forums


To contribute to the establishment of a collaborative, multi-sectoral national process that enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of urban water research and development initiatives.

In close collaboration with the National Water Commission, and national (and state-based) research centres, the Centre participated in a process of cross-sectoral, national dialogue aimed at improving the efficacy of national urban water R&D, including recycled water. Leveraging off this national process, the Centre was able to more effectively position water recycling R&D nationally as one of Australia’s ongoing key water priorities. 

Additionally, and perhaps most significantly, this national process with other Australian water research brokers  helped deliver a Statement of National Urban Water R&D Priorities to assist government (Federal, State/Territory and local), the water utility sector and major research providers (e.g. CSIRO) improve the effectiveness of urban water R&D investment (to highest priority needs and gaps) and integration across the water cycle and source types.

The inaugural National Urban Water Needs and Capability Forum was held in Canberra on 26 September 2012. It endorsed the value of working collaboratively across the multiple sectors on national urban water R&D needs, priorities, capabilities and implementation arrangements.

The 2012 Communiqué issued by the Australian Water Research and Development Coalition following the National Forum and the subsequent 2012 Forum Report summarising the deliberations of the inaugural National Forum list the ongoing initiatives. A report of the 2013 National Forum is also available, together with the Chair's report to the forum. A summary of the Future Needs and Goals of Urban Water  informed the discussions of the 2013 forum. 

Urban Water R&D Partnership Working Group

Following the inaugural forum in September 2012, participants agreed there was considerable value in the formation of a multi-sector Partnership Working Group (PWG) to investigate collaborative processes for planning and delivery of urban water R&D.

Key opportunities identified include:

  • ensuring all necessary sectors/stakeholder interests are represented in national processes
  • establishing a more consolidated national voice on key matters pertaining to national urban water R&D
  • better engagement and articulation between existing sector-specific national processes and between national and jurisdiction-specific processes.


The PWG comprises executive-level representation from each of the five sectors participating in the inaugural national forum – three levels of government, research providers, private enterprise, urban water utilities and research brokers.

The PWG's Terms of Reference outline its responsibilities, including:

  • coordinate delivery of agreed actions and initiatives from the forum
  • facilitate contacts and dialogue to ensure agreed forum actions and initiatives are delivered by the designated lead agents
  • provide progress reports to all interested parties regarding the delivery of agreed initiatives
  • plan and convene a second National Urban Water R&D Needs and Capability Forum in mid-2013.

PWG Meeting Records

Record of Meeting No 1

Record of Meeting No 2

Record of Meeting No 3

Record of Meeting No 4

Record of Meeting No 5

Record of Meeting No 6

Record of Meeting No 7

Record of Meeting No 8

In 2013 National Forum participants agreed that several key initiatives would be led by various sectors and be overseen by the Partnership Working Group:

  1. Statement of national urban water R&D challenges and priorities – based on the respective urban water research planning strategies and processes of each sectors
  2. Improving and streamlining the processes for planning and delivering effective urban water R&D – preparation of options and initiatives
  3. National urban water information and knowledge management and adoption strategy –  progressing the implementation of the first stage which focuses on the national data and information management
  4. Approaches to the evaluation of urban water R&D programs – development of a more shared approach towards evaluation criteria and processes, including return on investment, for urban water R&D projects and programs
  5. Opportunities and initiatives to enhance private sector engagement in national urban water R&D – developing an analysis of opportunities for enhancing the private sector’s participation in all aspects of the national urban water R&D processes  

The Centre supported this national engagement process, and recommends it as a model for future national dialogue and delivery of urban water reseach.

Final Report of the Urban Water Partnership Working Group.